Netanyahu vows to respond ‘forcefully’ to rocket attack, cuts short US trip

Source: Netanyahu vows to respond ‘forcefully’ to rocket attack, cuts short US trip | The Times of Israel

After expected Monday signing of US Golan declaration at White House, PM to return to Israel ‘to oversee our response’ to Gaza attack

Screen capture of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a Hebrew-language video released by his office from Washington on March 25, 2019, telling Israelis he would be heading back home following a Gaza rocket attack earlier in the day. (Courtesy PMO)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cut short his trip to the United States on Monday after a rocket fired from Gaza struck a residential building in central Israel early Monday morning, injuring at least seven people, including two infants, and leveling the structure.

“A few minutes ago I finished a briefing and consultation with the chief of staff [of the IDF], the head of the Shin Bet and the national security adviser,” Netanyahu said in a hastily released video from Washington. “This was a criminal attack on Israel and we will respond forcefully,” he vowed.

He said he would linger in Washington just long enough to meet US President Donald Trump on Monday morning local time, “and immediately afterward return to Israel to oversee our response first-hand.”

The prime minister is to meet Trump at the White House on Monday for the expected signing of an order recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

He will also conduct a “working meeting” with Trump, which will focus on “Iranian aggression, Iran’s attempts to establish military bases in Syria, and how to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons,” according to an earlier statement from the Prime Minister’s Office. “The two will also discuss strengthening security and intelligence cooperation.”

A home in the central Israeli town of Mishmeret, which was destroyed in a rocket attack from the Gaza Strip on March 25, 2019. (Fired and Rescue Services)

On Tuesday morning, Netanyahu was set to address some 18,000 people at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee annual policy conference in Washington, and in the evening was due to attend a dinner at the White House.

 

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