By Aryeh Savir
As a prelude to the intensification of air strikes and a possible ground incursion into Gaza the IDF has again dropped leaflets over Beit Lahiya, Saja’iya and Zeitune in northern Gaza, ordering the civilians there to leave their homes so that they are not harmed by the escalating warfare in the area. The IDF has further sent recorded messages.
In the leaflets the IDF states that: “Despite the cease fire, Hamas and other terror groups have continued to fire, and therefore the IDF intends to attack terror targets in these areas. From these areas rockets are launched at Israel. For your safety, we ask you to leave immediately and move towards Gaza City. The IDF has no intention of harming you or your families. This evacuation is meant to save your lives. Anyone who does not heed these instructions endangers himself and his family.” The deadline was set at 8:00 this morning.
The IDF dropped similar leaflets two days ago. At the time, Hamas urged Palestinians to ignore these warnings, hoping that they will continue to serve as human shields.
An IDF spokesman announced that 39 terror targets were attacked over the past night, 100 over the past 24 hours, and 1750 in total since the beginning of Operation ‘Protective Edge’. The targets included four terrorists, 47 hidden rocket launchers, command centers, terror tunnels and weapons caches.
Last night, following another meeting at the Ministry of Defense, PM Benyamin Netanyahu stated that: “We decided that Israel would respond positively to Egypt’s proposal for a ceasefire. I said then that if Hamas and Islamic Jihad did not accept the Egyptian ceasefire and continued to fire at Israel’s cities, I – along with Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon – would order the IDF to take strong action against them – and this is what we did this afternoon. The air force bombed many terrorist targets in Gaza and these attacks will continue.”
“Hamas chose to continue the campaign and it will pay for this decision. Whoever tries to attack the citizens of Israel, Israel will strike at him. When there is no ceasefire – our answer is fire.”
“It would have been preferable to resolve this by diplomacy and we tried to do so when we acceded to the Egyptian ceasefire proposal. But Hamas left us no choice but to broaden and intensify the campaign against it. This is what we will do until we achieve our goal – the restoration of quiet for Israel’s citizens while inflicting a significant blow on the terrorist organizations. We will do everything so that you and the State of Israel may quickly enjoy renewed quiet.”
Tazpit News Agency