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Official: Calmer, Cooler Leaders Needed in Gaza

Israel wants to replace the current leadership in Gaza with a 'restrained and responsible' group, a senior IDF official said.
By Yaakov Levi
First Publish: 7/13/2014, 5:19 PM

Hamas terrorist's home in Khan Younis after strike
Hamas terrorist's home in Khan Younis after strike
Flash 90

As Operation Protective Edge continued for a sixth day with the IDF hitting a total 1,300 targets in Gaza, a senior IDF officer said that Israeli security officials were hoping that a situation would develop that would ensure a stable government in Gaza, replacing Hamas' control of the Strip.

“We want to restore quiet to Israeli citizens,” said the official. “We would like to see a government in Gaza that is restrained and responsible.”

The official said that the current operation was different from previous ones. “We did not enter this campaign willingly,” he said. “We did not enter it in order to reconquer Gaza or to destroy Hamas. This is an ongoing operation that has been going on since we began the search for kidnapped teens Eyal Yifrah, Naftali Frenkel, and Gilad Sha'ar.

“We could have easily killed hundreds of people in Gaza as we tracked down terrorists who are firing rockets from populated areas, but that is not our way,” the official said. “The proper way to handle an operation like this is to be effective and maintain legitimacy.”

The IDF is continuing its preparation for a ground operation in Gaza, the official added. Some 42,000 reserve soldiers are in the process of being called up for service. The reserve soldiers will take the place of regular soldiers in Judea and Samaria and in southern Israel outside the battle zone, the official said. With that, the official said that “there are enough targets for us to strike in Gaza. We are not operating under any pressure.”