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Israel declares to continue Gaza operation
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A day after the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) approved a resolution calling for cease-fire in the Gaza Strip, Israel declared on Friday in a defiant gesture that its defense forces IDF will continue its operation in the Hamas-ruled coastal enclave.

An Israeli soldier covers his ears after firing a mortar mounted on an armoured personal carrier (APC) towards Gaza from its position outside the northern Gaza Strip January 9, 2009. [Xinhuanet.com]

After Arab and Western foreign ministers agreed on an amended version of a Britain-drafted resolution on Thursday, the UNSC adopted the Resolution 1860 calling for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza "leading to the full withdrawal of Israeli forces." It was approved by 14 votes in favor while the United States abstained.

Despite the UNSC resolution, Israeli Ministerial Committee on National Security Affairs declared on Friday that the IDF will continue its operation in Gaza.

"Israel has the right to defend its citizens and, to this end, the IDF will continue acting in order to attain the goals of the operation -- changing the security reality in southern Israel -- in accordance with the plans that were approved at the beginning of the operation," said a statement released shortly after the Friday cabinet session.

Operations will also continue to prevent the smuggling of war material into Gaza, according to the statement sent to Xinhua.

"It was also decided that the humanitarian activity being carried out by Israel for the benefit of the residents of Gaza would continue," added the statement.

Earlier on Friday, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said that despite the UNSC resolution, IDF will continue operation in Gaza in order to defend Israeli citizens and will carry out the missions with which it has been assigned in the operation.

Smoke caused by Israeli military operations is seen over Gaza City, Jan. 9, 2009. [Xinhua Photo] 

"Israel has never agreed that any outside body would determine its right to defend the security of its citizens," Olmert said in a statement issued by the Prime Minister's Office following the security cabinet discussion.

The UNSC resolution was "impracticable," said Olmert, adding that Palestinian militants in Gaza continued to fire rockets into southern Israel on Friday.

"The rocket attacks this morning against residents of the south only prove that the UNSC resolution is not practical and will not be honored in actual fact by the Palestinian murder organizations," said the prime minister.

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