A day after a ceasefire between Israel
and Gaza factions went into effect, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz
said that the army had struck every possible terror target in Gaza during Operation Pillar of Defense, while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
continued to stress that all of the offensive's goals were met.
According to Gantz, the IDF
attacked "everything that moves in the Strip," referring to "terror infrastructure, tunnels… weapons caches, launching sites and strategic facilities."
Gantz explained that the IDF had launched the offensive because of the escalating rocket fire on southern communities.
Gantz during operational briefing (Photo: IDF Spokesperson)
"The political echelon instructed the IDF to act against Hamas
in order to improve the security in the region," he said, adding that the plan was to surprise the terror group by killing its military leader, Ahmad Jabari,
and to cripple its strategic capabilities.
The general stressed that during the operation dozens of terror operatives and commanders were hit "while limiting harm to civilians to the best of our ability."
Referring to the thousands of reserve troops that were drafted ahead of a possible ground invasion of the strip, he said: "You can't go into an operation without preparing for the next phase.
"The results will become evident once the dust settles," he said.
Gantz further praised the Israeli public, the emergency services and the state's leaders for their conduct during the operation.
The IDF chief mentioned Iran in his statement, saying that the Islamic Republic is to try to dispatch weapons to Gaza in the aftermath of the operation.
"We will do everything to mitigate (these attempts)," he said.
Earlier Thursday, Netanyahu met with Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch and Police Chief Yohanan Danino to discuss the past week's events.
Netanyahu with Danino and Aharonovitch (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)
In a press conference held prior to the meeting, the prime minister thanked the police, fire department and Home Front Command for their hard work.
"The home front operated in an excellent manner, contrary to what our enemies expected," he said. "The home front maintained control, restraint and mental strength."
Netanyahu further said the Israel made great achievements in the offensive.
"The IDF dealt a heavy blow to Hamas and the other terror groups," he said. "Many of the terror leaders were killed and thousands of missiles were destroyed. We are ready to take action if the truce is violated. The goals we have set for the operation were met."
Aharonovitch, in turn, thanked Netanyahu for orchestrating the operation in a "professional and evel-headed manner" and while putting the good of the Israeli citizens ahead of all other considerations.
Noam (Dabul) Dvir contributed to the report