IDF to Pursue Rafah Anti-Tunnel Operation

(The Guardian-UK) Margot Dudekevitch - Operation Root Canal currently under way in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip will continue until the IDF destroys all tunnels in the area being used to smuggle weapons, or the PA makes a strategic decision and does so itself, senior IDF commanders said. According to Palestinian sources, nine people were killed and more than 80 wounded since the start of the operation. Two soldiers were lightly wounded. Three large tunnels had been detected. "We estimate that there are still at least 10 tunnels operating in the area," a senior IDF commander said. He said troops are operating up to 500 meters inside PA-controlled areas. "So far, those detected were located between 200 and 500 meters" from the area under Israeli control, he said. According to security officials, arms smuggled into PA-controlled areas come from Egypt, Iraq, Sudan, and Libya. Among the items expected to be smuggled were katyusha rockets, shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles, anti-tank grenades, large amounts of explosives, and ammunition. "If we had not acted, not only IDF forces and Israeli communities in the Gaza Strip, but Sderot and Ashkelon would come under serious threat," one official said. (Jerusalem Post) An Israeli military spokesman said figures for destruction of houses "are extremely exaggerated. About 10 houses were destroyed, all of which fell into one of three categories - they had a tunnel, were booby trapped, or there was intense gunfire from them."

2003-10-13 00:00:00

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