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Ehud Olmert hinted that a major military operation against terrorists in Gaza could be launched soon.

The failure to scure an agreement to stop Palestinian rocket attacks against Israel will “draw us closer to an operation that will be much harsher and tougher” against terrorist groups, the Israeli prime minister said upon his return to Israel on Friday. A military operation was more likely than a deal, Olmert added.

“According to the information we have now, the pendulum is closer to a decision to embark on a harsh operation in the Gaza Strip than it is to an agreement with the terror organizations,” Olmert said.

On Thursday, Amnon Rozenberg, 51, a father of three, was killed in Palestinian shelling from the Gaza Strip. Three other Israelis were wounded after Hamas terrorists launched three mortar bombs from southern Gaza into Kibbutz Nir Oz, hitting a factory.

On Friday, Gaza militants stepped up their heavy shelling of southern Israel.

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