Photo: Reuters
Injured children evacuated following strike
Photo: Reuters
Photo: Anna Brosh, IDF Spokesman
IDF shelling
Photo: Anna Brosh, IDF Spokesman
IDF: Israel has right to defend itself
Following death of 9-year-old girl in IDF strike, Southern Command officials say, 'with all regret over civilians being hurt, which is not deliberate and is only caused due to terrorists' cynical exploitation, we will continue in the same path'; however, IDF fears similar incidents will harm legitimization of anti-Qassam operations
Despite the sorrow over the death of the Palestinian girl, Israel has the right to defend itself from Qassam fire, a senior Southern Command official told Ynet just hours after an IDF shelling killed nine year-old Hadil Ghraben of the town of Beit Lahiya in Gaza.


It appears that the tragic incident will not work to change the army's policy against terrorists in the Strip.


"We left the Gaza Strip, and at first we took some restrictions upon ourselves, but our patience ran out and we can no longer remain inactive. We had no intention of hitting the girl and her family, we regret that but not the operation itself," he added.


According to the official, the increased operations in the Strip in recent days have already started to yield results. "The terrorists fire less rockets, and some Qassams land inside the Strip or at sea."


IDF sources stressed that the civilians residing near Qassam launching sites are well aware of the dangers posed by Israeli strikes.


"We explained dozens of times they must leave the area, and also distributed leaflets in Arabic. The responsibility lies with the civilians themselves. What country in the world would sit by idly while it is being fired at?" an army source said.


However, despite these statements, senior officers fear that further incidents that may involve Palestinian civilians would lead to harsh criticism on the part of the international community and undermine the IDF's legitimacy to act against Gaza cells.


'Terrorists take advantage of army's sensitivity'


The IDF's Spokesman Office released an official statement Monday night, saying that "the citizens of Israel face daily, indiscriminative terror attacks from Gaza. the IDF works to protect the Israeli people and conducts retaliatory shooting at launching sites, while attempting not to hit populated areas."


"Unfortunately, the terror organizations take advantage of the army's sensitivity regarding attacks on civilians, and deliberately act from inside populated areas, using the Palestinian people as a human shield," the statement said.


"The IDF regrets the harm caused to civilians and their property, but this is the inevitable result of the continuation of rocket strikes. The terror groups and the Palestinian Authority bear the responsibility for that, as they do nothing to stop the Qassam fire," it read.


פרסום ראשון: 04.11.06, 01:01
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