PA fears new Israeli offensive on Gaza, Erekat says

PA chief negotiator warns military measures will only make matters worse, Israel Radio reports; Deputy PM Meridor states Israel cannot accept continued rocket fire from Gaza; hopes Cast Lead II not necessary.

December 22, 2010 14:05
1 minute read.
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat

Saeb Erekat 311 AP. (photo credit: AP)

Palestinian Authority chief negotiator Saeb Erekat on Wednesday expressed concern over Israel's latest attacks on the Gaza Strip, Israel Radio reported.

Erekat stated that the Palestinian Authority fears Israel will launch a new large scale attack on Gaza, following escalated tensions in the area.

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The PA negotiator added that military measures will not solve anything and will only make things worse.

On Tuesday, Israel  pounded Hamas targets throughout the Gaza Strip in the most extensive aerial bombardment since Operation Cast Lead two years ago.

At least three Hamas operatives were killed during the bombing of arms storehouses and smuggling tunnels along the border with Egypt, and in the pummeling of tunnels being dug toward Israel.

The IAF strikes came in response to multiple attacks on southern Israel from Gaza.

A Kassam rocket was fired from the Gaza Strip into the Ashkelon area on Tuesday morning, landing in Kibbutz Zikim. The rocket exploded near a kindergarten, as dozens of parents were dropping off their children at school, injuring a 14-year old girl.

The incident followed a spate of attacks emanating from Gaza in the previous days, encompassing the launch of some three rockets and 18 mortars into the regions of Eshkol and Ashkelon. These attacks included the launch of six mortars on Sunday at IDF forces operating near the Kerem Shalom Crossing.

Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor on Wednesday said that Israel cannot accept continued rocket fire from the Gaza Strip and that he hoped another large scale offensive in the territory like Operation Cast Lead wouldn't be necessary. Meridor's comments came in an interview with Israel Radio.

Meridor stated that Hamas has not done enough lately to prevent other organizations from firing rockets into residential areas of the Negev.

He added that Israel will continue to respond decisively to rocket fire until the attacks from Gaza stop completely.

On Tuesday, Israeli ambassador to the United Nations Meron Reuben filed a complaint with the Security Council about the rocket and mortar fire from Gaza.

Yaakov Katz contributed to this report

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