Cabinet: Attacks on Gaza Will Escalate but No Ground Operation, for Now

‘Each succeeding day will be harder for Hamas,’ warns senior Israeli official, in order for militants to stop rocket attacks on Israel.

ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid
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Palestinians inspect the site of an Israeli military strike in Gaza City. July 8, 2014 .
Palestinians inspect the site of an Israeli military strike in Gaza City. July 8, 2014 .Credit: AFP
ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid

Two senior officials in Jerusalem said Monday that the security cabinet has decided to escalate the attacks against Hamas and other terrorist groups in Gaza. The officials said that, after a three-hour meeting, the ministers decided to refrain from a large-scale military operation for now, but ordered the army to prepare for significant expansion of the operation, named “Protective Edge.”

"The blows will be harder,” one of the senior officials told Haaretz. “Each succeeding day will be harder for Hamas. We will escalate the attacks to make it clear to them that it is in their interest to stop the rocket fire. We do not want to engage in a large-scale ground operation in Gaza, but we are prepared to broaden the operation in case the rocket fire does not stop.”

The senior officials said that Egyptian intelligence continues to convey messages between Israel and Hamas in an effort to calm things down. They said that while the messages coming from Hamas stated, among other things, a desire for calm and a cease-fire, the behavior of Hamas operatives on the ground was the opposite.

“There is an internal dispute between Hamas’ military wing and its political leadership,” one of the senior Israeli officials said. “Yesterday [Sunday] it seemed that they were heading toward a cease-fire and that things on the ground had calmed down, but today the situation is reversed.”

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