Gaza offensive took Hamas years back: Israeli commander

Tel Aviv: A senior Israeli military commander said that its offensive in the Gaza Strip “took Hamas years back and rebuilding it will be very difficult”.

The remarks on Friday came after a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas took effect at 2 a.m., ending the 11-day bloodshed in the Gaza Strip, reports Xinhua news agency.

230 Palestinians were killed in Gaza

During the 11-day intense fighting, approximately 230 Palestinians were killed in Gaza, and almost 2,000 others injured.

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In Israel, 13 people were killed.

Briefing foreign journalists on the condition of anonymity, the senior commander did not give the number of targets struck by Israel, only saying there were thousands of them.

“Israel’s goal was to change Hamas’s calculations when it decides to provoke Israel,” he said.

The fighting began when Hamas launched a missile attack against Jerusalem, after weeks of tensions in the city surrounding the Al-Aqsa mosque.

The attack caught Israel by surprise and led to massive retaliation and the launching of an operation dubbed by the military “Guardian of the Walls”.

During the operation, over 4,000 rockets were fired by Palestinian militants into Israel, according to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

Offensive was meant to “caution Israel’s other adversaries in Middle East”: Senior commander

The offensive was meant to “caution Israel’s other adversaries in the Middle East”, said the senior commander, noting that “our fight in Gaza is a projection of our deterrence in the Middle East.”

As the operation continued and the Palestinian death toll rose, Israel came under harsh international criticism.

In one of the most contested Israeli airstrikes, a building housing media organizations including the Associated Press and Al Jazeera was targeted.

Residents of the building were given a warning and had evacuated before it was struck.

IDF claimed Hamas was staging major operations from the same building.

Saying the building was proved to be used by Hamas for intelligence, research and development activity, the senior commander said on Friday that “this is sensitive intelligence which we shared with senior American officials in total transparency”.

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