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June 3, 2021 1:26 pm

Head of IDF Southern Command: ‘We’re Ready for Next Stage’ of Operation Against Hamas

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

Israeli soldiers check artillery shells in a field in Israel near the border with Gaza, in southern Israel, May 12, 2021. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

The head of IDF Southern Command told Israel’s Channel 13 on Thursday that the IDF is preparing for “the next stage” of Israel’s latest conflict with Hamas, which ended in a ceasefire on May 21.

Maj. Gen. Eliezer Toledano said, “The first stage of Operation Guardian of the Walls is over. We are ready for the next stage, because what we did isn’t enough.”

“The operation will end definitively when the security reality changes for real,” he asserted. “We have to fully exploit the operation we have already begun.”

Toledano also addressed the difference between Guardian of the Walls and 2014’s Operation Protective Edge, which lasted longer and involved the use of ground forces.

“In contrast to Hamas, which thought that we would continue from where we ended in Protective Edge, we came with a new kind of operation,” he said.

In particular, he noted, Israel relied on strong intelligence information, which allowed the IDF to use “tools that we brought quickly into the field, tools that we built over recent years that bring victory.”

Regarding Hamas itself, Toledano asserted, “They fire from built-up areas into the center of our cities. They are war criminals twice over.”

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