Senior IDF Commander: There Is Anarchy in Gaza

During visit to western Negev home damaged by Qassam rocket, Maj. Gen. Tal Russo says neither Hamas nor other militant groups have control of the Gaza Strip.

GOC Southern Command Maj. Gen. Tal Russo said Saturday that Gaza is in anarchy, warning that neither Hamas nor any other group is in control of the area.

Russo made the comments during a visit to the western Negev home which was badly damaged from a Qassam strike overnight, following recent cross-border escalation between Israel and Gaza.

IAF strike in Gaza - AP - March 24, 2011

"There is anarchy in Gaza, inside Hamas and inside the other [militant] organizations. No group exerts control there. It's difficult for Hamas to turn back the clock," said Russo.

Asked if the IDF would launch a large 'Operation Cast Lead 2' type of military operation in Gaza as a response, Russo said that it is not dependent upon Israel but upon the other side. "We are trying to afford citizens of the south normal lives, and these aren't exactly normal lives," he said. "We will bring these citizens peace and quiet. That is our aim."

Russo added, "The situation has eroded since Cast Lead. The other side is starting to get forgetful. I hope that they get a hold of themselves."

A Qassam rocket landed and exploded outside a family home in the Eshkol Regional Council in the western Negev region overnight Friday. No casualties were reported as a result of the rocket, but the family home suffered considerable damage.

A second rocket fell in an open field nearby, causing no damage to people or property.

The rocket attacks came hours after Defense Minister Ehud Barak and IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz announced the activation of the Iron Dome defense system in the south of the country. Barak said he approved the deployment of the system as an operational experiment and the IDF has said it will be operational in a few days.