Qassam in Sderot
Photo: Almog Sugavker
Photo: AP
Artillery fire on Gaza (archive photo)
Photo: AP

IDF: Reconsider restraint policy

Army official tells Ynet ‘Israel’s policy toward incessant Qassam rocket fire may be interpreted as weakness; IDF calls for pinpoint attacks against rocket-launching areas, Qassam cells increasing

A senior Israel Defense Forces official told Ynet Wednesday that “Israel’s policy toward the incessant Qassam rocket fire may be interpreted as a sign of weakness.”


Following the launching of some 40 Qassams since the agreed upon ceasefire went into effect, army officials are increasingly calling for retaliation, including pinpoint attacks on rocket-launching area and Qassam cells.


Ynet has learned that the IDF recently decided to remove artillery batteries that were placed around the Gaza Strip a few months after the disengagement, this following the errant fire on Beit Hanoun and the truce.


At least half of the rockets fired toward Israel since the ceasefire was declared landed in Sderot and surrounding areas. Senior IDF officers are demanding more freedom to act, but the political echelon decided that the army would not return fire at Qassam-launching cells as long as the truce remains in effect.


'Review its artillery fire procedures'

Defense Minister Amir Peretz said after six Qassams were fired toward Israeli territory since noon Wednesday that “Israel will rethink its policy of restraint should Palestinian terror groups continue to breach the ceasefire.”


He noted that the continuous fire of Qassam rockets from Gaza into Israel is a blatant violation of the ceasefire. "Israel has no intention to gamble with the safety of its citizens, there is a limit to our restraint," said Peretz.


Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said earlier that Israel's restraint to ongoing violations of the ceasefire in the form of rocket attacks at southern Israeli cities will soon end.


“Sometimes the difficulty stems from the fact that others do not always see the broad and complex picture in this part of the world,” he said.


Following the Beit Hanoun incident Peretz ordered limited orders to fire artilleries into Gaza to command chiefs, officers ranking as maj.-gen. and above.


He also ordered the army to review its artillery fire procedures.  


פרסום ראשון: 12.20.06, 20:03
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