IAF aircraft struck six targets in the Gaza Strip overnight Thursday, in response to a Kassam attack that killed a foreign worker in Netiv Ha’asara earlier in the day. The army said it struck three smuggling tunnels on the Egyptian border, a weapons production facility and two tunnels intended for infiltration into Israel to carry out attacks.
Two Palestinians were reportedly wounded in the strikes.
Six targets hit, two reported wounded
(Photo by: AP)
The Kassam rocket slammed into a greenhouse in the small southern agricultural community of Moshav Netiv Ha’asara on Thursday, ripping through the roof, killing a Thai worker and leaving his coworkers, who came to his aid, traumatized.
...Yair Farjun, chairman of the Ashkelon Coast Regional Council, said the dead man had worked on the moshav for three years and eight months. “He drove a tractor. He was always smiling. He learned how to speak Hebrew,” Farjun told The Jerusalem Post.
“These attacks do not target the army, and are not part of a military confrontation. The Palestinians are targeting farmers who work their land, civilians, and children.
“A price tag must be set, so that the Hamas government, supported by Iran and Hizbullah, will not think they can fire on us at will and that we will wait for things to get really bad before responding. We are on the front line here,” Farjun said.
“The international community must wake up. We have left Gaza, so what do the Palestinians want now? They are not building up their own economy and society in Gaza. They have turned it into one big military camp, and a base for terrorism,” he said.
“All of these incidents are happening not because Israel is building in Jerusalem, or because a synagogue was opened in the Old City in Jerusalem, they are happening because the Palestinians want all Jews out of this land and seek the destruction of Israel,” Farjun said. “It’s time for the world to know the truth. Those who want to see reality should come here.”
...Speaking from the site of the attack on Thursday evening, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon (Israel Beiteinu) said, “This is one rocket out of 12,000 that the citizens of Israel have endured in recent years. The responsibility for this attack rests with Hamas.”
Ayalon said the attacks were a result of Hamas incitement to violence.
“While Israel continues to extend its hand in peace, the other side not only refuses to come to the negotiating table, but continues to incite recklessly against Israel,” he said. “Israel still seeks peace and calls for negotiations with the Palestinian Authority without preconditions; however, the incitement must end.”
Referring to the UN-sponsored Goldstone Report on Operation Cast Lead, Ayalon said the document “provides legitimacy and a propulsion for terrorism and is immoral and unprofessional. With or without the report, Israel will continue to defend its citizens. I call on those who voted for the Goldstone Report to come and see the consequences.”
...Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom (Likud) warned that the rocket attack would lead to a strong reaction, and said that Hamas was ultimately responsible. “It is severe escalation,” Shalom said. “Israel will not return to the situation of before Operation Cast Lead. The response will be particularly fierce... I hope Hamas will learn a lesson.”
Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilna’i (Labor) held a security assessment with officials from the IDF Home Front Command to discuss the level of protection in the area of greenhouses near the Gaza Strip. “Hamas is in control of Gaza and Israel will hold Hamas responsible for every rocket attack originating in Gaza,” Vilna’i said. “Israel is not interested in a military conflict but will not allow rocket fire against its civilians.”...