IDF response to Qassams in Gaza
Photo: AP

IDF officer says decrease in Qassam launching evident

High ranking IDF officer says despite reduced Qassam launching IDF activity against terror cells in the Gaza Strip to continue

A high-ranking IDF officer said that he believed the internal skirmishes in the Gaza Strip would not end in the near future and the IDF intended to continue activity against the Qassam rocket launching and terrorist infrastructures.


He said the goal was to hit "anyone engaged in terrorism, and not only empty camps. These actions have a cumulative affect."


Over the last 24 hours the IDF has been increasing its strain on the Gaza Strip. Tanks and cannon batteries have advanced towards the border. The IAF has also made several air strikes.


IDF tanks at the border with Gaza. (Photo: AFP)


"The IDF will target anyone who launches and transports Qassams and anyone who assists them. We will also hit weaponry warehouses and terrorist headquarters, with an emphasis on manned commands," he explained.


"Besides reducing the extent of the rocket launches, our goal is also to create deterrence. We can already sense a small decline in the number of Qassams fired, but we don't intend to stop now. For the time being, the strategy we are using best suits our interests," he stated.


The officer added that he did not think the internal conflict in the Strip would endanger the life of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit: "The fact that they are killing each other has nothing to do with that matter."


The IDF also admits that the terrorist organizations have improved their abilities as far as Qassam launching was concerned. "The terrorist organizations have developed their abilities in time, and we are not surprised by it. We are even prepared for it," he claimed.


He also hinted that for the time being IDF had no intentions to target the Palestinian Authority's water and electricity infrastructures. "We must consider whether such an act would be beneficial," he said. 


Israeli policy, he said, was to keep the crossings open so as not to hinder delivery of goods. Because of the internal situation the Palestinians are concerned about traveling to the crossings to collect the equipment, but Israel had not closed the crossings.


Regarding the extensive command drill that took place earlier this week he stated that as part of the lessons implemented after the Second Lebanon War, the drill had great import in improving IDF's preparedness towards future challenges.


"The drill achieved its goals. It emphasized the areas that we need to work on. We will continue to train and we will possibly perform similar drills in the future," he said. 


Regarding assessments that a war may break out this summer he said: "We do not consider the Syrian military activity as preparations for initiating a strike against Israel. We are working to ensure that things do not deteriorate there.


"We also believe that Hizbullah is not interested in escalations. They are preoccupied with the Lebanese situation and are busy rehabilitating," he concluded.


פרסום ראשון: 05.18.07, 11:55
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