… As Senior Hamas official says: ‘We can continue fighting for many months’***
Anticipating a response by Hamas, the military ordered Israelis living within four kilometers of the border to remain in their bomb shelters.
The Israeli Defense Forces began a heavy bombardment against Palestinian terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip late Thursday evening.
“IDF air and ground troops are currently attacking,” the IDF wrote on Twitter, without providing more details on the scope of the operation.
It does not appear that the military has launched a full ground operation or yet entered Gaza, though earlier in the day, it called up thousands of reserve troops.
Anticipating a heavy response by Hamas, the IDF ordered all Israelis living within four kilometers of the Gaza border to remain in their bomb shelters until further notice.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Hamas will pay a heavy price.
“I said that we would exact a very heavy price on Hamas, we are doing this and we will continue with great force. The final word has not been said, and this operation will continue for as long as needed,” declared the Israeli leader, according to the Prime Minister’s Office.
Earlier on Thursday, Defense Minister Benny Gantz approved the call-up of 9,000 reservists after the previous approval of 7,000 reservists.
The military personnel will enter combat units and support headquarters as part of “Operation Guardian of the Walls,” Gantz’s office said in a statement, adding that they will be stationed in the IDF’s Southern, Central and Northern Command in place of other units mobilized to other missions.
In another development, Saleh Al-Arouri, deputy chairman of Hamas’s political bureau said in an interview on Gaza’s Al-Aqsa TV on Wednesday that Jewish immigration to Palestine was based on myths and so is the claim that Jerusalem belongs to the Jews, reported MEMRI.
“The Jews’ immigration to Palestine from all corners of the world, in order to establish their state, was based on the myth that Jerusalem had been their capital and that they had a temple there, that Jerusalem belongs to them, and that it is their Promised Land. These are the myths that they have invented out of thin air,” said Arouri.
He also said, according to the report, that Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar and commander of the ‘Izz al-Din al-Qasam Brigades Mohammad Deif have said that Hamas is ready to fight for many months.
“The resistance was designed to last for a long while. The commanders of the resistance in Gaza have said—brother Abu Ibrahim [Al-Sinwar] said it clearly more than once, and [Mohammed] ‘Abu Khaled’ Deif also talked about it. … They said that we are ready for a war that would last months. Months!”
Arouri continued: “The resistance will not allow [Israel] to create an image of victory.
In the 2014 war, the image of victory was of the [Israeli] soldier under the boots of the mujahideen. In this war, the bombing of the streets and towers will not be the image of victory.
The image of victory will be painted by our jihadi Brigades.”