Gantz: ‘Ground invasion of Gaza an option for next war’

The last time that Israel deployed ground forces in Gaza was during Operation Protective Edige in 2014.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

In an apparent warning to Hamas, Defense Minister Benny Gantz said that Israel would not hesitate to invade “enemy territory” during its next war.

Speaking at a memorial ceremony for soldiers killed in the Second Lebanon War, Gantz appeared to be addressing the Gaza-based terror group.

“In the next operations or, God forbid, wars, when we have to reach the depths of the enemy again, our [military] forces, which are comprised of both regular [soldiers] and reservists – will enter swiftly and powerfully, and will be a central part of the fighting,” said Gantz.

“We will activate [ground forces] if required. Not lightly, but with the knowledge and understanding that the full force of the army is required, powerful…and ready for the challenges before us.”

It’s believed that in general, Israel prefers to mitigate the potential for IDF casualties by focusing on aerial strikes, rather than boots on the ground.

The last time that Israel deployed ground forces in Gaza was during Operation Protective Edge in 2014, during which some 40 IDF soldiers were killed during in ground battles in the Strip.

Gantz said that while Israel prefers peace to conflict, the Jewish State will not hesitate to use its “full capabilities,” even in neighboring countries, such as Lebanon.

“Attempts to quietly infiltrate our borders do not go unnoticed, and we keep our eyes open, act routinely and are prepared for extensive operations, even in emergencies,” he added.

During Operation Guardian of the Walls in May, Hezbollah encouraged Lebanese protesters to approach the border fence with Israel.

At least four rockets were fired from Lebanon into Israel during the May conflict. The Iron Dome missile defense system successfully intercepted the rockets.

Gantz’s remarks come on the heels of statements by Hamas, insinuating that if Israel does not release some $30 million in Qatari aid money, the terror group will respond with a violent escalation.