Olmert authorizes "harsh" response to Kassam Attacks
At an Israeli security cabinet meeting convened to discuss different strategies to respond to the barrage of Hamas launched Kassam rockets in the southern town of Sderot, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said that Israel can no longer ignore the attacks.
Defense Minister Amir Peretz said that Israel must take "any step necessary" to protect her sovereignty as was reported in The Jerusalem Post. Peretz also requested that an evacuation plan for civilians living along the border with Gaza be renewed so that it could be immediately implemented in order to stem any further casualties.
Today, Hamas sent at least 16 Kassam rockets into the Israeli town of Sderot. One woman was badly injured and several others were treated for shock.
In Gaza, four people were killed and 30 wounded as IAF helicopters fired three missiles at a Hamas military base near the southern town of Rafah according to a report by The Jerusalem Post. The missiles were fired in response to close to two dozen rockets fired into Israel since Tuesday.
Tuesday, a rocket barrage in the south of Israel left at least 18 people wounded. The government has begun evacuating dozens of Sderot residents mostly to Jerusalem.
Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz blamed Hamas for the attacks saying they are "trying to provide cover for its murderous campaign against Fatah" according to an article in The Jerusalem Post.
Government officials believe that Hamas is attempting to haul Israel into a large scale conflict in hopes of unifying the warring Palestinian factions in Gaza.
Prime Minister Olmert plans to meet with Peretz, IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi and Foriegn Minister Tzipi Livini to determine a response to the rocket fire.
The IDF has standing approval to retaliate against locations launching the rockets and government officials do not expect any dramatic change in Israel's policy of moderate retaliation.
Defense officials said that the IDF may increase its level of operations in Gaza in the form of targeted killings and precision ground operations said the article in The Jerusalem Post.