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August 4, 2022 11:05 am
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‘Prepared for Any Scenario’: Israeli Military Raises Alert Level for Terror Attack

avatar by Sharon Wrobel

An Israeli soldier walks at a junction after Israel imposed a closure on some areas around the Gaza strip in anticipation of a possible flare-up in fighting with Islamic Jihad militants, near the Israel-Gaza border on its Israeli side August 4, 2022. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

Prime Minister Yair Lapid said Thursday that Israel is “prepared for any scenario” as road closures in the Gaza border area remained intact for a third day in response to potential military escalation with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

In a phone call with local leaders in Israel’s south, Lapid said that he was aware of the “harm to daily routine” but emphasized that he was working to end the current situation as soon as possible, according to a readout from Israel’s Government Press Office.

Israeli authorities first closed crossings and roads around the Gaza Strip border area on Tuesday amid the threat of retaliatory attacks by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, following the arrest of one of its West Bank-based leaders.

Later on Thursday, Lapid held a security assessment with defense officials, and pledged not allow terror groups to “disrupt citizens’ lives” for the long term.

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“We will not be deterred from using force in order to restore normal life in the south, and we will not halt our policy of arresting terrorists in Judea and Samaria,” Lapid continued.

Meanwhile, Defense Minister Benny Gantz ordered the defense establishment to employ civilian and military measures to counter threats on Israel’s southern region, and also to prepare to restore routine life along the Gaza border. The steps were announced during an assessment meeting between Gantz, IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi, the head of the Israel Security Agency, and additional Israeli senior officials.

Gantz also ordered the Head of the National Emergency Authority in the defense ministry to work together with the IDF’s Homefront Command in order to “respond to and fulfill the needs of Israeli citizens living along the Gaza border,” whose lives have been disrupted by the road closures.

Earlier, Kochavi toured the IDF’s Gaza division together with Brigadier General Nimrod Aloni to review the intelligence and operational situation. Kochavi instructed the IDF’s additional combat forces and artillery that arrived in the area to raise their alert level in case of possible escalations, and to strengthen defense and intelligence efforts. He also approved plans for offensive efforts should they become necessary in the scenario of a Palestinian Islamic Jihad attack.

“We detect the Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s intentions to carry out terrorist attacks against the civilians of the Gaza Strip and soldiers of the IDF and so we set up roadblocks throughout the area,” said Aloni, Commanding Officer of the IDF’s Gaza division. “This will be continued as long as necessary – the safety of residents comes first.”

This story has been updated

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