If the attacks continue, Israel will invade Gaza and conduct large-scale military operations to eliminate the threat:
Israeli leaders warned Friday of an approaching conflagration in the Gaza Strip as Israel activated a rocket warning system to protect Ashkelon, a city of 120,000 people, from Palestinian rockets.Ashkelon was hit by several Grad rockets fired from Gaza on Thursday, a sign of the widening scope of violence between Israel and Hamas militants in Gaza. One hit an apartment building and another landed near a school, wounding a 17-year-old girl.
Located 11 miles from Gaza, Ashkelon had been sporadically targeted in the past but never suffered direct hits or significant damage.
“It will be sad, and difficult, but we have no other choice,” Matan Vilnai, Israel’s deputy defense mister, said Friday, referring to the large-scale military operation he said Israel was preparing to bring a halt to the rocket fire.
“We’re getting close to using our full strength. Until now, we’ve used a small percentage of the army’s power because of the nature of the territory,” Vilnai told Army Radio on Friday.
Israel had tried using softer methods to stop the attacks, including a lockdown on the border between Gaza and Israel. That resulted in a breakout at Rafah, which took the Egyptian government several days to resecure. Other nations had pressured Israel to end the embargo or at least loosen it for food, energy, and medical supplies, but the rocket attacks continue.