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Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Barak: We are likely to launch a much wider operation in Gaza

There is a constant small scale war in Gaza. It will probably escalate...
Last update - 21:57 05/12/2007    
 Barak: We aren't eager to launch major IDF operation in Gaza Strip 
By Avi Issacharoff , Yuval Azoulay and Mijal Grinberg, Haaretz Correspondents 
Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Wednesday that Israel is not eager to launch a major military operation in the Gaza Strip.
Barak addressed troops of the elite Israel Defense Forces unit Golani while on tour of the southern Gaza command. "We are likely to launch a much wider operation in Gaza, but we're not rushing toward it. We will do it once all the other possibilities have been exhausted," he said.
In the past month, more than 40 militants have been killed in Gaza by IDF troops, mostly of the Golani brigade, which is deployed around Gaza.
When asked why the IDF does not undertake a military offensive immediately, Barak replied: "What we are doing here is remarkable, inside and outside the Gaza Strip. We've seen the soldiers responsibly, seriously, modestly and devotedly, day and night, carrying out actions against terrorists and terror organizations."
Barak added that despite Israel's military achievements, the capabilities of the militant groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad are improving.
A Qassam rocket, fired from the Gaza Strip, smashed into a three-story residential building in the western Negev town of Sderot Wednesday causing heavy damage and leaving several people suffering from shock.
Earlier Wednesday, two Hamas militants were killed in an Israel Air Force strike on the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Lahiya.
Two other Palestinians were wounded in the strike, although it was not immediately clear whether they were militants or civilians.
The Israel Defense Forces confirmed the strike, saying the IAF targeted a Hamas squad preparing to fire mortar shells at Israeli communities along the Strip.
On Tuesday, an IAF strike on a Hamas training base killed at least two militants and wounded two others, as Israel pledged to press ahead with its campaign against militants in Gaza, responding to almost daily rocket barrages at Israel.
The military said that on Tuesday, 21 rockets and mortars were fired at Israel by nightfall, bringing the one-year total to over 2,000.
Army Radio reported Tuesday that an IDF soldier had been lightly injured during a mortar shell attack near Kibbutz Nahal Oz in the western Negev. On Sunday, four soldiers were lightly hurt when Palestinian militants in Gaza fired mortar shells into an infirmary of a western Negev army base.

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