Israeli Defense Minister, Shaul Mofaz, ordered the Israeli army to carry out air strikes and a series of military operations in the Gaza Strip if the firing of the Qassams continues.

Mofaz met with the Israeli Army Chief of Staff, General Dan Halutz and Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin to discuss the possible military operations in the Gaza Strip, and decided to continue air strikes against Hamas and Islamic jihad targets.

Israeli army official said on Saturday morning, that the army was instructed to air strike Palestinian areas were Qassam homemade shells were launched from.

Earlier on Saturday, Israeli troops started moving towards the northern Gaza Strip in preparation to carry a ground operation.

“Palestinians fired 30 homemade shells over the past day”, and Israeli military source reported, “five Israelis were injured”.

The source added that the army will carry out operations in the West Bank too.

Soldiers closed the West Bank, Jordan valley area, and the Gaza Strip.

Mofaz, following a emergency meeting with senior army officials, instructed the army to prepare for a possible prolonged combat if needed.

“We will conduct harsh and varied operations in the Gaza Strip”, Mofaz said, “The Palestinians must understand that the incident will not pass lightly”.

 Meanwhile, Sderot mayor, Eli Moyal, said that Sderot residents are waiting for what he described as “appropriate response” to the homemade shells which were fired at the Negev town.

Israeli army already shelled three areas in Gaza; soldiers also fired a missile at an area where Qassam shells were fired from Friday night, army source said. 

Israeli army begin moving troops toward the northern Gaza Strip

Saed Bannoura – IMEMC & Agencies

An Israeli military source reported on Saturday morning, that the Israeli army started moving towards areas in the northern Gaza Strip.

The Israeli defense establishment is considering a military operation in the area, an Israeli military official reported.

The official stated that no final decision was made regarding a “response” to the shells which were fired at Sderot late Friday night, but “the fact the 30 homemade shells were fired over the past day, and five people were injured, requires a harsh response”.

The Israeli online daily Ynetnews reported that the military establishment in Israel is considering a ground operation in the northern Gaza Strip.

Israeli air force shelled, on Saturday at dawn, three targets in the Gaza Strip, including a home and a smithy workshop, and claimed that the workshop was used to produce weapons.

Meanwhile, Israeli Defense Minister, Shaul Mofaz, held talks on Saturday morning, with the Israeli Army Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Dan Halutz, and Shin Bet Chief, Yuval Diskin, to discuss what was described as a broader series of responses.