JERUSALEM – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday criticized what he described as the world's "silence" over recent rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip, drawing a quick response from his country's closest ally, the U.S.
Netanyahu, speaking at his weekly Cabinet meeting, said he hadn't heard anyone condemn three rocket attacks from Gaza over the past two weeks. The rockets caused no damage, nor any injuries.
"It will be interesting to see if this silence continues when we use all our strength in exercising our right to defend ourselves," Netanyahu said. "It should be clear: the hypocrisy that is sweeping the world will not chain our hands from defending the citizens of Israel."
In Germany, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said U.S. officials had spent "a lot of time talking about this" during Israel's recent war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
"This is not the first time that I've stood at a podium like this and strongly condemned rocket attacks by extremists in Gaza against innocent Israeli citizens," Earnest said. "Clearly, the United States stands with the nation of Israel as they defend their nation and their people from these attacks."
Netanyahu's comments come amid strained relations with U.S. President Barack Obama.
Early Sunday, the Israeli military carried out an airstrike in the Gaza Strip in response to the latest rocket attack from the Hamas-ruled territory. There was no immediate damage or injuries caused by the strike.
A local jihadi organization that supports the Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the recent rocket attacks. The group, in struggle with Hamas, has said its recent attacks are in retaliation for a Hamas crackdown.
Israel considers Hamas responsible for any attacks that originate from Gaza, and announced Sunday that its crossings into Gaza will be shut down in response to the latest incident.