In south, leaders say operation to go on

The four chief architects of Operation Protective Edge — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz and OC Southern Command Maj. Gen. Sami Turgeman — are touring southern Israel, saying Israel will continue to act against Gaza terrorists for as long as needed.

Netanyahu announces that, while the work on the tunnels is coming to an end, the operation will continue until, as promised, sustained calm is restored to the people of Israel. He praises the army for its work. He also stresses that the world should condemn Hamas for bringing a disaster upon the people of Gaza, and speaks of the imperative to link the rehabilitation of Gaza to its demilitarization.

Ya’alon says: “Right now, the Southern Command is finishing detecting and destroying the tunnels.” He adds that the IDF “is preparing for the next missions, as needed.”

The defense minister adds that “to our sorrow, we’ve paid a heavy price,” referring to the 64 soldiers who have been killed throughout the fighting in Gaza.

Turgeman confirms that “the destruction of the tunnels is being completed in the next few hours… the territory is largely neutralized.”

Gantz also stresses that “the operation is not yet finished,” adding that the soldiers’ performance has been “excellent.”

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