GAZA– Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday evening(August 2oth) that the military operation in Gaza Strip is not over yet and that leaders of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) are “legitimate targets.”
In a televised speech, Netanyahu vowed that the Israeli army will continue the operation in Gaza until calm is back to Israel.
In the meantime, Netanyahu refused to respond to reports on the fate of Hamas military leader Mohammad Deif, and only said: “Hamas leaders are legitimate targets — and a top priority. No one is immune.”
Deif’s wife and his infant daughter were killed in an Israeli airstrike last night.
“We have dealt Hamas a massive blow in recent weeks, the most serious blow since their establishment. We are determined to continue and use any means needed,” he claimed.
Netanyahu warned Hamas saying, “If you fire, we will hit back. They think they will exhaust us, but they are wrong.”
The Israeli Prime Minister’s televised speech followed a long meeting for the security cabinet in Tel Aviv, which discussed developments in Gaza.
It came amid Israeli escalation of the aggression on the Strip, as the Palestinian faction in Gaza fired dozens of rockets on Israel.
According to the Jerusalem Post, the security cabinet meeting was held amid criticism by key ministers who expressed dissatisfaction over Netanyahu’s handling of the situation in Gaza.
Ahead of the inner cabinet meeting, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Israel had already tried unilateral moves – most notably withdrawing from the Gaza Strip in 2005.
“I hope it is now clear to everyone that the policy of ‘quiet will be met with quiet’ means that Hamas is the initiator and it is the one that decides when, where and how much it will fire on Israeli residents, while we make do with solely a response, which, even if it is a harsh one, is still just a response,” he wrote on his Facebook page Wednesday.
“When you’re talking seriously about the security of Israeli residents, you have to understand that there is no possibility other than a resolute Israeli move that means only one thing: the defeat of Hamas,” he added.
A short time after Netanyhau’s speech, Al-Quds brigades, the military wing of Palestinian Islamic Jihad said that it had launched two “Buraq 70” rockets on Tel Aviv, where the cabinet meeting was held.
It added that it had also targeted Bearshaba in the south, and Ashdod central Israel with four rockets.
Meanwhile, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zahri said in a statement that Netanyahu’s threats reveal how “bloody the occupation is and how it is not serious in seeking calm.”
He added that Israel had failed to assassinate Deif, a huge intelligence failure, to be added to many others security and military failures on the side of Tel Aviv.-KUNA