"We hold our fire if there is a danger of harm to women and children unless there is imminent danger in letting the terrorists live," A Foreign Ministry official said in a briefing after civilians were killed in Israeli strikes as it launched its Operation Shield and Arrow.
This mode of operation is justified by international law, he said. But senior Islamic Jihad operatives hide among civilians, knowing that they are in the crosshairs of the IDF, and target their rockets at the civilian population across the border. "This is a war crime, plain and simple," he said.
Israel has long claimed that the Gaza terrorists launch their rockets at Israeli towns, from populated areas seeking to cause harm to Gazans to disrupt Israeli attacks. The ministry official said the PIJ is pleased when women and children are hurt and use such tragedies to justify their violence against Israel but adds that Israel has a right to defend itself and is justified in its attacks according to law.
The briefing came after the Palestinian Health officials said at least 12 of the casualties in Gaza were family members, women and children. According to the Palestinians, the initial strike came as a complete surprise and senior operatives of the factions were moving around in plain sight and not in hiding.
According to the ministry official, when they are underground, it is hard to pinpoint them in a surgical way without collateral damage.