Stating that Israel had crippled Hamas, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert just announced an end to the 3-week Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip. He said the army would remain in Gaza while Egypt mediates a long-term truce with Hamas.
According to DEBKAfile Israeli forces will hold to their positions in the Gaza Strip for a trial period to test Hamas’ response. Meanwhile, Hamas promises to keep on fighting and shooting rockets, while neither Washington nor Cairo guarantee action to end the flow of weapons to Gaza. As the Israeli security cabinet voted on the unilateral cease fire, Hamas blasted rockets against Ashdod and Ashkelon.
The IDF Spokesperson’s Office reiterated that the IDF began Operation Cast Lead following an extended period of restraint as Hamas continued to terrorize the residents of southern Israel with daily rocket barrages. According to the IDF “Hamas alone is responsible for creating the situation in Gaza and is accountable for its consequences.”
The IDF will redeploy forces within the Gaza Strip in accordance with security assessments. Air, naval, ground and intelligence forces will remain on alert .
David Saranga of the Israeli Consulate in New York, posted an informative backgrounder today on the story behind the June “cease fire” between Israel and Hamas. His article points out that while rocket and mortar fire from Gaza slowed during the “lull,” it never fully stopped. David goes on to say that rather than use the “state of calm” to promote peace and to build a civilian infrastructure in Gaza, Hamas took advantage of the situation to expand its terrorist capabilities. For more information go to David’s site.
Source: Israel Consulate via IsraelPolitik