Four Israelis, including a seven-year-old child, were wounded on Tuesday when 25 rockets fired by Gaza-based Palestinian terrorists slammed into the southern Israel town of Sderot and surrounding communities. Many other Israelis were treated for shock.
An Iranian-supplied Katyusha missile was also fired at the port city of Ashkelon. The missile landed next to a community tennis court, causing damage but no injuries. A number of mortar shells were also fired at shorter-range targets.
Earlier in the day, a Palestinian Arab sniper operating along the Gaza security fence shot dead an Ecuadorian laborer going about his morning duties at a farming community in southern Israel.
Israeli forces responded to the initial attacks with a series of fierce strikes on terrorist positions embedded among civilian neighborhoods in Gaza City. At least 19 Palestinians were killed in the strikes, including the son of local Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar.
Zahar vowed to take revenge by escalating attacks against southern Israel.
Despite the fact that nearly all of the Palestinians killed in the Israeli strikes were armed terrorists, US-backed Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel of committing a massacre. Abbas has for years refused to take decisive action against the terrorists, and has regularly labeled Israel a perpetrator of war crimes for doing the job.
Israeli President Shimon Peres retorted that Israel sadly has no choice but to resort to firm military action in the face of incessant terrorist attacks.