Hamas military posts in the coastal enclave were targeted in response to a recent Hamas strike that prompted Prime Minister Netanyahu to temporarily pause his on-stage address ahead of his upcoming party leadership vote.
The Israeli military reported striking the Gaza Strip early Thursday in retaliation for a rocket that was launched at Israel’s south earlier on Wednesday. At the same time, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was there at an election campaign event.
Israel confirmed that the country’s Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted a rocket fired from the Strip, while Netanyahu was taking the floor in the port city of Ashkelon. The prime minister was rushed off the stage with his wife Sara to a nearby shelter and later returned to complete the address.
Speaking at the Ashkelon event, the head of state, who will be entering a race for leadership of his Likud party starting Thursday, brought up the Israeli military’s killing of senior Islamic Jihad commander Baha Abu al-Ata in the Strip in November, with the development in the conflict prompting a tense exchange of fire between Israel and Hamas.
Netanyahu issued a separate, clear-cut warning to those behind the recent rocket launch:
“He who fired [rockets] last time isn’t with us anymore,” Netanyahu said. “And he who fired now, better start packing his belongings,” the prime minister went on with his emotional speech.