Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulated President Donald Trump and the United States on Sunday in response to the announcement of the death of Islamic State (Da’esh) leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi.

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Netanyahu called it an “impressive achievement,” and said the operation “reflects the united resolve of the free countries led by the United States to fight the forces of terror, the terror organizations and the terrorist states.

“This is an important milestone,” Netanyahu said, but added “it is part of a longer battle which we must win.”

The prime minister made the statement just prior to starting his meeting with Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz at IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv. The negotiating team of the Blue and White party had met in the hours prior together with the negotiation team of the Yisrael Beytenu party, which is headed by Avigdor Liberman.

Netanyahu and Gantz are meeting for talks on the feasibility of joining together to form a national unity government in accordance with a proposal suggested by President Reuven Rivlin.

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Gantz, a former IDF Chief of Staff, likewise released a statement congratulating Trump on the assassination of the Islamic State terrorist leader.

“The fight against terrorism requires a mix of responsibility, patience and determination to act,” Gantz said. “The elimination of the ISIS leader last night in Syria is a combination of the three. This is an important operational and intelligence achievement of United States military forces, led by President Trump.

“The fight against terrorism is not a fight against one person. It is long and uncompromising, but every targeted killing sends a daunting message to all the leadership of the organization and its members – the long hand of counter terrorism reaches everywhere,” Gantz said.

Speaking at Sunday morning’s opening of the weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu warned the Middle East is again facing turmoil, and that Iraq, Lebanon and Syria are all under the control of Iran at this point.

“We know that the force that has served us up until now must continue to strengthen in the face of all these phenomena,” Netanyahu said. “This requires tough decisions.

“What [IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi] and I have said is not spin; it reflects the reality of present challenges and those of the near future.

“We must make tough decisions that require a government with broad shoulders, hence the importance of forming a broad national unity government.

“This is not a political question, but a national and security question of the highest order. This was my goal immediately after the elections and it remains our goal. This is what the State of Israel needs now,” he added.

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