By Adam Levine
The relentless pace of the Israeli airstrike on Gaza gave the country's military time to make a significant dent in the offensive capability of Hamas, the Israeli military said.
Over the eight day conflict, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) looked to deplete some of the estimated 12,000 rockets Hamas has in its arsenal and destroy tunnels that are said to be used to smuggle weapons.
"We are very satisfied with the achievements that we have had in this operation," Israel Defense Force spokeswoman Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich said on CNN's 'Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.'
The operation was not without human cost. Nearly 150 Palestinian and Israelis, though mostly Palestinians, were killed and many more were injured.
But the IDF said the operation allowed it to accomplish "its pre-determined objectives for Operation Pillar of Defense, and has inflicted severe damage to Hamas and its military capabilities," according to a media release sent soon after the cease-fire took effect on Wednesday.
The military gains were a factor in Israel agreeing to stop the airstrikes, according to the IDF.
"These operational achievements provided the underlying framework for this evening's cease-fire agreement," the IDF release said.
By Barbara Starr
Senior U.S. military officials are considering increasing the American military presence in the Mediterranean because of what they see as growing instability in recent months, CNN has learned.
"This is post-Benghazi," one military official told CNN. "We're looking at instability in Libya, Egypt, Syria and now Israel and Gaza."
The official who has direct knowledge of the discussions declined to be identified because of the sensitive nature of the information.
The Pentagon is looking at a number of options, according to military officials. The easiest would be to extend deployments of Navy ships passing through the region. FULL POST
From Ivan Watson
In a potential escalation of the Syrian conflict, Turkey asked NATO on Wednesday for Patriot missiles to bolster its air defenses against its southern neighbor.
A letter to NATO included the "formal request" that the alliance send "air defense elements," according to a Turkish government statement that cited "the threats and risks posed by the continuing crisis in Syria to our national security."
The statement added that the NATO Council would convene "shortly" to consider the matter.
NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in a Twitter post that the request would be considered without delay.
In a statement on Wednesday, Rasmussen said the letter from Turkey requested Patriot missiles that would "contribute to the de-escalation of the crisis along NATO's south-eastern border" and serve as "a concrete demonstration of alliance solidarity and resolve."
Rasmussen's statement said three NATO countries have available Patriot missiles - Germany, the Netherlands and the United States - and it would be up to them to decide if they can deploy them and for how long.