Israel Hinges End of Gaza Operation to Closing Tunnels

[Reuters] Adam Entous and Dan Williams - Israel has conditioned any halt to its Gaza offensive on international backing for new fortifications and monitoring on the Egyptian border to prevent Hamas from rebuilding tunnels and rearming, officials in Jerusalem said. Israel's assault in Gaza has included several air force sorties in which "bunker buster" bombs were dropped, designed to collapse the secret underground passages. The Israeli government has said it wants assurances that they will not be dug anew after any ceasefire. "The issue of rearming is fundamental. We want to prevent Hamas from being rearmed like Hizbullah was after the Lebanon war," a senior Israeli official said. Israel wants any monitors to be heavily armed and equipped to search and destroy tunnels. "Theoretically, if those 9 miles are denied to Hamas as a resupply route, then Hamas is going to find it very, very difficult to govern, let alone smuggle in Grad and Katyusha rockets," said Matt Levitt, a former senior U.S. Treasury official.

2009-12-05 06:00:00

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