IDF spokesman Ran Kochav tells Channel 12 “we’re in the midst of a targeted campaign against the Palestinian Islamic Jihad,” confirming reports that the army is trying not to drag Hamas into the ongoing conflict and is hoping to keep the campaign limited in scope.
Kochav references the November 2019 round of violence when the IDF killed senior PIJ commander Baha Abu al-Ata, sparking a three-day military campaign. It managed to keep Hamas out of the fighting then and is hoping to do so once again, Kochav says.
Detailing the context in which the IDF has resorted to the airstrikes, and the deadly targeting of PIJ’s Tayseer Jabari, Kochav says: “Jabari was responsible for the concrete threat in the last three-four days to fire anti-tank missiles and mow down Israeli civilians or soldiers in the Gaza border area.”
Once the IDF’s intelligence was complete and the preparations had been made over the past three days, “we carried out a devastating ambush, that thwarted Jabari and the members of the anti-tank cells, together with others.”
Extraordinary intelligence information enabled a direct strike on the apartment where Jabari was, says Kochav.
In subsequent strikes, “we attacked the manned positions of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, including rocket launch positions, some of which were recently used.”
The IDF is in the process of calling in 25,000 reservists, “to be ready for all eventualities,” he notes.
“We have no desire to prolong the operation, but it has not finished. It will take a long time,” says the IDF spokesman. “There is extraordinary resilience on the home front.”
He says the IDF is deploying various means to try to thwart attacks now from Gaza.