New IDF Gaza commander to assume post

Change of guard to take place despite continued Hamas rocket attacks; Palestinians attack IDF tanks.

IDF tank on Gaza border 248.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
IDF tank on Gaza border 248.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
A changing of the guard at the helm of the IDF's Gaza Division is to take place Wednesday morning, despite the continued Hamas rocket attacks on Israel. Last week, Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi postponed the ceremony, at which Brig.-Gen. Eyal Eizenberg is to replace Brig.-Gen. Moshe Tamir. That move was interpreted as a possible indicator that Israel was considering launching a wide-scale operation inside Gaza. "This is not the case," a senior IDF source said Tuesday. "Israel is working to keep the cease-fire alive and Hamas ultimately wants the same." On Tuesday, Palestinians fired at least three Kassam rockets and two mortar shells into Israel as IDF tanks forged into southern Gaza in an effort to uncover Hamas borderline positions. Backed by a bulldozer and military jeep, the tanks rumbled about half a kilometer into Gaza, residents and Gaza security officials said. Residents said they leveled lands along the border east of Rafah. Approximately 200 people held a vigil outside the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv Tuesday evening, protesting the recent flare-up of violence in the Gaza Strip and what they called the "occupation, suffocation, and liquidation" of the Palestinian people. Police arrested two protesters for disturbing the peace, but the vigil, which lasted for over an hour, was otherwise peaceful. The Coalition Against the Gaza Siege, which organized the vigil, decried the November 4 IDF operation in Gaza, which left six terrorists dead, and called upon the government to "halt the collective punishment of the residents of the Gaza Strip." Abe Selig and AP contributed to this report.