ISRAEL: IDF Chief of Staff declares, “We need to re-occupy Gaza!”

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In light of last week’s hostilities and rocket barrage from Islamic Jihad in Gaza, IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz lays down the gauntlet. During a presentation on Wednesday in southern Israel, IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz was alarmingly candid. “If we want to make sure that nothing will come from there, we need to retake Gaza,” he asserted.

United with Israel  Asked why IDF forces had not already done so, he said: “The decision to ‘sleep on it’ is a strategic move.” His is the latest voice in a chorus of cries from the Israeli leadership that the time has come to act decisively.

IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz speaks at a conference to mark the anniversary of the establishment of the National Defense College of the IDF

IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz speaks at a conference to mark the anniversary of the establishment of the National Defense College of the IDF

“The only solution to this situation of a ceaseless cycle of terror is reoccupation of Gaza and a cleanout of the stables there,” Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman declared, when Islamic Jihad fired more than 90 rockets into southern Israel last week.

His words echoed that of Israel’s Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz, who stated: “Sooner or later we will have to take control of Gaza, in order to get rid of the Hamas regime.” (Egypt’s General Sisi says, “We have your back, Benny”)

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Last Wednesday Islamic Jihad fired more than 60 rockets within 24 hours into southern Israel from the Gaza Strip. In response Israel carried out 29 air strikes against terrorist bases located there. By Thursday afternoon Islamic Jihad leader Khaled al-Batsh announced a ceasefire.

“Following intensive Egyptian contacts and efforts, the agreement for calm has been restored in accordance with understandings reached in 2012 in Cairo,” Gantz said on Facebook. Immediately after wards, Islamic Jihad attacked Israel with more than a dozen rockets. The Israeli Air Force reacted by hitting seven terror sites.

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Although it was Islamic Jihad and not Hamas that initiated the current round of hostilities, Israel holds Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, responsible.

Islamic Jihad has strong ties with Iran and is the second- strongest faction in Gaza. Hamas, while hostile to the Jewish state, has largely tried to maintain the ceasefire over the last 16 months. Reportedly hoping to avoid a wider conflict, they did not join in the rocket attacks. However, they did not prevent Islamic Jihad from launching its weapons into southern Israel.

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IDF  The IDF successfully targeted a terrorist operative involved in recent attacks against Israel. The terrorist was planning further attacks on Israel in the coming days. Ahmad Sa’ad, a senior operative in the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist organization, was in the northern Gaza Strip when an IAF aircraft carried out the mission. The IDF operated in order to eliminate an imminent threat to the lives of Israeli civilians.

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Ahmad Sa’ad was a key Palestinian Islamic Jihad operative in the Gaza Strip specializing in rocket launching. Sa’ad is personally responsible for the launching of five rockets towards Ashkelon on January 16, 2014 which were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.

“Gaza terrorists must know that there is a personal price to pay when planning and executing terror attacks against Israel,” said Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, IDF Spokesman. “There is no immunity for those that partake in projectile terrorism. The IDF targeted an integral component of the Gaza terrorist mechanism in order to diminish terrorist capabilities and send a clear message of intolerance to the aggression from the Hamas territory.”

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