Barak: Rocket launch sites the target
Photo: Daniel Bar-On, Jini
Yadlin: Iran and Syria waiting
Photo: Haim Zach

Intelligence chief: Don't forget Iran, Syria

Major General Amos Yadlin says current quiet on other fronts should not mislead Israel, as country's enemies watch Gaza developments before taking next steps

The latest round of violence in Gaza was ignited by the assassination of five Hamas military experts  trained in Iran, Syria and Lebanon, IDF Intelligence Chief Major General Amos Yadlin told cabinet ministers Sunday.


Yadlin noted that the massive Qassam fire leveled at Israel by Palestinian terror groups began when Israel "prevented a quality terror attack" by assassinating the military experts.


The intelligence chief also noted that Hamas is waging a broad-based strategic military campaign, and that Israel must consider all facets of this campaign in order to respond most effectively.


“With all the focus on the south of Israel right now, said Yadlin, we must not forget Iran, Hizbullah and Syria. The fact that they are quiet right now does not mean that they have bowed out of this battle. On the contrary, they are all looking to Gaza in order to see how this conflict will pan out, and this will greatly determine the steps they take next,” he warned.


Hamas is currently under political siege, explained Yadlin. “Very few countries are willing to have diplomatic relations with this organization,” he said, and this has led Hamas to take steps to try and escape this political isolation.


“Hamas reigns supreme in Gaza, “ Yadlin said, “it spearheads all military operations as well as all terror attacks originating from the Strip.”


Prime Minister Ehud Olmert also addressed the cabinet ministers Sunday and stated that “we talk far too much, far more than is necessary, which removes the element of surprise in our dealings with these murderous organizations, and affords them much greater flexibility and preparedness in their actions.” Olmert asked his cabinet to “keep talk of ultimatums, military strategy and the like to a bare minimum.”


The cabinet also discussed the cynical use Hamas makes of Palestinian civilians in camouflaging its rocket attacks on Israel. IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi told the cabinet that several days ago an old Palestinian man was spotted leaving a village in the northern Gaza Strip with a wagon. In this wagon was hidden a long-range Grad missile that was then promptly launched at Israel from a nearby orchard.


'Military action bears heavy price'

Defense Minister Ehud Barak noted at the cabinet meeting that one Israeli civilian and 100 Palestinians were killed during the past week’s military campaign. “Military action bears a heavy price, namely two Israeli casualties,” Barak said.


The defense minister also noted that the Palestinians' recent use of Grad missiles is far graver than past Qassam rocket attacks. “Israel cannot and should not accept this escalation in violence and uninterrupted use of industrialized Grad missiles on the part of the Palestinians, which automatically triples the number of Israeli civilians vulnerable to such attacks,” he said. 


Prime Minister Olmert spoke out harshly during Sunday’s meeting against international condemnation leveled at Israel. “while Israel is merely exercising its right to defend itself, the self righteous international community is all too quick to rebuke it,” said Olmert.


פרסום ראשון: 03.02.08, 19:14
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