Israel states new situation leaves no option but military action to halt weapons flow to Gaza
The warning was relayed to Cairo in the last 24 hours. DEBKAfile's military sources disclose that the message means Israeli armed forces are standing by for an order to recapture the Philadelphi route running along the southern Gaza border with Egypt.The "new situation" does not refer to the upsurge of missile fire against Sderot, but the Egyptian security forces' discovery Sun., Sept. 2, of 2.7 tons of explosives in the el-Gefgafa area 100 km southwest of the northern Sinai town of El Arish The cache was destined for the Palestinian Hamas and Jihad Islami in the Gaza Strip. Our sources reveal that it also contained for the first time several dozen 240 mm Katyusha rockets of the type used by Hizballah to blast northern Israel last year.From Gaza, these rockets can reach the southern approaches of Beersheba, not just the towns of Ashkelon and Netivot.According to intelligence input, the rockets were intended for immediate use by the two Palestinian groups. This information convinced Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert, defense minister Ehud Barak and chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Gaby Ashkenazi that radical military action can no longer be delayed.They decided that the Philadelphi route - evacuated by Israel two years ago with the rest of the Gaza Strip - would have to be retaken.The timing will be determined at the security cabinet session Wed. Sept. 5.
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