Israeli man injured as missile hits his car near Sderot; IDF retaliates, killing at least 11 Hamas members firing rockets; Palestinians say 20 killed in total, including 9 minors
Palestinian terror groups in the Gaza Strip fired massive barrages of rockets at Israel on Monday evening and into the night, including seven projectiles that were fired by Hamas toward Jerusalem, in a major escalation of violence from the enclave signaling the possible start of a wider conflict.
The attacks drew Israeli retaliatory airstrikes in Gaza, which killed at least 20 people, including nine minors, according to the Strip’s Hamas-run Health Ministry. The Israel Defense Forces said at least 11 of those killed were members of the Hamas terror group who had launched rockets at Israel.
“In the next few days, Hamas will feel the long arm of the [Israeli] army. It won’t take a few minutes, it will take a few days,” IDF Spokesperson Hidai Zilberman told reporters.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz said the IDF would continue striking Hamas and other terrorists in the Strip in what has been dubbed by the military Operation Guardian of the Walls until “long-term and complete quiet” is restored.
Zilberman said the military was prepared for a wide range of possibilities, including a broader conflict with a ground operation, as well as a return to targeted killings of top terrorist leaders.
“Everything is on the table,” the spokesman said. The military dubbed their efforts “Operation Guardian of the Walls.”
Gantz also threatened Hamas’s leadership, saying its commanders would “be held responsible and pay the price for the aggression.”
In addition to the attack on the capital — the first time Jerusalem was targeted by rocket fire since the 2014 Gaza war — Palestinian terror groups fired upwards of 150 rockets and mortar shells at Israeli cities and towns near the Gaza border, mostly at Ashkelon and Sderot, as well as smaller communities in the Sha’ar Hanegev region of southern Israel.
An anti-tank guided missile was also fired at an Israeli civilian’s car that was traveling on a hill south of Sderot, lightly injuring him, the military said. The Palestinian Islamic Jihad took responsibility for the attack and later released footage of the strike.