The IDF carried out airstrikes on Hamas terror targets in the Gaza Strip early Thursday morning for the eleventh consecutive night in response to the continuous launching of incendiary balloons into southern Israel by Gazan terror groups.
Fires continued to rage in southern Israel on Thursday, including a fire on the train tracks in Kibbutz Erez and the seventh fire in the Kissufim forest in recent days. At least 28 fires broke out in Gaza border communities on Wednesday as a result of arson balloons launched by Hamas, causing heavy damage to agricultural fields. Over 200 fires have raged in southern Israel over the past two weeks.
— כאן חדשות (@kann_news) August 20, 2020
Defense Minister Benny Gantz held a meeting with the council heads of Gaza border communities on Wednesday. “Your conduct deserves much appreciation,” Gantz said. “We’re working on strengthening the communities of the south and the residents.”
“We’ve changed the equation in Gaza. From the time I entered office, there are no security violations that are not met with a response. We know not only how to strike compounds and terror targets but those operating in them as well.”
שינינו את המשוואה מול עזה, כבר שלושה חודשים שאין פגיעה ביטחונית שנותרת ללא מענה, ואני מתכוון להמשיך: אנחנו יודעים לפגוע לא רק במבנים ומטרות אלא גם במי שפועל מתוכם. pic.twitter.com/JpkFBkdCOe
— בני גנץ – Benny Gantz (@gantzbe) August 19, 2020
“The state of Israel has no interest in the Gaza Strip apart from the return of our sons [Hamas captives, both dead and alive] and complete quiet,” Gantz asserted. “If these two goals are reached, we can develop Gaza.”
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu also spoke about the issue, saying that Israel will return to targeted killings of senior terror leaders if the terror continues.
“I spoke yesterday with local council heads from the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip, a very important conversation,” Netanyahu said to to the Knesset Lobby for the Negev. “I made it clear to them, and I reiterate to you: My commitment to security is absolute. We are now relating to every fire – fires are like rockets. We have been hitting and striking at Hamas on a daily basis, for the past eleven nights straight.”
“If necessary, we will do much more. They need to understand that what happened last time will happen to them now twofold, to them and to the Islamic Jihad.”
“They saw that we are ready to use all means, including targeted counter-measures, if things develop. I suggest that they not develop this. They certainly have an interest in allowing normal life on their side and we will not allow the absence of normal life on our side. Therefore, this commitment is genuine and I am certain that it will also bear fruit in the coming days.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)