The Israeli army on Tuesday bombed several targets in the Gaza Strip as Palestinian militants responded with a new barrage of late-night rocket fire, demonstrating that a truce with Hamas rulers showed signs of unraveling.
Tuesday night’s airstrikes came in response to a lone rocket attack. The military said it hit a Hamas military compound and a weapons manufacturing warehouse in southern Gaza. Militants responded by firing another rocket. Israel said both projectiles landed harmlessly in open areas.
The violence, less than two weeks before Israel holds national elections, is likely to become a major theme in the final stretch of a tight reelection campaign for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who indicated the election would not deter him from acting.
Netanyahu cut short a visit to the U.S. and rushed back to Israel on Tuesday to deal with the crisis. After meeting with Netanyahu, Israel’s military chief, Lt. Gen. Aviv Kohavi, ordered an additional troop buildup along the border.
Netanyahu had been scheduled to give a speech in Washington to the AIPAC pro-Israel lobbying group. Instead, he addressed the group by satellite, telling them that over the past 24 hours Israel had pounded militant sites in Gaza on a scale not seen since a 2014 war with Hamas. (Read more from “Israel, Palestinian Militants Trade Fire as ‘Truce’ Appears to Unravel” HERE)