Israel to set off-limits zone in Gaza

PA vows to send more security forces to border area to prevent rocket attacks.

idf artillery 298 ap (photo credit: AP)
idf artillery 298 ap
(photo credit: AP)
The IDF was waiting for the weather to clear before putting into effect a "no-go" zone in northern Gaza aimed at moving Ashkelon out of kassam rocket range. The plan, approved by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on Thursday, calls for a two kilometer buffer zone in northern Gaza. According to a senior official in the Prime Minister's Office, under this policy "anything that moved" in the former settlements of Dugit, Elei Sinai and Nissanit would be "fair game." The recent kassam attacks on Ashkelon have come from the ruins of the former settlements, the official said. The navy, air force and army would be deployed to implement this policy, the official added. He ruled out, however, moving ground forces back into Gaza. While meant to move Ashkelon out of kassam rocket fire range, this "no-go" zone was not expected to provide a remedy to continued rocket fire on Sderot and the western Negev. The IDF, the official said, would continue with "sustained pressure" on the Palestinians in order to try and halt that fire. Deputy defense minister, Ze'ev Boim said Israel hopes the Palestinians "will get the message and that this will stop the rocket squads," Boim told Israel Radio. "If we must, we will have to tighten the screw further." Palestinian officials on Friday promised to send in more security forces to the border area to prevent the rocket attacks.