Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Defense Minister Benny Gantz gave a statement to the press on Friday evening, after the IDF launched Operation Breaking Dawn against terrorists in Gaza.
"Approximately four hours ago, the Israel Defense Forces - in cooperation with the Israel Security Agency - struck Islamic Jihad targets in Gaza. Among those killed were Taysir al-Jabari, one of the two most senior commanders in Islamic Jihad, as well as a cell preparing to launch an anti-tank missile attack against Israel," said Lapid.
"The directive the security forces received from us was clear: Israel will not sit idly by when there are those who are trying to harm its civilians. This government has a zero tolerance policy for any attempted attacks - of any kind - from Gaza towards Israeli territory," he added.
"Terrorist organizations will not set the agenda in the area adjacent to Gaza, we will not tolerate any threat against our civilians. I thank Defense Minister Benny Gantz, the IDF and its commanders led by Chief of General Staff, Lt. Gen. Aviv Kohavi, and the ISA led by Ronen Bar, for the quality of their intelligence and for their precise execution."
"At the same time, we won’t accept any ultimatums regarding the operations of the IDF and the security forces - including on other fronts. Everyone who needs to be arrested - will be arrested. Any attempt to harm civilians or soldiers will be met with a harsh response," Lapid stressed.
“Today’s activity in Gaza was against concrete threats which disrupted daily routine in southern Israel. Israel isn’t interested in a wider conflict in Gaza, but will not shy away from one either.”
“I call on everyone to obey directives in the coming days. I have faith in the Israeli public, and I’m sure they will give full backing to our security establishment. However long it may take — we will eliminate the threat to our citizens.”
“The people of Israel are strong, they understand the importance of deterrence, they stand with the residents of the south. Our security forces are prepared with a set of powerful responses to any attack. We will face the enemy with strength, together,” Lapid stressed.
“Israel carried out a precise counter-terror operation against an immediate threat. Our fight is not with the people of Gaza. Islamic Jihad is an Iranian proxy that wants to destroy the State of Israel and kill innocent Israelis. The head of Islamic Jihad is in Tehran as we speak.”
“We will do whatever it takes to defend our people."
Gantz said, "Our policy is clear: Whoever threatens us - will not exist. This is true for the successor of Baha Abu Al-Ata, Tayseer al-Jabari, and it is true for any terrorist who seeks to harm the citizens of Israel. This is the case in Gaza, this is also the case in Judea and Samaria and in all the areas where we will continue to operate all the time."
"We passed this message for days to our partners who are helping us to stabilize the situation in the Gaza Strip. Unfortunately, the threat was not removed, and our proactive use of force was necessary," he added.
"No organization will hold Israeli citizens hostage. Our target is not the workers who go to work in Israel or the farmers and merchants who are asked to make a decent living," said Gantz.
"Those who bear the responsibility for the deterioration, and who directly harm the economy and the security of the residents of Gaza, are the leaders of the Islamic Jihad. While Ziad Nahala sits in Tehran, the people of Gaza are suffering. And while Hamas bears responsibility for the Strip, the residents of Gaza suffer. This reality can and should be stopped."
As Lapid and Gantz delivered their remarks, terrorists from Gaza fired a barrage of at least 80 rockets towards both central and southern Israel.
IDF officials said that of the 80 rockets, 46 entered Israeli territory and 33 were intercepted by the Iron Dome.
The Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for firing the rockets, and announced that "this is an open campaign and not limited only to the Gaza Strip."
(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)