Barak: Hamas will bear the consequences of security deterioration

"Hamas is responsible for the deteriorating [security] situation and it will bear the consequences," Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Friday afternoon, as rockets continued to hit the western Negev and the IAF struck back at targets in the Gaza Strip. During a tour of the sites hit in Thursday's Grad missile attack on Ashkelon, Barak added that "Israel's response to the rocket fire from Gaza is essential and is being executed." The defense minister met with Ashkelon Mayor Roni Mehatzri, Home Front Command officials and representatives from the city's education system. Barak was accompanied by deputy Defense Minister Martan Vilna'i and the Defense Ministry's deputy director-general, Victor Bar-Gil.