In response to a barrage of mortar fire aimed at southern Israeli civilians early Tuesday, the Israeli Air Force attacked Islamic Jihad targets in the Gaza Strip.
By: TPS and World Israel News Staff
Israel’s air force attacked Islamic Jihad targets in the southern part of Gaza Strip Tuesday afternoon in response to a barrage of mortar fire earlier in the day.
The IDF spokesman said that “explosions that can be heard right now near Gaza are the result of our operations.”
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed that Israel will extract a heavy price from anyone who tries to harm the Jewish State. He made the statement hours after Islamic Jihad and Hamas terrorists fired three barrages of mortars at communities along the Gaza Belt.
Netanyahu: ‘IDF will respond forcefully’
“The IDF will respond forcefully to the attacks,” Netanyahu said, addressing the Galilee Conference in Ma’alot-Tarshiha in northern Israel, adding that Israel views the attacks on its communities with the “utmost gravity.”
The prime minister later tweeted: “Let the world know: Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip continue to attack Israel. Share the truth! Peaceful protests? This morning 57 missiles were fired from Gaza toward Israeli citizens.”
A kindergarten was included in the attack, which occurred shortly before the children were scheduled to arrive.
‘Someone in Gaza is testing us’
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman immediately convened an urgent cabinet meeting at military headquarters in Tel Aviv with IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot and other security leaders.
Cabinet member and Minister of Jerusalem Affairs Ze’ev Elkin called Tuesday morning on Israel to deliver “an extremely severe response” to the Hamas terror group, after over 25 mortar shells were fired into Israeli territory from Gaza.
“Someone in Gaza is testing us and I think that the defense minister and the IDF are expected to take a significant decision about an extremely severe response,” Elkin said.
UN demands restraint on both sides
Nickolay Mladenov , the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, commented on the missile attack.
“I am deeply concerned by the indiscriminate firing of rockets by Palestinian militants from Gaza towards communities in Southern Israel. At least one of which hit in the immediate vicinity of a kindergarten and could have killed or injured children,” Mladenov said.
“Such attacks are unacceptable and undermine the serious efforts by the international community to improve the situation in Gaza. All parties must exercise restraint, avoid escalation and prevent incidents that jeopardize the lives of Palestinians and Israelis,” he concluded.
EU condemns attack on Israel ‘unreservedly’
The European Union’s ambassador to Israel, Emanuele Giaufret, wrote on his Twitter account: “As kids were preparing for school this morning a barrage of rockets from Gaza fell on southern Israel. One landed outside a kindergarten. I know the resilience of communities in southern Israel, but indiscriminate attacks are totally unacceptable and to be condemned unreservedly.”