Hamas had full knowledge of a planned terrorist attack against Israel but refused to take action against it, forcing the IDF to launch an airstrike in the Gaza Strip, IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai said Thursday morning.

"Hamas had full knowledge of the attack and did not act to stop it," Mordechai told Israel Radio. Asked how Hamas knew, the IDF spokesman said that though Israel has no direct relations with Hamas, the two sides communicate through back channels, primarily via Egyptian mediators.

"The IDF will continue to protect Israel's southern citizens," he said, adding that the military "is not intending to escalate tensions in Gaza."

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