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IDF general warns further Gaza fighting could break out

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

The head of the Israel Defense Forces’ Southern Command indicates he anticipates fighting to again break out in the Gaza Strip, saying that the conflict last month was only the “first stage” of a wider campaign.

“The operation ended, or at least its first stage did. The next stage will happen if we see that the security situation has changed,” Maj. Gen. Eliezer Toledano says in an on-stage interview at a conference held by Israel’s Channel 13 news.

Last month, Israel and Hamas fought an 11-day battle, beginning when the terror group fired a barrage of rockets at Jerusalem. During the fighting, the IDF launched some 1,500 strikes on Hamas targets in the Strip, and the terror group fired over 4,300 rockets and mortar shells at Israel.

“We are totally prepared to continue from the 11th day, with the 12th day, with the 13th day. It’s all contingent upon the security situation,” Toledano says.

Though top Israeli officials hailed the campaign as a resounding success for the IDF, Toledano is far warier of making such boasts.

“I try to not speak in ‘exclamation points’ at this time, two weeks after the ceasefire. On the one hand, I want to report what we did. On the other hand, I don’t want to be caught making hasty comments,” he says.

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