Israeli Prime Minister cuts short U.S. visit as Gaza tensions spike

Vastavam web: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cut short a visit to the United States on Monday and the military said it dispatched reinforcements to the Gaza border after a rocket attack near Tel Aviv wounded seven people. Netanyahu threatened a forceful response to the long-range strike amid accusations from opponents in a closely contested Israeli election, two weeks away, that he had been showing weakness in the face of security challenges from Gaza militants.

“This was a heinous attack on the State of Israel and we will respond strongly,” Netanyahu said in a video statement. “In light of the security events, I have decided to cut short my visit to the United States. In a few hours, I will meet President Trump and immediately after that I will return to Israel to direct our actions close-hand.” The Israeli military said Hamas, the armed group that rules Gaza, fired the rocket that destroyed a house in Mishmeret, a village north of Tel Aviv.

Israel’s Magen David Adom ambulance service said it treated seven people, including an infant, a 3-year-old boy, a 12-year-old girl and a 60-year-old woman who was suffering from blast injuries, burns and shrapnel wounds. “It just made me feel really unsafe all of a sudden, which is a feeling I’m not used to,” said Nitzan Shifrin, a 19-year-old Mishmeret resident.