Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a direct warning to the Islamist Hamas organization, stressing that ‘any attack against Israel emanating from the Gaza Strip will be met with a vigorous response.’ In his opening remarks at the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Netanyahu said Jerusalem views the rocket barrage from Gaza this past weekend “with utmost gravity” whether the launches are either “intentional or in error;” which is why he ordered Israeli military strikes on 100 Hamas terrorist targets in retaliation. The Premier then emphasized that ‘unless quiet is preserved, the IDF would be forced to devastate Hamas by stepping up its attacks on terror installations across the Palestinian enclave.’
The Prime Minister also expressed his support for the soldiers of the IDF, Shin Bet and other security forces conducting the massive manhunt in pursuit of the terrorists who perpetrated Sunday’s deadly terror attack. He vowed the perpetrators will apprehended and dealt with “to the fullest extent of the law as we have done in all of the recent incidents.”
An IDF soldier was stabbed by an unknown Palestinian assailant early Sunday morning at a bus stop near the West Bank settlement of Ariel. His weapon was then seized by the terrorist, who fatally shot him before fleeing the area. An eyewitness, Former Knesset Member Yehiel Hazan, said the perpetrator then hijacked a passing car, after shooting and injuring the civilian driver. The Palestinian fired at random until reaching a nearby junction, where he critically wounded another IDF soldier. The Commanding Officer of the IDF Central Command, Major General Nadav Padan, declared that no matter where they may hide, all terrorists will be “pursued day and night” until captured.
Meanwhile in the Gaza strip, the Islamist Hamas organization hailed the act of terror as a “heroic operation.” In apparent reference to the latest tensions and ongoing dispute over the sovereignty of Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, Hamas official Mushir Al-Masri called the attack a so-called “normal reaction” to “crimes” he alleged Israel has committed against his people, land and the “sacred site “of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. He went on to claim that the ‘Israeli crimes’ “only make the revolutionary young people more determined to violently confront the occupation.”
Islamist supporters celebrated the killings by handing out sweets and marching in the streets of Gaza City, where they chanted calls for the “fulfillment of the Prophet (Muhammad’s) commandment for Jihad” (“Holy Muslim War” in Arabic) against Israel and the West. Gaza Resident Abu Hamam Ahmed told reporters that “We need such operations to teach the Jews a lesson like this that they will never forget. Because the enemy knows only the language of toughness. The language of tolerance, reconciliation and dialogue like Oslo aren’t successful. The only successful dialogue is that of weapons and bullets.”