Defense Minister: Israel not interested in escalation in south

Defense Minister Ehud Barak says Israel views seriously the recent increase in rocket fire from Gaza

Date: 07/08/2011, 1:33 PM     Author: IDF (Zahal) Website

“The recent rocket fire against Israel has been carried out by rogue terrorist organizations and Islamic Jihad,” Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Sunday (August 7).

Barak noted that in the past week there were between six and seven incidents of rocket fire from the Gaza Strip into Israel. He said that most of the rockets fell in open areas in Israel.

“One of the rockets landed near Ashkelon and one person was wounded, but there was no loss of life and no property damage,” Barak said.

Barak noted that Israel “views this rocket fire seriously and we responded with airstrikes on a number of targets, including tunnels, positions, facilities and weapons manufacturing sites – the infrastructure of terrorist organizations. We tried to minimize harm to civilians.”

Barak said it was decided to deploy an Iron Dome anti-rocket battery near Ashkelon due to rising tensions, yet he emphasized that Israel is not interested in escalation.

Barak said that Israel is monitoring various activities being conducted by terrorists in Gaza, not just rocket fire.

Early on Friday (August 5), IAF aircraft targeted five terrorist targets (including three tunnels and two terror activity sites) in the Gaza Strip in response to rockets fired at Israel in preceding days. On Thursday night (August 4), the IAF targeted a site in the northern Gaza Strip from which a Grad rocket had been launched at the Lakhish region.

The IDF (Zahal) will not tolerate any attempt to harm Israeli civilians and IDF (Zahal) soldiers and will respond with determination to any attempt to use terror against the state of Israel. The IDF (Zahal) holds the Hamas terrorist organization solely responsible for all terrorist activity emanating from the Gaza Strip.