Israel vows to respond as Gaza rockets rain down
Defence Minister Ehud Barak yesterday warned that the Jewish state had no choice but to respond a day after a bombing in Jerusalem and as Gaza militants rained rockets down on southern Israel.
"We have to respond," Barak said at a joint news conference with visiting US Defence Secretary Robert Gates shortly after two Grad rockets slammed into the southern port city of Ashdod.
"Israel will not tolerate these terrorist attacks and we will not allow terror to rise once again," Barak said.
No one was wounded in the strikes which came a day after a bomb ripped through a crowded bus stop in Jerusalem, killing a British tourist and wounding 39 people, in the first such bombing in the Holy City since 2004.
Yesterday afternoon, at least 11 rockets and mortar rounds had landed in southern Israel, the army said, two of them ploughing into Ashdod, Israel's fifth largest city.
Israel's response has so far been muted, with the military launching a few air strikes and raids which have caused limited casualties.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday sought to persuade Russia to scale down cooperation with Israel's arch foes Iran and Syria as he met Russian leaders.
"If the Tehran regime manages to create nuclear weapons, it will never fall," Interfax quoted him as saying.
"If this happens, no one -- neither you (Russia) nor anyone else -- will be safe from threats, blackmail and attacks," Netanyahu added.
Russia is a key supplier of arms to the Arab world.