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Israel ‘very close’ to launching military operation in Gaza, says Israeli minister

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Israel is “very close” to launching a military campaign in the Gaza Strip in which the leaders of the terrorist organizations in Gaza will be “wiped out” and their forces “destroyed,” Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said on Sunday.

Katz’ remarks followed a significant uptick in tensions between Israel and the terrorist forces in the coastal enclave over the weekend, which saw multiple rockets launched at Israel, an armed-drone attack and a renewal of violent riots at the border fence. Israel responded by striking multiple Hamas targets on Saturday.

Speaking to Israel’s Reshet Bet radio just nine days before Israel’s Sept. 17 general elections, Katz pointed a finger squarely at Iran.

“Israel’s conflict with the terrorist organizations in Gaza is close to reaching the tipping point thanks to Iranian influence,” said Katz.

“We have recently identified a growing fingerprint of [Iranian Quds Force Commander Gen.] Qassem Soleimani and the Iranian axis in terrorist activities in Gaza, using new measures and the direct management of terrorist activities through Islamic Jihad,” said Katz, adding that “it brings us very close to a comprehensive Israeli campaign against the terrorist organizations in Gaza, a campaign that will take place at the times and conditions we will decide on.”

“In this campaign, it is clear that the top leaders of the terrorist organizations will be wiped out and its force destroyed,” he said.

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