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Netanyahu: ‘Expanded campaign’ possible amid enemy rocket onslaught

“We are ready for harsh strikes against Gaza,” the prime minister said as terrorists fired hundreds of projectiles at Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks about Operation Shield and Arrow on May 9, 2023. Credit: Avi Ohayon (GPO)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks about Operation Shield and Arrow on May 9, 2023. Credit: Avi Ohayon (GPO)

“We are ready for the possibility of an expanded campaign and harsh strikes against Gaza,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday amid a series of rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip.

He spoke during a meeting with local and regional council heads in southern Israel as Gaza terrorists were launching hundreds of rockets in response to the Israel Air Force’s targeting killing of three Palestinian Islamic Jihad leaders a day earlier.

National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir praised the IDF’s actions targeting terrorist sites in Gaza.

“Congratulating the heroic security forces operating at this moment in Gaza to defeat the terrorists. The entire nation of Israel is behind you,” Ben-Gvir tweeted.

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich expressed solidarity with the residents of southern Israel, tweeting on Tuesday night that “they are strong and give us back-up to hit our enemies hard.”

The head of the Religious Zionism party added: “At this time, I wish to strengthen the residents of [southern] Israel and the IDF, which is acting with determination. The people of Israel and the government of Israel stand by you.”

Transportation Minister Miri Regev was rushed to a bomb shelter at the Port of Ashdod during a  tour of the South that also included Sderot, the Sdot Negev region and Ashkelon.

“This is the shelter here; as you can see we don’t play with security. There is a siren, we all go down to the shelter and then we will continue the visit here in the port,” Regev said.

Earlier in the day she toured the IDF Home Front Command center in Ashkelon, posting to Twitter that “we will defeat terrorism with a strong hand. With God’s help, we will succeed.”

Opposition leader Yair Lapid and National Unity party chief Benny Gantz held a meeting on Wednesday at the Knesset where they discussed “the importance of backing up the operational operations of the IDF and the security forces,” Lapid tweeted.

Israel’s Ambassador to Belgium and Luxembourg Idit Rosenzweig-Abu criticized an earlier tweet by Luxembourg’s Foreign Ministry as one-sided for “only calling on Israel to respect human rights” while Gaza terrorists are firing hundreds of rockets at Israeli civilians.

An immediate reaction to Wednesday’s burst of rockets, which included the targeting of the Tel Aviv area, was also seen in the United States.

Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.) tweeted that “Israel is facing a massive barrage of rockets. Imagine how high the death toll would be were it not for Iron Dome, which has intercepted almost all the missiles fired and saved lives.”

Torres continued, “I will continue voting for missile defense systems that protect civilians from terrorism.”

American Jewish Committee CEO David Harris tweeted: “Let’s be crystal-clear. Those firing rockets are terrorists, not ‘militants.’ Their aim is to kill & destroy, not seek peace & coexistence. They use civilians as shields, hospitals & schools as arms depots. I STAND WITH ISRAEL.”

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