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IDF: Gaza fighting likely to continue several days

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

The Israel Defense Forces says the current round of violence will likely last at least several days as it begins conducting airstrikes on Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip, after dozens of rockets were fired at Israel from the enclave, including at Jerusalem.

“In the next few days, Hamas will feel the long arm of the [Israeli] army. It won’t take a few minutes, it will take a few days,” says IDF Spokesperson Hidai Zilberman.

The spokesman says the military is preparing for a wide range of possibilities, including a wider conflict with a ground operation, as well as a return of targeted killings of top terrorist leaders.

“Everything is on the table,” Zilberman says.

Zilberman confirms that the IDF has conducted airstrikes on rocket-launching cells, killing at least three people. The Gaza Health Ministry says that nine people have been killed so far in Israeli airstrikes, including three children. The IDF spokesman says he would not comment officially on the matter, though other Israeli officials have said that the minors were killed as a result of failed rocket launch from the Strip.

Palestinian media reports that one of the people killed in the Israeli strikes was a senior Hamas member, which Zilberman says he cannot confirm.

According to the IDF, a number of terror groups have taken part in the rocket attacks on Israel, but the military ultimately holds the Hamas terror group, the de facto ruler of Gaza, responsible for the violence.

“We have a clear address: that is Hamas. The group will pay a dear price for its actions. we will respond fiercely,” Zilberman says.

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