Israel’s Security Cabinet okays Gaza campaign


Israel’s Security Cabinet approved an extended military and diplomatic campaign against Hamas and its rocket crews in the Gaza Strip.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert convened top Cabinet colleagues Wednesday to discuss Israel’s options in Gaza, where over the last week the armed forces have stepped up actions to stem cross-border rocket salvoes by Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups

The Security Cabinet issued a statement saying it had decided that Israel should wage a “systematic and continuous” series of assaults against rocket crews and the Hamas regime in Gaza, while making efforts to avoid causing humanitarian crises for Palestinian civilians.

Mindful of international opinion, Israel plans in parallel to boost security cooperation with Egypt, and to appeal for Western understanding of the serious national threat posed by Hamas extremism and the legitimacy of fighting it.

Any Israeli attack on “Hamas institutions” – an allusion to the political wing of the radical Islamist group – will have to be vetted in advance by Olmert, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, the Security Cabinet decided.

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