Gantz warns terrorists not to test strength of IDF

Home Front Defense Minister Matan Vilnai says cell in Sinai plans to carry out an attack against Israel along its border with Egypt.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
August 30, 2011 22:56
3 minute read.
IDF chief of General Staff Benny Gantz [file]

Benny Gantz 311. (photo credit: IDF Spokesperson)

 
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IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz on Tuesday warned terrorist organizations not to test the strength of the IDF, saying that all attacks against Israel would be answered with a harsh response.

Speaking at a Navy ceremony in Ashdod, Gantz said that the Eilat attacks, continued rocket fire from Gaza and the terror attack at a Tel Aviv nightclub earlier this week prove that Israel must be prepared to deal with threats of every kind.

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Gantz added that the IDF has an obligation to do all it can to free all of Israel's captive soldiers, including Gilad Schalit.

Earlier on Tuesday, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that "all of Gaza" would be held responsible for any terror attack perpetrated in the South, Israel Radio reported.

Barak instructed the defense establishment to maintain a high level of preparedness in the South in response to intelligence suggesting a terror attack is being planned near the border with Egypt.

Home Front Defense Minister Matan Vilnai said Tuesday that a cell of more than 10 terrorists is currently in the Sinai with plans to carry out an attack against Israel along its border with Egypt.



“Islamic Jihad is trying for a long time to perpetrate the attacks from the Sinai and the Id al-Fitr is a good time for attacks,” Vilnai said during a visit to an Elbit Systems factory in Sderot in reference to the Muslim holiday, which begins on Tuesday. “The defense establishment has concrete intelligence regarding plans by a terror cell from the Sinai consisting of more than 10 people.”

Vilnai said that the IDF and the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) were working in close cooperation to thwart the attack and that Israel was also coordinating with Egypt.

On Monday, the IDF went on high alert along Israel’s southern border with Egypt on Monday and significantly bolstered its forces there amid concrete intelligence that Islamic Jihad terrorists were planning to infiltrate into Israel and carry out a similar attack to the one near Eilat 10 days ago.

Gantz made the decision to beef up forces along the border late Sunday night and instructed OC Planning Directorate Maj.-Gen. Amir Eshel to update the Egyptian military of the decision.

IDF sources said that intelligence indicated that the Islamic Jihad cell had crossed into the Sinai Peninsula from the Gaza Strip and was planning to carry out an attack along one of the roads that runs alongside the border in the coming days. As a result, both Roads 12 and 10 remained closed on Tuesday. 

A senior defense official said on Tuesday that Israel was restraining itself and not taking action against the Islamic Jihad in order to not undermine the Egyptian regime.

Israel’s ties with the interim military-controlled regime in Egypt has been tenuous since the attacks near Eilat on August 18 and amid growing calls within Egypt to review the peace treaty between the countries. As a result, Israel decided not to launch a larger offensive against terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip.

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