Monday witnessed significant escalation over Gaza as Palestinian Islamic Jihad sought to avenge the deaths of three commanders killed in Israeli air strikes on Gaza and Damascus the day before.
Israeli media counted some 90 total rockets fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip throughout the day since the attacks began Sunday night, with the IDF claiming its Iron Dome defense system had intercepted the vast majority which came near populated areas.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had earlier threatened to initiate broader war if the rocket fire didn’t cease. Despite an Islamic Jihad spokesman announcing a unilateral cease-fire by the early evening, the rocket fire was reported as continuing later into the night Monday.
“We are now hitting with planes, tanks, and helicopters,” Netanyahu said while inspecting an Iron Dome unit in the south. “I’m talking about a war,” Netanyahu, who is entering a final week of campaigning before Israeli national elections, had further told Israel’s Army Radio station. “I only go to war as a last option, but we have prepared something you can’t even imagine.”
He also appeared to threaten to kill the heads of Hamas and Islamic Jihad if the rockets continued, saying:
“We will continue to strike until the calm returns. If there isn’t quiet, you’ll be next.”
Some 30 rockets were initially fired out of the Gaza Strip on Sunday night, and it continued to escalate through Monday.
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