A small Israeli force entered northern Gaza at daybreak Monday, including tanks, armored personnel carriers and bulldozers. The troops took up positions around the town of Beit Hanoun.
The operation was titled “Spearhead.” The mission is meant to conduct “pinpoint” operations against Kassam launchers, uproot terror infrastructure, find tunnels, and prevent the laying of explosives along the border fence.
The small-scale operation was not as big as what the IDF had initially requested, but Prime Minister Ehud Olmert apparently would not give his stamp of approval only to a large-scale operation in northern Gaza.
The length of the operation was unknown.
Defense Minister Amir Peretz said Gaza was a “bottomless barrel of violence and chaos” and that the operations there would continue until Shalit was brought home and Kassam rocket attacks were stopped.
“Our intention is to be inside for the shortest period of time possible,” Peretz said during a speech he gave at a ‘Friends of the IDF’ event in Tel Aviv. “I do not delude myself into believing that there are quick magical solutions for dealing with Palestinian terror.”
For further background on Israel’s entry into North Gaza, click IDF Tanks, Bulldozers Enter North Gaza to Root Out Tunnels
Mohammed Deif, the Hamas operative who has been number one on Israel’s most-wanted list for a decade, appeared on TV early Monday in a documentary prepared by the Al-Jazeera satellite network.
Deif, known as a master bombmaker, called for the Arab world to push for an Israeli pullout from the West Bank.
“It’s our duty and role, not only us in Palestine, but every Muslim in the world has a religious duty and role to fight to liberate this land, because it’s Islamic territory,” he said.