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Chief of Staff: We Thwarted 15 Attacks before Burgas

"We will find a way to respond in an intimidating manner," IDF's top officer tells Knesset.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 7/24/2012, 3:58 PM

ZAKA team at Burgas
ZAKA team at Burgas
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz appeared before the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Tuesday and sent a warning to the perpetrators of the attack on Israeli civilians in Burgas.

"We will find a way to respond in an intimidating manner," he vowed. "This doesn’t have to be done in a separate operation, but rather as part of our routine activity. We will do so in a reasonable way and eventually the response will come."

Gantz made it clear that attempted terror attacks on Israel are constantly being discovered and neutralized.

"We are operating around the clock, gathering intelligence and thwarting attacks… There were 14 or 15 previous attempted attacks that the defense establishment delayed and thwarted," he said, "but eventually a terrorist attack succeeded. You heard during our situation assessment that the Hizbullah terrorist organization is backed by Iran, and that we thwarted 15 previous attempts. We must continue the preventive activity."

The Chief of Staff said that it is unlikely Syria's chemical weapons will remain in "safe hands" for long. "I believe the weapons are currently secured and so far haven’t reached negative hands," he said. "This doesn’t mean they will remain secured. There is a risk the weapons will be used against civilians, transferred to Hizbullah, et cetera. We will continue tracking this."

He stressed that Israel will employ caution in this matter, in order to avoid facing a "wider conflict than planned."

According to Maj. Gen. Gantz, 20,000 people are already dead in the Syrian fighting, 4,000 of whom served in the regime's security forces. Additionally, 16 to 17 thousand have defected, including high ranking officers." The Syrian military "will continue deteriorating with time," he predicted.