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Israel fears 'strategic threat' as Katyusha hits N. Ashkelon. 250,000 within rocket range * IDF kills 9 Palestinians in Gaza strikes
[Daily Edition]
Jerusalem Post - Jerusalem
Author: Katz, Yaakov||||||KHALED ABU TOAMEH||||||KEINON, HERB
Date: Jan 4, 2008
Start Page: 01
Section: News
Abstract (Document Summary)

A senior PA representative accused Iran and Syria of working to torpedo US President George W. Bush's visit to the region next week. He pointed out that all four groups that claimed responsibility for the firing of the Katyusha were closely affiliated with Syria and Iran. "The instructions for firing the Katyusha rocket came from Damascus and Teheran," he said. "The timing of the rocket attack is no coincidence and is mainly aimed at disrupting Bush's visit."

A senior official in the Prime Minister's Office characterized the rocket attack on Ashkelon as "very problematic" and "a strategic threat," and said it showed once again the urgency of stopping the arms smuggling from Sinai into the Gaza Strip.

The official said the government could not sit "idly by," and warned - without mentioning anything about plans for stepped up military action as a result of the rocket attack - that the "continued flow of weaponry and armaments into Gaza from Sinai is an escalatory phenomenon and could lead to a further destabilization in the south." While saying that there was no sense of "crisis" as a result of the rocket attack, the official said it was clear that the current level of weapons smuggling can not go on, and that "actions have to be taken." He did not elaborate.

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