image Photo: Flash90

Fatalities, Direct Gaza strikes on Israel

Two people were killed and another 10 people injured when rockets fired from Gaza today made a direct hit on a packing plant at Moshav Ohad in Eshkol Regional Council. All the casualties were foreign workers from Thailand.

A home in Ashdod also suffered a direct strike.

12 people in Israel have now been killed by Hamas and other Palestinian groups, which have launched at least 3,400 rockets from the lawless Gaza Strip since they began the conflict on 10 May.

The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit told TV7 this morning that approximately 130 Hamas terrorists and 30 Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terrorist have been killed in retaliatory air and artillery strikes since the outbreak of hostilities, while Gaza health officials put the official Palestinian death toll at 212.

Israel remains committed to establishing a deterrent against future violence with Gaza by dealing Hamas a devastating blow in the current Operation Guardian of the Walls.

“The directive is to continue to strike at terror targets,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a televised speech, after a situational assessment and approval of operational plans with military and intelligence chiefs, including Defense Minister Benny Gantz, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, Israel Security Agency (ISA, or Shin Bet) head Nadav Argaman, Mossad chief Yossi Cohen and the Director of the National Security Council Meir Ben-Shabbat.

“We will continue to take whatever action necessary to restore quiet and security to all residents of Israel. The IDF is doing this very well,” vowed Netanyahu, after pointing out that yesterday the Israeli military “targeted a senior Islamic Jihad commander. We struck at the Hamas naval unit and we are continuing to strike at underground targets – Hamas’s metro and there are other targets.”

The armed wing of Hamas immediately vowed to launch more rockets. “The criminal Zionist enemy intensified its bombing of homes and residential apartments in the recent hours, and therefore, we warn the enemy that if it did not stop that immediately, we would resume rocketing Tel Aviv,” said Spokesman Abu Ubaida.

It has been reported that the IDF has destroyed between 80% to 90% of the rocket manufacturing capacity in the Gaza Strip.

United States President Joe Biden has repeatedly expressed Israel’s right to defend itself. During a call with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu on Monday, the White House said in a statement that Biden said his administration will do its utmost to support a ceasefire. The Biden administration also approved the potential sale of $735 million in precision-guided weapons to Israel on Monday.

Netanyahu also spoke by telephone with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. According to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), the German leader “reiterated her unreserved support for Israel’s right to defend itself.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu also thanked Chancellor Merkel “for the action of her government against anti-Semitic elements in Germany, and emphasized that Hamas is committing a double war crime by firing missiles from inside civilian populations and by using civilians in Gaza as human shields,” said the statement.

The remarks echo those Prime Minister Netanyahu made to his Dutch counterpart in another conversation Sunday. The PMO said that the Israeli leader thanked Prime Minister Mark Rutte for the Netherlands “support of Israel’s right to self-defense in light of the terrorist organizations’ firing at Israel’s cities,” while noting that “Israel would continue to strike at Hamas and Islamic Jihad in order to restore the quiet and security to the citizens of Israel.”

Netanyahu has expressed gratitude to many nations around the world for “vigorously supporting Israel’s right for self-defense,” including unprecedented acts of support by the Czech Republic, Slovenia and others.

“With the situation in Israel getting worse, it is of personal importance to me to make clear that we strongly condemn all attacks on Israel, especially the terrorist rocket attacks on Israel,” said Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz on 12 May, the day after Hamas began the current conflict.

“Israel has a right to defend itself. And I hope very much that there will be a de-escalation and that the violence against Israel ceases and that the attacks and violence against Israel are stopped immediately,” Kurz said at an impromptu news conference in Vienna, underscoring that, “Anything else is a crime against the people of Israel and a massive strain on an already tense region.”