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General: Israel ready to invade Gaza

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Israel’s top general said the armed forces are prepared to invade the Gaza Strip.

Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi said in a rare media interview Wednesday that Israeli forces are poised to sweep into Gaza and crush Palestinian rocket crews, but the military’s chief of staff cautioned against an invasion that could turn into a reoccupation.

“We are ready for the possibility of an operation, if necessary, and I think that until then, we need to find all the different ways, and to act every day and night, in order to provide security,” Ashkenazi told Army Radio.

“The question of entering Gaza and staying there, and exiting is more complex than just responding to a this-or-that Kassam rocket,” he said.

A career infantryman, Ashkenazi took over Israel’s armed forces after his predecessor, former fighter pilot Dan Halutz, resigned over the failures of the 2006 Lebanon war. Ashkenazi hinted that he held the top brass responsible for not dealing Hezbollah guerrillas a more decisive blow.

“It wasn’t a question of our forces, it was a question of those managing the war,” he said. “I think we’re in a better place now.”

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