March 16, 2012
JERUSALEM — Israeli aircraft and Gaza rocket squads traded strikes across the border on Thursday as the Israeli prime minister blamed Iranfor the violence from the Palestinian territory.
Benjamin Netanyahu, going a step further in his warnings to Iran, hinted that Israel didn’t need Washington’s blessing to go ahead and attackIran’s suspect nuclear program.
Thursday’s cross-border violence tested a shaky truce Israel and Gaza militants reached this week to halt a four-day flare-up in fighting. Since then, sporadic rocket fire and Israeli airstrikes have persisted.
Israeli aircraft struck two militant sites in Gaza before dawn Thursday in response to rocket fire a day earlier. Gaza gunmen retaliated by launching two rockets at Israel by midday, police said.
No injuries were reported on either side.
In a speech to parliament on Wednesday, Mr. Netanyahu accused Iranof arming, financing and training Gaza militants, and giving them their marching orders. “Gaza is Iran,” he declared.
Israel considers Iran to be its most fearsome enemy, in large part because it is convinced Tehran is developing atomic weapons technology, despite its claims its nuclear program is peaceful.
In the U.S. last week, where he met with President Obama, Mr. Netanyahu was markedly more vocal about Israel’s willingness to attackIran’s program, alone if necessary, though he said no decision had been made on whether to strike.