Gaza rocket strike 58 AP.
(photo credit: ap)
The IDF will respond with significantly more force than it did during Operation
Cast Lead in the event of a major Hamas attack on Israel, a senior IDF source
warned on Sunday.
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Any future large-scale operation against Hamas in Gaza
would entail a broader ground operation, the source added, partly because Hamas
is stocking up on a growing number rockets that threaten the Israeli home
At the same time, the source said, Israel’s increased deterrence
since Cast Lead remains, and has prevented the terrorist organization from
launching a major attack so far.
The number of rockets and mortar shells
fired from Gaza at civilian targets in Israel fell dramatically in recent years,
from 3,276 in 2008 before the Gaza operation was launched, to 369 in 2009, the
IDF said. So far this year, Gazans fired 277 projectiles at
Southern communities like Sderot have gone from being nearly
uninhabitable to thriving property hot zones, the source said, adding that the
change was evidence of the improved security situation.
power from the Palestinian Authority in June 2007, Hamas has gone from being a
murderously efficient terrorist organization to a militia that operates
according to semi-militarized tactics, the senior IDF source said. The
transition has raised serious organizational problems for Hamas, such as
difficulties in setting up command and control centers, he added.
source acknowledged faulty military evaluations in 2005 before the disengagement
from Gaza, according to which the bulk of terrorist activities would shift to
the West Bank after Israel’s withdrawal.
At the same time, defending the
border with Gaza in the post-disengagement era is a simpler operational task
than the IDF’s pre-disengagement mission of maintaining security from inside the
Strip, the source said.
This week, the IDF chief of General Staff
designate, outgoing OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant, will be replaced
by Maj.-Gen. Tal Russo, who until this month headed the General Staff’s