Three years after a major three-week assault on Gaza left over 1,000 Palestinians and 13 Israelis dead, Israel’s military has indicated it will ‘sooner or later’ launch a ‘swift and painful’ offensive against Gaza.
The January 2009 offensive, Operation Cast Lead, appeared to have halted the pre-war frequent exchange of fire between Israel and Hamas. But the chief of staff of the Israel Defence Forces Benny Gantz told Army Radio that there were signs that the deterrent effect was wearing thin, the Guardian reported.
"Sooner or later, there will be no escape from conducting a significant operation," the Guardian quoted Gantz as saying. "The IDF knows how to operate in a determined, decisive and offensive manner against terrorists in the Gaza Strip."
Preparing for a different campaign
An Israeli army official Tal Hermoni who heads the Gaza division's Southern Brigade confirmed Gantz's statement, saying forces have prepared for a new military operation on the Gaza Strip, "different" from Operation Cast Lead.
"We are preparing and in fact are ready for another campaign, which will be varied and different, to renew our deterrence," Hermoni told reporters, according Maan News Agency, citing Israeli daily Haaretz.
The next war on Gaza will be reportedly shorter than the 2008-2009 three-week assault, with the use of much greater firepower this time.
HamasHamas has refused to be intimidated by Israel's threats to launch a new assault.
"Instead of being erased from the map, Gaza has become the Qibla (the direction Muslims face when praying) for the free people of the world and a symbol of dignity under challenge," Maan News Agency quoted Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri as saying.