At the start of the weekly cabinet meeting Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the latest round of violence in Gaza saying, “Israel has not promised anything” to obtain the cease-fire. “We maintain complete freedom of action and we will hurt whoever tries to hurt us,” he said.
Netanyahu congratulated the security forces for “the perfect carrying out of Operation Black Belt” and said all of its goals were met. “Our security policy has not changed at all, not one iota,” he added. The prime minster said he had instructed the army to attack Hamas targets immediately after Hamas fired rockets at Be’er Sheva Friday night. “We are prepared for any scenario and the security forces know exactly which plans they must implement to defend the State of Israel in any arena,” he said.
A cease-fire between Israel and the Islamic Jihad group went into effect on Thursday, ending two days of fighting ignited by Israel’s targeted killing of one of the Iran-backed militant group’s top Gaza commanders. The fighting killed 34 Palestinians, including 16 civilians, according to rights groups. Hamas stayed on the sidelines, and Israel did not attack targets linked to the group.
Following the cease-fire, two rockets were intercepted over the southern Israeli city of Be'er Sheva Friday night. Defense officials said that the rockets had been fired by Hamas operatives, in contrast to the hundreds of rockets fired over the week by Islamic Jihad.
Israel struck Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip early on Saturday following the rocket fire from the Strip.