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Tanks Edge into Gaza, Air Strikes Intensify

By Amos Harel and Aluf Benn  Posted by Michael Leon (about the submitter)       (Page 1 of 1 pages)   No comments
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Contributing Editor's Note: Wherever each of us falls on these questions, it is morally necessary that we constantly examine our views, our assumptions and our logic, and ask what each of us is doing to achieve dialogue, peace, security and justice. 

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The Israel Defense Forces sent tanks a short way into the Gaza Strip for the first time since November yesterday in response to continued heavy rocket fire on southern Israel. Palestinians fired almost 30 Qassam rockets at Israel yesterday.

In addition, the IDF stationed artillery batteries along the Israel-Gaza border, also for the first time since November, though no shots were fired, and continued its aerial attacks on Gaza, killing six Palestinians. At least three of the dead were Hamas members.

The tank incursions, accompanied by infantry, took place at two locations in Gaza - the Strip's northern tip, and a ridge west of Sderot. Both incursions stayed within a kilometer of the border. Their main goal was to assist in spotting crews launching Qassams, and they are expected to remain there for a few days.

The incursions were also meant to signal to the Palestinians that continued rocket fire could lead to a major ground operation in Gaza. Thus far, the government has not approved any more substantial ground operations, but the IDF believes that if the Qassam strikes result in heavy casualties, this decision could change.

The cabinet will meet on Sunday to decide whether to escalate the military response. 

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Michael Leon is a writer living in Madison, Wisconsin. His writing has appeared nationally in The Progressive, In These Times, and CounterPunch. He can be reached at
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