Israel’s Security Cabinet convened Saturday afternoon as tensions continued to rise with Iran, and Iranian-backed Gaza terrorists launched multiple rocket attacks against Jewish communities along the southern border.
The Iron Dome anti-missile defense system intercepted a single rocket attack launched from Gaza close to 9 pm Saturday night. That attack was followed by several others, none of which reached populated areas.
Just 24 hours earlier, on Friday night a barrage of 36 rockets was fired at southern Israel. Six were intercepted by the Iron Dome system as they were heading towards populated areas.
The IDF hit Hamas terrorist targets in response to the rocket fire that included rocket launchers, unspecified underground infrastructure and a military base.
The United States condemned the attacks.
We condemn the rocket fire from Gaza into Israel. There is no justification for such attacks.
— U.S. State Dept – Near Eastern Affairs (@StateDept_NEA) April 24, 2021
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a brief statement following the Security Council meeting that he has “ordered preparations for any scenario.
“We want to ensure law and order as the highest priority,” Netanyahu said, referring to the Arab riots in the Israeli capital.
“We maintain the freedom of worship as every year, for all residents and all visitors to Jerusalem,” the prime minister underlined. However, he added, “We demand compliance with the law, and I call for calm on all sides.”
Defense Minister Benny Gantz, Public Security Minister Amir Ohana, IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi, Shin Bet (General Security Services) chief Nadav Argaman, National Security Council head Meir Ben-Shabbat, Israel Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai and other officials were present as well.
“The ones responsible are Hamas leaders,” Gantz said in a statement. “The equation is known to them and it is very clear. The IDF is prepared for the possibility of escalation and we will do what is necessary in order to preserve the quiet,” he said.
Kochavi has postponed a scheduled trip to the United States this weekend due to the escalations. The IDF chief held a situational assessment at the IDF’s Kirya military headquarters in Ramat Gan together with the Deputy Chief of the General Staff, the Head of the Operations Directorate, the Commanding Officer of the Southern Command, the Commanding Officer of the Home Front Command, the Head of the Intelligence Directorate, the Commanding Officer of the Israeli Air Force, the Commanding Officer of the Central Command, the Commanding Officer of the Israeli Navy, The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, representatives of the Israeli Police, the ISA and the NSC, along with several other commanders.