As Kassam rockets continued to pound Sderot on Wednesday, the IAF carried out an airstrike against a Hamas rocket launching crew, killing one Hamas member and wounding two others as they fled in their car after firing a rocket at the western Negev.
The attack came shortly after Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced Israel "cannot continue to restrain itself" in the face of repeated rocket fire by Palestinian terrorists.
Earlier, at least four were killed and 30 others wounded when IAF helicopters fired three missiles at a Hamas military installation in Rafah, Palestinian medical officials reported.
The IDF said that the attack came in response to some two-dozen Kassam rockets fired on southern Israel since Tuesday, adding that it would continue to strike terror targets in Gaza.
In a strike earlier Wednesday, IAF helicopters also fired missiles at Kassam launch sites in the northern Gaza Strip.
The IDF has standing cabinet approval to strike at groups launching rockets. And at a security cabinet meeting on Sunday, Olmert stressed that if IDF action inside the Gaza Strip beyond what had already been approved were needed, he and Defense Minister Amir Peretz were empowered to give the green light.
Government officials said a major new tactical shift in Israel's response to the Kassams would come, if at all, only after the security cabinet finished its discussions on the matter some time next week.
The Prime Minister's Office issued a statement saying, "Israel today extended its hand for peace yet again, but has had it rejected by the firing of a series of barrages into Sderot, hitting schools and homes."