Israeli tanks deployed on the edge of the Gaza Strip, poised to enter the densely populated enclave of 1.5 million Palestinians. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s cabinet approved a call-up of 6,500 reservists, a government official said.
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak told top commanders at a briefing on Sunday that the Israeli offensive was open-ended. Military spokesman Avi Benayahu said it could “take many days.”
Mark Regev, a spokesman for Olmert, said the campaign would continue until the population in southern Israel “will no longer live in terror and in fear of constant rocket barrages.”
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who hopes to become prime minister after a February 10 election, appeared to rule out a large-scale invasion to recapture the territory.
“Our goal is not to reoccupy Gaza Strip,” she said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” program. Asked on Fox News if Israel was out to topple Gaza’s Hamas rulers, Livni replied: “Not now.”
The U.N. Security Council called on all sides to cease fire. But an Israeli official said Israel was feeling little international pressure to halt its operations.
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