| Ander Nieuws week 24 / nieuwe oorlog 2007 |
IDF chief: Army bracing for escalation on Palestinian, northern fronts

June 06, 2007
Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi said Tuesday that the army is preparing for a deterioration on the Palestinian front as well as in the north.
During a visit to the Shizafon army base in southern Israel, Ashkenazi said the IDF is currently working at improving its preparedness for conflict while simultaneously fighting terror.
Defense Minister Amir Peretz also spoke at the base Tuesday and said that there is no indication that Syria, Israel's northern neighbor, is interested in engaging in war with Israel, as some recent reports have suggested. Peretz expressed his hopes that the verbal escalation between the two countries will not evolve into an armed conflict. "IDF is continually training and I hope the Syrians won't misinterpret that," he said.
Recently, Israeli intelligence figures have concluded that Syria's army is training its soldiers and amassing ammunition in preparation for a conflict with Israel this summer.
Military Intelligence chief Major General Amos Yadlin said Tuesday "The Syrians have a lot to lose should a war break out."
At a Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee meeting, Yadlin said "[Syrian President] Assad has a regime, he has an air force, he has an electrical network and civilian infrastructure. All these could be harmed in war."
"The Syrians saw what happened during the Second Lebanon War and our deterrence became more effective. They saw that the IDF succeeded in eliminating Hezbollah's rocket threat within hours," he said.
Yadlin added that the Syrians are "more ready for war than ever," but that doesn't mean that they are seeking a war.
Yadlin also said that Israel must prepare for Katyusha rocket fire within a range of 40 kilometers from the Gaza Strip. He said that the Palestinian Hamas organization currently have in their arsenal home-made Qassam rockets with a 13 kilometer range as well as Grad missiles with a 20 kilometer range, but the Katyusha rockets have not yet been smuggled into the Strip. Hamas has also yet to use the Grad missiles against Israel.
"Hamas in Gaza," Yadlin said, "is interested in a cease-fire because right now Hamas is losing. Half its military force has been hurt in the last two and half weeks. Hamas is demanding open passage between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip because it is interested in exporting the knowledge it has gained in Gaza to the West Bank."
"Hamas is turning from a terrorist organization into a semi-military force, modeled after Hezbollah, which is organized into units and battalions and intends to fight guerilla warfare in residential areas," he added.
Copyright 2007 Haaretz
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| Ander Nieuws week 24 / nieuwe oorlog 2007 |