Ashkenazi: We’ll be ready if Gaza tensions escalate

IDF chief-of-staff meets with Italian counterpart in Tel Aviv; says IDF is "preparing for any scenario" in the Strip.

Ashkenazi 311 (photo credit: Channel 10)
Ashkenazi 311
(photo credit: Channel 10)
Israel “will not accept” rocket and mortar fire from the Gaza Strip and is ready in the event that tensions further escalate in the area, IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen.Gabi Ashkenazi said on Monday.
Ashkenazi’s comments came during a meeting with Italian Chief of Defense Gen. Vincenzio Camporini at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv.
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“Two years after Operation Cast Lead, the situation in the Gaza Strip is different and calmer. Yet, sadly, from time to time, rockets and mortar shells are fired at the Israeli home front,” Ashkenazi said.
“The IDF holds the Hamas terrorist organization solely responsible for any terrorist activity emanating from the Gaza Strip. We hope that the security situation in the south does not deteriorate, however the IDF is preparing for any scenario,” he said.
Ashkenazi commented on the close ties between the Italian and Israeli militaries as well, saying that “relations between the IDF and the Italian military are very important and are based on mutual values and interests. Italy is a great friend of Israel and is one of the most involved forces in the region. It contributes great numbers of forces to UNIFIL and in Afghanistan, and in the war on terror.”
Camporini called the meeting “a great opportunity to further strengthen the excellent relations between the two militaries, as manifested in mutual training and technology. Italy is present in the Middle East and is dealing with the important issue of stability in the region.”
Camporini added that he had recently returned from a visit to his forces in Lebanon and said he could clearly see the influence of the international forces on the region.
He noted that his visit to Israel is one of several mutual visits demonstrating the good relations between the two militaries and commanders.