A rocket fired from Gaza at 5am today hit a house on Moshav Mishmeret, north of Kfar Saba (which is north of Tel Aviv). The house was destroyed, seven people (including 2 children) were injured and 4 family dogs were killed. The Iron Dome missile defense system was not operational in that area.
The IDF said that the rocket was fired by Hamas from a Hamas position in southern Gaza, a distance of around 120 kilometers. IDF troops, including reservists, are deploying near the Gaza border. Hamas leaders were reportedly evacuating to shelters in anticipation of IDF strikes.
The attack came just hours after several Hamas prisoners stabbed two guards at Ketziot Prison in southern Israel, moderately wounding one of them. In an attempt to restrain the prisoners, at least 11 of the incarcerated were wounded, two critically. Following the incident, Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group issued a threat, warning Israel of “consequences for its aggression that will be felt by soldiers and citizens.”
PM Netanyahu, currently in Washington, said, “There has been a criminal attack on the State of Israel and we will respond forcefully. In light of the security events I have decided to cut short my visit to the US. In a few hours I will meet with President Trump; I will return to Israel immediately afterwards in order to manage our action from close at hand.”
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Politicians from right to left criticized PM Netanyahu for being weak on security.
Blue White Party leader Benny Gantz said, “Netanyahu has lost his grip on Israel security and Israeli citizens are again experiencing sirens and a direct hit on a house. There is a security bankruptcy and Netanyahu needs to pack up immediately and go back to Israel to deal with this serious escalation. Will he still be satisfied with Hamas’ announcement of a mistake or will he finally concentrate on the security of the country’s citizens and not on his legal affairs? Someone who doesn’t respond with aggressiveness and force and pays protection to Hamas, now gets rockets on the Sharon.”
Yair Lapid and Moshe Ya’alon, the other Blue and White leaders, echoed Gantz’s comments.
New Right Party leader Naftali Bennett said, “Israel’s deterrence has collapsed, and it has to be said in all honesty, Netanyahu has failed against Hamas. Releasing terrorists, scared to destroy the homes of terrorists, restraint in the face of the rockets on the south – all of which led Hamas to stop being afraid of Israel. Netanyahu is a good prime minister but a failed defense minister. The time has come to appoint Bennett as defense minister in order to defeat Hamas.”
Rafi Peretz, leader of the Union of Right Wing Parties alliance, said, “A policy that allows incendiary balloons to threaten Alumim and Ein Habesor allows terrorist to fire missiles at Tel Aviv and the central region.”
Labor Party leader Avi Gabbay said, “Netanyahu is responsible for the poor security situation. He has lost our deterrence and strengthened Hamas. The time has come for us to deal with Hamas with courage and not with Netanyahu’s cowardice.”
Economy Minister Eli Cohen of the Kulanu party, along with other ministers, called for the return of targeted assassinations of Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders.
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