Army Chief: Israeli forces ready to launch ground strike in Gaza Strip
Israel's Chief of Staff Moshe Ya'alon told the cabinet Monday that the army was prepared to launch a ground strike in the Gaza Strip if the firing of Qassam rockets on the city of Ashkelon continued.
"The IDF (Israeli army) is prepared for the possibility of a ground operation in the Gaza Strip following the Qassam rockets fired at Ashkelon," Ya'alon said.
A Qassam rocket slammed into the coastal city of Ashkelon a few days ago. The rocket launcher was about ten meters from an installation of the Palestinian security services, Ya'alon told the ministers.
The Israeli military chief said the reason the rudimentary rockets have not caused much damage thus far was because the explosive heads they carry are not very powerful.
Moreover, he said the number of attempts to carry out "terror attacks" has increased from seven to 13 a day since the recent bus bombing in Jerusalem.
Meanwhile, according to Army Radio, Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said during the meeting that Israel must show the world that it still wants to pursue the diplomatic process, but that it will not make any concessions when it comes to security.
The Israeli Premier added that the Palestinians were still not fighting "terror" as the so-called "road map" requires them to do, and so Israel had no choice but to do the job.
On Sunday, Israel's Defense Minister Saul Mofaz warned that Israel maintains the option to launch a ground operation in the Gaza Strip.
"Israel will exercise that right at the appropriate time," he said. "The IDF will continue to operate against Hamas and ticking bombs in light of the increasing terror threats." (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)