Senior IDF commanders said Wednesday July 23 that the time had come for a decisive war move. Breaking up the Hamas’ subterranean tunnels would take weeks, they said, but the critical encounter for completing their military mission and bringing the war to a close was still to be fought after three key IDF victories: The battle for Shejaiya grabbed the headlines, but the confrontations in eastern Rafah and eastern Khan Younes in the south were just as important.
The commanders are now urging a large-scale assault on the bunker complex housing Hamas’ top military command and infrastructure. They say it is up to national leaders, i.e., the security cabinet, to determine the military’s next move and the disposition of the forces present on the battlefields of the Gaza Strip.
The tank units could undertake the opening moves for the next, critical stage of the Israeli operation at no more than hours’ notice.
By Tuesday night, 85 international flights were cancelled by all American and a few European airlines. The Israeli El Al and Arkia moved fast to expand their service to and from Israel to fill the gap.
Early Wednesday morning, US Secretary of State John Kerry declined a request by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to intervene with the Federal Aviation Administration-FAA to rescind its ban on US carriers’ flights to Israel.
Kerry said he could not interfere in this and that anyway the FAA reviews its decisions every 24 hours. The European carriers are unlikely to resume their flights to Ben-Gurion so long as the Americans observe the ban.
Full article: IDF Commanders: Time for decisive war move after IDF victories in Shejaiya, E. Rafah and Khan Younes (DEBKAfile)