IDF ground forces on the move into Gaza
The IDF said that the purpose of the ground operation was to eliminate launching pads in northern Gaza from which specific long-range rockets had been fired into southern Israel. Large forces from the army's infantry, tanks and artillery units are among those participating in the mission.
The IDF said that the purpose of the ground operation was to eliminate launching pads in northern Gaza from which specific long-range rockets had been fired into southern Israel.
Large forces from the army's infantry, tanks and artillery units are among those participating in the mission.
Several hours earlier, the army began to fire artillery shells into the northern part of the Strip.
According to reports, the artillery units were attacking targets in northern Gaza from where Palestinian terrorists had been firing rockets at southern Israel.
Warplanes, gunboats and artillery units blasted more than 40 Hamas targets throughout Saturday, including Hamas's central intelligence headquarters in Sha'ati, weapons storage facilities, training centers and Hamas leaders' homes.
One artillery shell apparently found the home of senior Hamas Commander Abu Zacharia Al-Jamal. No regrets that Mr. al-Jamal was apparently home at the time and won't be planning the deliberate murder of any more Israeli civilians.
There has been little in the way of information coming from the Israeli government regarding what exactly they wish to accomplish with this ground assault. One of the stated reasons is to destroy rocket launchers that are terrorizing civilians. But might Israel also be seeking to destroy Hamas?
This issue has been much debated in Israel lately and, as with many thorny issues, the cabinet appears divided. Defense Minister Ehud Barak appears to be pushing for some kind of "final confrontation" with Hamas that will denude the terrorists of their ability to harm Israelis while also making it impossible for them to govern - the whole smash so to speak.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Olmert suspects that the destruction of Hamas will lose him some support in the United States. This may or may not be the case since it appears to me that opinion has pretty much solidified on both sides and any action Israel takes will not win or lose it too much in the way of support from the American people.
Still, Olmert must hear a clock ticking somewhere; he probably has a matter of hours before we will be forced - reluctantly - to ask the Israelis to stand down. And Israel, being Israel, will reluctantly agree and stop before finishing the job.
This is the way its been for decades and there apparently is no reason to believe anything will change now.