Olmert threatens with ”fierce and disproportionate” response to rockets
During Sunday's Israeli cabinet meeting, and after Palestinian militants fired at least four Qassam rockets from the Gaza Strip into the western Negev, the Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, threatened with a "fierce and disproportionate" response if Gaza militants continued to launch rocket attacks against southern Israel.
Olmert also vowed that Israel would not agree to return to the old rules of engagement in Gaza. "We will act according to new rules that ensure we will not be dragged into an incessant shootout that prevents us from living normal lives in the south," said the prime minister.
There have been sporadic rocket attacks by militants on southern Israeli communities and several Israeli air strikes in the Gaza Strip since a truce came into effect on January 18 following a 22-day Israeli offensive against Hamas in the territory.
Hamas has not taken responsibility for any of the new attacks, which have been claimed by smaller militant groups. But Israel says it holds Hamas, which has ruled Gaza since seizing power in June 2007, responsible for all attacks emanating from Gaza.