- Netanyahu: War in Gaza Could Break Out ‘Before the Elections’
PM, who was ridiculed for being rushed off-stage during rocket attack from enclave, takes tough stance on Hamas ahead of national vote
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Friday morning, upon returning from a brief visit to Russia, that war with terror groups in the Gaza Strip could break out “at any moment.”
Rockets have been fired at Israeli cities and communities multiple times over the past week — with most intercepted by the Iron Dome defense system or landing in open areas — drawing retaliatory Israeli airstrikes. On Tuesday night, two rockets were launched at Ashdod during a campaign rally in the city by the premier, who was whisked off the stage by his bodyguards to take shelter.
In his comments, which came hours after he met with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Netanyahu asserted, “An operation in Gaza could happen at any moment, including four days before the elections. The date of the elections does not factor [into a decision to go to war].”
Israelis go to the polls on Tuesday, September 17. Netanyahu, who is facing stiff competition in his bid to reclaim the premiership, has been seeking to hammer home his credentials and past achievements in security and diplomacy, but ongoing attacks from Gaza have remained a nagging thorn in his side, repeatedly exploited by his political rivals.