ISRAELI Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned yesterday that Israel will strike ‘aggressively’ at Gaza in reaction to any fire from the territory.
He said at the opening of his weekly Cabinet meeting: ‘Our policy is clear to all and I think it also became clear over the weekend – to respond aggressively to any firing at our territory and at our communities.’
‘There is no doubt that this policy, in addition to Operation Cast Lead, has increased deterrence against attack on our communities,’ he added, referring to the three-week offensive Israel waged on Gaza last winter that left 1,400 Palestinians dead.
Before dawn on Saturday Israeli warplanes struck targets across the Gaza Strip in the most intense bombardment in weeks.
Witnesses also reported Israeli tank and artillery fire in several locations.
The Israeli military claimed the strikes were in response to the firing of a Grad-type rocket from Gaza into the Israeli town of Netivot on Thursday night.
The armed wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) claimed responsibility for that attack.
Israel launched Operation Cast Lead with the stated aim of ending the launch of mainly homemade projectiles from Gaza which cause little damage in comparison to Israeli military action.
Dr Aziz Al-Dweik, the speaker of the Palestinian legislative council (PLC), has said that Operation Cast Lead and the cast steel wall being built on the Gaza borders by Egypt were two faces of one coin.
Dweik was speaking in a recorded statement at the PLC headquarters in Gaza on Saturday while its members there were marking the first anniversary of the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) bombardment of the premises.
He said that all attempts to besiege the Palestinian people would not bear the targeted fruit.
Meanwhile, the IOF rounded up six Palestinians at dawn yesterday, three of them in Al-Khalil’s Arab refugee camp and three in Bethlehem city.
Local sources said that the soldiers searched the detained young men’s homes in the refugee camp before taking them away.
Israeli soldiers on Saturday prevented farmers from tending their lands near the Beit Ummar village, Al-Khalil district, and arrested a youth in Edhna village in the same district.
In the West Bank, Jewish settlers on Saturday assaulted a Palestinian woman in occupied Jerusalem and brutally beat her.
Local sources said that Nadia Al-Kurd was hospitalised after the savage attack in her home.
The Israeli authorities had seized a section of Kurd’s home and handed it to Jewish settlers two months ago.
Settlers in Qalqilya also attacked a Palestinian car with stones seriously wounding one of its passengers in the head and face, and lightly wounding the other.
Also on Saturday, dozens of settlers attacked Palestinian lands in Qarawat Bani Hassan village west of Salfit, locals said, noting that Israeli troops escorted the settlers on their rampage in the village lands.