Netanyahu says Palestinian militants to pay ‘very heavy’ price for rocket attacks

Gaza/Jerusalem: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that Palestinian militants would pay a “very heavy” price after three Israelis died from rocket attacks on Tel Aviv, in the latest round of violence to roil the region.

Israel carried out multiple air strikes in the Palestinian territory of Gaza raising the death toll of Palestinians to 32.

The rockets fired from Gaza reached the outskirts of Jerusalem on Monday during a holiday in Israel commemorating its capture of East Jerusalem in a 1967 war.

“We are at the height of a weighty campaign,” Netanyahu said in televised remarks alongside his defence minister and military chief.

“Hamas and Islamic Jihad paid … and will pay a very heavy price for their belligerence … their blood is forfeit.”

A 13-storey residential building in Gaza collapsed after it was hit by an Israeli air strike, one of hundreds that Israel said it had carried out against Hamas targets.

They were the most intensive aerial exchanges between Israel and Hamas since a 2014 war in Gaza, and prompted international concern that the situation could spiral out of control.

An energy pipeline between the Israeli cities of Eilat and Ashkelon was hit by a rocket, Israel’s Channel 12 TV said. Video broadcast by Channel 12 showed flames rising from what appeared to be a large fuel container.

Read the article by Nidal al-Mughrabi and Jeffrey Heller in The Sydney Morning Herald.