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May 11, 2023 8:00 am

Gallant to US Counterpart Austin: Israel Ready for ‘Prolonged’ Gaza Op

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Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant attends a news conference with U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin at Ben Gurion Airport in Lod, Israel, March 9, 2023. Photo: REUTERS/Amir Cohen/File Photo – Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on Wednesday night updated his US counterpart Lloyd Austin on the latest developments with Operation Shield and Arrow against Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip.

Gallant briefed Austin on the elimination of several senior PIJ leaders and detailed the imminent threats they had posed. He further noted “the IDF’s readiness for every operational scenario, including a prolonged, multi-front campaign.”

Gallant emphasized that PIJ had launched more than 500 rockets indiscriminately at Israeli civilian centers since the conflict erupted on Tuesday morning. In response, the Israel Air Force has struck well over 100 PIJ terror assets in Gaza. At around 4 a.m. on Thursday morning, the IDF announced that it had eliminated Ali Ghali, the commander of PIJ’s rocket launching force, as well as two other terror operatives in Gaza.

Gallant concluded the call by thanking Austin for his “ongoing support for Israel’s right to defend itself and for the unparalleled partnership between the countries’ defense establishments.”

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Earlier on Wednesday, the defense minister requested Cabinet approval to extend the emergency declaration in force for communities situated within 40 kilometers (25 miles) of the Gaza Strip to all those located within 80 kilometers of it.

The extension would enable the IDF to determine safety guidelines for the civilian population, prevent large gatherings and close relevant sites in parts of central Israel, including Tel Aviv.

Gallant on Tuesday night had already warned of a protracted conflict with PIJ.

“The State of Israel seeks stability in the region, while the Iranian-funded terror group launches attacks. At the same time, it harms its own people—the Palestinian residents of Gaza,” he said.

“The State of Israel will not tolerate rocket fire, terrorism or any threats to the sovereignty of our state and security of our citizens. We must be prepared for every scenario—the IDF and security forces are prepared to defend every front,” Gallant added.


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