JERUSALEM (AFP) ― An Israeli strike killed a Palestinian in Gaza hours after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Sunday that operations could be expanded in the enclave in response to surging rocket fire.
An army spokesman said the raid targeted “terrorists” who had been preparing to fire rockets at the Jewish state.
Earlier two rockets fired from Gaza and targeting the southern Israeli city of Netivot were intercepted by the Iron Dome anti-missile system and destroyed in flight, the army said.
Palestinian security sources said a drone strike targeted a group of armed men, killing one militant.
The attack came after the air force struck 12 targets overnight in Gaza following repeated rocket fire on southern Israel, including a volley that hit a paint factory in Sderot.
The rocket fire has coincided with a huge Israeli arrest operation in the West Bank to track down three teenagers who went missing on June 12, whom Israel says were kidnapped by Hamas militants.
Speaking to ministers at the weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said almost nightly military strikes on Gaza could be expanded should the need arise.
“Over the weekend, the IDF attacked multiple targets in response to firing at Israel from the Gaza Strip. We are ready to expand this operation as per need,” he said, without elaborating.
Hawkish Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman warned a limited response would only strengthen the Islamist movement Hamas, which held power in Gaza for the past seven years but stepped down this month after forming a unity government with the West Bank.