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Israel's army chief hails Gaza war as 'excellent'

Dec. 28, 2011 9:35 A.M. (Updated: Dec. 31, 2011 11:23 A.M.)
TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma'an) -- Israel's army chief on Tuesday marked the third anniversary of the Gaza war by hailing Operation Cast Lead as an "excellent" operation.

Lieutenant Benny Gantz made the remarks during an interview with Army Radio. He added that if another invasion of Gaza takes place it must be "swift and painful," Israeli daily Haaretz reported.

The military chief's comments come as Israeli airstrikes targeted the coastal enclave on Tuesday, killing one person and injuring at least 10.

Hamas marked the three year anniversary of the Gaza war by saying that Israel's blockade had failed to achieve its goals.

"Instead of being erased from the map, Gaza has become the Qibla (the direction Muslims face when praying) for the free people of the world and a symbol of dignity under challenge," spokesman Abu Zuhri said.

Hamas will continue to refer to the Goldstone report as "proof" of the occupation's war crimes in Gaza, he added.

Israel launched an unprecedented three week war on the Gaza Strip on Dec. 27, 2008.

Nearly 1,400 Palestinians were killed in the military assault, including over 300 children. The majority of those killed were civilians and over 5,000 people were wounded.

About 1.7 million Palestinians live in the narrow coastal enclave and UNRWA say Gaza's unemployment rate is still one of the most severe in the world.

The Gaza Strip has been under a sea, land and air blockade imposed by Israel since 2007. The blockade has been described as a form of collective punishment by rights agencies.
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