'Large-scale Gaza operation a matter of time'

Defense officials say Kassam attacks demonstrate need for action against Hamas; PM warns Palestinians.

Monday's Kassam barrage on Sderot has prompted defense officials to say the attack demonstrated the need for a large-scale operation inside Gaza to weaken Hamas and prevent additional rocket attacks. "It does not appear that the Palestinians will stop the rocket attacks on their own," one official said. "Therefore it is probably only a matter of time before we will need to launch a large-scale operation." OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant has for several months called for a large operation in Gaza and has warned that if the operation is not launched in the coming year, the IDF might lose its "window of opportunity" in defeating Hamas in Gaza. Earler Monday, responding to the volley of rockets, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said that Israel viewed the attack "very severely". "We will not come to terms with it and we will not let it pass," Olmert said after meeting Austrian Chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer. "The instruction to the IDF is to destroy every rocket launcher and hit everyone who is involved in the rocket fire," continued the prime minister. Olmert said that the Palestinians had paid a heavy price for Kassam rocket fire and "will continue to pay a heavy price in the future." The prime minister also said Israel will show no restraint in its efforts to halt Palestinian rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip and will "do everything to provide better security for the residents." "We will not limit ourselves in regards to targeting the rocket launchers and those who dispatch them," he said. "Many of these were targeted in the past few months and I am convinced that many will continue to be targeted in Israeli operations." Israel Radio reported Monday that Israel will file an official complaint to the UN following the continued bombardment of Sderot. Deputy UN Ambassador Daniel Carmon reportedly discussed the issue with the Secretary-General's Chef de Cabinet Vijay Nambiar and his Middle East envoy Michael Williams. Israel's Ambassador to the UN Danny Gillerman said that there was a limit to Israel's restraint, adding that he would speak to the secretary general and demand that the organization intervene and try and put an end to the attacks.