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Israel's Barak predicts more strikes on Gaza

Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak said Israel will go back to carrying out military strikes on the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip despite a month-old truce, army radio reported.

world Updated: Aug 05, 2008 12:49 IST

Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak said Israel will go back to carrying out military strikes on the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip despite a month-old truce, army radio reported on Tuesday.

"Those who miss the operations in the Gaza Strip, don't worry, they will come," Barak told a Labour party event in Jerusalem, without elaborating.

In June, Israel agreed to an Egyptian-brokered truce with Palestinian militants in Gaza that has mostly halted the near daily rocket and mortar attacks launched from the impoverished territory on southern Israel.

But Israeli officials remain wary of the deal and suspect Gaza's Hamas rulers and other armed groups are using the calm to train and rearm with weapons smuggled through a vast network of tunnels under the border with Egypt.

Israel had also said the truce depended on progress in releasing Gilad Shalit, an Israeli corporal seized by Gaza militants in a deadly cross-border raid on June 25, 2006.

Israel's army chief said on Monday that the military knows Shalit's location and the identity of those holding him, raising the possibility that Israel could seek to extract him through military means.

Israeli officials have in the past ruled out such an option, saying that his exact location was unclear and that such an operation would be extremely risky.

Israel and Hamas have been holding indirect negotiations through Egyptian mediation on a prisoner swap expected to include the release of hundreds of Palestinians held in Israeli prisons in exchange for Shalit.

But Israel has so far refused to release the prisoners demanded by Hamas, who include several people implicated in deadly attacks on Israelis.