IDF Chief Ashkenazi
Photo: Gil Yohanan
"The IDF is preparing for an escalation on the Palestinian front and the northern front," IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi stated Tuesday during a drill at the Shizafon army base in the south.
"The army's next objective is to improve its readiness and fitness, while continuing to fight terror," Lieutenant General Ashkenazi told officer training course cadets who came to watch the drill. "The drill here displays very impressive abilities. There's only one thing missing – an enemy," he added.
Ashkenazi said that he did not know whether the security situation in the region would deteriorate to war, stressing, "The people of Israel trust us, and I trust you."
Defense Minister Amir Peretz, who also attended the exercise, said, "We have no intelligence indicating that Syria is interested in starting a war." However, he added, "I hope that the escalation in words does not bring about an escalation in reality."
Peretz emphasized that Israel was only performing training, and that he hoped the Syrians would not misinterpret the IDF's actions.