The IDF and security forces set out 19 days ago to find the three boys who were abducted by Hamas terrorists. The IDF has vowed to continue its operations to eradicate the terrorist infrastructure, primarily in Judea and Samaria, but with the burial of the three boys the IDF can now summarize and announce that the mission has essentially been completed.
422 terrorists were arrested during the operation, 335 of them Hamas members, 12 of them organization leaders. 56 of those arrested were released during the Shalit deal and will now go back to prison for violating the terms of their release by returning to terrorism.
The IDF believes it has dealt a significant blow to Hamas’ political, military and civil infrastructure.
The IDF targeted Hamas’ ‘Dawa’ network, a social-welfare system that fuels support for Hamas violence. The infrastructure is further used for the funneling of funds and recruitment. The IDF confiscated 1.2 M NIS in 84 operations, dealing a severe blow to Hamas’ financial viability.
The IDF literally turned every stone and entered every pit looking for the boys. 2218 homes were searched, as well as tens of caves and tunnels. During the hunt masses of weaponry were uncovered and confiscated.
17 illegal buildings were demolished during the operation, and last night, for the first time in several years, the IDF demolished the home of Hamas terrorist Ziad Awad who was arrested for the murder of Baruch Mizrachi on Passover eve this year.
In summary, the IDF believes it has achieved several of the operation’s objectives and his significantly hindered Hamas’ ability to operate in Judea and Samaria.
In the meantime, tensions are constantly mounting on the Gazan front, with the amount of rocket attacks constantly increasing, including to rockets that were fired at Israeli civilian targets from Gaza last night. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, before the start of the Security Cabinet meeting last night, stated: “We have three tasks. First, to reach the murderers and all those who participated in the kidnapping. Whoever was involved in the kidnapping and the murder will bear the consequences. We will neither rest nor slacken until we reach the last of them and it does not matter where they will try to hide. We will reach them all even if it takes time. This is our first goal and it will be carried out. Second, we must vigorously strike at Hamas members and infrastructures in Judea and Samaria. We have already arrested hundreds of Hamas activists. We have closed dozens of institutions. We have demolished homes. We are still active. Third, is that we must act against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Hamas is continuing to encourage the abduction of our citizens and it is directly responsible for firing rockets and mortars at our territory, including in the past few hours. The IDF has been active in recent days against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip and here as well we are still active. If need be, we will expand the campaign. Anyone who thinks that they can achieve anything by using terrorism against us will continue to be mistaken and will achieve the opposite results. Hamas is responsible. Hamas has paid and Hamas will continue to pay.”