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 .
Samuel “Joe” Wurzelbacher , the Ohio man who became famous during the U.S. presidential campaign after asking Barack Obama about his tax plan, is heading to Israel as a war correspondent for Pajamas TV Gaza Update.
“Joe” was held up by the McCain campaign as an example of an American worker who would be hurt economically by Obama’s election.
Wurzelbacher will spend 10 days covering the fighting and explaining why Israeli forces are mounting attacks against Hamas. He tells WNWO-TV in Toledo that he wants “go over there and let their ‘Average Joes’ share their story.”
Hat Tip: Michelle Malkin