“I wouldn’t be surprised if tomorrow there were 40 deaths, but I want there to be zero,” said the senior officer from the army’s Southern Command, on condition of anonymity.
“Hamas wants more dead. We want to get to zero people killed,” he said.
The military had initially anticipated that large protests would be held along the border on Tuesday to coincide with the anniversary of the 1967 Six Day War, which Palestinians refer to as the naksa, or setback.
Tensions with the restive Gaza Strip reached a fever pitch last week, with a massive flare-up between terrorist organizations in the coastal enclave and Israel. Last Tuesday, Hamas, the Iran-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad and a number of smaller groups launched approximately 200 mortar shells and rockets at southern Israel over the course of 22 hours. In response, the Israeli Air Force struck over 65 Hamas and Islamic Jihad targets in the Gaza Strip, including a Hamas attack tunnel.