Defense Minsiter Ehud Barak warned Monday that if rocket fire escalates from Gaza, Israel will continue air strikes against terrorist targets throughout the strip.
Speaking at a ceremony welcoming the arrival of Italy's Defense Minister Giampaolo di Paola, Barak praised the success of the Iron Dome in intercepting over 40 rockets since the beginning of the violence on Friday and said that it also contributed to boosting Israel's deterrence in light of the threats it faces in the region.
"The IDF will continue to protect Israeli citizens and will strike all those who rise to attack us," Barak said. "Those who attack our civilians will be punished."
Also Monday, Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch said Israel's response to the continued rocket fire from Gaza must be "harsh" in order to bring an end to the "unbearable" situation in the South.
Speaking in an interview with Israel Radio, Aharonovitch said it was impossible to keep one million citizens in bomb shelters for four days.
The minister reiterated the Israeli government position that, although Hamas operatives may not be firing the rockets themselves, the group is in control of Gaza and therefore responsible for preventing other factions from launching attacks on Israel from the territory.
JPost.com staff contributed to this report.