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Barak travels to Gaza border, says hostilities not over
By YAAKOV LAPPIN
11/13/2012
Defense minister meets with IDF OC Southern Command and Gaza Division Commander, says IDF intends "to bring back deterrence" to border; PM meets with security cabinet to discuss possible response to rockets.
 
Defense Minister Ehud Barak traveled to the Gaza border on Tuesday where he visited the IDF's Gaza Division and held a security evaluation with army chiefs.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was meeting with the security cabinet on Tuesday morning to discuss possible responses to threats from Gaza, after the IAF hit three targets in the Strip overnight Monday. One of the responses being considered is targeted assassination of Hamas commanders in Gaza, Army Radio reported.

After meeting with OC Southern Command, Maj.-Gen. Tal Russo, and Gaza Division Commander, Brig.-Gen. Micky Edelsteinm, Barak said the ongoing conflict with Gazan terror organizations "is still not over."

He praised the army officials for "a professional and systematic operation that is being carried out," adding that "Hamas and the terror organizations are absorbing heavy blows in Gaza as a result."

"This clearly isn't over and we will decide how and when to act the minute there will be a need to do so," the defense minister said, repeating similar statements he made over the past three days.

"I don't want to address when or ways [to operate], because it would not be right to give that information to the other side," he said.

Barak reiterated that Israel "would not accept the harm to daily life of our civilians," adding that "we intend to bring back deterrence" and to ensure that the IDF will be able to operate freely along the Gaza border fence, where it has come under frequent attack in recent weeks.

Asked to respond to the frustration of southern residents over the lack of a clear IDF response to the recent Palestinian rocket barrages, Barak said, "I'd like to praise the heads of councils and mayors... and civilians... on their resilience." He added that there was no speedy solution.

"On these issues it's preferable to act rather than to speak," Barak added.

Yishai to UN: Stop Gaza terror before Israel must act

Interior Minister Eli Yishai on Tuesday called on the UN and the international community to take immediate action to stop rocket fire from the Gaza, before Israel was forced to respond to the attacks to protect its citizens.

In a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Yishai said, "Before Israel determines the timing and strength of its response, I request your immediate intervention to deter and stop the terrorist activity of the decision-makers in Gaza."

Hamas leaders in Gaza called a meeting of the various factions on Monday evening to examine how to avoid further Palestinian casualties, Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency reported, citing a Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) leader. Six Palestinians have been killed in Israeli strikes since the weekend, four of whom were civilians.

A Hamas statement from the meeting said that its activities and the possibility of a cease-fire “depend on the continuation of the Israeli aggression.”

Soon after the meeting, however, Gazans fired three additional rockets at Sderot.The rockets exploded in open areas, causing no damages or injuries.

Tuesday morning, Palestinians fired a long-range rocket at Ashdod. The projectile exploded in the vicinity of the city, failing to cause injuries.

Tovah Lazaroff and JPost.com staff contributed to this report.
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