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Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi sent a warning to Hamas Monday. It was the latest in a series of such messages by Israel, which is facing an escalation in terrorist activity in Gaza recently.
"Two years after Operation Cast Lead, the situation in the Gaza Strip is different and calmer," Ashkenazi said. "Yet, sadly, from time to time, rockets and mortar shells are fired at the Israeli home front. We will not accept this. The IDF holds the Hamas terrorist organization solely responsible for any terrorist activity emanating from the Gaza Strip. We hope that the security situation in the south does not deteriorate; however, the IDF is preparing for any scenario."
Ashkenazi spoke during the welcoming ceremony at the Defense Ministry for Italian Chief of Defense Gen. Vincenzo Camporini. The Italian general was received by an honor guard at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, met with Chief-of-Staff Ashkenazi and attended strategic and security briefings.
Gen. Camporini is scheduled to visit the Old City in Jerusalem and Yad Vashem.
Lt.-Gen. Ashkenazi also commented that, "Relations between the IDF and the Italian military are very important and are based on mutual values and interests. Italy is a great friend of Israel and is one of the most involved forces in the region. It contributes great numbers of forces to UNIFIL and in Afghanistan, and in the war on terror."
Camporini said: "This is a great opportunity to further strengthen the excellent relations between the two militaries, as manifested in mutual training and technology. Italy is present in the Middle East and is dealing with the important issue of stability in the region."
General Camporini added that he has recently returned from a visit to his forces in Lebanon and mentioned that he could clearly see the influence of the international forces on the region. He noted that his visit to Israel is one of several mutual visits emphasizing the good relations between the two militaries and their commanders.