Netanyahu inspecting damage in South
Netanyahu inspecting damage in SouthFlash 90

Likud head MK Binyamin Netanyahu, who is considered likely to lead Israel after the coming elections, said Sunday afternoon that “the IDF has dealt Hamas some very hard blows on the head, but regrettably the job has not been finished.”

"Hamas still controls Gaza and it will continue to smuggle new missiles in through the Philadelphi Route,” Netanyahu said. “I believe that in the face of Hamas's terror and its Iranian backing, we must show no weakness and we must show a resolute, iron fist, until the enemy is vanquished.”

A view of Gaza, January 18, 2009.

Kobi Gideon, Flash 90

Netanyahu spoke at the bedside of a wounded soldier, Or Malka, in Soroka Hospital in Be'er Sheva. Malka was wounded by shrapnel which penetrated his forehead and is suffering from hearing loss.

Or's mother, Pnina, said “The IDF deserves all the respect. We are not afraid, I just hope that Gilad Shalit returns and all of the soldiers return safely.”

Or's brother Yochai told Netanyahu that their cousin was killed in an Arab attack at the Erez crossing and that he, too, was wounded during his military service. “We are a strong and united nation,” Yochai said. “This war has united the nation. We need to understand that we have no other country.”

Diskin: smuggling will resume

Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) head Yuval Diskin estimated Sunday morning that despite the serious impairment of Hamas's smuggling abilities, some tunnels used for weapons smuggling remain intact. He told ministers at the weekly cabinet meeting that Hamas would be able to rebuild the tunnels within a few months' time, and could then renew the arms smuggling into Gaza.

Diskin said that the populace in Gaza is “very critical of Hamas for the destruction it has brought upon Gaza.” He said that ever since Israel declared a ceasefire, Hamas's leadership has shown a great degree of confusion.

Ashkenazi sends message to troops

IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi sent a message to the troops on Sunday, following Israel's declaration of a ceasefire in Gaza, in which he wrote: "The objectives which were presented at the start of the Cast Lead campaign have been completely met; Hamas's structure and terrorist infrastructure have been hit hard."

He added, "The campaign is not over and the coming days require us to stay organized, prepared and ready until quiet returns to our communities and cities."

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