‘We hit Hamas hard – they begged us to stop’
Senior IDF officer says Israel ‘closer to war than ever in past 4 years’.
The Hamas terrorist organization has been significantly weakened following the latest rounds of clashes with Israel, a senior IDF official believes, and is ready for far-reaching negotiations.
“Hamas is ready to talk about everything,” the officer said, a day after the unofficial cease-fire between Hamas and Israel along the Gaza border.
According to the source, Israel’s defense establishment was prepared for a significant escalation with Hamas.
“The army was ready to respond to Islamic Jihad,” referencing a second terror group which operates in the Gaza Strip, and is believed to be responsible for some of the recent mortar fire on Israeli from Gaza.
“Iron Dome batteries had already been moved to the Gaza area and extra troops deployed to towns in the region. The only thing we didn’t know was the exact time [of the attack].”
On Wednesday, the Hamas terror organization reported that it had agreed to an informal ceasefire with Israel.
The Islamic Jihad similarly said on Tuesday evening it reached understandings on a ceasefire in Gaza following Egyptian contacts between Israel and the Palestinian Arab factions.
“The army’s sharp response crippled Hamas’ naval force, as well as their drone manufacturing capabilities and infrastructure,” the officer said.
“That quickly brought Hamas to ask for a ceasefire by Tuesday afternoon via an intermediary, with a request not to escalate the situation [any further].”
“We acted wisely. During the strikes, we neutralized another terror tunnel, along with 11 others which we destroyed over the past two years. By the end of 2019, we will have finished building the [anti-tunnel] barrier [on the Gaza-Israel border], and we’ll be in an even better position against Gaza.”