When will UN take measures against Israel that challenges more than 60 resolutions of United Nation ?!
Associated France Press (AFP) 26/6/2006
Israel vows revenge after deadly attack from Gaza
by Michael Blum
KEREM SHALOM, Israel (AFP) - Israel vowed to avenge any harm done to a soldier thought kidnapped during a Palestinian militant attack on an outpost that left two Israeli soldiers and two activists dead.
The soldier went missing after militants tunneled into Israel and launched the brazen attack, firing grenades and rockets at an army border post near southern Gaza.
Hamas’s armed wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, was one of three factions claiming responsibility for the bold and well coordinated attack in which four Israelis were also wounded, one of them seriously.
It was the largest attack in the volatile border area since Israel pulled troops and settlers out of the impoverished coastal strip last summer, ending a 38-year presence.
Defence Minister Amir Peretz vowed a strong Israeli retaliation if the missing soldier, 20-year-old Gilad Shavit, were not released unharmed.
"We will take revenge against anyone who injures the soldier, including their leaders," Peretz told reporters.
The security cabinet later approved a series of reprisal operations against the Gaza Strip but agreed to put them off until the missing soldier had been brought home, the privately run Channel 10 television reported.
Shavit’s bloodstained bulletproof was found not far from the scene of the attack and thousands of Israelis flocked to Jerusalem’s Western Wall Sunday evening to pray for his safe return home.
In a joint statement, the militant groups said the dawn assault was revenge for the 22 civilians killed in an alleged Israeli shelling and botched air strikes since the start of June.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert blamed Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas and the Hamas-led Palestinian government for the attack.
Israel tanks, troops and Apache combat helicopters stormed into southern Gaza in response to search for the missing soldier and investigate the tunnel used by the attackers.
Public radio reported that further forces were massing on the border.
"This attack was carried out and spearheaded by senior members of the Hamas and authorized by the party’s leadership," an army spokesman told AFP.
"The IDF (Israel Defence Force) holds the Palestinian Authority and democratically elected Hamas government responsible for the attack and the fate of the missing soldier."
The deputy prime minister of the Hamas government Nasseredine al-Shaer, demanded the immediate release of the soldier.
"I demand that this Israel soldier be freed immediately," Shaer told a news conference in the West Bank political capital of Ramallah.
But Shaer’s call for the release of a soldier believed held by militants loyal to his own movement drew condemnation from Israeli ambassador to the United Nations Danny Gillerman.
"Hamas has once again proved that it is the worst sort of terrorist organization," Gillerman told AFP in Jerusalem.
Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni urged the moderate Palestinian Authority president to act swiftly to release the soldier, by force if necessary.
"This is an opportunity for Abu Mazen (Abbas) to prove how serious his intentions are. Israel expects him to act immediately to return the kidnapped soldier to Israel and he has the necessary military means to do so," she said.
Abbas, who was locked in talks with Hamas aimed at ending deadly political feuding between the Islamic militant group and his mainstream Fatah faction, condemned the attack.
"We have always warned against the danger of certain groups or factions leaving the national consensus and carrying out operations for which the Palestinian people will always have to pay the price," he said.
Abbas has been seeking Hamas’s agreement to an initiative that implicitly recognises Israel and plans to put the document, drawn up by jailed Palestinian militants, to a referendum on July 26 if that approval is not forthcoming.
The assault occurred at about 5:30 am (0230 GMT) when about eight Palestinian militants reached the army post through a tunnel and fired anti-tank rockets at the unit protecting the Kerem Shalom crossing point, a military source said.
The militants tossed hand grenades into one tank, killing an officer and the soldier, and wounding four others.
At the same time, Palestinians fired a salvo of homemade rockets from the northern Gaza Strip against neighbouring Israeli areas.
"This operation was a clear and final message to the enemy leaders: they need to keep civilians far from their hateful bullets and leave the battle between the heroes of the resistance and the soldiers," a joint statement released by the attackers said.
Along with the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades and the radical Popular Resistance Committees, the previously unknown Army of Islam also participated in Sunday’s assault.