Smoke rises after an IAF airstrike in Gaza 311 (R).
(photo credit: Ronen Zvulun/Reuters)
The restrained action taken by the IDF following the long-range rocket attack from Gaza on Wednesday likely signaled Israel's desire to end the escalation at this stage, national security expert Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Giora Eiland told The Jerusalem Post.
"There are times when we know things that aren't published in the media. Sometimes, a response is given to punish or harm the other side, and create new parameters. In such cases, the reply has to be strong," Eiland, former National Security Advisor and head of Operations Branch at the IDF, said.
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But "in other times, you react to send the message that you've reacted, and you send the signal that the incident is over," he added. "The message says, 'I had to act, but this should not be interpreted as the start of something.'"
Defense sources refused to divulge whether they believed a terror cell or group acting on its own fired the rocket, or whether the order came directly from the Hamas leadership.
They did indicate, however, that Israel was aware of who fired the rocket.
Eiland's comments came after the Israel Air Force targeted three centers of terrorist activity in the
Gaza Strip and a weapons storage site in the South early Thursday
The attacks hit their precise targets and all planes returned safely to base.
activity came in retaliation to one Grad rocket that was fired from
the Gaza Strip
at Ashdod and Bnei Aish areas shortly before