Israel's Netanyahu vows to keep up 'massive strikes' on Gaza
May 5, 2019
Gaza militants fired more than 400 rockets at Israel in a day in one of the deadliest escalations in years. Israel reported first fatalities from rocket fire since 2014, and a Hamas commander was also killed.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that the military would keep up "massive strikes" on targets in the Gaza Strip in response to hundreds of rocket attacks from the Palestinian territory.
"I instructed the (military) this morning to continue its massive strikes on terror elements in the Gaza Strip and ordered (it) to reinforce the troops around the Gaza Strip with tanks, artillery and infantry forces," Netanyahu said at a meeting with his ministers.
Israel's army has attacked more than 250 targets in Gaza since Saturday in response to missile attacks by militant Palestinians.
Later, Cabinet ministers issued a statement after a nearly five-hour meeting saying the "ultimate consideration is the security of the state and its residents."
Hamas commander targeted
Israel also said its forces assassinated Hamas commander Hamed al-Khoudary by targeting his car in an airstrike. The 34-year-old militant leader was allegedly responsible for transferring money from Iran to terrorist organizations in Gaza.
The Islamic Jihad militant group, a Hamas ally, said Sunday that two of its members were killed in Israeli bombings.
A total of 15 Palestinians, including at least eight militants, have been killed in the current round of fighting, according to Gaza's health ministry.
The violence comes ahead of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan, which begins Monday, and Israeli Independence Day celebrations on Wednesday.
Gaza militants have fired over 400 rockets at Israel since Friday, breaking a month long truce.
Police said Sunday that four people had been killed in Israel by strikes from Gaza. They were the first civilians to die from Gaza rocket fire since the 2014 war with Hamas, an Islamist group that controls Gaza Strip. Several other Israelis were also wounded in the attacks.
Israeli military said the Iron Dome defense system intercepted dozens of the projectiles.
The flare-up comes after four Palestinians in the Gaza Strip were killed on Friday, as protests erupted along the Israeli border.
An Israeli army spokeswoman said that about 5,200 Palestinians had taken part in Friday's daylong demonstrations, demanding blockade concessions. More than 50 Palestinians suffered various injuries during the protests and two Israeli soldiers were wounded after being shot by Palestinian militants.