(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Hamas will pay a price if it fires rockets into Eilat from the Sinai
IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi said on Tuesday, in a
warning to the Palestinian terror organization.
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Speaking to The Jerusalem
Post on the sidelines of a Paratrooper’s Brigade exercise in
Ashkenazi said that Israel and the Egyptians were both closely tracking
developments in the Sinai in an effort to prevent the firing of rockets
Eilat. In August, Hamas fired two
rockets into the city.
Analysis: Under Ashkenazi, IDF takes itself more seriously
brigade-level exercise, held at the Tze’elim Training Base in the Negev, was the
Paratroopers Brigade’s third such exercise over the past year. On average,
Ashkenazi said that the IDF held 20 such brigade-level exercises a
“We are familiar with the Sinai threat and the Egyptians are also
concerned with this possibility,” Ashkenazi told the Post
and two other
reporters who accompanied him during his visit to the exercise.
clear to us that Hamas does this and Hamas will be held accountable. The
possibility exists and we are watching it.”
He also said that Israel will
not allow Hamas to return to attack Israel the way it did before
Lead in late 2008.
“When we look at the past year in general the security
situation around the Gaza Strip is completely different and we will not
Gaza to return to the reality that was there before Cast Lead,” he said.
will take all of the necessary steps to prevent rocket attacks and an
in the situation.”
Later in the day, Ashkenazi appeared for a lengthy
briefing of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, during
also touched upon the threat posed by the rockets aimed at Israel’s
south.One of Iron Dome batteries may be set up in North
The first two batteries of the Iron Dome defense system, he said,
will be made operational in November, but added that he was “not certain
both of them will be set up in the South.” At least one of the two
hinted, may be placed to respond to rocket threats from
Ashkenazi warned, however, that Israel “cannot put all of our
money on active defense - we must combine it with attack potential. We
extend a dome of iron across the entire country upon which everything
shot at us will explode.”
Referring to the increase in training
throughout the military, Ashkenazi warned of the possibility that the
need to fight on several different fronts at once.
“There is a connection
between fronts like Hizbullah and Hamas,” Ashkenazi said.
“There is also
a connection between Hizbullah and Syria which exists, but might not
There could be a situation, he said, that a brigade like the
paratroopers will be transferred from one front to another during a
“This is why we build a large and strong army,” he
said.Russia-Syria arms deal concerning but manageable, says Ashkenazi
Moving to the sale of Russian surface-to-sea cruise missiles to
Syria, Ashkenazi said that Israel was concerned by the deal but said
IDF would be able to “deal” with the challenge.
Russia has reportedly
already begun selling Yakhont cruise missiles to Syria in a deal valued
million. Israel is concerned that Syria will transfer the missile to
which could use it to threaten Israeli ships that patrol the Lebanese
During the Knesset hearing later in the day, Ashkenazi told MKs
that Israel “doesn't intend to reduce our freedom of action because of
“We have been following the deal for a long time. There were
attempts by the highest political levels to thwart the deal but they did
succeed,” he added at the paratroopers’ exercise.
“This is a negative
development and we will know how to deal with it.”
While there is no
immediate fear that Syria would transfer the advanced missile to
possibility definitely exists.
“We have seen a disturbing phenomenon in
recent years of the Syrian military transferring a significant amount of
arsenal to Hizbullah,” he said.Rebecca Anna Stoil contributed to this