Lack of Response to Kassams Worries Ashkelon?s Mayor

Ashkelon mayor Roni Mehatzri said he is worried that the IDF has not adequately responded to the firing of Kassam rockets on the outskirts of his city, from northern Gaza.<BR><br/><BR><br/>

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Scott Shiloh, | updated: 15:15

The terrorists, Mehatzri told INN news, “are shooting freely from open areas, from Dugit [one of the Jewish communities uprooted during the disengagement], without anyone stopping them."

The area between Ashkelon and Gaza, though mostly lacking in inhabitants, is replete with infrastructure projects, such as a regional power and desalination plant, and an oil pipeline. Damage to these facilities could severely disrupt day-to-day life for the city’s residents.

Mehatzri said he was not particularly interested in adding to the city’s passive security defenses. He said it was more important to stop the terrorists from approaching the border and firing their rockets on Ashkelon, a city with 90,000 residents.

Mehatzri said he was calmed somewhat by the fact that the terrorists, apparently, still lack the technical ability to strike at the city’s population. He said both the attacks this past Sunday and last Thursday, showed that their rockets cannot reach into the city limits.

Despite this, he said that he does not understand the policy of the IDF “which doesn’t prevent them from reaching the [border] fence.”

No License to Kill Noncombatants

IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt.Gen. Dan Halutz told a forum of senior IDF officers that the war on terrorism did not constitute a warrant to kill noncombatants.

Halutz said that Israel was in the midst of a process to “stabilize the area.” As a result, the IDF “must be sensitive to this complex reality and provide a suitable response.”

He said that the IDF’s counterterrorism operations must be “focused and precise” in order to prevent harm to “noncombatants.” He emphasized the importance of “operational discipline”, saying that “combat was not a license to deviate from orders, commands, and guidelines.”