Calls are mounting within the IDF’s Southern Command to launch a large-scale
offensive against Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip in the face of
continued rocket attacks over the weekend.
On Saturday night, the Israel
Air Force bombed a number of targets in the Strip in response to the firing of a
number of Grad-model Katyusha rockets into Israel. One landed in Beersheba on
Saturday. In another attack, an RPG was fired at an IDF patrol along the border
“There is no need to wait for a provocation to launch an
offensive against terrorist infrastructure in the Gaza Strip,” a senior officer
in the Southern Command explained. “The ongoing attacks – by rockets and along
the border – are cumulatively more than enough to justify immediate
Last month, The Jerusalem Post revealed that the IDF General
Staff had ordered the Southern Command to speed up preparations for a possible
large-scale operation in the Strip within the coming months.
included finalizing operational plans and distributing them between the various
units that would be deployed inside Gaza.
During Operation Cast Lead,
Israel’s anti-Hamas operation launched in late 2008, the IDF established
brigade-level units that combined armor, infantry and combat engineer forces. A
similar model would likely be applied to a future operation in Gaza as
The debate within the IDF is whether it needs to wait for a
successful attack by Gaza terrorists – be it a rocket attack that causes
casualties or a successful cross border attack – or if the sporadic rocket fire
is enough of a justification to launch an operation today.
In 2011, 680
rockets and mortar shells were fired into Israel, including 80 long-range
Grad-model Katyusha rockets, in comparison with just two Grads in 2010. Since
the beginning of 2012, nearly 30 rockets have been fired into
Ahead of a future conflict, the IDF will this week deploy the
Iron Dome counter-rocket defense system near Tel Aviv.
stressed that the deployment of the missile defense system was done as part of a
program – revealed in the Post last April – to place system deployment locations
outside all major population centers throughout the country.
IDF’s intention to deploy the Iron Dome outside of Tel Aviv was revealed last
year, the deployment was delayed until this week.