IAF Official After Gaza Escalation: We Will Act Again, if Hamas Commits Further Violence
The Israeli Air Force is satisfied with the results of the dozens of strikes it carried out against Hamas infrastructure targets in the Gaza Strip on Saturday, the Hebrew news site Mako reported, citing an senior IAF official.
After a ceasefire went into effect following this weekend’s round of escalation that was set off by a Friday grenade attack that wounded an IDF officer on the Israel-Gaza border, the official said on Sunday the IAF was prepared to act again if Hamas committed further violence.
“If they decide there won’t be quiet, then we’ll do what is necessary to bring quiet,” the official said. “What we saw this weekend was not [our] full force.”
The official noted that the IAF was instructed to hit Hamas infrastructure sites, and not terror operatives.
Saturday saw the most extensive set of strikes conducted in Gaza by the IAF since the summer of 2014, in response to Hamas rocket and mortar fire.
The Israeli military said on Twitter that a “wide range of targets” were hit, including “a high-rise building in the Al-Shati refugee camp” and “a Hamas Battalion HQ in Beit Lahia.”
Yesterday, the IDF struck a wide range of targets in Gaza, including a high-rise building in the Al-Shati refugee camp and a large strike on a Hamas Battalion HQ in Beit Lahia pic.twitter.com/TjmZJkslgb
— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) July 15, 2018
On Sunday, IAF planes twice fired toward a group of Gaza terrorists who were launching kite bombs and incendiary balloons toward Israel.
Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at Sunday’s cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, “Over the Sabbath we hit Hamas in a significant way and hard. Our policy is clear: Whoever hurts us, we will hit them with great strength. This is what we did yesterday.”
“The IDF dealt Hamas the harshest blow since Operation Protective Edge,” Netanyahu continued. “I hope that they got the message; if not, they will get it later.”
“I heard it being said that Israel has agreed to a ceasefire that would allow the continuation of terrorism by incendiary kites and balloons; this is incorrect,” the prime minister emphasized. “We are not prepared to accept any attacks against us and we will respond appropriately.”
A Walla poll published on Sunday found that a plurality of Israelis — 44% — felt that Hamas gained the upper hand in the weekend’s sequence of events, compared to 27% who believed Israel had emerged victorious.