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Photo: Eli Elgarat
Vilnai: We need to be there
Photo: Eli Elgarat
Golan: Sirens weren't ready
Photo: Avi Mualem
Vilnai: Conquer parts of Gaza
Deputy defense minister says mortar shells fired from Gaza can be halted by partial military presence

Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai called for another incursion into Gaza on Sunday, negating the opinion of his superior, Ehud Barak, who is generally in favor of securing a ceasefire with Hamas.

 

"We need to conquer the areas from which mortar shells are being fired," Vilnai said at a conference held by the Institute for National Security Studies regarding lessons learned from Operation Cast Lead in the field of civil defense.

 

"The mortar shell is the main threat. They are (fired from) a limited (distance) of 5-6 km and we just need to be there," he added.

 

He said his office had been charged with defending the civilian population during the operation, but that the defense ministry was not a substitute for other authorities responsible for the wellbeing and safety of citizens.

 

"We only factor in as one cog in a giant black hole in which thousands of cogs rotate without coordination, just in order to coordinate between all of these authorities," he said.

 

GOC Homefront Command Yair Golan was asked to explain the dysfunctional alert systems in many of the threatened communities under his charge. "Before the operation there were IDF alert systems ready within a 20 km radius, but as for the 30-40 km radius, we just didn't have enough time to prepare," Golan said.

 

Golan mentioned the alert systems in Beersheba, which were plagued with technical difficulties throughout the war. "The alert systems just didn't work right," he allowed.

 

"We understand that in the coming years we will have to considerably thicken the deployment of sirens throughout Israel, and I assume we will be investing tens of millions of shekels in this during the next two years," Golan added.

 

The commander also compared the offensive in Gaza to the Second Lebanon War, and said the IDF was found to be more equipped to handle malfunctions during the recent operation in Gaza, and that information was found to have reached civilians in a more efficient manner.

 

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