A rocket fired from Gaza was intercepted on Wednesday (December 25, 2019) evening in the southern Israeli port city of Ashkelon where Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was addressing an election campaign event. In retaliation, the Israeli military on Thursday morning hit targets in Gaza. A similar incident unfolded in September when Netanyahu was addressing an election rally at Ashdod, after which the Israeli military retaliated by hitting targets in Palestine.
Iron Dome intercepted rocket
In a video shared online, within two minutes of being introduced, Netanyahu can be seen being escorted away by security officials. He was accompanied by his wife Sara at the election campaign event.
According to Israel Defense Forces (IDF), the Iron Dome aerial defence system intercepted the rocket.
Netanyahu returned on stage 12 minutes later amid chants of "Bibi!"
"He who fired [rockets] last time isn't with us anymore," Netanyahu said, referring to a similar attack in September. "And he who fired now, better start packing his belongings," he added, hinting at a possible retaliation.
Hamas targets struck
"In response to the rocket fired from Gaza at Israeli civilians earlier tonight, the Israeli Air Force just struck a number of Hamas terror targets in Gaza," the IDF tweeted.
The Israeli army said in a statement that "combat jets and helicopters struck several terror targets belonging to the Hamas terror organization in the Gaza Strip, including military compounds", Haaretz reported.
Islamic Jihad commander killed
In the September incident too Netanyahu was escorted away by security officials when rockets were fired from Gaza towards Israel. Then also, he came back on stage and completed his speech.
After that attack, the Israeli military retaliated in which Palestinian Islamic Jihad commander Baha Abu al-Ata, who Israel blamed for the attack, was killed. Netanyahu was referring to his killing in his speech on Wednesday.