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IDF chief meets with top officers, southern mayors after Gaza rocket fire

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

IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi met with top IDF officers and leaders of Israeli communities near the Gaza Strip after Palestinian terrorists in the enclave fired dozens of rockets toward southern Israel over the weekend, the military says.

Kohavi tells the mayors that the military is working to restore calm as well as preparing for a potential escalation in violence in the coming days.

“We are dealing with violent incidents on the Palestinian front in a number of locations and we are working to return stability and calm to southern communities. At the same time, we are preparing fully for the possibility that the situation will ramp up or widen, and we are conducting preparations for this as needed,” Kohavi says, according to the IDF.

An Israeli police sapper inspects the scene where a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip fell near houses at a kibbutz in southern Israel on April 24, 2021 (Flash90)

The military notably refrained from conducting retaliatory strikes in the Gaza Strip on Saturday night following multiple rocket attacks from the enclave in an apparent bid to ease tensions. This is a controversial move and goes against the IDF’s general strategy vis a vis Gaza.

Kohavi tells the mayors that this decision was not made lightly, according to Hebrew media reports.

The IDF chief also met with top officers from the IDF General Staff and Southern Command to discuss the current situation and called for “continued preparation for a variety of scenarios on the southern front,” the military says.

According to the military, Southern Command chief Eliezer Toledano, Home Front Command head Uri Gordin, Operations chief Aharon Haliva, Military Intellicence commander Tamir Hayman, Central Command chief Tamir Yadai, Israel’s military liaison to the Palestinians Ghassan Alian, and the Iran-focused head of the IDF Strategy and Third-Ring Directorate Tal Kalman all take part in the meetings, along with representatives from the Shin Bet and other security services.

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