Olmert threatens military action in Gaza Strip

Israel Materials 6 June 2008 16:30 (UTC +04:00)

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert warned Friday that Israel might soon launch a large-scale military operation in the Gaza Strip, reported dpa.

Decision day was drawing closer, the premier said at Tel Aviv airport on his return from a visit to the United States.

The pendulum was swinging more towards military action than to a ceasefire agreement, he said, echoing remarks by Defence Minister Ehud Barak, who threatened such action again Palestinian militants in Gaza.

Israel's so-called security cabinet raised objections to a ceasefire plan worked out by Egypt because it did not require the fundamentalist Hamas movement to release Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier kidnapped in a cross-border raid two years ago.

Israel is also opposed to Hamas demands it open all border crossing points with Gaza. Media reports said some ministers fear such a move could be used by Hamas as propaganda to claim that rocket attacks on Israeli territory had paid dividends.

Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip in June last year after a bitter armed struggle against the Fatah movement of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Israel responded to the rocket attacks on its territory from Gaza by sealing of the Strip and imposing economic and trade sanctions.