Jerusalem, 16 April 2001

Tonight’s IDF Operations in the Gaza Strip
(Communicated by the IDF Spokesman)

Following the firing of mortar bombs this evening (April 16) towards the city of Sderot with the intention to hurt innocent civilians, and the repeated calls by the IDF to the Palestinians to cease the violent operations and firing of mortar bombs towards Israeli communities and IDF soldiers, IDF air and land forces are operating tonight inside the Gaza Strip.

At this stage, the entrances to the Gaza Strip will be blocked, including the Rafah crossing, and traffic on the roads will be prevented. In addition, IDF soldiers will capture strongholds wherever the security situation demands.

The IDF Spokesperson emphasizes that following the blatant neglect of the Palestinian Authority of its obligations to operate to prevent terrorism, the IDF was forced, without an alternative, to operate against hostile Palestinian factors.

The IDF has no intention to hurt the Palestinian population that is not involved in the violence, however the continuing hostile operations that are supported by the Palestinian Authority have forced the IDF to operate with all measures at its disposal to secure the safety of civilians and soldiers in the area.

The IDF has no intention to occupy Areas A and, with the completion of the mission, will withdraw its forces from the territory.