Israel threatens offensive in Gaza Strip

November 16th, 2008 - 5:37 am ICT by IANS  

Tel Aviv, Nov 16 (DPA) In response to a resumption of Palestinian rocket attacks against Israel, Defence Minister Ehud Barak Saturday threatened a military offensive in the Gaza Strip.”It is possible that the time will come in which a large calculated military operation will be necessary,” he said in a speech in the coastal city of Netanya.

He called the firing of rockets into Israeli border cities untolerable and said the Israeli Army is prepared for a large offensive that could be painful for the Palestinian side.

Israel closed the commercial crossing points along the Gaza Strip on Nov 4, following a surge of violence that left a June ceasefire in tatters. In two actions this week, the Israeli Army killed 10 Palestinians, while militants have fired more than 100 rockets into Israel, according to military estimates.

The radical Islamic group Hamas, which has controlled Gaza since last June, Saturday threatened further attacks. “The Israelis will enjoy no peace as long as the Palestinians experience bloodshed,” Hamas spokesman Fawsi Barhum said.

In response to the violence, Israel has largely sealed off the Strip. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) was unable to deliver food aid to 750,000 refugees in the impoverished Strip Saturday.

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