We cannot afford a situation in which the Palestinians fire a Qassam, Israel throws a bomb, and this ping-pong continues, a high ranking IAF officer told Ynet.
"We need deterrence," he said.
"It is a fact that we did manage to establish a certain level of deterrence in Gaza. The Fatah is inactive, as is Hamas mostly. There is a very small group that still operates there. We must not create a situation in which we respond to each Qassam launched, but to do something which will which deter the terrorists," the officer added.
According to the officer, the IAF has gone through a significant transformation since the fighting in Gaza began. From being a complimentary aiding force to landed forces, the IAF's aircrafts have turned into a central factor in the fight against terrorists and infrastructure.
At present, after the IDF's withdrawal from the Strip, the IAF is practically the only force active in Gaza.
"We currently operate all our sectors. The battle aircrafts carry out the strikes against infrastructures, traffic routes and areas from which Qassam rockets are launched. The helicopters also operate intensively, and conduct firing against targets to create deterrence as well, " he said.
"Unmanned aerial vehicles are used to collect information and are constantly in the sky. And the transport aircrafts carry out intelligence collecting missions," he explained.
The officer described the supersonic booms caused during IAF's aircrafts' flights over Gaza as a "non-lethal weapon."
"The magnitude of the booms has not yet reached the maximum. Believe me, you cannot live with the maximum magnitude. This is an effective non-lethal weapon, together with the targeted killings and other operations which create deterrence," he stated.
Shoulder missiles – threat to aircrafts
According to the officer, the Air Force's activity over the Strip as carried out today, is very dangerous.
"For instance, whenever an aircrafts causes a supersonic boom over the Strip at night in law altitude, this is very risky. While in the past there were estimates that the terror organizations have shoulder missiles, today – in light of the smuggling through the breached southern border – I can say for certain that they have such missiles," he said.
"We have updated our operative conception based on this assumption."
Referring to the targeted killing of a Fatah official and a Hamas official in Jabalya Tuesday night, the officer explained that the IAF was in charge of planning the attack.
"We were responsible for planning and executing the operation… the performance was perfect and I have no complaints for anyone," he added.