IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi already instructed defense officials to prepare a plan for an operation in Gaza several months ago after intelligence revealed that the Islamic Jihad terror group was planning an escalation, Walla News reported on Tuesday.
The plan for Operation Breaking Dawn was set into place then but was only implemented last week after the Islamic Jihad threat deepened following the arrest of a senior member of the organization in Jenin earlier in the week.
All roads near the Gaza border were closed after Israeli intelligence officials received precise intelligence information the night after the terrorist commander’s arrest that Islamic Jihad was planning to fire an antitank missile at an Israeli civilian bus carrying dozens of passengers.
Kochavi instructed defense officials to examine all possibilities of responding to Islamic Jihad in accordance with the new developments. Meanwhile, Islamic Jihad interpreted Israel’s closure of the south as weakness and prepared for a major attack. The more Israelis complained about the closure of the south, the more confident Islamic Jihad became about its plan to attack.
Israel also made efforts to dissuade the Islamic Jihad from its attack plans via Egpyt and Qatar, to no avail.
Finally, Defense Minister Benny Gantz pushed to carry out the already planned operation as it became clear that an extensive attack against Islamic Jihad was necessary to avoid an attack on Israeli civilians. Operation Breaking Dawn was launched on Friday afternoon.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)