Hamas paid a heavy price during Israel's eight day operation this month to stem rocket fire, and Israeli deterrence is stronger today than it was before the confrontation, OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Tal Russo said Tuesday.

Speaking from Be'ersheva six days after Operation Pillar of Defense came to an end, Russo warned, "We will know how to keep our side of the arrangement. If they violate it, we have responses." Russo said he was surprised by the "total quiet" which came into effect within an hour of the truce and which lasted six days afterwards, saying this was the first time such a development occurred after an escalation..

"There's a good reason for Hamas to stop its rocket attacks," Russo said.

"We can measure results only after a reasonable period of time passes. Hamas have been badly damaged. Deterrence is in place, despite the victory cries we heard in Gaza. Israel and Hamas both know Hamas has been hit hard," the military commander added.

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