Israeli online daily, Haaretz, reported that the army received direct orders, on Monday evening, to strike Palestinian populated areas in the Gaza strip, in retaliation to the Netanya suicide bombing carried on Monday, and to the firing of homemade shells against Israeli targets.
Israeli army sources said that soldiers will use loud speakers to call the residents of several areas in Gaza to evacuate their homes prior to the scheduled strikes.
Five Israelis were killed in the bombing and 95 others were injured, the bomber was identified as Lutfi Salem Abu Da’adi, 21, from Allar village, near the West Bank city of Tulkarem.
The father and brothers of the bomber were arrested on Tuesday at dawn; several other residents were arrested in the west Bank.
Also, the Israeli army received direct orders to impose a strict closure over the West Bank, and the Gaza strip, and to bar the Palestinian police from bearing arms.
The Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, decided on Monday evening, to bar the Palestinian residents, who carry entry permits into Israel, from entering Israel and cancelled all VIP permits which are granted to senior Palestinian officials.
Also, Sharon gave the army the “green light” to conduct a wide-scaled military operation in the northern West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The military operation in the Gaza Strip will mostly likely take the form of ground and air strikes.
Israeli Defense Minister, Shaul Mofaz, said on Tuesday that the army is also preparing to resume its targeting killings policy against activists of the Islamic Jihad and to widen its arrest raids.
The decision was made during a meeting Mofaz held on Monday, after the Netanyahu bombing, with senior security and military officials.
The Israeli media reported that the military operation could continue for several weeks or even months.
It is worth mentioning that Mofaz asked that Israeli Attorney General, Menachem Mazuz to reinstate the practice of demolishing the homes of the families of suicide bombers. The policy was suspended a few months ago in the wake of a recommendation by a military committee that found they were of no benefit, Israeli online daily Haaretz reported.
Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, gave Mofaz a full backing for the move.
Also, Israel started to apply more diplomatic pressure on the PA; with Sharon aide Dov Weisglass discussed the matter with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as well as European and Egyptian officials.
Weisglass said that the failure of the Palestinian Authority to take action against Islamic Jihad is not justified.