Israel eyes Gaza ground assault


Israel’s top general said that only a ground operation can stop rocket fire
from the Gaza Strip. Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi told Prime
Minister Ehud Olmert’s Cabinet in a briefing Sunday that there have been more than 200
rocket launches from Gaza since a truce was
declared with the Palestinian Authority last November. Ashkenazi said that Israel’s usual response –
shelling rocket crews from the air or cannons outside Gaza – had a limited effect.

“Counterfire can only reduce the rockets, not stop that. For that you
have to operate on the ground,” he said, adding that the top military brass
would come up with proposals to present to the government.

Olmert has
said he would not hesitate to send troops into Gaza in force as a response to
the rockets, but political analysts believe his domestic standing is too weak to
warrant such an action unless a salvo causes serious Israeli

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