Netanyahu Rushed Off Stage During Campaign Event as Rocket Intercepted in Southern Israel

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was rushed off the stage at an election campaign event in the southern Israeli port city of Ashkelon after rocket sirens blared throughout several communities on Wednesday evening. 


נתניהו מורד מהבמה לצלילי הג'ינגל של הליכוד בעקבות צבע אדום.

— המצליף 🔥🚀 (@ShaiCohen13) December 25, 2019

One rocket fired from Gaza was intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system, the Israeli army confirmed.

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Netanyahu and his wife Sara, who was also in attendance, were escorted to a shelter nearby; the prime minister later returned to the stage and continued his address.

During his speech at the Ashkelon event, the premier – who is facing a tense race for the Likud party leadership beginning Thursday – referred to the Israeli military's assassination of senior Islamic Jihad commander Baha Abu al-Ata in the Strip last month. Al-Ata's killing triggered a short-lived but tense round of fire between Israel and the Gaza group.

"He who fired [rockets] last time isn't with us anymore," Netanyahu said. "And he who fired now, better start packing his belongings," the prime minister continued, seemingly implying that whoever is behind the rocket fire this time will be targeted and retaliated against in a similar way. 

"This isn't an attack on me or on Ashkelon, it's not that. These are recurring attacks on our communities, and they think that we won't hurt them or that we'll break down," he added.