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Friday, December 14, 2007

The Invincible Army - proving otherwise

Palestinians Managed to Penetrate Israeli Army Merkava
source almanartv

13/12/2007 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have managed to penetrate an Israeli occupation army Merkava tank using a missile and the army is now checking if double headed anti-tank missiles have made their way to Gaza, Israeli Channel 10 reported Wednesday. According to the report, the missile was fired at an Israeli army tank on Tuesday and its jet stream passed between the tank's soldiers, who subsequently suffered from smoke inhalation.

Details released by the occupation army about the incident on Tuesday said that four Israeli soldiers had inhaled smoke and suffered minor bruises, but had not stated that the RPG had actually managed to penetrate the tank. The Israeli army said that the tank's defense systems had functioned properly and that these were sufficient in dealing with the threats in Gaza.

Hezbollah’s advanced armor-piercing RPGs damaged 40 Merkava tanks and killed more than 30 tank crew members during the Second Lebanon War. The Israeli army has ordered hundreds of Trophy active protection anti-missile systems, which it plans to install on its Merkava tanks.

Developed by the Rafael Armament Development Authority, the Trophy system creates a hemispheric protected zone around armored vehicles such as the Merkava tank. The system is designed to detect and track a threat and counter it with a launched projectile that intercepts the anti-tank missile.

Ashkenazi: We Have Learned from Lebanon War

13/12/2007 The current situation in Gaza cannot continue, and ongoing Qassam attacks on the occupied territories may force the Israeli occupation army to launch a large-scale operation in the Strip, Israeli army Chief of Staff Lit.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi said Wednesday.

"You cannot defeat a terror organization without eventually taking control of the territory," according to Ashkenazi, "the only reason we have been successful in Judea and Samaria is because we control the area." Speaking at a conference hosted by the Institute for National Security Studies at the Tel Aviv University, Ashkenazi said that while the current limited army operations in Gaza impair the capabilities of resistance organizations, they would never completely curb all attacks against Israel. "We may very well come to a point where we will be forced to carry out a large-scale operation," he said.

His speech came several short hours after a heavy barrage of Qassam rockets hit Sderot. Earlier in the day the Israeli security cabinet recommended against launching a large-scale military operation in the Strip but called on the Israeli army to continue its limited military operations. Ashkenazi said that Israel must prepare for the possibility of facing numerous enemies on several fronts - including foreign armies and resistance groups – simultaneously. "The threat to the Israeli home front is growing and this requires us to prepare ourselves both on the defensive and offensive levels," he stated.

The Israeli chief of staff also addressed the long-term ramifications of the Second Lebanon War. "The Israeli army's deterrence has only grown stronger after the war," said Ashkenazi. As for Israel's concerns regarding its enemies from the east, Iran and Syria, Ashkenazi said the Israeli occupation army "must be prepared to achieve a decisive victory in any confrontation."

In a possible war with Syria, he said, the army would not combat rocket attacks on Israel's home front as it had during the war in Lebanon. "So long as there are rockets falling on homes in the occupied teritories - we can not win the war. We will not fight as the army has in the past. We will not only operate against the rocket launchers themselves but also create a situation where the other side's desire to launch these attacks sufferers, the price for these attacks will be steep – and the enemy will have to decide whether it can keep fighting. "In a playground like Syria, we have the capability to strike them," Ashkenazi claimed.

Meanwhile, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said he was aware that the situation in and around Sderot was "difficult and complicated" and assured residents that the Israeli army would find a solution to their plight. Taking the podium after Ashkenazi, Barak said that Israel's "finest" were working day and night on the Qassam problem.

"We know that this is a mission we haven't accomplished yet, and the road ahead is still very long," said Barak. "This is a solution that requires sound judgment and responsibility, the situation isn't simple and I hope it will not come to a point where we are forced to do that which, for now, we do not want to do." Barak also called on Eli Moyal to reconsider his decision to resign as mayor of Sderot following a particularly heavy rocket barrage earlier in the day.

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