Israel Vows Tough Stance, With Restraint, in Gaza
Israel will use “all necessary means” to stop mortars and rockets fired from Gaza at Israeli towns and settlements, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said Thursday after meeting with military leaders and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.At the same time, Israel promised restraint, unwilling to risk breaking the cease-fire with Palestinian militants, and expressed continuing desire to coordinate the evacuation of Israel’s Gaza settlements with the Palestinian Authority. Mr. Sharon and his government want to ensure that the withdrawal of the settlers will not be carried out under fire. Mr. Mofaz said at the security meeting that a flare-up this week – which has included an Israeli air strike on Hamas militants, killing one, and about 60 mortar shells and 3 Qassam rockets fired since early Wednesday – stemmed mostly from internal tensions between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, Israel Radio reported. Three more Qassams hit Sederot, Israel, on Thursday, but caused no injuries.