No incursion into Gaza for now, supply cutoff possible - radio
(RIA Novosti ) - Israel will not launch a military incursion into the Gaza Strip in response to rocket fire from the territory, but is seriously considering a cutoff of vital electricity, water and fuel supplies if the attacks persist, local radio reported.
A high-level meeting of Israeli government and military officials convened early Wednesday in response to the continued firing of Qassam rockets by Palestinian militants into the southern Israeli city of Sderot , while Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) tanks and bulldozers made limited forays into the Strip in an effort to disable the launchers.
During the meeting, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert directed military commanders to take forceful measures to minimize the barrages, but ruled out any immediate incursion by Israeli ground forces.
Acccording to an unnamed official attending the security session, Defense Minister Ehud Barak recommended "pinpointed" attacks against militants rather than embarking on a large-scale invasion of Gaza.
"The prime minister has ordered the army to provide a plan on how to minimize rockets," the official said.
However, there was clear support from a number of senior officials present for a cutoff of basic supplies to Gaza, which is almost entirely dependent on Israel for water, power and fuel.
"I believe there is a range of steps Israel can take without creating a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, in order to send a message to Hamas and the rest of the terror groups," Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said.
Earlier Tuesday, Vice Premier Haim Ramon said that Israel should attach a "price tag" to every rocket launched at Israel.
Over 1.5 million Palestinians live in the Gaza Strip, which was seized recently by the radical Hamas movement following street fighting with supporters of the more moderate Fatah movement that left hundreds dead.
On Monday, Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for launching seven rockets into Israel, one of which struck near a day-care center in Sderot . No one was injured, but 12 children were treated for shock.