Israel ‘ready’ for new military operation on Gaza

Aftermath of an Israeli airstrike on the Gaza Strip on Dec. 27, 2008 during Israel’s devastating Operation Cast Lead
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — An Israeli army official said on Wednesday that forces have prepared for a new military operation on the Gaza Strip, alluding to a “different” approach from Operation Cast Lead, as Gaza marked the war’s third anniversary.

“We are preparing and in fact are ready for another campaign, which will be varied and different, to renew our deterrence,” head of the Gaza division’s Southern Brigade, Tal Hermoni told reporters, according to Israeli daily Haaretz.

But he downplayed the likelihood of a new war, after Israel’s army chief on Tuesday called Operation Cast Lead an “excellent” operation and said any repeat attack must be “swift and painful.”

“I wouldn’t eulogize Operation Cast Lead just yet… On a daily basis, it’s pretty quiet here. The mild response [to Tuesday’s airstrikes which killed one Palestinian] is evidence that they don’t want to feel the IDF’s fists,” Hermoni said.

Israeli army chiefs have prepared a plan for the next war on Gaza to be shorter than the 2008-2009 three-week assault, but to use much greater firepower, Haaretz reported.

Hamas vowed on Tuesday that it would not be intimidated by Israel’s threats to launch a new invasion, and lauded the steadfastness of the Gaza people.

“Instead of being erased from the map, Gaza has become the Qibla (the direction Muslims face when praying) for the free people of the world and a symbol of dignity under challenge,” Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said.

( / 30.12.2011)

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