TEL AVIV — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday said “Israel is prepared to take whatever action is necessary to defend our people,” while speaking at IDF headquarters here.

Netanyahu spoke in English, directing his remarks at an international audience, approximately 24 hours after the start of Operation Pillar of Defense, a military campaign meant to thwart the relentless barrages of rockets fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel.

The IDF spokesperson reported that 245 rockets fired by Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip struck Israel in the 24 hours since the Israeli Air Force assassinated Hamas Chief of Staff Ahmed Jabari on Wednesday. Three Israelis were killed by rocket fire in Kiryat Malachi on Thursday morning.

“No country in the world would tolerate this reality,” Netanyahu said.

He added, “Hamas and other terror organizations are guilty of committing two crimes: hiding behind civilians [in Gaza] while firing on civilians in Israel.

“Hamas deliberately targets our children and then places their rockets next to their children.”

Netanyahu stated that the IDF continues to do everything to protect Israel’s citizens.

The IDF campaign has thus far claimed the lives of at least 13 Palestinians, according to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights.