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5 May, 2019 08:23

Netanyahu instructs IDF to strengthen forces, continue ‘massive strikes’ after Gaza rocket fire

Netanyahu instructs IDF to strengthen forces, continue ‘massive strikes’ after Gaza rocket fire

Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to continue targeting Gaza with airstrikes, following overnight fighting with Hamas. The Israeli prime minister also instructed the IDF to increase its armored and artillery forces in the south.

Netanyahu, who held an emergency cabinet meeting on Sunday, said the military mobilization was necessary to help protect Israel from further rocket attacks.

The Israeli leader promised to keep up “massive strikes” in response to hundreds of rockets fired at Israel from inside Gaza, AFP reported.

“I call on citizens to strictly adhere to the security regulations. We are working to restore peace and security to the residents of the south,” Netanyahu said.

Also on rt.com 3 killed, including infant & pregnant woman, as IDF unleash retaliatory strikes on Gaza – officials

On orders from Netanyahu, troops from the IDF’s 7th armored brigade have been moved south. The Israeli military said the forces “would be ready to act as an offensive force within the Gaza Division.”

His directives come hours after it was announced that bomb shelters in the municipality of Rishon LeTsiyon, a city just seven miles south of Tel Aviv, were opened to the public on Sunday as a precaution.

The flurry of developments strongly suggests that Israel is gearing up for a long-term escalation with Hamas, some analysts noted.

“Various indications that #Israel is at least planning for the latest #Gaza escalation to continue, including 1) sending an armored division to the south, 2) cancelation of school in the south, 3) opening public bomb shelters in more distant areas like Rishon LeTsion,” wrote security analyst Mirian Goldman Eps.

More than 400 rockets have so far been launched at Israel, with the IDF retaliating by striking targets in Gaza. Although the Israeli military insists that its airstrikes are aimed at Hamas, at least six Palestinian civilians have been killed in the latest flare-up, including a pregnant mother and her infant daughter. The IDF has denied any involvement in their deaths, claiming instead that the mother and daughter were killed by a rocket fired by Hamas, which exploded prematurely.

One Israeli has been killed by the rocket barrage, and several others were injured.

While no further attacks have been reported, the IDF announced on Sunday morning that air-raid sirens were sounding in southern Israel.

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