Cabinet approves Gaza fortification plan

Monday, January 22, 2007 |  by Staff Writer
The Israeli cabinet has approved on Sunday a far reaching plan to fortify all homes and structures in the Gaza vicinity area. The plan will cover homes, schools and public structures located within seven kilometers of the Gaza border.

The plan, which was formulated by Director-General of the Prime Minister's office Raanan Dinur, will cost an estimated 400-900 million shekels, and will include building 4,000 reinforced rooms. A priority in the project will be given to schools and public institutions.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said during the weekly cabinet meeting that the primary consideration for the plan was the sense of security the fortification would give the residents, in particular the children.

"As far as I am concerned, this is the crucial consideration, although there is nothing that can ensure a total stop of the Kassams," Olmert said.

The approved fortification plan, however, may not be enough as a top IDF official said Sunday that Hamas is currently making efforts to extend the range of the Kassam rockets to hit the port city of Ashdod, approximately 20 kilometers north of Ashkelon, the farthest point reached by the Kassam rockets so far.

Brigadier-General Udi Dekel, who spoke at the Herzliya Conference, added that Hamas is taking advantage of the calm in Gaza to smuggle massive amounts of weapons through the Philadelphi corridor.

"The question we ask ourselves is whether Ashdod will be next on the Kassam's hit list," Dekel said.

Dekel also said that Hizballah is gaining back its power in Lebanon and the weapons smuggling from Syria is continuing.

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