Netanyahu Warns Terror Groups of ‘Surprises’ as Rockets Slam Israel’s South

Israeli Army Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Aviv Kochavi, listens to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as he addresses the media at the Defence Ministry in Tel Aviv on November 12, 2019. - Israel's military killed a commander of Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad in a strike on his home in …
GIL COHEN-MAGEN/AFP via Getty

TEL AVIV – Amid fresh rocket barrages from Gaza on Monday, Prime Minister Netanyahu warned terror groups the IDF has new “surprises” in store if the rocket fire continues.

“Hamas and Islamic Jihad need to understand, this can’t go on,” Netanyahu told reporters in the West Bank settlement of Ariel. “If they don’t stop the rocket fire completely, not in a day’s time or just for today — but altogether, we’ll be forced to launch the plan we have formulated for a wide-scale campaign.”

“There are new, surprising things in it,” he added.

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan warned earlier that Israel was poised to make a decision about whether to launch a full-scale operation in the coastal enclave.

The government is “closer than ever to a decision to launch a large-scale operation” in the Gaza Strip, Erdan told the Kan broadcaster Monday.

“It isn’t ideal to make such a decision on election week, but it needs to be made as early as possible by the prime minister and the cabinet,” Erdan said, adding that the situation has become “unbearable.”

Israel is one week away from national elections.

Fourteen rockets were fired at southern Israel from the Gaza Strip in the space of an hour on Monday morning. Twelve of them were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system, the IDF said.

Shortly before the rocket fire, Defense Minister Naftali Bennett said Israel is “formulating a plan to fundamentally change the situation in the Gaza Strip.”

“We have eliminated at least six terrorists over the last day – not only in Gaza, but we have also made progress in hurting the source of the problem. But deterrence is not built in a moment,” he said during a conference in Jerusalem.

He added that residents of the south “deserved peace and security.”

Rocket shards landed in a private home in the southern border town of Sderot, as well as in a medical clinic and a playground, causing damage to surrounding cars. No injuries were reported.

Monday’s rocket barrage followed a night of intense airstrikes against Palestinian Islamic Jihad targets in Syria and the Gaza Strip, killing at least six terror operatives. The strikes were retaliatory measures after missiles were launched into Israeli on Sunday evening.

Roads, schools and train lines in Gaza enclave communities were closed as per directives from the Home Front Command.

 

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