The Israeli government tried to contain public outrage at an escalation of Palestinian rocket attacks on Sderot.
After dozens of rockets from the Gaza Strip hit the southern Israeli town and nearby communities, seriously wounding two brothers, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Sunday that all Palestinian terrorists could be attacked in retaliation.
“We will get all those who perpetrate terror — their superiors, their handlers and their planners,” he told his Cabinet in broadcast remarks.
Faced with opposition calls for a major ground sweep of Gaza, however, Olmert also cautioned that “outrage is not a course of action.”
Defense Minister Ehud Barak made an unscheduled visit to Sderot, where he tried to reassure irate residents that Israel’s current counter measures in Gaza are effective. Palestinian sources said an Israeli airstrike killed a Hamas man within hours of the shelling that seriously wounded the two brothers, 8 and 19. The rocket launched Saturday night nearly severed the legs of the younger boy, authorities said. Authorities said the local leader of the Hamas terrorist group killed in Rafah, in southern Gaza, was involved in smuggling arms from Egypt.
According to Israeli media, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni is promoting a proposal to invite foreign peacekeepers to deploy in Gaza, though it remains unclear which, if any, countries would contribute troops for such a risky mission.
Infrastructure Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer said Israel should go through with measures to cease its supplies of utilities to the Hamas-ruled territory.
Israel is reluctant to order a Gaza sweep out of concern the casualty toll would imperil Gilad Shalit, a soldier held hostage by Hamas, as well as undermine efforts to reach a peace deal with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Past ground offensives have not entirely stopped rocket salvos.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.