Photo Credit: Amos Ben-Gershom / GPO
Joint news briefing by PM Benjamin Netanyahu, DM Benny Gantz, IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi and ISA head Nadav Argaman, May 11 2021

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Israelis Tuesday night at a joint news briefing held with Defense Minister Benny Gantz, the IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi, and Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) head Nadav Argaman, that the current “major” military campaign, Operation Guardian of the Walls, won’t be quick or easy — or short.

“Yesterday and today, the IDF attacked hundreds of Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip,” Netanyahu said. “We have eliminated dozens of terrorists, including senior commanders. We have bombed Hamas command centers and toppled buildings that serve the terrorist organizations. We will continue to attack with all force.

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“Hamas and Islamic Jihad have paid and, I tell you here, will pay a very heavy price for their aggression. I say here this evening – their blood is on their heads,” Netanyahu declared.

“Citizens of Israel, we stand united against a reprehensible enemy. We all grieve for those who have been killed. We all pray for the wellbeing of the wounded. We all stand behind the IDF and the security forces.

“I ask everyone, without exception, to strictly follow the directives of IDF Home Front Command and enter protected spaces, this saves lives.

“I tell you something else this evening. This campaign will take time. With determination, unity and strength, we will restore security to the citizens of Israel.”

Defense Minister Benny Gantz promised Israeli citizens in remarks that followed, “We will bring the quiet and safety back for the long-term.”

Gantz said the IDF protects all Israeli citizens – Arabs and Jews – and called for all citizens to avoid further violence.

“Towers will continue to crumble. There are a lot of targets in line,” the defense minister said. “This is just the beginning.”

More than 500 terrorist targets have been hit by Israeli air strikes as off 11 pm Tuesday, IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi said.

“The terror groups in Gaza will pay an even heavier price than they have already paid,” Kochavi said.

“We are ready for this battle.”

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.