Israeli Communications Minister Gilad Erdan, a member of the Security Cabinet, told Army Radio on Thursday that the resumption of Hamas rocket fire had brought Israel closer than ever to a decision to fully reconquer the Gaza Strip.
Erdan said that Hamas decided to break the tenuous ceasefire on Tuesday because Israel refused to meet a single one of the terrorists’ primary demands during talks in Cairo.
Over the past 24 hours, Hamas and allied terror groups have fired dozens of missiles into southern and central Israel, causing widespread damage and at least one injury.
Israel has thus far confined its response to targeted aerial strikes. But Erdan warned that Israeli military operations could expand dramatically if Hamas continues to attack.
“Will this happen tomorrow? It’s not certain, since the price for this will be high, but we are closer today to a ground operation than we have been at any point since the start of the operation,” said the minister.
Israel’s aerial strikes have also become somewhat less restrained. In the first weeks of the Gaza war, Israeli forces issued several warnings of the occupants of targeted buildings, even if that meant missing the targeted terrorist.
Now, these warnings seem to be coming less frequently, as Israel is more determined to actually eliminate Hamas leaders.
The terror group confirmed on Thursday that three of its senior field commanders had been killed, along with members of their families, in Israeli air strikes.
Israel also targeted the home of Hamas military leader Mohammed Deif with a volley of five powerful missiles. Palestinian sources said that Deif’s wife, child and one other unidentified person were killed. Hamas insisted that Deif had survived, but Israeli generals said all evidence pointed to his demise.