Pending operation. (Illustration)
Photo: Reuters
IDF: Ill-timed Gaza campaign may result in mass casualties
IDF officials warn Security Cabinet against launching military operation in Strip too soon. Gaza incursion may take longer than Israel thinks, they say

The IDF had presented the Security Cabinet with data suggesting a wide-scale military operation in the Gaza Strip at this time may result is mass casualties to Israeli forces, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Friday.


The IDF estimates a Gaza operation will be a lengthy one, taking at least several months. Such an operation, the Cabinet was told, may be counterproductive, as it may contribute to Hamas' intensifying the Qassam launchings towards Israel.


For the IDF to reclaim control of the Philadelphi Route – which is needed in order to prevent weapons' smuggling from Egypt to the Strip, it would have to put some 100,000 Palestinians under Israeli rule.


The IDF, Cabinet members were told, is gearing up for the pending Gaza operation, but this is not the right time to embark on it.


The IDF further told the Security Cabinet, that the present method of operations – targeted operations – has proven very successful, causing significant losses to Hamas and diminishing the numbers of Qassams fired at Israel.


The IDF has preformed 115 targeted operations on Gaza in the last six months, killing some 300 terrorists. The number of Qassam rockets fired at Israel since the beginning of 2007, said the IDF, has decreased by 33%.


The Cabinet was also briefed on the results of the financial sanctions places on the Gaza Strip: Closing the crossing and restricting the fuel supply has resulted in Hamas losing support, as calls against the organization's rule have begun sounding.


Nevertheless, the IDF warned that Hamas is gaining military strength, stocking up on sophisticated, long-range weapons.


"Israel's strategic goal must be to topple Hamas' rule in Gaza," Vice Premier Haim Ramon told Yedioth Ahronoth, adding "before we take any wide-scale measure in Gaza, we must implement harsher financial sanctions and continue the targeted operations."


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