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|Olmert warns of 'severe' Gaza raids|
Article Date: February 02, 2009
Olmert, Israel's prime minister, has vowed his country will deliver a
"severe and disproportionate response" after Palestinian fighters fired
rockets into southern Israel.
"We've said that if there is rocket fire against the south of the country, there will be a severe and disproportionate Israeli response to the fire on the citizens of Israel and its security forces," he said on Sunday at the weekly cabinet meeting.
least three rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip on Sunday, but caused
no damage or injuries, police said.
and Hamas, the Palestinian group, declared separate ceasefires last
month after a 22-day Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip that killed at
least 1,300 Palestinians, many of them women and children.
But there has been sporadic rocket fire across the border and a number of Israeli air raids since the truces were announced.
Olmert said at the cabinet meeting: "The situation ... in recent days has increased in a manner that does not allow Israel not to retaliate in order to make sure that our position ... is understood by those involved in the fire.
response will come at the time, the place and the manner that we
"Israel will respond whether the Qassam [rocket] causes injuries or not,
and this is how I will act as prime minister as well. We must use force
and a lot of force."
"For Barak and Livni there is a strong desire to show the Israeli public that the security interest of Israeli citizens is still uppermost in their minds," he said.
Israeli government is keen to demonstrate, as much for domestic
consumption as anything else with an election coming up, that it is
firmly committed to hitting Hamas hard in reponse to any firing of
is an attempt to find a false excuse to escalate the aggression against
the Palestinians, to destroy the Egyptian efforts to improve the calm
and to use pressure against the Palestinian people to accept Israeli
conditions in those talks."
will not be armed with a nuclear weapon. That is a fact," he said on
Israel's Channel 2 television.
"Netanyahu has insisted that the war was not a success, that it should have gone on longer, that it should have been harder and had the effect of collapsing or destroying Hamas altogether," he said."But Netanyahu also goes one step further in his platform of total security for Israel, bringing in Iran ... Netanyahu knows that stance, Iran very firmly linked in the minds of Israelis to Hamas, is a very popular one."
Source: Al Jazeera & agencies