Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threw down the gauntlet to Hamas and Islamic Jihad during a Tuesday evening press conference, during which he reaffirmed Israel’s commitment to defend itself against terrorism.
“Hamas and Islamic Jihad have paid and will pay a very heavy price for their aggression. I say here this evening: their blood is on their own hands” Netanyahu said of the two terrorist organizations, according to The Times of Israel.
Hundreds of rockets have been fired from Gaza into Israel since Monday evening. Many of the missiles were intercepted by Israel’s missile defense system, the Iron Dome.
The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) responded with airstrikes on Hamas and Islamic Jihad targets in Gaza. At least 32 people have reportedly been killed and over 200 wounded in Gaza, according to The Associated Press. Three Israelis were reportedly killed and over a dozen were wounded by rockets from Gaza, NPR reported.
“Yesterday and today, the IDF attacked hundreds of Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip. We have eliminated dozens of terrorists, including senior commanders. We have bombed Hamas command centers and toppled buildings that serve the terrorist organizations. We will continue to attack with full force,” the prime minister said.
“Citizens of Israel, we stand united against a reprehensible enemy. We all grieve for those who have been killed. We all pray for the well-being of the wounded,” Netanyahu added.
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz followed up the prime minister by saying “this is just the beginning — the first in a long line of actions we have planned.”
Israel and Hamas have fought three wars against each other since the Jewish state pulled out of the territory in 2005, the last of which occurred in 2014. (RELATED: Watch The Moment Israel’s Iron Dome Intercepts A Barrage Of Rockets Over A Major City)
“I tell you something else this evening: this campaign will take time. With determination, unity and strength, we will restore security to the citizens of Israel,” said Netanyahu.