Palestinian terrorists fired more than 100 missiles and mortars into southern Israel since Saturday night, ending a period of calm that has taken hold over the last few weeks. The Israeli Air Force responded by bombing a weapons manufacturing site, two weapons storage facilities and two launching sites. In Israel three civilians were injured in the rocket attacks. Schools in southern Israel cancelled classes so students could stay in their home bomb shelters as needed.
Hamas, who took over the Gaza Strip in 2007 from the Palestinian Authority, has announced it is taking part in the rocket attacks as well as the smaller terror groups according to Israel Radio.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that Israel is planning to escalate its response to the rockets. Defense Minister Ehud Barack has warned that the Israeli Defense Forces will soon be given full freedom of operations to stop the attacks.
Palestinian news sources have said that two Islamic Jihad operatives were killed and six injured in the Israeli reprisals.
The Iron Dome anti-rocket system, developed as a joint US and Israeli system has intercepted at least two of the rockets that were headed for population centers.
The latest round of violence began when terrorists fired an anti-tank missile at an IDF Jeep carrying out a routine patrol on the Israeli side of the border on Saturday, striking the vehicle directly and injuring four soldiers. One soldier was in serious condition with a head injury, one was moderately wounded, and two were lightly injured.
Israeli tanks immediately returned fire to the area killing four and injuring 25.
Home Front Command Minister Avi Dichter said:
“This is an unbearable and unreasonable situation. Israel cannot accept a daily terrorist drizzle from Gaza.”
Dichter also said he favored a plan of restoring Israeli deterrence to the Gaza Strip, a term which means that the terrorists will understand that their actions will always yield a response.
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum blamed Israel for the incident, saying:
“The occupation’s targeting of civilians was a grave escalation that must not pass in silence, and resistance must be reinforced in order to block the aggression.”
Watch Islamic Jihad as it shows off new weapons systems and fires three rockets at Israel in rapid succession.