Six months after Israel and the Hamas movement reached understandings on a Gaza Strip lull, the Egyptian-mediated truce has expired. As the sides prepare for the post-lull era, a senior defense official told Ynet that Israel "will not accept a half-truce."
Security officials held several consultations during the day and formulated a policy whereby should Hamas and other Gaza terror groups refrain from firing at Israel, the IDF will also hold its fire, in effect creating an undeclared ceasefire.
Rocket fired from Gaza Strip. (Photo: Tzafrir Abayov)
However, officials made it clear that should Hamas and other groups continue to fire rockets and mortar shells at Israel, the IDF will weigh the use of gradual force, in a different format than it did before.
The senior security official told Ynet that the preparations for a new model of operations have been recently completed.
"The coming days will be days of longing on the part of Hamas, and days of wait for us," he said. "They will attempt to test us, and we will make it clear to them that it's not worth their while to continue."
Israel's patience is upEarly Thursday, the Air Force attacked Islamic Jihad targets in the Gaza Strip, making use of fighter jets to hit sites in residential areas for the first time since the lull went into effect. The unusual strike was meant to signal to the Palestinians that Israel's patience is up.
The senior defense official said that the IDF will continue to adhere to a policy of gradual use of force, and will respond with growing intensity to any Gaza terror attacks.
The IDF's Southern Command did not order a special deployment ahead of the lull's expiry, yet forces along the fence, as well as intelligence and Air Force units, were instructed to remain alert. Meanwhile, the number of forces in the area has not been massively reinforced.