As of Sunday afternoon, the truce between Israel and Hamas was holding, and no new rocket attacks have been reported. In the event that the rocket attacks do return, however, the IDF will return to its campaign of targeted killings of Hamas top terrorists, a report in Haaretz said Sunday.
Israel in the past has used that tactic to quell Hamas terrorism, but it has not resorted to doing so in the latest round of terrorism that began some four months ago. According to commentators in Yisrael Hayom, “both Israel and Hamas have been observing very clear, if complicated rules for the warfare; Israel takes care to destroy Hamas infrastructure but generally tries to avoid loss of life, while Hamas limits its missile and balloon or kite attacks to the immediate border area, and does not aim for heavily populated areas. Thus both sides hope to avoid escalation, but clearly this is a dangerous game that cannot continue for the long-term.”
When the truce does fall apart, the IDF is ready with a list of senior Hamas terrorists that it will begin taking out. The thinking in the defense establishment is that Israel cannot tolerate another round of escalation followed by a Hamas-dictated cease-fire, and will be forced to act, both for political and defense reasons. In the interest of avoiding a full-scale war, the IDF believes it will be able to quell Hamas violence by targeting the terror group’s leaders, the Haaretz report quoted officials as saying.
In past eliminations, the report quoted the officials as saying, there was “a sense of panic and chaos” among Hamas leaders, who scrambled to find secure quarters lest they be next on the list. The IDF used a variety of measures to reach the targeted terrorists, including with air strikes and groups of assassins who infiltrated Gaza.