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      Netanyahu: We Hit Back Immediately and With Force

      Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told Israelis "The people who gave the order... are no longer living."
      By Gavriel Queenann & Gil Ronen
      First Publish: 8/18/2011, 8:36 PM

      Prime Minister Netanyahu gave a very short statement before press cameras at 8:30 P.M. Thursday evening following the lethal three-stage terror attack that claimed 7 Israeli lives and saw 33 wounded.

      "We all witnessed an attempt to ratchet up the level of terror emanating from Sinai," he said. "If someone thinks that Israel will put up with this, he is wrong."
       
      "I have established a principle: when Israeli citizens are hurt, we hit back immediately, and with force. This principle was implemented today. The people who gave the order to murder our civilians, who were hiding in Gaza, are no longer among the living," Netanyahu said.
       
      Netanyahu's reference was appaerently to the death of Abu Awad Kamel a-Neirab, commander of the Salah a-Din Brigades, the "military" wing of the Popular Resistance Committees, who was killed in an Israeli airstrike around 5:00 PM on Thursday.
       
      An estimated 20 terrorists were killed in the firefight that raged during and after the attack - some direct participants; some lookouts. It appears the entire terrorist force that staged the attack was wiped out.
       
      Netanyahu praised the Shin Bet, Yamam special forces and IDF for their courage, which prevented a greater tragedy.
       
      Six of those killed in Thursday's attack were civilians while two of the wounded were small children, aged 4 and 7.
       
      Earlier in the day Netanyahu promised Eilat mayor Meir Yitzhak-Halevy that Israel's reponse would be swift.
       
      Hamas - the terror organization that rules Gaza - evacuated its security headquarters after Thursday mornings attacks in fear of a muscular Israeli response. 
       
      The United Nations also evacuated its foreign personnel from Gaza following the attacks.