Israeli boys wounded by Gaza rockets; Israel demands response

Sunday, February 10, 2008 |  by Staff Writer

An 8-year-old Israel boy and his 19-year-old brother were seriously wounded on Saturday night when a rocket fired by Arab terrorists operating out of nearby Gaza struck the southern Israel town of Sderot.

The younger of the siblings had one of his legs amputated as a result of the attack.

On Sunday, hundreds of angered residents of Sderot arrived in Jerusalem to protest the government's failure to authorize the kind of military response that would put an end to the daily rocket attacks.

Gathered outside Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's official residence, the protestors demanded he give a green light to a major ground invasion of Gaza that military leaders and defense officials have been saying for years is the only way to significantly reduce and possibly eliminate the rocket threat.

Speaking at Sunday's cabinet meeting, however, Mr. Olmert insisted that launching a crushing military response at this point would be little more than an emotional response to Saturday's attack and would solve nothing.

Mr. Olmert was cited by the Associated Press as telling his ministers that Israel must "act in a methodical and organized fashion, over time. That's what we're doing, that's what we'll continue to do."

A number of ministers, including those who have previously headed Israel's security forces, disagreed with Mr. Olmert.

Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit suggested authorizing the IDF to call for the evacuation of an entire Gaza neighborhood and them demolish it.

Internal Security Minister and former Israel Security Agency chief Avi Dichter, who had just returned from a weekend visit to Sderot, said the government must unleash Israel's full military power against the Gaza threat.

Transportation Minister and former Israeli army chief Sha'ul Mofaz was most critical of Mr. Olmert, accusing the prime minister of clinging to policy that had defined end goal and that left the fate of the residents of southern Israel too much up to chance.

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