PM Netanyahu: "We will continue to hit whoever plans to attack citizens of the State of Israel. At the same time, we will continue to improve home front defense including by means of additional Iron Dome systems, the effectiveness of which was shown again over the weekend."
Following are Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), 11 March 2012:
But there is no doubt that IDF operations have disrupted the organizing for the attack; of course, time will tell to what extent. Naturally, this led to another round with the Popular Resistance Committees, Islamic Jihad and other groups. We are still in the midst of this round. The IDF is striking at them in strength. I would like to commend this operation and the security and intelligence services. We have exacted from them a very high price; naturally, we will act as necessary.
I must also point out that the Iron Dome system has proven itself very well
and we will, of course, see to its expansion in the months and years ahead. We will do everything in our power to expand the deployment of this system. In the end, the strongest force at our disposal is the fortitude of the residents, of the council heads, of Israelis and of the Government. We are taking the necessary defensive and aggressive measures and I have no doubt that with this combination, along with the necessary fortitude, we will overcome these terrorist threats around us."
Photos: Reuters - March 11, 2012
- Israelis run for cover as a siren warning of incoming rockets is sounded in Ashdod
- Israelis take cover inside a sewage pipe used as shelter
- Wall of a school in Beersheba damaged by a rocket
- Israeli police explosives expert surveys a chicken coop destroyed by a rocket
- Palestinians in the Gaza Strip fired about 50 more rockets at the Negev on Sunday, March 11.
Two Grad-type rockets fell in Be'ersheba when the Iron Dome battery in the city malfunctioned. One rocket hit a school, which was empty as schools had been closed, and the other hit a parked car. Fifteen people were treated for shock. The rockets and the ball bearings they ejected caused heavy damage to buildings and vehicles.
Another rocket hit a chicken coop in the Ashkelon Coast Regional Council, causing heavy damage.
- In light of the ongoing rocket attacks, some 200,000 pupils remain at home again on Monday, as schools remain closed in Be'ersheba, Ofakim, Ashdod, Yavneh, Ashkelon, Kiryat Malakhi and Netivot, and in all the other smaller communities between seven and 40 kilometers from the Gaza Strip.
- More than 130 rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip at major population centers in southern Israel on Friday and Saturday (March 9-10). Areas targeted include Ashdod, Be'ersheba, Yavne, Netivot and Ashkelon, as well as the Eshkol and Shaar Hanegev regional councils.
- On Friday, March 9, four people were wounded, one severely. On March 10, a mare was killed and a home near Ashdod was damaged by a direct rocket hit.
- The Iron Dome system has intercepted about 90% of the rockets fired at Be'ersheba, Ashdod and Ashkelon.
- The terrorist squads are launching their rockets from densely populated areas in the Gaza Strip, including Bet Lahiya, Jabaliya, Rafah, Gaza, and El-Bureij.
- Despite the rocket barrage, the Erez Crossing into Gaza is open for passengers and employees of international organizations. Kerem Shalom is open for the delivery of 200 truckloads of goods from Israel into Gaza.
On Friday, March 9, In a combined IDF-ISA operation, IAF aircraft targeted two members of the Popular Resistance Committee
terror organization in the Gaza Strip - a senior operative, Zuhir Mussah Ahmed Kaisi, and a collaborator, Mahmud Ahmed Mahmud Hananni. The squad was responsible for planning a combined terror attack that was to take place via the Sinai Peninsula and the Israel-Egypt border in the coming days. A direct hit was confirmed. In light of situation assessments and security considerations, and following the targeting of the terror squad involved in the planning of a combined terror attack on the Israel-Egypt border, route 12 has been closed for traffic.
Zuhir Kaisi, born in 1963, from Gaza City, was the head of the Popular Resistance Committee terror organization and was also its political commander. Kaisi was among the leaders who planned, funded, and directed the combined terror attack that took place on Route 12 in August 2011
, in which eight people were killed and 40 wounded. Kaisi was also involved in rocket fire at Israel, as well as in the attack on the Nahal Oz fuel terminal in April 2008, in which two Israeli citizens were killed. In addition, Kaisi was in charge of transferring funds from Hizbullah to terror organizations in the Gaza Strip.
Following the strike, terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip launched a rocket and mortar barrage directly targeting Israeli civilians. The barrage is currently ongoing.
On Friday night, IAF aircraft targeted two weapon manufactoring facilities and two rocker launching sites in the nothern Gaza Strip, a weapon manufactoring sites in the central Gaza Strip and a terror activity sites in the southern Gaza Strip. The targeting was in direct response to the rockets fired at Israeli southern communities. In addition IAF aircraft targeted a terrorist in the central Gaza Strip and six addtional terrorist squads who were in the final stages of preparing to fire rockets at Israel from separate locations in the nothern and central Gaza Stirp.
On March 10, in response of the ongoing rocket fire at Israel, IAF aircraft targeted two terror activity sites in the northern and southern Gaza Strip, and a weapon storage facility in the northern Gaza Strip.
On Sunday morning (March 11), IAF aircraft targeted a terrorist at a rocket launching site in the northern Gaza Strip from which two rockets were fired at the city of Ashdod a short time beforehand, and later targeted a terrorist, moments before he was to fire a Grad rocket at the city of Ashdod. Overnight, IAF aircraft targeted a weapons storage facility and four rocket launching sites in the northern Gaza Strip, as well as a rocket launching site in the southern Gaza Strip.