In a briefing to reporters on Thursday, a senior officer of the IDF Southern Command summed up the military operation in the Gaza Strip as a measured response for restoring stability and security to the neighboring Israeli communities, while not distracting Israel’s top-level decision-makers from their focus on the Iranian threat to the north. For this reason, it was decided not to reinstate targeted assassinations of high-profile Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists. The officer admitted that the IDF had found it difficult to target the teams launching the 130 rockets and mortar shells fired at Israel in the last two days, but he explained that in a full-scale war, those teams and other Palestinian commanders would have been taken down. He also disclosed that “enemy capabilities had improved.” The IDF officer stressed that to achieve effective deterrence, the Gaza population’s humanitarian distress must be addressed. He accused the Palestinian Authority and Egypt of dodging this responsibility and laying it at Israel’s door.