Barak: Do not lose judgment in times of grief
Defense minister addresses situation in Gaza, says that while mindful of suffering of Palestinian population Israel's top priority remains the suffering of its citizens in communities near border. Top IDF officer says initial probe into conduct of Givati force during morning's clashes indicate casualties were result of 'tactical errors'
"Even in moments of grief we must not lose our judgment. We are aware that Gaza's population is suffering. The situation there is difficult, but the suffering of the (Israeli) residents of the Gaza-vicinity communities and IDF soldiers is more important to us.
"We have triumphed over difficult challenges in the past," he said, "this is not a case of 'bang and we're done.'"
Army: Achievements come with price
A senior IDF officer from the Southern Command said that the preliminary inquiry into the soldiers' deaths indicates that the force acted in accordance with regulations but apparently made several tactical errors, which are being studied.
"It would appear that the deterrence achieved by operation 'Warm Winter' has dissipated and Hamas has resumed a frequent rate of attacks," said the officer. "Over the past two weeks we have witnessed a rise in the amount of terror attacks being carried out, particularly along the border fence."
The officer said that the IDF has stepped up its operations in the Gaza-vicinity area as a response.
On Tuesday a tunnel filled with explosives was detonated under a house in northern Gaza while troops were operating in the region. No injuries were reported in the incident.
"The terrorists are booby-trapping buildings, in an effort to impede our operations. We're at war and while we almost always have achievements, they do not always come without a price," he said. "The scope of our operations is immense; we cannot guarantee 100% of them will end without casualties."
Atilla Somfalvi contributed to this report