Netanyahu: Israel will act with great force against Gaza
The prime minister visits the Gaza Division following rocket attack on Israel, where he meets with senior defense officials; 'I said at the outset of the government meeting this week that if these attacks don't stop, we'll make them stop,' he says.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed Wednesday that "Israel will act with great force" against Gaza after rockets from the strip hit a Be'er Sheva home and the water off the shore of a central Israeli city.
The prime minister visited the Gaza Division, where he held a situation assessment with the heads of the IDF and the defense establishment.
"I said at the outset of the government meeting this week that if these attacks (from Gaza) don't stop, we'll make them stop," he said.
Later, Netanyahu traveled to the Sdot Negev Regional Council's operations room, where he met with the heads of the five regional councils near the Gaza border and updated them on the situation.
A rocket alert siren went off at 3:39am in Be'er Sheva and surrounding communities in the Negev region, following which a rocket hit a house, breaking through two floors of concrete.
Due to the size of the rocket and the force of the impact, heavy damage was caused to the house that was hit and it is at risk of collapse. A house next door was hit by shrapnel from the rockets, and its balcony collapsed. Debris was scattered throughout the street, damaging parked cars and adjacent structures.
Seven people were treated for shock after the attack, including 39-year-old Miri Tamano and her three children aged 9, 10, and 12, who were in the house when it was hit. In addition, three people were taken to the Soroka Medical Center in the city suffering from light bruising sustained when falling as they were running for shelter.
Another rocket landed in the sea off the shores of a city in central Israel.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad released a statement from the "joint coordination room of resistance factions," in which they said they "reject all irresponsible attempts that try to change the direction and sabotage the Egyptian efforts, including the overnight firing of the rocket."
Still, the IDF placed the blame for the rocket fire on Hamas. "The rockets that were fired are self-produced and medium-ranged. Only two organizations in Gaza have such rockets: Hamas and Islamic Jihad. It doesn't matter who fired, Hamas bears the responsibility," said IDF Spokesman Ronen Manelis.
The IDF attacked over 20 targets, including a terror tunnel, in the Gaza Strip in retaliation, targeting Hamas military bases, rocket manufacturing sites, underground infrastructure, an offensive tunnel, and tunnel dig sites in other areas, including one of a sea terror tunnel.
At least one 25-year-old Palestinian fighter was killed inside one of the posts and three others moderately wounded in the strikes, according to the Gaza health ministry.
IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot decided to cut short his trip to the United States following the rocket attack, while Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman ordered the closure of the Kerem Shalom and Erez border crossings and the reduction of the strip's fishing zone to three nautical miles.
School was cancelled in Be'er Sheva, Sderot and the Gaza border communities following the rocket fire, though Ben-Gurion University announced classes will be held as normal.
Meanwhile, Egypt and the United Nations are working to prevent further rocket and mortar fire in response to the IDF's attacks.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the two bigger organizations in Gaza, are also involved in the talks.
Western diplomatic sources said UN envoy to the Middle East Nickolay Mladenov was supposed to enter the Gaza Strip to aid in the efforts to restore calm, but cancelled his visit.
So far, it appears the Egyptian and UN mediation efforts are bearing fruit, as even after four rounds of IDF strikes, during which over 20 quality targets were hit across the Gaza Strip, Hamas and Islamic Jihad have been demonstrating restraint.