The Israeli ambassador to the United States, Daniel Ayalon, said a rocket attack on the northern Israeli city of Haifa was "a major, major escalation" in the conflict with Hizbullah.
"They have more than 10,000 rockets. For them to do this in Haifa is a major escalation," Ayalon said during a news conference at the National Press Club. Ayalon was interrupted during the conference with news of the attack, which involved at least one rocket.
Asked if Israel was at war, Ayalon said yes.
"The objective is to win this war," he said. "We certainly are not aggressors. We responded. Our objective is to neutralize these groups."
Ayalon blamed Syria and Iran for Hizbullah's capture of two Israeli soldiers, which has led to intensive Israeli air strikes against Lebanon.
"The source of all the problems lie in Damascus and Tehran, but the Lebanese government can stop it," he said.
Ayalon called on "the entire international community" to make clear to Iran and Syria "that they are playing with fire, and it could have serious consequences."