Gaza War May Go 'All the Way'

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CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - On day four of Operation Cast Lead, Israel is preparing to go 'all the way' to achieve fundamental changes for its citizens in the south.

For more than seven years, Israelis in western Negev communities have been dodging Kassam rockets and mortar shells fired by Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

Today marks day four of Israel's war with Hamas. One Israeli leader says this campaign could last for weeks. Click play for more insight from CBN News Terror Analyst Erick Stakelbeck, following this report..

"Enough is enough," Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni declared at the beginning of the Israeli operation in Gaza.

Overnight Monday, Israeli air strikes pummeled Hamas government buildings, security bases, training camps, and weapons warehouses, destroying them completely.

Ten people were killed and 40 injured, according to Palestinian sources, bringing the death toll to some 350 since Saturday, 50 of whom were civilians.

Palestinians fired more than 80 rockets, missiles and mortar shells on Israel Monday, killing three Israelis -- one soldier at an IDF base in the western Negev, a young woman in Ashdod, and a 27-year-old Israeli Bedouin working at a construction site in Ashkelon.

At an IDF base in southern Israel, Major General Ido Nehushtan, commander in chief of the Israeli air force, spoke with the pilots and crews who have flown the sorties over the past three days.

"Hamas must understand that we are ready to go all the way," General Nehushtan told them.

"Hamas paid a very heavy price…Our intelligence was accurate and their casualty figures are high," the general said.

Meanwhile, as IDF Armored Corps and infantry troops at the border with Gaza await the green light for a large-scale ground incursion, taunts from Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups continue.

"If Israeli soldiers are such men, they should fight on the ground," Abu Abir, spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) told YNet news.

"The defeat they suffered in [the Second] Lebanon [War in the summer of 2006] would be even greater in Gaza," he scoffed.

"Yet I know we are dealing with cowards who ever since the 1980s have feared a face-to-face confrontation with us," Abir said.

"We are inviting the Israelis to embark on the great challenge of ground combat," the PRC spokesman said.

"The entire Palestinian people understand that this is an all-out war," Abir continued, "and that the resistance [euphemism for Islamic terror groups] and its organizations are the only way to salvage Palestinian honor," he said.

"The Israelis can continue to pulverize us from the air, and we shall continue to pulverize them with the means at our disposal," he said.

"Just like the Israelis trained and prepared, so did we," he said.

Abu Ubeida, spokesman for Iz al-Din al-Qassam, the military wing of Hamas, echoed the PRC.

"The Israeli occupation [meaning, the State of Israel] needs to know that it has cast itself into the fire," Ubeida said.

Hamas, too, wants an IDF ground operation.

Despite heavy losses to its infrastructure, the Iranian-funded, armed and trained Hamas militia wants the opportunity to inflict heavy losses on IDF ground forces.

Their battle cry, Allah Akbar (which  means, Allah is greater) is key to understanding what this war in the Gaza Strip is really all about.

Sources: YNet news, The Jerusalem Post, Haaretz, The Associated Press

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Tzippe Barrow

Tzippe Barrow

CBN News Jerusalem Bureau

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