Hamas operatives stopped in recent days firing rockets from the Gaza Strip after Israel made threats to the group, an official said Thursday morning. "We sent clear messages ... and at the end the firing of the rockets stopped," head of the Defense Ministry's Political-Military Bureau, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Gilad told Army Radio. Officials had said in recent days that Israel would strike at leaders of Palestinian terrorists who are involved in the rocket launchings. They had implied that Hamas leaders could also be targeted. Israel has in recent weeks carried out several deadly air strikes against Palestinians it believes are involved in rocket attacks. The rocket fire had increased at the start of this week, with Hamas involvement, following the killing last week of eight Palestinian civilians on a Gaza beach by a blast that Palestinians blamed on an Israeli shell. In recent days, the number of rockets fired has dropped considerably.