Netanyahu orders ‘massive attacks’ against Gaza terror groups

Smoke rises following an Israeli air strike in the Gaza Strip, May 4, 2019. Photo: Hassan Jedi/Flash90 

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he has ordered “massive attacks” against terror groups in the Gaza Strip.

Netanyahu, who also serves as the country’s Defense Minister, also said more than 24 hours after the start of massive rocket attacks on Israeli from terror groups in Gaza that he ordered additional military units to the Gaza border.

“This morning, I instructed the IDF to continue massive attacks against terrorist elements in the Gaza Strip. I also ordered the reinforcement of the units around the Gaza Strip with armor, artillery and infantry,” Netanyahu said Sunday morning at the start of the regular weekly Cabinet meeting.

“Hamas bears the responsibility not only for its own attacks and actions but also for the actions of Islamic Jihad, and it is paying a very heavy price for this,” Netanyahu also said. “We are working – and will continue to work – to restore quiet and security to the residents of the south,” he added.

Israel Defense Forces spokesperson Ronen Manelis said in a statement that the Israel Defense Forces are not planning to engage in a cease-fire.

“The orders were given for the continuation of air strikes and the reinforcement of a number of units,” with the expectation that the rocket attacks and retaliatory attacks will last for several more days, he said.

The IDF announced in the statement that one of the Palestinians killed in Sunday’s retaliatory air strikes was Hamed Hamdan al-Khodari, who is said to be a Hamas field commander connected to Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar, and who was responsible for the transfers of large amounts of cash from Iran to terror groups in Gaza.