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(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Defense Ministry Diplomatic-Military Bureau head Amos Gilad said Operation Cast Lead will continue with full force until calm is restored to the South.
Gilad noted that even though some Kassam rockets and mortar shells landed in Israel, they were much smaller in number than what Hamas and its affiliates were expected to shoot.
While some rockets hit as far as Ashdod, some 40 kilometers north of the Gaza Strip, Gilad noted that the relatively few and far between salvos were more an attempt by Hamas to "assert that it still exists" rather than the rain of rockets Hamas promised.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned Israelis that as many as 200 rockets a day might hit Israel. According to Gilad, over the first 25 hours of the operation some 150 rockets landed, killing one person and wounding four others.
Gilad also revealed that there was absolutely no security cooperation with Egypt ahead of the operation.
"Egypt is an Arab country; it would be totally inappropriate if we involved Arabs in security deliberations pertaining to Arabs, even if we are talking about a terrorist entity [Hamas] despised by a sovereign country [Egypt], as is the case here.
Asked about the fate of kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Schalit, Gilad denied any connection between the operation and efforts to free Schalit.
"Releasing Schalit is a goal in its own right, we have not ceased efforts to bring about his release even for a day," Gilad told Israel Radio.