Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Minister of Defense Avigdor Liberman, Chief of Staff Eizenkot and others at urgent security cabinet meeting, Aug 9 2018.
(photo credit: ARIEL HERMONI / DEFENSE MINISTRY)
The security cabinet met in Jerusalem for about five and a half hours to discuss the latest developments in the south after yesterday's rocket hit in Beersheba. At the same time, Hamas issued a warning that if Israel attacked targets in the Gaza Strip overnight, they would respond "quickly and immediately."
Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Herzl Halevy said that "Hamas claims to control the Gaza Strip and tells Gazans that it is trying to improve their situation. In truth, the lack of restraint at the fence, the launching of explosive devices, incendiary balloons and rockets, are making the situation for Gaza residents worse."
"We have attacked significant targets this morning, including weapon production facilities, headquarters and outposts, as well as ground infrastructure," Halevy added. "Everything we attacked was destroyed. It will be very difficult to rehabilitate, and the IDF is ready and preparing itself for future scenarios. We will know how to respond to every scenario. "
Earlier today, Prime Minister Bejamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman traveled to the South to hold security assessments at the IDF’s Gaza Division. They spoke with Deputy IDF Chief of Staff Maj.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi, National Security Council Director Meir Ben-Shabbat, ISA Director Nadav Argaman and senior security establishment officials.
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“Israel views with utmost gravity the attacks against it on the [southern border] fence, on the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip, in Beersheba – everywhere,” Netanyahu said after the meeting.“I want to tell you today that Israel will take very strong action,” he added.
Egyptian intelligence chief Abbas Kamal canceled his planned visit to the Gaza Strip and Ramallah in light of the rocket attack that hit Beersheba last night, and the growing tension in the south. Kamal was supposed to arrive in the region as part of efforts to promote talks between Hamas and Israel and try to reduce the heat. The Egyptian delegation that was present in the Gaza Strip also stopped the talks and left through the Erez crossing.
Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben Dahan stated in the Knesset plenum in response to a query if an additional Iron Dome battery is expected to be installed in Beersheba in the next few days, that this may still be done tonight. The query arose in the wake of criticism of the current defense situation in the capital of the Negev.Anna Ahronheim and Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.
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