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Israel Strikes Back Against Hamas Terror Infrastructure in Gaza

Beginning on the morning of December 27, 2008, the IDF attacked dozens of targets affiliated with the Hamas terror organization in the Gaza Strip. The targets included command centers, training camps, various Hamas installations, rocket manufacturing facilities and storage warehouses. The vast majority of the casualties are terror operatives, most of whom were wearing uniform and working on behalf of terror organizations.

The Air Force activity came as a result of the continuation of terror activity by Hamas terror organization from the Gaza Strip, and the duration of rocket launching and targeting Israeli civilians.

The that were attacked were located by intelligence gathered during the last months and include Hamas terror operatives that operated from the organization's headquarters, training camps and weaponry storage warehouses.

The Hamas government leaders and operatives, which activate terror from within civilian population centers, are the sole bearers of responsibility for Israel's military response. This response is crucial for preserving Israel's security interests.

The IDF Spokesperson wishes to emphasize that anyone sponsoring terror, hosting terror in his house, housing terror in his basement and sending his wives and children to serve as human shields- is considered a terrorist.

IAF aircraft struck a number of terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip, including a mosque in the Rimal neighborhood in Gaza city, from which many terrorist operations emanated. The mosque served as a base for terrorist activities. The IDF will continue to strike at any target that serves as a base for the terrorist activity against Israeli citizens. Those who are responsible for the attacks against residents of the south will not find refuge in any facility.

The operation is ongoing and will continue for as long as is necessary, pending security assessments by the General Staff the IDF Chief of Staff. The IDF is ready to widen and deepen its activity against all terror organizations in the Gaza Strip, as long as it is necessary.

In addition, the Homefront Command and emergency authorities, took all necessary measures for preparing the civilian population.

The IDF also wishes to inform the Israeli public that it must prepare itself for continued rocket fire by Hamas. The patience and resilience of the Israeli public is required. The Israeli public is requested to listen to IDF Spokesperson Announcements and follow directions given by the Home Front Command in order to ensure their safety.

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Defense Minister Ehud Barak convened a press conference on Saturday afternoon to formally announce the beginning of the IDF's operation against Hamas in the Gaza Strip launched at 11:30. Barak laid out the three objectives of the offensive: dealing Hamas a forceful blow, fundamentally changing the situation in Gaza, and bringing to the cessation of rocket attacks against Israeli citizens.

“The time has come to act. We do not go to this clash gladly, but neither are we afraid of it. We will not let terrorists hurt our citizens or soldiers. We will do what is necessary. For weeks Hamas and its affiliates lobbed Kassams and Grads and mortar shells on the towns and communities of the South. We have no intention of allowing this situation to continue. In the afternoon IAF aircraft attacked Hamas and terror targets in the Gaza Strip. In this strike the IAF hit more than 190 Hamas operatives, including senior police officials, and destroyed infrastructure used by the terror groups.”

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Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit harshly censured Hamas today(27 Dec), placing responsibility for the current situation on Hamas. At a noon press conference broadcast on Egyptian television, he said that Egypt had repeatedly cautioned against continuing the situation and that whoever did not listen (Hamas) should assume responsibility and not blame others. He added that Israel had publicly warned that continued rocket fire would lead to military action. Prime Minister Olmert said just two days ago in an Al Arabiya TV interview that if Hamas did not stop the rocket fire, Israel would respond militarily. The Egyptian foreign minister added angrily that right before Foreign Minister Livni’s arrival in Egypt on Thursday, 60 rockets were fired, meant to foil Egypt’s efforts to achieve quiet.

Humanitarian aid to Gaza

On Sunday morning (28 Dec), 26 trucks bearing medical supplies, basic food commodities and other humanitarian goods passed through the Kerem Shalom crossing into Gaza. "As the prime minister said yesterday, we are not at war with the Palestinian people, but with the Hamas terrorists, and therefore we are bringing in the goods for the Palestinian people," saud IDF Major Peter Lerner, Defense Ministry Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories.

Three humanitarian aid agencies are sending goods into the Gaza Strip: UNWRA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency), WFP (World Food Programme) and the ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross). All three agencies were notified Saturday evening that they would be allowed to send as many truckloads of supplies into the region as they could muster. “We didn't place any limit on the number of trucks,” Lerner said. “There are less than truckloads because that was what they were able to get ready for today.”