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Netanyahu rushed off Ashdod stage after Gaza rockets fired at city

Campaign events for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and several other politicians were cut short by rocket sirens in Ashdod and Ashkelon on Tuesday night.

The siren went off just as Netanyahu began his speech in Ashdod. A live video stream from the event showed him saying “OK, clear out,” as his bodyguards urged him to move, just before the video cut off. Some 20 minutes later, the prime minister resumed his speech.

“If Hamas is shooting at us in a live broadcast, you can understand they don’t want us here,” Netanyahu told Likud supporters. “So prepare for another one. We’ll evacuate, and then we’ll return.”

Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman was evacuated from a party event at a restaurant in Ashdod. Liberman did not go to a shelter or a safe room, but rather finished his remarks and then went to his car.

Liberman said the incident “proves that Netanyahu’s policies, which mean surrendering to terrorism, are bankrupt. We must change direction.”

Blue and White MK Gabi Ashkenazi was speaking in Ashkelon when the sirens went off.

“We’re continuing our conference in Ashkelon as usual,” Ashkenazi said. “We are not afraid of Hamas or Hezbollah. That is the answer.”

Rocket sirens went off in Ashdod and Ashkelon at about 9 p.m., as two rockets were shot from Gaza. The Iron Dome intercepted one, and another fell in an open field near Ashkelon.

Shelters have been opened in Ashkelon.

Later on Tuesday night, Netanyahu met with military and security leaders at the Kirya compound in Tel Aviv, where the Ministry of Defense is headquartered.

Anna Ahronheim contributed to this report.

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