By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency / Jewish News Agency
|UPDATED: Jerusalem, Israel — August 7, 2022 … Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid is currently holding an assessment of the terror rocket attacks from Gaza ahead of the Security Cabinet meeting, at the Kirya in Tel Aviv. |
Alternate Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, ISA Director Ronen Bar, Mossad Director David Barnea, National Security Council Director Dr. Ron Hulata, Prime Minister’s Office Director General Naama Schultz, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Director General Alon Ushpiz, IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi, IDF Operations Branch Commander Maj.-Gen. Oded Basiuk and other senior security officials are participating.
Over 1,000 rockets have been launched at Israel from Gaza with targets including Tel Aviv. Rocket sirens sounded in the southern part of Tel Aviv and the central cities of Rishon Lezion and Holon, for the first time since violence escalated between Israel and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group on Friday.
Some of the rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome air defense system, and others landed in open areas.
Shortly before, sirens also sounded in Ashkelon, Sderot, and other towns near the border with the Gaza Strip. Several of the rockets were intercepted.
Contrary to Palestinian reports regarding the rocket incident in Jabalya, it must be clarified:
The Israeli government has in their possession videos that prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that this incident was not the result of an Israel Defense Forces’ strike. Israeli security forces did not strike in Jabalya in the past few hours.
It has been irrefutably proven that this incident was the result of the misfiring of a rocket launched by Islamic Jihad in Gaza.
Following reports in Palestinian and international media, an investigation took place which unequivocally showed that this was not an Israeli strike but rather, a rocket launched from within the Gaza Strip which fell in the heart of Jabalya.
All fire by the Islamic Jihad terrorist organization is a double war crime: it is shooting at civilians, and using Gazan civilians as human shields.
This incident is an example of Islamic Jihad harming the residents of Gaza. All harm to innocent civilians is tragic.
Prime Minister Yair Lapid, today spoke with the heads of local authorities in the south and updated them on the progress of Operation Breaking Dawn and the assessments looking forward.
The Prime Minister emphasized the need to ensure that citizens adhere to the directives of the IDF Home Front Command and noted that these directives save lives.
The local authority heads expressed support for the goals of Operation Breaking Dawn, and said that the residents of the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip are strong and there is support for continuing the operation until security is restored in the area.
Prime Minister Lapid heard from the local authority heads about immediate and longer term needs in the area due to the operation. The Prime Minister also updated them that later today, the Ministry Director General Forums will convene under the leadership of the Director General of the Prime Minister’s Office, with the goal of mapping out, synchronizing, and streamlining services to residents in order to assist as much as possible.
Participating in the discussion were Sderot Mayor Alon Davidi, Ashkelon Mayor Tomer Glam, Eshkol Regional Council Head Gadi Yarkoni, Hof Ashkelon Regional Council Head Itamar Revivo, Sdot Negev Regional Council Head Tamir Idan, and Sha’ar HaNegev Regional Council Head Ofir Libstein. Also participating were PMO Dir.-Gen. Naama Schultz, Chief of Staff Dani Vesely, Cabinet Secretary Shalom Shlomo, the Prime Minister’s Military Secretary Maj.-Gen. Avi Gil, Deputy Head of the National Security Council Eitan Ben David, and Diplomatic Advisor Yair Zivan.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz today visited an Iron Dome Battery, together with the Commander of the IAF’s Air Defense Division, Brig. Gen. Gilad Biran, and soldiers stationed at the battery. Minister Gantz thanked the soldiers for their contribution to the security of the State of Israel and its citizens.
“This is the second day of operation ‘Breaking Dawn,’ which aims to remove the threat posed by the Islamic Jihad terrorist organization, and to restore peace and stability in Israel’s south,” said Minister Gantz.
“We have thwarted and will continue to thwart terror attacks, rocket and PGM launches from Gaza to Israel. We have hit dozens of terror facilities used by Islamic Jihad for the production and launch of rockets. The soldiers serving at the Iron Dome battery who are with us today, will continue to defend the home front – never removing their eyes from their targets.”
“Islamic Jihad leaders lounge abroad in restaurants and hotels in Tehran, Syria and Lebanon. They are disconnected from the Palestinian people and they seriously harm the lives of the Gazan people. They too will have to pay the price. The IRGC [which supports Islamic Jihad], will not pay the salaries of Gaza residents.”
Gantz added: “Our operational activities against the perpetrators of terrorism will continue and intensify.”
A ceasefire between Israel and the Islamic Jihad terror organization in Gaza was reached Sunday evening and is holding on Monday after a weekend of terror rocket attacks against Jewish civilians in Israel.
The escalation by Islamic Jihad was the most serious in nearly 15 months, when the Israeli military and Hamas fought an 11-day war in May 2021. A key difference this time was the decision by Hamas to stay out of the fighting.
The Israeli prime minister’s office thanked Egypt for its mediation efforts but warned that if the ceasefire was violated, “the State of Israel maintains the right to respond strongly.”