Benny Gantz (Israeli Defense Minister) spoke to Lloyd Austin, his American counterpart on Friday night. They updated him about the status and goals of Operation Breaking Dawn’s military offensive in Gaza. Officials from the Palestinian government claim they killed and injured dozens of civilians.
“Minister Gantz emphasized that the State of Israel is working to defend its citizens, and will operate decisively and with as great precision as possible against terror operatives and infrastructure in order to reach its objectives,” Gantz’s office said in statement about the call.
Israeli aircraft struck an apartment in Gaza early Friday. This killed Taysir, the commander of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and a further 10-20 PIJ operatives.
According to Palestinian officials, at most ten civilians died in the attacks. One of them was a girl aged five years old. Other 55 people were also reported to have been injured.
Palestinian militants launched dozens upon Israel in a retaliatory attack, warning of a larger offensive. As air defenses activated to intercept projectiles, you could hear the sirens of an air raid in southern Israel for several hours.
Gantz previously announced that he had authorized the call-up of some 25,000 reservists, while IDF spokesman Ron Kochav told Channel 12 that the operation against PIJ would “take a long time.” In his own address to the nation on Friday evening, Prime Minister Yair Lapid used similar terms, saying that the battle “will take as long as it takes.”
“Israel will not sit idly by when there are those who are trying to harm its civilians,”Lapid said. “This government has a zero-tolerance policy for any attempted attacks – of any kind – from Gaza toward Israeli territory.”
The latest escalation began when Israeli forces arrested PIJ’s West Bank leader, Bassem Saadi, in the city of Jenin on Monday. A Palestinian teenager was killed in the raid on Saadi’s home, triggering an outcry across the Palestinian territories. Israeli officials warned of imminent revenge attacks as the PIJ put its fighters under high alert.