Netanyahu Says Gaza Operation Has Bolstered Israel’s Deterrence; Woman Wounded in Ashkelon Rocket Attack
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday that the fighting with Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip had been successful so far and the next phase of the operation had already been decided upon.
After Islamic Jihad commander Baha Abu al-Ata was assassinated early Tuesday morning by the IDF, hundreds of rockets have been fired at southern Israel, while the Israeli military has been conducting a series of retaliatory air strikes.
The Israeli news site Walla reported that at the end of consultations with the heads of the security establishment, including Defense Minister Naftali Bennett and IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, Netanyahu said, “We have agreed on the next steps.”
“This is a great achievement for the State of Israel that further strengthens our deterrence,” he said. “Many terrorists know that we can target them and we will indeed target anyone who seeks to attack us.”
“Beyond that, we did not choose escalation, but we know how to carry out all the necessary actions we have agreed upon to continue to protect the State of Israel and its citizens,” Netanyahu stated.
Bennett also commented on the situation, saying, “Islamic Jihad will be held accountable for its decisions in the coming hours.”
“We are on the second day of the campaign in Gaza,” he added. “The achievements are good — the Islamic Jihad terror architect has been eliminated, and there is deterrence, but the road is still ahead of us.”
“We need every terrorist and every aspiring terrorist to know that his days are numbered, and the decision lies with each person to decide whether to continue terrorist activity and end his life, or leave terrorism,” Bennett said.
He added that Islamic Jihad now faced the same choice, as “it is its decision whether it will drag Gaza’s civilians into this.”
The Israeli news site Mako reported that residents of the south were on heightened alert and were being asked to stay close to protected spaces. The IDF reportedly feard that Islamic Jihad may seek to finish this round of fighting with a massive volley of rockets or an attempt at infiltration.
During a heavy rocket barrage on the city of Ashkelon on Wednesday afternoon, a 65-year-old woman was moderately wounded by flying glass.
A Magen David Adom paramedic said, “When we arrived, we saw a woman of about 65 walking and fully conscious. There were many shards of shattered glass. She suffered minor injuries to the limbs and face. We gave her first aid which included bandages and stopping the bleeding and we evacuated her in stable condition to Barzilai Hospital.”
A witness to the rocket strike, Ido Levy, said, “We heard a siren and it struck immediately after. … I immediately realized it was close. Due to the situation, [my] place was empty and nobody was in danger.”
A factory in Sderot was also hit earlier on Wednesday, causing damage but no casualties.