10:50 GMT30 March 2020
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    The prime minister insists that Israel does not want war, but will retaliate with “firmness” and “necessary consideration,” if forced to, regardless of the ongoing election campaign.

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed that Tel Aviv will undertake a massive military campaign in Gaza Strip, if forced to, The Times of Israel reported Sunday.

    “We will embark on a wide campaign, if necessary,” he told reporters before departing for Ukraine. “My objective is to maintain security and quiet, and we are taking all the necessary actions to this end.”

    He said he is aware of an opinion that upcoming September election considerations hold him back from undertaking military attacks in Gaza, but claimed that this is not true.

    “This is not correct,” Netanyahu said, according to The Jerusalem Post. “Everyone who knows me knows that my considerations are to the point, genuine, and that I act in full coordination with the security forces with firmness and the necessary consideration.”

    He asserted that necessary measures will be taken regardless of the political climate.

    “If it is required, we will embark on a large campaign, with considerations to the elections — with elections or without elections,” he said.

    His comments come in the wake of a rocket attack originating from Gaza on Saturday night, with one missile landing in the town of Sderot, located near the border with the Gaza Strip. The missile caused damage, but no injuries, The Jerusalem Post reported. 

    Earlier on Sunday, Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz dismissed the option of a ground invasion, saying that “what happened yesterday in Sderot will not be left without a response. We are maintaining a policy of not initiating a wide-scale operation but keeping the deterrence.”

    The position was criticized by the Blue and White party leader and former IDF chief of staff, Benny Gantz, who claimed on Sunday that “the deterrence hasn’t been eroded, it’s been erased,” The Jerusalem Post report says.


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