Photo Credit: Ilanit Chernick/TPS

By Ilanit Chernick

The IDF has emphasized that Sunday night’s special operation in Gaza was not an assassination attempt, but a reconnaissance mission to gather information for Israel’s security.

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The details of the operation remain under gag order, but it seems whatever its objective, something went seriously wrong.

Lieutenant Colonel M., who was killed was praised by leaders and IDF heads for his heroism on Sunday night with IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot saying that “the IDF owes Lt. Col. M. more than we can say.”

According to former IDF chief of staff, Benny Gantz operations like this happen often and are necessary for Israel’s safety and security.

Speaking to Army Radio on Monday morning, Gantz explained that “operations of this sort have been and will continue to be carried out all the time.

“This is an exceptional, difficult and significant incident,” he said. “The officer killed and the wounded officer are among the best sons of this country – we should be proud that these are our people.”

Gantz highlighted that this incident “could lead to an escalation that will lead to a wider deterioration.

“This morning brings me back four years to the days of Operation Protective Edge [the 2014 Gaza War],” he said. “We will act with determination, but also with responsibility.”

The former chief of staff added that “it is the right decision to continue pushing for a long-term arrangement with Hamas.”

Daniel J Levy, founding director of the Ortakoy Security Group, told TPS that Hamas, and in particular its leader Yahya Sinwar, “are in a particularly difficult position.

“By retaliating, they are legitimizing themselves as targets for further Israeli air strikes, and by doing nothing risking the ire of Gazans who feel that Israeli forces are now being allowed to conduct targeted assassinations at will in the coastal enclave,” he explained.

Levy said that irrespective of whether or not Israeli forces were present to conduct surveillance or an assassination, “a senior Hamas commander is now dead, and this will not be taken lightly.”

“Potential Hamas inaction will primarily serve to validate more extreme groups such as Palestinian Islamic Jihad, who – rather interestingly – have been responsible for the outbreak of most recent bouts of violence between Israel, and various Gaza-based factions,” he said.

In a statement, Hamas claimed Sunday night as a victory, saying that it had “taught the occupation a severe lesson, and made a mockery of their intelligence apparatus.”

It confirmed that seven of its terrorists were killed during the firefight.

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