In response to Kassam attacks on southern Israel, Defense Minister Amir Peretz has ordered the IDF to step up its targeted assassinations of Hamas leaders in the Gaza Strip, Israel Radio reported.
Stop the Kassams now (editorial)
Following rocket barrages on Sderot that left one woman dead and two young men seriously wounded on Wednesday, the IAF carried out overnight air strikes against terror targets in the Gaza Strip.
First, IAF planes attacked a building in Gaza City. The army reported that the structure had functioned as a weapons storehouse. The occupants were given warning by telephone prior to the strike, and there were no reports of wounded.
Approximately an hour later, two Palestinians were reported wounded when the IAF struck two Hamas-owned structures in the Jabalya refugee camp. As in the Gaza City strike, the army alerted the occupants of the impending action, and warned them to leave the premises.
The army said that one of the buildings was used as a weapons storehouse, while the second functioned as a headquarters for planning terror attacks against Israeli targets.
On Wednesday afternoon, Peretz convened an emergency meeting of security officials on Wednesday afternoon to discuss the day's rocket attacks.
"We will take action against anyone involved in Kassam rocket attacks, from the terror chiefs until the last of the terror operatives," Peretz said. "The terror organizations will pay a heavy price."
Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter told Army Radio following the morning's barrage that the political echelons must order the IDF to stop the Kassam fire completely and by any means necessary - artillery, aerial, or land attacks - even at the risk of endangering soldiers.
"The political echelons' instructions to the IDF should have been and still must be an absolute halt to Kassam fire from the Gaza Strip at Israel," Dichter said. "Unfortunately, there is currently no such instruction. The steps taken up to now have not been successful in putting a stop to Kassam fire."
"The army's activity is not sufficient," Dichter added. "A broadening [of operations] is necessary, whether it's a ground operation or an aerial operation or other special operations. Defense forces exist to protect citizens, even at the expense of harm to the defense forces.
"The reality we live in today is unthinkable, intolerable," he said.