Military: Israeli-Gaza Border 'Fragile, Explosive'

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The situation along Israel's border with the Gaza Strip is potentially "fragile and explosive," Israel's military chief said Tuesday, following an escalation in tensions along the border.

Two years after Israel launched a major military operation into Gaza in response to rocket fire on southern Israeli communities, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi told Israeli lawmakers most of the terrorist activity has been directed toward the army activity along the security fence between Israel and Gaza.

"The past year has seen 112 attacks executed against IDF (Israel Defense Forces) forces and 60 terrorists were killed," Ashkenazi said, according to an army statement.

He also discussed the intensified Israeli military activity in response to what he said was the terrorists' decision to intensify their activity.

The Israeli Air Force targeted seven terror-related sites in the Gaza Strip Monday night in response to what the army called a "sharp increase" in rocket fire from the area in the last few days.

According to an army spokesman, 19 rockets had been launched at Israel since Sunday.

On Tuesday, a teenage girl was lightly to moderately wounded when a rocket landed near a kindergarten in the Israeli border community of Kibbutz Zikim, reports said.

The Israeli air strikes targeted four Hamas-operated tunnels, a smuggling tunnel, a weapons manufacturing facility, and a terror activity center.

"The Hamas-operated tunnels are intended for infiltrating into Israel and executing terror attacks against IDF soldiers and Israeli civilians," a military statement said.

A terrorist organization in Gaza called the "Army of Islam" claimed responsibility for the Kassam rocket attack, saying it was in response to an Israeli attack last month in which three of it's members were killed, the Jerusalem Post reported.

The Associated Press quoted a Gaza health official saying three Palestinians were wounded the Israeli airstrikes.

Since the beginning of 2010, more than 200 Grad missiles, Kassam rockets, and mortar shells have been fired from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory, the army said.

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Julie Stahl

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