Arab terrorists operating out of the Gaza Strip fired 22 rockets at communities in southern Israel on Friday morning. Most of the rockets landed in the battered town of Sderot and the coastal city of Ashkelon. The attacks caused damage but no physical injuries, though a large number of Israelis were treated for shock.
A day earlier, Gaza-based terrorists fired 20 rockets and 10 mortar shells into southern Israel, again causing widespread damage and sending numerous people into shock.
Israel responded to Thursday's barrage with air strikes against Hamas positions that left at least seven terrorists dead.
Hamas-affiliated terrorists told Ynet that the intense rocket fire was only the beginning, and warned Israelis to flee southern Israel.
Meanwhile Hamas' so-called "political" leadership turned down an offer by US-backed Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to broker a ceasefire with Israel. Abbas has, like his predecessor Yasser Arafat, refused to forcibly disarm and dismantle groups like Hamas in accordance with peace agreements signed with Israel.
With no end in site to the attacks, Israel on Thursday morning began reducing its electricity supply to Gaza in hopes that such sanctions will convince the Gaza populace to stop supporting Hamas and to turn against the group.
Israeli leaders responded to international criticism that they were collectively punishing the residents of Gaza by insisting that detractors had no right to criticize Israel until they visit towns like Sderot and experience the terrorist siege under which Israeli men, women and children live.
Israeli opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu, meanwhile, launched a scathing attack against the government's handling of the Gaza situation during an address to high school students in Sderot on Thursday.
Netanyahu criticized the use of what he called ineffective tactics, like limited embargoes on electricity and industrial fuel, and said Israel should not hesitate to use its powerful army to crush the threat to its citizens.