Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Chief of Staff of Israeli Army Aviv Kokhavi both announced starting “wide-scale” operation in besieged Gaza Strip.
Their announcements came four hours after the Israeli assassination of the Palestinian resistance leader Bahaa abul-Ata on Tuesday at dawn while he was staying safely with his wife and children in his apartment in the east of Gaza City.
Following the assassination, the Palestinian resistance fired homemade rockets at Israeli settlements near the eastern fence of the Gaza Strip, which has been under a strict Israeli siege for 13 years.
“We do not want escalation, but our army is to respond to any attacks,” Netanyahu said in a press conference he told following a four-hour meeting with his security cabinet.
Regarding the assassination of Abul-Ata, he said: “We decided to assassinate Abul-Ata 10 days ago.” He claimed that Abul-Ata was responsible for firing rockets at Israel.
“We will deter anyone who thinks he might harm the Israeli settlers,” he added. But he forgot to say that the settlers have been living in a land stolen from the Palestinians.
Meanwhile, Chief of Staff of the Israeli Army Aviv Kohavi said: “The Israeli military is preparing for an escalation in violence after the targeted killing of an Islamic Jihad commander Baha Abul Ata.”
He said: “He is the man who acted in every way to sabotage attempts for calm with Hamas. He was a live ticking bomb, and even now he worked and planned attacks.”
Kokhavi claimed that Abul-Ata was responsible for the majority of attacks that took place over the past year.
“We are preparing for escalation from the ground, air and sea,” he said.