"I'm not a newcomer in the army. Both my brothers served in combat units that saw action in Gaza. And I can say that this is the most aggressive line that we have ever taken towards fighting the Palestinians. As you say in English, the gloves were off," The Times quoted Lieutenant Alon, as saying. He was shocked by some of the scenes inside Gaza, describing whole neighbourhoods as being levelled.
Palestinian doctors have said that over 900 people have been killed, nearly half of them
civilians, since Israel began Operation Cast Lead in Gaza on Dec 27. Thirteen Israelis have died, three of them civilians.
The troops said they had had a taste of the traps and tricks that Hamas had laid in store for them: booby-trapped houses, tunnels intended to spirit away kidnapped soldiers, militants dressed in civilian clothing - but insisted that the operation could not claim success unless Hamas was dealt a "knockout blow" by troops combing through the urban centres.