Netanyahu: The escalation in the Gaza Strip may take time

 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday Israel was not interested in a military escalation in the Gaza Strip, which began at dawn after the assassination of Islamic Jihad leader Bahaa Abu al-Atta, but hinted it could take time.

"Israel does not want to escalate, but we will do what it takes to protect ourselves," Netanyahu told a news conference at Israel's Defense Ministry headquarters in Tel Aviv. "This can take time, and the IDF must be allowed to do the job."

Netanyahu revealed that the Israeli cabinet, which is responsible for security and political affairs, had "unanimously approved the assassination of Abu al-Atta 10 days ago."

For his part, said the Israeli army chief of staff Avoc Kochavi, at the same conference: "We have no interest in the escalation, but we are preparing for the escalation and also the possibility of continued targeted killings."

For his part, the head of the Israeli Public Security Agency "Shabak" Nadav Argaman, that the timing of the assassination of Abu al-Atta, came "for professional reasons."

At dawn on Tuesday, the Israeli occupation assassinated Abu al-Atta, a raid targeting a house east of Gaza City, which led to his death and his wife, and the injury of his children, in conjunction with the bombing of the house of the movement's leader, Akram al-Ajouri, in the Syrian capital of Damascus, where one of his sons and his companion was martyred.


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