Israel destroys Gaza cement factory in retaliation for rocket attack

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would not ignore the firing of even one rocket from Gaza on Israel.

Israel’s Air Force early Saturday morning destroyed what the Israeli military said was a cement factory in Gaza, in response to a rocket fired Friday from Gaza that damaged agricultural fields in a southern Israel kibbutz near the border with Gaza.

Beth Shalom Cemetery ad

Netanyahu on Saturday night speaking at a Hanukkah candle- lighting ceremony at the Western Wall said the cement factory destroyed earlier in the day by the Israel Air Force “served to rebuild the tunnels that we hit in Operation Protective Edge.”

“Hamas bears the responsibility for any escalation,” Netanyahu said. “We will safeguard Israel’s security.”

Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said Saturday’s retaliatory strike “is a clear message to Hamas that we won’t put up with a ‘trickle’ of rockets on our citizens. We hold Hamas responsible for what happens in the Strip, and we know how to respond to the attacks if they don’t know how to stop them.

Hamas reportedly informed Israel late on Saturday night through an Egyptian mediator that it did not support Friday’s rocket attack and that it would crack down on the Palestinian groups behind it.

Former Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh reportedly said that the airstrikes constituted “a grave violation of the ceasefire agreement.”

The rocket that exploded Friday morning was the third that Palestinian terrorists have fired at Israel since the end of Israel’s 50-day operation against Hamas in Gaza which ended on Aug. 26.

In recent weeks, Palestinians have fired several test rockets that were not aimed at Israel. Last month, the Israel Defense Forces reported that four such rockets were launched in the space of 24 hours at the sea west of Gaza.