A major Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip is considered imminent after an early Monday morning long-range rocket launch from the strip struck a house in central Israel.
The attack destroyed a residential home in Mishmeret, an agricultural town north of Tel Aviv, which reportedly left at least seven Israelis injured, including children, after the family was able to escape the flaming building.
Israeli TV images showed a badly damaged residential house which police said had also burst into flames as a result of the direct hit. Though Israeli's foreign ministry was quick to identify the launch as originating in Gaza, the Palestinian side had not confirmed the attack.
Crucially, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu quickly announced early Monday that he was immediately returning to Tel Aviv, cutting short his visit to the United States so he can "respond forcefully" to the rocket, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The WSJ also predicted that the rocket attack is likely to prompt "strong Israeli military retaliation" especially as it comes just two weeks ahead of Netanyahu's most high pressure reelection campaign of his career, and as the prime minister faces down indictments related to multiple corruption charges and a rising opposition.
In a video message early Monday, Netanyahu said, "There has been a criminal attack on the State of Israel and we will respond forcefully." He added, "In a few hours I will meet with President Trump. I will return to Israel immediately afterward."