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Gantz: Conflict with Gaza could erupt at any time

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz (center) and IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi (left) inaugurate a memorial to fallen South Lebanon Army soldiers, on July 4, 2021, in Metulla. (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)
Defense Minister Benny Gantz (center) and IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi (left) inaugurate a memorial to fallen South Lebanon Army soldiers, on July 4, 2021, in Metulla. (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)

Defense Minister Benny Gantz warns that fighting could break out again in the Gaza Strip at any time despite what he called the successes of May’s 11-day conflict between the Israel Defense Forces and terror groups in the enclave.

“Gaza is a very sensitive place. We know that a tactical event can quickly deteriorate,” he says in an interview on Channel 13. “We are, of course, ready to act. We are identifying dozens of targets, we’ve already identified hundreds. I really don’t recommend that Hamas test the capabilities of the IDF.”

Recent weeks have seen a return of balloon-based arson attacks from the Gaza Strip, which have burned large swaths of private and public land in southern Israel, but have so far caused no Israeli injuries.

Gantz says that despite these incendiary attacks, he still believes Israel’s Operation Guardian of the Walls campaign was a success, having dealt a significant blow to the Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror groups’ capabilities.

Separately, speaking in a speech marking the opening of Israel’s first monument to the Southern Lebanon Army, which fought alongside the IDF during Israel’s presence in southern Lebanon from 1982 to 2000, Gantz makes a rare offer of assistance to Israel’s neighbor to the north.

“Israel has offered to help Lebanon in the past, and today as well, we are prepared to work to help it grow and get out of this crisis,” Gantz says, referring to the country’s unprecedented financial disaster.

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