IDF chief says Hamas “surprised by our strength, methods and achievements“

No ceasefire expected until Thursday at the earliest


IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi visits at yesterday scene of shooting attack in Tapuah Junction, south of the West Bank city of Nablus, on May 3, 2021. Photo by Sraya Diamant/Flash90 *** Local Caption *** צומת תפוח פיגוע ירי טרור שטחים חיילים שוטרים אביב כוכבי רמטכ"ל

After a week of sleepless nights, Israelis in the most rocket-vulnerable cities got some rest last night, during a lull in fire.

But the six hour respite, which followed an evening of intense fire, came to an end early this morning as sirens started wailing again at around 5am local time. 

No ceasefire is expected now until at least Thursday. Aviv Kohavi, IDF chief of staff, reportedly told local leaders from southern Israel last night that there will be at least two more days of fighting.

After the meeting his office released a statement saying that Hamas is getting a stronger response than it bargained for when it started the rocket barrage. “When Hamas fired at Jerusalem eight days ago, what happened as a result wasn't what they expected,” he said.

“Hamas was surprised by our strength, methods and achievements, and they are now suffering severe consequences. This operation will continue as long as necessary.”

Determined to deliver blows to Hamas infrastructure over the southern border, Israel is also closely watching the northern border. An enormous Hezbollah militia is stationed there, and thought able to easily mobilise hundreds of rocket launchers in order to subject Israel to attacks on two borders. Other terrorist groups are also stationed there. 

Late last night, the IDF identified six attempts to launch rockets at Israel from Lebanon. All launches failed, but keen to deter further attempts, Israeli artillery forces fired towards the rocket installations. 

Israel’s aerial operations over Gaza overnight, with more strikes on Hamas’ underground tunnel network and other infrastructure. The latest strikes on the tunnels hit 65 terror targets using 62 fighter jets using approximately 110 guided armaments. Five Hamas commanders' residences were also hit.

Jerusalem is keen to strike as many militant targets as possible as long as key allies internationally are supporting -- or refraining from opposing — its operations, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received notable backing in a phone call with US President Joe Biden.

“The President reiterated his firm support for Israel’s right to defend itself against indiscriminate rocket attacks,” a White House statement said after the call. 

“The President welcomed efforts to address inter-communal violence and to bring calm to Jerusalem. He encouraged Israel to make every effort to ensure the protection of innocent civilians. 

“The two leaders discussed progress in Israel’s military operations against Hamas and other terrorist groups in Gaza. The President expressed his support for a ceasefire and discussed US engagement with Egypt and other partners towards that end. The two leaders agreed that they and their teams would remain in close touch.”

But criticism is growing among Israel’s neighbours. Jordan, which has a solid peace treaty with Israel, has blamed Israel for the escalation. The royal court claimed on twitter that “recurrent provocative Israeli actions against Palestinians have led to the ongoing escalation, pushing the region towards more tension.” 

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