(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Terrorist organizations with ties to Islamic State are gaining footholds in Gaza, IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot warned the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Tuesday.
In a closed-door meeting, Eisenkot gave a general overview of the IDF’s activities to MKs and discussed his multiyear plans for the IDF.
Eisenkot said terrorists connected to Islamic State are growing stronger in Sinai and act in cooperation with terrorist organizations in Gaza.
The situation in Gaza is very complex because of the many terrorist organizations involved, and the IDF is working to prevent them from growing stronger and to fight the threat of terrorist tunnels, he added.
The IDF is trying to improve the economic situation in Gaza by allowing trucks filled with supplies to enter, but closes the border when rockets are shot, Eisenkot explained.
As for the West Bank, Eisenkot said the security situation is good and there is strong cooperation with the Palestinian Authority. About 70,000 Palestinian workers cross into Israel legally each day, and tens of thousands of do so illegally.
The biggest threat to Israel is the Iran nuclear threat, Eisenkot stated, saying it will keep Military Intelligence and the air force busy in the coming years.
The chief of staff pointed out that Iran is working on regional hegemony in several arenas, with an emphasis on Syria and Gaza.
He expressed confidence in the IDF’s intelligence and cyber warfare capabilities, which are coordinated with the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and Mossad, saying they are among the most advanced in the world, and that improves the IDF’s defensive and offensive strength in general.
In response to a question about NGO Breaking the Silence’s reports, which it says are made up of testimony from IDF soldiers breaking international law, Eisenkot said the rules in the IDF are clear and that soldiers should not follow illegal orders.
Eisenkot also called on anyone who gave anonymous testimony to reveal himself or herself to the IDF. However, even if no one comes forward, the IDF investigates all reports of wrongdoing, he said.