Secretary Austin and Minister Gantz
Secretary Austin and Minister Gantz Shmulik Almany

Defense Minister Benny Gantz spoke on Friday evening with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and updated him on Operation Breaking Dawn.

Gantz’s office said that the Defense Minister emphasized to Austin that Israel is working to defend its citizens, and will operate decisively and with as great precision as possible against terror operatives and infrastructure.

Earlier on Friday, US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides commented on Israel’s Operation Breaking Dawn against the Islamic Jihad.

“The United States firmly believes that Israel has a right to protect itself. We are engaging with different parties and urge all sides for calm,” he tweeted.

Gantz, speaking alongside Prime Minister Yair Lapid earlier in the evening, 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."

(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.)