(JTA) — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he regretted the accidental killing of four members of a Palestinian family in their Gaza home by Israeli tank fire.
Netanyahu in a statement Tuesday from the Prime Minister’s Office emphasized that the shooting was in response to fire by Hamas at Israeli citizens.
"It is unfortunate that Hamas continues to rain down dozens of rockets on Israeli civilians intentionally using civilians as shields," he said. "Israel has no intention of bringing about a deterioration of the situation, but at the same the IDF will continue to act decisively to protect Israeli citizens."
Later Tuesday evening, three gunmen from the al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of Islamic Jihad, were killed in an Israeli airstrike, according to the Palestinian Ma’an news agency. The Israel Defense Forces said it struck terrorists on their way to launch rockets at Israel; the IDF identified them as the terrorists who launched a Grad-style rocket on Beersheba last month.
A Kassam rocket fired from Gaza struck Ashkelon shortly after.
Some 13 other Palestinians, including children, also were injured in Tuesday afternoon’s strike, which came after four Kassam rockets fired from Gaza hit southern Israel, according to reports. Israeli troops fired in the direction of Palestinians who had launched mortars at them, accidentally hitting the home, reports said.