First publication: The Israel Defense Forces is setting up a special security area in the northern Gaza Strip which is aimed at curbing attempts by terror groups to dig tunnels into Israel.
A senior officier told Ynet that the area will stretch a kilometer in Palestinian territory, which will be "clean" of building under which tunnels can be dug.
After the northern command's decision to keep Hizbullah away from the border and the new policy under which every gunmen situated a kilometer away from the border is shot at, the southern command decided to implement a similar policy.
Palestinian injured by IDF fire (Photo: Reuters)
"Mostly, the excavations are dug in houses, hothouses or any other place where the action can be hidden. Therefore we decided to adopt a new policy and simply to raze and attack every structure or cover hat can be used to conceal an entrance to a tunnel. As such every Palestinian attempt to dig a tunnel will be foiled," he said.
The IDF will also continue to operate in the Sajaiya neighborhood in northern Gaza. The senior officer said the 19 terrorists were killed in IDF incursions in northern Gaza. Over 100 Palestinians were injured during the incursion.
The latest operation is the eighth since the IDF launched its first incursion into Gaza since the August withdrawal in a bid to quell rocket fire into Israel and to rescue kidnapped Corporal Gilad Shalit.
"We need to see the general context of our operation," he said.
'Keeping up pressure'
"We choose the place, the strategy and the depth. In every operation like this about 15-18 terrorists are killed. We are operating in areas used to fire Qassam rockets, we are working to clear every field, area or grove from which firing is carried out, and this after receiving legal approval. I can guarantee 100 percent that Palestinian will not return to fire rockets from areas we operated in," he said.
"Terror groups are under pressure when their men are killed. And in addition there is the harm to electricity systems, attacking infrastructure installations in Gaza, the dire economic situation and the fact that Hamas officials are underground….the population is starting to ask questions," he said.
The senior officer said there is no intention of tracking every launching pad and it is a big gamble to say the IDF can detect all rockets.
"Today it is no secret that we would have carried out an operation like this even if the event in Kerem Shalom where two soldiers were killed and Corporal Gilad Shalit was kidnapped wouldn’t have taken place. We shouldn't expect results in a day or two – they will decide when to ask for a ceasefire."
According to estimates in the southern command Gilad Shalit remains in Gaza and chances of him being smuggled to Egypt are low.
The IDF is keeping an eye on terror activities in southern Gaza especial as intelligence reports point that terrorists are planning to leave Gaza to Egypt and infiltrate Israel from there.