Israeli planes have fired on several Hamas military targets in southern Gaza in a second night of airstrikes, responding to rocket fire as PM Benjamin Netanyahu seems prepared to ramp up hostilities with a close election looming.
The IDF reportedly attacked a Hamas military compound and a weapons manufacturing site in Khan Yunis in southern Gaza, responding to a lone rocket attack that landed "harmlessly." The Israeli bombardment was followed by another projectile, which also failed to hit its target, the IDF said.
Earlier on Tuesday, Netanyahu ordered an infantry brigade and artillery battalion to the southern border after meeting with IDF chief Lt. Gen. Aviv Kohavi.
On Monday night, the IDF pummeled over 15 targets in northern Gaza in response to a barrage of Hamas rockets, tanking any chance of an Egypt-mediated ceasefire negotiated earlier that day going into effect. The two sides exchanged fire through the night.
After ordering the airstrikes, Netanyahu cut short his AIPAC victory lap to fly back to Israel following US President Donald Trump's unilateral declaration to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights – a resolution condemned by every other country that has weighed in on the matter.
"I can tell you, we are prepared to do a lot more," Netanyahu told the pro-Israel lobbying conference by satellite link after returning home, boasting that the IDF had bombarded Gaza harder than at any point since 2014's Operation Protective Edge, the seven-week offensive against Hamas that saw more than 2,100 Gazans killed and over 7,000 homes destroyed. "We will do what is necessary to defend our people and to defend our state."
The Israeli PM faces a formidable political challenge to his 12-year reign in next month's elections in the form of IDF chief Benny Gantz and Netanyahu rival Yair Lapid's Blue and White coalition.