Olmert: Israel will expand Gaza operation

Tuesday, October 31, 2006 |  by Staff Writer
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced at a Knesset meeting on Monday that Israel would extend its operation against Hamas in the Strip, but has no intention of remaining for a lengthy period in Gaza.

At a Foreign Affairs Committee meeting he said that the Israel Defense Forces has killed more than 300 terrorists in the past three months alone in the Gaza Strip.

Olmert said that in addition to expanding the war on terror, Israel would do everything in its power to prevent a humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

The prime minister added that there is no reason to add 5,000 Egyptian police officers at the border with Israel to prevent the smuggling of weapons through the Philadelphi route from Egypt into Gaza.

According to IDF officials, terror organizations are using tunnels to smuggle weapons, strengthening and arming themselves with improved and sophisticated weapons, such as antitank missiles like the ones used by Hizballah.

“We will make sure to use our judgment regarding wide-scale offensive moves in the Gaza Strip, although we will operate wherever it is needed,” said Defense Minister Amir Peretz.

Peretz affirmed that the IDF does not plan to reoccupy the Gaza Strip, but will work to neutralize the threat of tunnels.

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