The goal of Israel’s defensive strike of Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip is to “cripple the terrorists capabilities,” Israeli Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich said to reporters during a telephone briefing Wednesday afternoon.
Leibovich also discussed an early morning attack that claimed the life of senior Hamas operative Ahmed Jabari.
“As you heard, our first target was a vehicle in central part of Gaza," Leibovich said. "Inside the vehicle was Ahmed Jabari, born in 1960, the head of the Hamas military wing who was involved in numerous terror attacks on Israelis, as well as [Israeli soldier] Gilad Shalit's kidnapping. This is a man who has a lot of Israeli blood on his hands.”
The Israeli Defense Forces targeted 20 different terrorist sites throughout the day, according to Leibovich.
“The second phase of the operation was an aerial attack, which targeted 20 different targets, all underground, which served as launching pads for various kinds of rockets,” she explained. “Among these rockets were Fajr-5 rockets, Iranian-made weapons which can reach a lot further than the ordinary Grad missile.”
All options remain “on the table,” including an Israeli ground incursion into Gaza.
Israel has “no intentions” of either stopping the attacks on Gaza or moving troops into the Sinai region despite declarations from Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood-controlled government that aggression against the Palestinians must stop, Leibovich said.
Leibovich made it clear that Israel will no longer stand by as terrorists fire hundreds of rockets into communities and military outposts across Israel’s southern region.
“The focus of the operation is crippling the terror organizations while defending Israeli civilians,” she said. “It's not natural for an Israeli—for anyone—to live in a shelter for such a long time.”
“This situation obviously cannot continue,” Leibovich said. “This is why we've launched this operation. We've reached the point where enough is enough.”