Israeli soldiers stand atop armored personnel carriers
Israeli soldiers stand atop armored personnel carriers in a staging area near the border with Gaza, in southern Israel, Nov. 13, 2019.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday that while Israel does not want escalation in the latest clashes with Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip, it will "respond to every attack."

Speaking at the start of a Cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said Islamic Jihad has the choice to either "stop these attacks or take more and more blows."

Israeli forces carried out airstrikes Wednesday in Gaza, while militants there fired fresh barrages of rockets into Israel.

A policeman stands in front of a house hit by a rocket fired from Gaza Strip in Netivot, Israel, after it was hit by a rocket fired from Gaza Strip, Nov. 12, 2019.

Palestinian health officials said at least 18 Palestinians have been killed since the fighting began Tuesday.  There have been no reports of Israeli deaths.

The Israeli Defense Forces said militants had fired more than 200 rockets.

The rocket fire began in response to an Israeli airstrike that killed an Islamic Jihad commander in Gaza.

Netanyahu said the commander, Bahaa Abu el-Atta, was responsible for many of the recent rocket attacks from Gaza into Israel, and that he had been planning further attacks.

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