Israel Prepares Gaza for Incursion
What looks to be the early phases of an IDF incursion into the Gaza Strip appears underway, as an Israeli missile took out a bridge that links northern and southern Gaza. Vital Perspective notes that Haaretz is reporting the purpose behind the strike was to prevent or hinder the terrorists’ ability to transport Gilad Shalit, the IDF soldier that was kidnapped from the Israeli side of the border near Rafah to the extreme southern part of the Gaza Strip.
Haaretz also reported that Israeli Prime Minister Olmert has approved a “limited operation” for southern Gaza, aimed at “terrorist infrastructure.” That the ‘infrastructure‘ lies in southern Gaza is no coincidence and likely preparation for an incursion to, at a minimum, extract Shalit.
Fox News Channel reported from the area that Israeli tanks has not yet crossed the border, but that IAF drones could be heard overhead, likely scouring the area where Israel believes Shalit to be held, acquiring target information and conducting force movement observation.
Interestingly, Egypt has also moved 2,500 additional troops along the southern Gaza border because of fears that the terrorist captors would attempt to move their IDF prisoner out of Gaza and into Egypt at or near the Rafah crossing. While Olmert may have been reported as authorizing a limited operation, what looks to be taking shape is a hammer & anvil operation, with the Egyptian military forces playing the role of a limited anvil, while the Israeli hammer swings in from the north and east, likely closing in on, sealing and squeezing the southern section of Gaza around Rafah.
If Israel manages to extract Galid Shalit alive, it will be interesting to observe how quickly they leave Gaza.