Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz said on Wednesday that the IDF has the expertise to carry out a ground assault in the Gaza Strip. He stressed however, that he hoped it would not be necessary to perform such an operation. "Our task is to ensure the safety of Israeli citizens and we can provide this safety externally, not only by our presence within Gaza. We have no wish to launch a ground assault but if we are pushed we know how to do it. I hope the situation will not require such a maneuver as there would be a heavy price to pay," he said. In reaction to claims that the IDF response to Kassam rocket attacks was not strong enough, the chief of staff said that Israel needed to uphold the traditions that symbolize the IDF. "There is the viewpoint that more might will defeat the Kassams and yet there is also the belief that we should show restraint and re-examine our options on a daily basis to achieve our long-term goals. We are investing much effort in attempting to avoid harming innocent civilians. We want to hold on to our culture, ideals and our morals," said Halulz.