The Israeli Defense Minister levelled the public charges during discussion with his visiting Cypriot counterpart about common challenges and reflected on the implications of last week’s Operation Breaking Dawn against the Iranian proxy Palestinian Jihad (PIJ).
By Erin Viner
“Islamic Jihad has an open tab in Iran” with the provision to the PIJ with tens of millions of dollars per year,” he said according to a statement TV7 obtained from the Israeli Ministry of Defense (IMoD), while underscoring that that the leaders of Tehran and Gaza meet “frequently.”
In addition, via the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) “transfers know-how and attempts to smuggle materials to Gaza, which are then used to build weapons aimed at civilians,” said Lieutenant General (Ret.) Gantz. “While the world watched ‘another escalation between Israel and Gaza, I stopped to emphasize: The Iranian Ayatollahs are involved in this front. Islamic Jihad in Gaza is a violent Iranian proxy,” he stressed.
During the 5-7 August conflict, the PIJ launched 1,175 rockets and mortars at Israel between Friday and Sunday. At least 200 rockets misfired and landed in Gaza, killing Palestinian civilians. 97% of the PIJ’s rockets were intercepted by the Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile defense system. The 7 August truce between the sides has largely held.
Israel’s military operation “was launched in response to an immediate threat on our southern communities, posed by Islamic Jihad in Gaza,” said Gantz, highlighting that all of the missiles fired by the PIJ were launched “from within population centers, toward Israeli kindergartens, schools, communities.”
“Their disregard for human life was tragic – as multiple failed rocket launches led to the deaths of innocent Palestinian children in Gaza,” observed Jerusalem’s top defense official.
Gantz underlined that “on the operational level – the State of Israel will maintain its freedom of action in all arenas,” and reiterated that “anyone who threatens the security of our citizens – from Khan Yunis to Tehran” will be targeted.” “On the strategic level, Israel will continue to work with our partners in facing Iranian aggression, which harms security and stability everywhere – from the Israel-Gaza border, to the Mediterranean Sea, to the Gulf and beyond,” he stated,” adding that, “while quiet in the area was restored, we cannot rest.”
While thanking visiting-Cypriot Minister of Defense Charalambos Petrides for his “important visit and commitment to the Israel-Cyprus bond,”Gantz said that “in such challenging times, partnerships are crucial” and expressed gratitude that Jerusalem and Nicosia “have been working closely, and that our industrial cooperation has become a pillar not only of our bilateral relations, but also to regional security and stability.”