A ball of fire is seen during an Israeli air strike in Gaza City May 4, 2019..
(photo credit: SUHAIB SALEM / REUTERS)
As the IDF and Palestinian terrorist organizations traded deadly blows on Sunday, the security cabinet met for nearly five hours and issued a laconic statement saying that it instructed the IDF to continue its attacks and prepare for a continuation.
Dispelling the notion that Jerusalem’s response to the barrage of rocket attacks from Gaza will be limited either by the upcoming Eurovision song contest that begins on May 14, or by the Remembrance Day and Independence Day events this Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, the statement also said that the “supreme consideration is the security of the state and its residents.”
This was the first security cabinet meeting in nearly two months. Absent from the meeting of this transitional security cabinet were outgoing Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who in the past was among the most critical of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Gaza policy, and outgoing Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked.
The security cabinet reportedly did not deal with messages from Hamas expressing interest in a renewed ceasefire.
Israel resumed its policy of targeted assassinations inside the Gaza Strip shortly after the security cabinet meeting began, with a security official saying that the forum directed the IDF to “intensify the attacks against the terrorist organizations in Gaza.”
The IDF spokesman announced the assassination of Hamas’s Iran liaison commander Hamed al-Khoudary, who owned Gaza City’s main money exchange. That business served as Iran’s unofficial headquarters in the coastal enclave, transferring funds to terrorist groups in the Strip. The shooting marked the first time in several years that the IDF has targeted terrorist leaders in the Gaza Strip.
Netanyahu, who kept his public comments on Sunday to a minimum, said in a brief statement before the weekly cabinet meeting that Israel will continue its “massive attacks” against terrorist elements in the Gaza Strip.
In addition, the prime minister said he gave the directive to reinforce the IDF troops around Gaza with additional tank, artillery and infantry units. No directive was given, however, to call up the reserves.
“Hamas bears responsibility not only for its attacks and actions, but also for the activities of the Islamic Jihad, and it is paying a very heavy price,” he said.
Netanyahu said that: “We are acting, and will continue to act, to restore quiet and security to the residents of the South,” and called on them to continue to abide by the directives of the Home Front Command, which he termed “life-saving” orders.
Netanyahu began the meeting by sending condolences to the family of Moshe Agadi, a 58-year-old father of four, who was killed Sunday morning by a rocket attack on Ashkelon and was the first Israeli casualty in this recent round of violence.
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