Ramon: Shell 'launch pad' Gaza villages

Cabinet to discuss proposal made jointly with Friedmann; civilians to be warned in advance by IDF.

Kassam launch 248.88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Kassam launch 248.88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Following the renewal of Kassam rocket fire on Israeli communities in the western Negev, the cabinet on Tuesday discussed a new strategy of using heavy artillery in retaliatory strikes. According to a proposal made jointly by Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann and Vice Premier Haim Ramon, the IDF will evacuate villages that have become launching pads for Hamas and other terror groups and will then raze the villages with artillery, Army Radio reported. The station reported that in such cases, the military would notify the Gaza villagers' civilian residents in advance that they must evacuate. Rocket attacks resumed Tuesday last week, apparently in retaliation to an IDF operation aimed at destroying a tunnel Hamas was digging along the eastern Gaza border. The military said the tunnel was intended to be used for warfare and for kidnapping IDF troops patrolling the Gaza fence. Most smuggling tunnels are dug on Gaza's southern border and lead to Egypt. Six Gaza terrorists were killed in the operation and six IDF soldiers wounded. Defense Minister Ehud Barak ordered the Gaza crossings closed and halted fuel supply to the territory in the wake of the rocket salvos. On Monday evening, he acquiesced to a request by Tony Blair, former British prime minister and currently an international Quartet envoy, to resume fuel supplies. Barak allowed a minimal supply of fuel into the Strip but conditioned the flow on Hamas restoring the ceasefire between Israel and Gaza terror groups.