Israel says bombardments of Gaza Strip to continue
Israel's Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz said Israel would step up its bombardments of Gaza Strip, as Palestinian premier Ismail Haniya accused Israel of trying to bring the Palestinian people to their knees.
Israeli officials noted Tuesday that there would be no easing off in the military activity. "As long as calm does not prevail on the Israeli side, neither will it do so on the Palestinian side," said Mofaz, according to AFP. "Our operations are going to intensify."
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni also vowed to continue with the attacks. "The role of the Israeli army is to defend Israeli civilians, combat terrorism and prevent rocket attacks," she told public radio. "As long as Palestinians fire at residential areas, the army must reply."
But Haniya said the Israeli fire aimed at breaking the will of the Palestinian people. "The bombardments in the north of the Gaza Strip and in (southern) Khan Yunis ... are part of a political and economic siege of the Palestinian people," said Haniya. "This is an attempt to bring the Palestinian people to their knees and strangle the government which was democratically elected," he added.
On his part, Palestinian Authority president Mahmud Abbas said that his office had been in contact with the Israeli government over the bombardments. "We are making these contacts to stop the Israeli escalation in Gaza," he said.