Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned on Saturday that Israel will continue to hit Palestinians who attack its citizens, after air strikes on Gaza left 15 Palestinians dead.
"The Israeli army will hit anyone planning to attack Israeli citizens," Barak said in a statement released by the defense ministry.
Public radio also quoted Barak as saying that the "current round of confrontations is not over" and that he expected the violence between the Israeli army and Palestinian militants to last one or two more days.
Israeli air strikes on Gaza since Friday killed 15 Palestinians, including a militant group chief, medics said on Saturday, in the deadliest 24 hours in the border area in more than three years.
The raids came as Palestinian militants fired more than 90 rockets and mortar rounds into southern Israel since Friday morning, the army said, adding that the air force had attacked a range of targets in Gaza.
One of the strikes killed the head of the Popular Resistance Committees, Zohair al-Qaisi, and fellow member Mahmoud Hanani, the ultra-hardline militant group said threatening to retaliate.
Barak said Israel will continue "to improve the capabilities of the Iron Dome system so that it can intercept at higher altitude the Grad-type rockets which were fired on Israel on Friday," according to the statement.
According to Barak Iron Dome interceptors deployed around the Gaza Strip went into action 30 times and destroyed 27 rockets.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said meanwhile in a statement that new Iron Dome interceptors would be deployed to defend southern Israel.
The first battery of the unique multi-million-dollar Iron Dome system was deployed in March last year outside the southern desert city of Beersheva, after it was hit by Grad rockets fired by Palestinian militants in Gaza.
Last April, the system was also deployed around the southern port city of Ashkelon.
Designed to intercept rockets and artillery shells fired from a range of between four and 70 kilometers, Iron Dome is part of an ambitious multi-layered defense program to protect Israeli towns and cities.
|Copyright © 2012 Naharnet.com. All Rights Reserved.||http://www.naharnet.com/stories/en/32928|