Netanyahu during security assessment
Netanyahu during security assessmentKobi Gideon/GPO

Operation Shield and Arrow: Calm was maintained in the communities located near the border with the Gaza Strip overnight Thursday. Shortly before midnight, the IDF said it struck Islamic Jihad terrorist organization targets in the Gaza Strip.

On Thursday evening, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant had a security situation assessment, at the conclusion of which they ordered that the counterterrorist operation continue as long as is required.

"The Prime Minister and the Minister of Defense praised the IDF and the Shin Bet for the achievements during Operation Shield and Arrow and instructed them to continue to exact a heavy price from the Islamic Jihad for its aggression against the citizens of Israel. The campaign will continue as long as necessary," the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement issued following the assessment.

Earlier, a senior diplomatic official commented on the continued rocket fire from the Gaza Strip and the direct hit in Rehovot which resulted in the death of one person, and said that these rocket attacks make the possibility of a ceasefire much more distant.

"If the firing at Israel continues, the attacks in the Gaza Strip will continue, including the continuation of the countermeasures and the exacting of another heavy price from the Islamic Jihad. Fire will be answered with fire," said the official.

He noted that "in the last day, despite Egypt's efforts to bring about a ceasefire, the Islamic Jihad launched a barrage of rockets at Israel. In response, a fourth significant senior official in the Islamic Jihad was eliminated, and the organization continued to suffer severe damage."

"The equation has changed: Israel will exact a price for directing terrorism from the Gaza Strip to Judea and Samaria. The IDF is prepared to continue to protect the citizens of Israel with strength, and at the same time, attacks terrorist targets and is ready for any scenario," he added.

Meanwhile, Arab media reported that the Egyptians are optimistic about the possibility of reaching an agreement on a ceasefire.

The BBC’s Arabic-language service reported that the head of the Islamic Jihad delegation to Cairo, Mohammed el-Hindi, received a ceasefire proposal from Egyptian intelligence, and requested an extension in order to discuss it with the leadership of the organization.

Sources privy to the details of the talks on the ceasefire told Kan 11 News late on Thursday night that the Islamic Jihad cut off contact with some of the Egyptian mediators for a few hours and then returned to the talks.

Despite the optimistic reports, a member of the political bureau of the Islamic Jihad, who was quoted by Channel 12 News on Friday morning, said, "The mediators cannot provide guarantees due to Israel's lack of commitment, and so far no agreement has been reached on a ceasefire. Ending the policy of targeted eliminations is a mandatory condition for holding the ceasefire talks."