Sunday, December 28, 2008

Israel strikes back against Hamas terror infrastructure in Gaza

Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Since Saturday morning (27 Dec), the IDF attacked dozens of targets affiliated with the Hamas terror organization in the Gaza Strip.

Underground missile launching pad purposely located in a residential area in Gaza
Caption and credit

Beber Vaknin, 58, of Netivot was killed when a Kassam rocket struck an apartment building, and five other Israelis sustained light to serious wounds after rockets hit a synagogue in southern Israel on Saturday, 27 December. Hamas' armed wing, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, claimed responsibility for the deadly attack in Netivot.

Since 11:30 Saturday morning, the IDF attacked dozens of targets affiliated with the Hamas terror organization in the Gaza Strip. The targets included command centers, training camps, various Hamas installations, rocket manufacturing facilities and storage warehouses. The vast majority of the casualties are terror operatives, most of whom were wearing uniform and working on behalf of terror organizations.

The Air Force activity came as a result of the continuation of terror activity by Hamas terror organization from the Gaza Strip, and the duration of rocket launching and targeting Israeli civilians.

The targets that were attacked were located by intelligence gathered during the last months and include Hamas terror operatives that operated from the organization's headquarters, training camps and weaponry storage warehouses.

The Hamas government leaders and operatives, which activate terror from within civilian population centers, are the sole bearers of responsibility for Israel's military response. This response is crucial for preserving Israel's security interests.

The IDF Spokesperson wishes to emphasize that anyone sponsoring terror, hosting terror in his house, housing terror in his basement and sending his wives and children to serve as human shields- is considered a terrorist.

IAF aircraft struck a number of terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip, including a mosque in the Rimal neighborhood in Gaza city, from which many terrorist operations emanated. The mosque served as a base for terrorist activities. The IDF will continue to strike at any target that serves as a base for the terrorist activity against Israeli citizens. Those who are responsible for the attacks against residents of the south will not find refuge in any facility.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak convened a press conference on Saturday afternoon to formally announce the beginning of the IDF's operation against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Barak laid out the three objectives of the offensive: dealing Hamas a forceful blow, fundamentally changing the situation in Gaza, and bringing to the cessation of rocket attacks against Israeli citizens.

FM Livni briefing to foreign press: "This is the translation of our basic right to self defense. Hamas cynically abuses its own civilian population and their suffering for propaganda purposes. The responsibility for harm to civilians lies with Hamas. Israel expects the support and understanding of the international community, as it confronts terror."

At a noon press conference broadcast on Egyptian television Egyptian FM Gheit harshly censured Hamas, placing responsibility for the current situation on Hamas.

PM Olmert: "The lives of Israelis are not forfeit, and Israel will not hesitate to respond to any acts of aggression against it. We want to bring back peace and quiet and give residents of the south the opportunity to live normal lives. Israel is not fighting against the Palestinian people, and the targets attacked today were chosen with the intent of avoiding civilian casualties."

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