(photo credit: )
There is no need to look for anything unique in the latest IDF offensive in the Gaza Strip.
The country's eyes may have been busy following the deployment of the multinational force in southern Lebanon and the aftermath of the war there, but in the meantime Israel has been busy waging a daily war against Palestinian terror infrastructure in Gaza.
While most of the IDF's infantry brigades were called up to Lebanon during the recent war, the Givati Brigade - known for its Gaza expertise - remained south, maintaining pressure on Palestinian Kassam rocket cells.
The Palestinian terrorrist groups in the Gaza Strip are in the midst of an arms race.
According to senior IDF commanders they have in recent months obtained advanced weaponry, including anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles.
Katyusha rockets, although outdated, are also known to be in the possession of Islamic Jihad and Popular Resistance Committee cells, and the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) has said that at least two tons of explosives are smuggled into the Palestinian territory on a monthly basis.
With Cpl. Gilad Shalit still in captivity, however, the purpose of the recent operation in Gaza is twofold - to mow the terror "lawn," which if not done periodically can grow out of control, and to pressure Hamas to release Shalit.
While most recent reports in the Arab press claim that talks over Shalit's release have reached a deadlock, his fate was taken into consideration when Defense Minister Amir Peretz decided to order the recent Gaza offensive.
The IDF operations are also reaping fruit. Although three people were wounded in a Kassam rocket attack over the weekend, only seven Kassams were launched this week and four the week before.
In addition to launching pinpoint, short raids into Gaza, like Operation Rain Man that began Thursday and lasted 72 hours, the defense establishment is considering a much larger-scale operation in Gaza.
Peretz hinted at such a possibility in a recent interview with The Jerusalem Post.
"We intend to stop the Kassams at any price," Peretz said. "Hamas knows that they will pay a heavy price with every Kassam fired at Israel and if they don't stop them they know we will consider harsher and deeper operations into Gaza."