Gaza operation to continue: Olmert

December 28th, 2008 - 4:29 am ICT by IANS  

Jerusalem, Dec 28 (Xinhua) Israel Saturday said the military operation in Gaza will continue till the Hamas-led militant groups end their rocket attacks and the situation is normalised in southern part of the country.”We are not eager for a fight, but we will not back down from it,” Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said at a joint press conference with Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Defence Minister Ehud Barak.

“Israel has done all it could to preserve the ceasefire with Hamas, but our desire for quiet was met with terror,” Olmert said.

He said the army will continue to operate in Gaza, as the efforts to bring back normalcy in southern Israel, target of the rocket attacks, would take time.

The premier tried to ease the humanitarian concerns of the international community, saying that Israel will do whatever it can to prevent a humanitarian disaster in the impoverished area.

The remarks came hours after Israeli defence forces carried out a series of air strikes in the Gaza Strip, killing at least 200 people and wounding 750 others.

Shortly after the air raids, Barak told at a press conference that the time has come for battle and the operation would be widened if needed.

Local daily The Jerusalem Post reported that the Israeli army was increasing its troops around the Gaza Strip Saturday evening in preparation of a possible ground operation.

Meanwhile, Livni has instructed her ministry to step up public relation efforts to garner support of the international community, highlighting that Israel has been left with no other option.

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