Mofaz, Halutz visit troops near Gaza

Caution the soldiers to be careful not to harm innocent Palestinan civilians.

kassam damage 298 (photo credit: AP)
kassam damage 298
(photo credit: AP)
Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz and Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz visited IDF soldiers on Tuesday stationed near the Gaza Strip, telling them to continue their operations against Kassam rocket launchers. But, Mofaz cautioned, the soldiers should be careful not to harm innocent civilians. Mofaz's warning followed an IDF operation on Monday afternoon in which 8-year-old Hadil Ghraben was killed and 13 others were wounded when two shells hit a house in Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip. Halutz said that in spite of Monday's incident, the IDF stood by its new policy of firing artillery shells into populated Palestinian areas in an effort to stop rocket fire, since the terrorists firing Kassam rockets at Israel were operating from residential areas in the Gaza Strip, and hiding among the houses. "It is the Palestinian terrorists who are choosing the areas which the IDF are shelling," exclaimed the Chief of Staff. Hadil's father, Muhammad Ghraben said that no rockets were launched from area of their home. Security forces distributed fliers among the Gaza residents urging them of the danger that the terrorists posed by firing rockets from within their neighborhoods. "The Palestinian population needs to be aware that if they rein in terrorists, they can live quietly," explained Halutz. Mofaz stressed that Hamas was forcing Israel's hand by not taking adequate steps against terror. "So long as there is no quiet on the Israeli side, there will be no quiet on the Palestinian side," he added. Meanwhile, a Kassam rocket, launched from the northern Gaza Strip, landed south of Ashkelon on Tuesday morning. No one was wounded and no damage was reported.