Israel mulls response to Gaza rocket barrage

Wednesday, April 25, 2007 |  by Staff Writer  

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert met with senior defense officials on Wednesday to discuss a possible military response to a Palestinian rocket barrage launched against southern Israel from the Gaza Strip a day earlier.

IDF sources said the firing of dozens of rockets and mortar shells was also accompanied by an attempt to abduct another Israeli soldier, an operation that was thwarted by the army.

Ha'aretz noted that Olmert did not urgently convene his diplomatic-security cabinet, indicating that Israel's response to the Independence Day violence would be "moderate."

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas insisted that the coordinated series of attacks, which were perpetrated by his coalition partners in Hamas, marked a "one-time violation of the truce," and did not, as Hamas suggested, signal the start of a fresh terrorism campaign.

Meanwhile, IDF sources cited by The Jerusalem Post said they would seek authorization to renew regular "pinpoint" strikes against the Hamas infrastructure in Gaza.

But Defense Minister Amir Peretz told Ynet that the army would continue to take defensive action only until the Palestinians crossed an unspecified "red line."

Residents of southern Israel have long complained that because of the miraculous lack of casualties in what have been almost daily rocket attacks from Gaza, the government fails to view the siege under which they live with full severity and take appropriate action.

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