Ehud Barak
Photo: AP

Barak: We will not hesitate to strike again

Defense minister meets with heads of Gaza vicinity communities following latest Qassam salvo on area; says Israel has no interest in seeing ceasefire end but will act to impede any threat

A Qassam rocket fired from northern Gaza landed near the security fence Wednesday night. Earlier in the afternoon, another rocket landed in the outskirts of Sderot. No injuries or damage were reported in either incident. Some 40 Qassam rockets were fired at Israel since Tuesday night.


Defense Minister Ehud Barak met Wednesday with the heads of the Gaza vicinity communities to discuss the escalation in the Gaza Strip and the collapse of the ceasefire agreement signed between Israel and the militant groups in Gaza.


Barak briefed the community heads of Tuesday's IDF operation in the Strip and detailed the reasons which prompted the military to act, saying the operation was imperative.


The nightly operation, said Barak "was a pinpoint, special forces operation, meant to neutralize a tunnel, which was dug a long time ago, and was meant to be used in a future attack on Israel.


"This is the kind of thing you have to impede and that is exactly what we did, knowing it might deteriorate the situation," he said.


"We also have to take into account the long term repercussions," continued Barak. "The operation itself was a success – Hamas lost seven gunmen and they will retaliate. We have no interest in seeing the ceasefire end, but if we think there are acts we have to prevent, we not hesitate to apply an offensive action."


The Gaza crossings, he informed the Gaza communities' heads, have been closed off, pending further notice. "I've come here to see how the home front is readying itself. We are using the lull to try and bring Gilad Shalit home."


Those attending the meeting asked Barak whether he foresaw any further escalation in the rocket fire, to which he replied that the situation could go both ways.


Deputy Defense Minister MK Matan Vilnai, who was also present at the meeting, said that the fortification effort in the Gaza vicinity communities have proven themselves effective.


פרסום ראשון: 11.05.08, 18:07
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