Israel will intensify its airstrikes in the Gaza Strip despite efforts by Egyptian mediators to bring about an end to violence, a senior political source told Ynet on Tuesday.
The source said that "the Egyptians were told that Israel was augmenting its deterrence against Hamas" and that the government has authorized the IDF to target and kill high-ranking military officials in Gaza.
He also added that the government believed that Egypt and the international community will allow Israel to keep responding to the offensive of the Gaza terrorist factions until the beginning of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr on Wednesday night.
Earlier Tuesday, a senior Cabinet member said that Jerusalem should show less restraint in its response to rocket fire from Gaza, especially targeting the capital, since it was going to "pay a price" from the international community regardless of the intensity of IDF strikes.
On Monday, Gaza militants fired several rockets at Jerusalem while right-wing religious youths marched through the city in celebration of Jerusalem Day which celebrates the city's reunification by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War.
The IDF and Shin Bet domestic security agency announced on Tuesday that a senior commander of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terrorist group in the Gaza Strip has been assassinated in a joint operation.
The military identified the militant as the head of the PIJ's rocket unit Samih al-Mamluk. Other senior militants in the organization were also killed in the same strike, including Mohamad Abu al-Atta — brother of the military commander of the PIJ's Northern Brigade in Gaza Bahaa Abu al-Atta who was assassinated by Israel in late 2019 — and Kamal Karika.
PIJ confirmed the three killed in an airstrike on a hideout apartment in Gaza City were senior members of its armed wing and vowed retaliation.
The IDF came under heavy criticism over the weekend for failing to respond properly to 36 rockets fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel. The Shin Bet also criticized the IDF for what it regarded as a meek response.
The IDF claimed its hands were tied by Defense Minister Benny Gantz who said he saw no reason for an extensive response at the time.