Former Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz urged the Netanyahu government in a radio interview Sunday to give the IDF a green light to “do what it knows how to do” following a "rain of terror" by Palestinian Authority terrorists that sent dozens of rockets and mortars flying into southern Israel over the Sabbath.
The Islamic Jihad terrorist organization claimed responsibility for the lion's share of the attacks.
A 56-year-old Ashkelon man was killed and 16 other people were wounded in dozens of rocket and mortar attacks of varying ranges that rained down upon southern Israel over the weekend, with 14 more people hospitalized for severe anxiety attacks and trauma.
In retaliation, the Israel Air Force flew sorties over Gaza, carrying out air strikes on terrorist cells that left nine terrorists dead and seven others wounded.
Speaking in a live interview on Israel state radio, the Kadima MK, currently chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense committee, called the rocket barrage from Gaza over the weekend “pyrotechnics.”
Mofaz warned lawmakers the IDF must continue to strike those launching the attacks on southern Israel, particularly the Islamic Jihad group, which is allied with the Hamas terrorist rulers of Gaza.
“Israel must restore its deterrence capabilities that it has lost,” he said. “This is the only way to stop the rocket fire.”
If there is no massive response by Israel to the escalation in rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza, he said, the weekend barrage will repeat itself in a few months.
“We cannot allow terrorist groups in Gaza to take our citizens hostage in the south whenever they feel like doing so,” Mofaz said pointedly.
Last Thursday there was also a rocket attack, in which three Grad Katyusha missiles were fired at Ashdod.
The IDF response to the attack was an air strike on terrorist targets in which no terrorists were injured.
Striking targets in which terrorists are wounded and killed appears to inflame the passions of Palestinian Authority Arabs, according to Dr. Aaron Lerner, director of IMRA, the Independent Media Review and Analysis.
According to the terrorists, this “justifies” a massive response, Lerner said – but as long as Israel strikes empty buildings and other “empty” targets, each rocket attack in limited to one round.
By 11:00 a.m. Sunday, 14 rockets and mortar shells were fired at Israel from Gaza. Of those, at least five were mid-range Grad Katyusha missiles that exploded near Be'er Sheva, Ashdod and Gan Yavne.
Two were intercepted by the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system.