In accordance with the decision
reached by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert Wednesday
morning, the IDF was instructed to act against Qassam rocket launchers.
According to the new instructions, the IDF will be permitted to strike prior to, during or after the rockets are launched, within certain limitations regarding intelligence, the cells’ proximity to Palestinian population centers and other operational considerations.
The decision formulated Wednesday morning states that the IDF will continue to refrain from attacking Qassam manufacturing plants and make due with striking rocket launching cells.
At around noon the IDF’s Operations Branch informed the Southern Command of the political echelon’s new instructions; army officials said IDF forces identified a number of Qassam cells that were responsible for the rocket attacks on Israel in recent days, adding that these cells will now be targeted.
However, the IDF was ordered to act with added caution so as not to erroneously fire at Palestinian population hubs, and at this point the army will refrain from targeted killing attacks or strikes on Palestinian weapons cashes for fear they may result in civilian casualties.
IDF officials said one of the central goals of the new policy is to instill a sense of fear among the Qassam launching cells, who have acted freely since the ceasefire went into effect over a month ago.
The army clarified that the new instructions cannot guarantee the cessation of rocket fire on Israeli targets.
“We have seen in the past that IDF activity sometimes raises the terror groups’ motivation level,” one army official said.