Barak in Ze'elim
Photo courtesy of the Defense Ministry
Livni at IDC
An explosive device was detonated near the crossing, which is adjacent to the Gaza Strip border, around 8 am Tuesday, just as an IDF force was approaching the area. A gunfight soon ensued. The incident claimed the life of one soldier, leaving three others injured.
Barak was briefed on the morning's events in Kissufim while observing a drill held at the Field and MOUT (Military Operations on Urban Terrain) Training Center, at the southern IDF base of Ze'elim.
The war on terror, he said, is far from over, despite the massive blow dealt to Hamas during Operation Cast Lead. "Things have not disappeared. Iran is still here, as are Syria and Hizbullah. Some terror organizations have grown stronger and Hamas has not disappeared, but the blow will create deterrence.
"This doesn’t mean we won't see attempted attacks along the border, or maybe even an incident we would be forces to retaliate on; but they will remember this time well, like Hizbullah remembers the blow it received two and a half years ago."
Barak spoke with reserve soldiers taking part in the Ze'elim drill, and told them that their training was part of the sector's overall readiness. "We all know the (Gaza) Division and its missions. You are part of a division and a brigade that are in the forefront of the forefront of any operational activity. All these abilities, including the lessons learned after the Second Lebanon War must now be applied in training and in case of an actual operation."
Barak in Ze'elim (photo courtesy of the Defense Ministry)
Israel, he added "is far from reaching peace and quiet. In this region, you have to be strong even when striking peace and there is no grace (period) for the weak. Those who don’t know how to defend themselves will not get a second chance. We will not be able to strike agreements without force and without the ability to exercise that force."
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni was told of the incident while speaking at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya. "If someone fires or places a charge or smuggles arms, Israel must retaliate," she said.
"As I said before the Gaza offensive, if we are attacked we must strike back. The way we conduct ourselves after the operation is just as important... This is a test of actions, not just of rhetoric. Changing the equation has to do not only with what we've already done, but with what we will do next."
Shas Chairman Eli Yishai added that "restraint is not genetic. We cannot hold back for another eight years, we must strike back at terror." Yishai urged the government to strike at Hamas terror hubs in the Strip one again.
Roni Sofer and Ronen Medzini contributed to this report