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'This Was a Vicious Attack': Netanyahu Cuts US Trip Short After Hamas Blows Up Israeli Home

03-25-2019
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Credit: CBN News

JERUSALEM, Israel – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is cutting short his trip to the US after a Hamas rocket from Gaza struck an Israeli home north of Tel Aviv. 

The Israel Defense Forces confirmed that it is sending two additional brigades to the Gaza Border -- an infantry brigade and an armored brigade.

Just before dawn, a rocket from Gaza slammed into an Israeli home in the community of Mishmeret in central Israel. The attack sparked a fire and collapsed the structure.  Seven Israelis were wounded including children. 

"We woke up from the boom, I live nearby a few streets away, the glass in the windows was shaking, and in nearby homes glass shattered. We made phone calls to find out if there are any people injured, and how we can help,” said local resident Yoav Zohar.

Southern Israel around the Gaza Strip has been plagued with rocket attacks for years but a rocket attack more than 50 miles into the densely populated center of the country takes the conflict to a new level. 

Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett visited the site of the attack and said Gaza would have to "suffer the consequences of this unprovoked attack."

"Israel will respond with all the necessary means.  We're fed up with Hamas. Enough is enough," Bennett said.

Hamas launched two rockets at Tel Aviv just 10 days ago – the first since the 2014 war.  The Iron Dome intercepted those rockets and Israel responded by hitting 100 Hamas targets inside Gaza. 

Netanyahu, who is in Washington for a meeting with President Trump held consultations with the military and national security council.

“This was a vicious attack on the state of Israel, we react with might. In light of the security events I’ve decided to cut short my visit in the US. In a few hours I will meet with president trump and immediately after I will return to Israel to oversee our activities,” the prime minister said in a statement.

Netanyahu was scheduled to address the annual AIPAC conference but canceled his appearance. 

Despite the attack, Israel said schools would operate as normal.

Just last week, the un human rights council condemned Israel for its response to the border riots.  Israeli foreign ministry spokesman tweeted that the attack was a “deliberate and dangerous act of aggression by Palestinian terrorists, encouraged no doubt by the complacency of @UNHumanRights.”

According to media reports, Hamas leaders told Egypt that the rocket was fired by mistake

But Hamas has also kicked up the level of violence in its protests along Israel’s border with Gaza ahead of the one-year anniversary of what it calls the “Great March of Return.”

The protestors throw firebombs at soldiers and renewed sending balloons with explosive devices across the border.  The noise from nighttime demonstrations is also intended to disturb and frighten Israelis who live near the border.

With just two weeks until Israeli elections, it’s not clear how far Israel will go with its response.  But it's clear that Hamas is trying to escalate the situation.

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