Israeli aircrafts launched on Saturday morning a series of air attacks on several metal workshops in the Gaza Strip.
Earlier on Friday evening, Israel's Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz ordered the Israeli army to prepare for a large-scale ground offensive in the Gaza Strip but told commanders to wait for the diplomatic level to determine when the operation would get started.
Mofaz said Israel will take all needed steps against "terror organizations," but will also grant the Palestinian Authority an opportunity to take control over the groups on its own.
In response to the escalating violence in the Gaza Strip, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Friday night altered her travel itinerary and now intends to visit Israel and the Palestinian Authority this coming week.
Rice will shorten her visit to Africa in order to provide meet Israeli and Palestinian officials to ensure the implementation of the Israeli "disengagement plan".