The Israeli Air Force (IAF) has struck multiple terrorist sites throughout Gaza, in response to the fatal shooting of a civilian IDF worker by terrorist snipers from the Islamist-controlled territory.
The Israeli army said aircraft, tanks and infantry "targeted terror sites in the Gaza Strip" in retaliation for the shooting, noting that it marked the "first Israeli civilian killed in the vicinity of the Gaza Strip" since the Israel Defense Forces' (IDF) eight-day "Pillar of Defense" counterterrorism operation in November 2012, which largely stemmed the tide of deadly rockets fired by terrorists on nearby Israeli civilian centers.
"The sites targeted were a weapon-manufacturing facility and a terror infrastructure in the southern Gaza Strip, a terror site and another terror infrastructure in the central Gaza Strip and a concealed rocket launcher in the northern Gaza Strip," a statement said.
Hamas had ordered its fighters to evacuate positions in anticipation of further strikes.
At least one person has been confirmed killed and several more injured in the airstrikes. Local sources say a three year-old girl, Hala Abu Sabikha, was killed in central Gaza, and that three other family members were injured. Local sources claim a second person has also been killed in the IAF strikes, although those reports have not been confirmed.
The Hamas interior ministry said Abu Sabikha and her family were injured in an air strike on a refugee camp in central Gaza. It also said a person was moderately wounded in a tank shelling near the Karni crossing in northern Gaza and that there were two other air strikes on terrorist positions in northern Gaza, where no casualties were reported.
Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon stressed on Tuesday that "in Gaza, Hamas is ruler, and we hold it responsible for the shooting today from the (Gaza) Strip and the rocket launches in the past two days at Israel."
"I advise Hamas to not test our patience," he said in a statement, warning that "If there won't be quiet in Israel, there won't be quiet in Gaza either."
A statement from Hamas, which does not recognize Israel and is committed to the destruction of the Jewish state, said that "the occupier and its raids will not deter or stop the resistance."
Wave of terror
Prime Minister Netanyahu had promised to respond to the sniper attack earlier today which killed 22 year-old Salah Shukri Abu Latif, a resident of the Israeli Arab town of Rahat. Netanyahu vowed that the government "will not sit idly by. Our policy has always been foiling attacks and responding forcefully to them. We'll do so in this case as well."
The IDF has told Israeli farmers were told not to go out to agricultural areas near the area where the shooting took place, between Kibbutz Nahal Oz and Kfar Aza, as a precationary measure.
The latest Arab terrorist attack is the most recent in five consecutive days of violence.
Yesterday (Monday) afternoon a police officer was stabbed and seriously wounded by an Arab terrorist just north of Jerusalem. The officer's condition has stabilized following surgery, in what doctors described as a "miracle" given that the 15 centimeter (6 inch) knife struck very close to the officer’s heart and other vital organs.
Additionally a firebomb was thrown at a Nazareth resident's car Monday evening. No injuries or damage was reported in that incident.
On Sunday afternoon a bomb exploded on a Bat Yam bus. Only one person was wounded in that attack on Sunday afternoon - a far more tragic outcome was avoided only by an alert passenger and the quick reactions of the bus driver who evacuated the bus as soon as the suspicious package was spotted.
Meanwhile on Saturday the IDF shot and wounded a terrorist in Gaza who was trying to conceal an explosive along the security fence.
That incident came just a day after clashes on the Gazan border Friday, in which terrorists threw rocks at soldiers near Beit Hanun and fired a mortar shell which, according to reports, hit the Shaar HaNegev regional council.
In response to the Bat Yam bombing, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni (Hatnua), who is responsible for the ongoing peace talks, said the terrorism should be ignored and talks should continue.
Statistics released Monday show that terror attacks have spiked in November as peace talks resumed.