Israel to increase Gaza offensive as Hamas ends truce with deadly attack

‘Terrorists will bear the consequences of actions,’ says Netanyahu

Jerusalem

Israel’s security cabinet convened on Friday night amid expectations it will escalate military steps in Gaza against Hamas in response to an attack in which two soldiers were killed and a third was apparently captured in Rafah.

The capture is likely to mark a turning point in the more than three-weeks-old conflict, convincing Israeli decision makers that Hamas is not interested in a truce in the short term and that they should intensify military operations against it.

According to the UN, the attack came in violation of the humanitarian ceasefire that was supposed to be in effect on Friday morning. More than 50 Palestinians were reported to have been killed in Israeli shelling during the incident.

“Hamas and other terrorist organisations in the Gaza Strip will bear the consequences of their actions,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told John Kerry, the US Secretary of State, in a telephone call on Friday.

Mr Netanyahu’s spokesman, Mark Regev, declined to discuss whether Israel would still dispatch representatives to talks in Cairo aimed at forging a long-term ceasefire. But the mood in Israel was to focus on heightened military action against Hamas.

 

“You cannot talk and shoot at the same time. It doesn’t work and Israel shouldn’t agree to that,” said Yisrael Ziv, a former head of the Israeli army’s operations directorate.

Giora Eiland, Israel’s former national security adviser, told The Independent that Israel would “activate all its means in the Rafah area and won’t stop in a bid to reach the kidnapped soldier.”

“This wasn’t just a tactical incident that spoiled the ceasefire. It’s a message from the Hamas military leadership that they don’t want a ceasefire. So there won’t be a ceasefire in the coming days. If there is no ceasefire, Israel has to increase the pressure,” he said.

Israel’s leaders “have to assess whether to carry out deeper operations, for example in Gaza City,” he added. The aim would be to “get closer” to the Hamas military leadership and to further degrade Hamas’s rocket capability, he said.

READ MORE: Israeli soldier seized in ambush
Israeli soldier seized in ambush
Brian Eno: How can you justify images such as this?
Peter Schwartz responds to Brian Eno's open letter

The apparent capture raises the prospect for Israelis of years of bargaining with Hamas to end in a lop-sided prisoner exchange. In 2006, Cpl Gilad Schalit was captured by Hamas in a cross-border raid. Five years later, he was released in exchange for 1,027 Palestinian prisoners, some of whom had been convicted of multiple murders. In 2000, Israeli businessman and reserve colonel, Elhanan Tanenbaum, was kidnapped and held for three years by Lebanon’s Hezbollah militia. Israel freed 435 prisoners in exchange for Mr Tanenbaum and the return of three killed soldiers’ corpses.

Far-right politicians have pressed for an all-out reoccupation of the Strip and the removal of Hamas. But Mr Netanyahu has been wary of high fatalities among soldiers, tensions with the international community and the prospect that whatever comes after Hamas could be worse.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Supporting role: at the Supreme Court, Rhodes was accompanied by a famous friend, the actor Benedict Cumberbatch
booksPianist James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to stop the injunction of his memoirs
Arts and Entertainment
Jesuthasan Antonythasan as Dheepan
filmDheepan, film review
Sport
Steven Gerrard scores for Liverpool
sport
News
peopleComedian star of Ed Sullivan Show was mother to Ben Stiller
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?