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Israel to call 6500 reserve soldiers

Last Updated: Sunday, December 28, 2008 - 00:00

Jerusalem, Dec 28: Israel will call 6,500 of its
reserve soldiers to duty, signalling a widening of the military
offensive against Hamas in the coastal Gaza Strip, where over
280 Palestinians have been killed in the last two days in the
largest operation since 1967.

"The Israel Defense Forces will, in the coming days, call
up more reservists," Cabinet secretary Oved Yehezkel told
reporters after ministers met for a special sessiontoday to
discuss "Operation Cast Lead" that was launched yesterday.

The proposal to mobilise 6,500 reservists initiated by
Defence Minister Ehud Barak was approved by the Cabinet today.

Security sources said that some reservists have already
been mobilised to help protect Israeli communes on the Gaza
border from Palestinian rocket and mortar shell attacks.

Meanwhile, hundreds of IDF infantry and armoured corps
troops headed for the Gaza border early today in preparation
for a possible ground invasion as Barak vowed to "expand and
deepen" the attacks on the Hamas-ruled territory.

"The Israeli Defence Forces will expand and deepen its
operations in Gaza as much as necessary," Defence Minister
Barak told reporters before the cabinet meeting.

Asked yesterday if Israel would follow up the
air strikes with a ground offensive, the Defence Minister had
said, "If boots on the ground will be needed, they will be

"Our intention is to totally change the rules of the
game," Barak said.

Israeli fighter planes continued to pound Gaza for a
second day today in the large scale operation in the
impoverished Palestinian enclave of 1.5 million people,
leaving over 280 dead and close to 800 injured.

Bureau Report

First Published: Sunday, December 28, 2008 - 00:00
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