Eisenkot: Thin line separates us from escalation in Gaza

The military is making "many efforts" since the end of Operation Protective Edge in 2014 to prolong the period of "quiet and normality, for as long as possible, in the area," Eisenkot says.

December 7, 2015 12:59
2 minute read.
Gadi Eisenkot

Eisenkot watching as children light the first Hanukah candle at the headquarters of the Gaza Division on Sunday night. (photo credit: IDF SPOKESMAN’S UNIT)

A thin line separate Israel from a security escalation in Gaza, IDF Chief of Staff Lt-. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot warned on Sunday evening.

During a speech at Southern Command to mark the merger of Armored Division 143 with the Gaza Division, Eisenkot said the newly formed division must face a complex reality on a daily basis. “From time to time, they challenge us with rocket fire at Israeli territory, and at times, a line as thin as a hair separates us from an incident that ends with rocket fire on an open area to rocket fire that can lead to casualties and an escalation.”

His words came after a cross-border shooting targeting an IDF engineering vehicle on Sunday afternoon. In response, the Israel Air Force struck a Hamas target in northern Gaza early on Monday morning.

The IDF vehicle was struck by multiple rounds fired from Gaza. Soldiers near the border fence between Israel and southern Gaza heard gunfire and discovered the damage. There were no injuries in the incident.

Eisenkot said that the military is making “many efforts” since the end of Operation Protective Edge in 2014 to leverage the achievements from that conflict and to prolong the period of “quiet and normality, for as long as possible, in the area.”

The period since the August 30, 2014 truce with Hamas, according to the chief of staff, has been, “The quietest this area has experienced in the past 15 years. Yet with that, a command chain and soldiers are here, who are aware of the complex and fragile situation and of the fact that we could activate this force within a short time frame.”

Recently appointed OC Southern Command, Maj.- Gen. Eyal Zamir, said the Gaza Division “is today on the front.

This is one of the most complex, complicated places, with a large operational challenge.”

Gaza Division Commander Brig.-Gen. Itay Virob, said, “From the day of its founding, Division 143 fought a battle of defense for the state of Israel, in defense of a 2000-year-old dream. We here in the Gaza Division are a defensive wall. We are the sons of this land, and we have turned into its bricks, bricks in the wall. We have been destined to become the bolts of its gates. We are the first to encounter the charging ram.”

Sunday’s cross-border gunfire was the second occurrence in recent days. Gunfire originating from the Gaza Strip also struck an IDF vehicle on Friday afternoon, during a military patrol of the border region between Israel and the southern Strip. Soldiers reported hearing gunfire during the patrol, and discovered a bullet lodged in the vehicle.

There were no injuries. “We are examining this incident,” the IDF Spokesman Unit said.

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