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Netanyahu told Biden officials Israel would respond to Gaza rocket fire

The prime minister briefed Brett McGurk and Amos Hochstein a day before “Operation Shield and Arrow.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads a Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, May 7, 2023. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads a Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, May 7, 2023. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told two senior Biden administration officials in Jerusalem that a response to rocket fire from Gaza terrorists was planned, a day before the start of the IDF “Operation Shield and Arrow” against Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

In a meeting on Monday with White House Coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa Brett McGurk and Special Presidential Coordinator for Global Infrastructure and Energy Security Amos Hochstein, Netanyahu said in general terms that an operation was imminent.

He received a supportive response from the American officials.

Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant decided on the operation after Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists fired more than 100 rockets last week at Israel.

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant holds a situational assessment with senior IDF officials, May 9, 2023. Photo by Ariel Hermoni/Israeli Ministry of Defense.

The targeting of the three senior PIJ terrorists killed in Gaza on Tuesday in Israel Air Force strikes was originally planned for Friday but was delayed due to technical reasons.

The three men were plotting additional terrorist attacks against Israel, a senior diplomatic source authorized to speak on behalf of the government said.

“Israel clarified in the past and clarifies again that whoever initiates terrorist attacks against us will not be forgiven. We will protect the citizens of Israel everywhere and with full force,” he said.

The Security Cabinet was not briefed before the mission due to fear of leaks to the media, the source said. Instead, Attorney-General Gali Baharav-Miara gave the green light to Netanyahu and Gallant to proceed with the operation.

The senior White House officials flew from Saudi Arabia to Israel on Monday to brief Netanyahu on the talks that U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan held with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman the previous night.

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