Massing troops and tanks near Gaza, Israel says wants no war
* Public build-up sends warning to Hamas
* “It is not our intention to go to war,” Peres
By Dan Williams
JERUSALEM, Nov 16 (Reuters) – Israeli tanks and troops massed outside Gaza and the military said on Friday it was calling up 16,000 reservists, signs of a possible imminent invasion of the Palestinian enclave after 48 hours of air strikes.
Israel’s warplanes, drones and helicopters appeared to shift focus from suspected Palestinian rocket sites to the northern Gaza frontier, where their bombs created incursion corridors by clearing landmines or guerrilla gun nests.
The mobilisation was anything but secret and details put on social media by the Israeli military appeared to be a clear warning to the Hamas Islamists that govern Gaza to push for a truce.
“It is not our intention to go to war, and we are hopeful that this operation will not take a minute more than required,” Israeli President Shimon Peres said.
Since being fought to a standstill in its 2006 war against Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas, Israel has been honing the training of its regular troops and could mount a land invasion of Gaza at short notice.