As rocket fire from Gaza continued to rain down on communities along the Gaza border, and as far north as the coastal city of Ashkelon, Defense Minister Benny Gantz said Monday night that Israel will continue air strikes in Gaza to “restore long-term and complete quiet” from terrorists in the enclave.
The IDF also announced a few minutes before midnight that it has closed the Kerem Shalom land crossing into Gaza in response to the rocket attacks.
The IDF advised Israelis with air conditioning on in their home to “keep a window slightly open to be able to hear an alert in your area, especially while sleeping. Keeping your phone or computer on with an alert app set to sound only for your area is another idea.”
The defense minister said in a statement that the Iranian-backed Hamas terrorist organization is responsible for the violence taking place. He denied claims by Hamas that Israel “harassed” Muslim worshipers on the Temple Mount.
“I would like to emphasize that the State of Israel has done everything, and will do everything, to protect freedom of worship,” Gantz said. “Hamas, which is targeting a civilian population, is the only party responsible,” he said.
“Over the past few weeks the security cabinet has been convening and we have held a series of consultations and situational assessments, on the basis of which we authorized today a number of offensive strikes that will hit Hamas and other terrorist organizations hard.
“These are strikes that will ensure Israel’s security and restore long-term and complete quiet,” Gantz said.
“The [terror] organization and its leaders will be held responsible and pay the price for the aggression. . . the offensive strikes are expected to continue until we meet the operative goals that we have set,” he added.