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article imageNetanyahu promises 'most harsh' response against Gaza militants

By Michael Krebs     Apr 10, 2011 in World
As Hamas and Israel attempted to structure a ceasefire over the weekend, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised a 'most harsh' response should rocket volleys continue from Gaza.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised Israel's defense forces in an address to his cabinet on Sunday, insisting that Israeli reaction to the rocket fire emanating from positions across the Gaza Strip had struck the Gaza militants hard.
However, Netanyahu promised that if the rocket volleys continue, the Israeli response will need to demonstrate a new boldness.
“If attacks against Israeli civilians and the IDF continue, the response will be most harsh,” he insisted, according to The Hindu.
The tone of Netanyahu's camp appeared to be decidedly hawkish, with deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, Ellie Yishai calling for Israeli responses that could be deemed "less routine."
“A ground operation is completely useless. We need to do something stronger and not stay apathetic as we have been, in order to bring calm to the area,” Yishai said, as The Hindu reported.
More than 100 rockets have been fired into Israel from Gaza on Saturday and Sunday alone. Israel responded with air strikes that left 19 Palestinians dead and prompted Hamas to appeal to Israel for a ceasefire.
"We are interested in calm but want the Israeli military to stop its operations," Hamas Deputy Foreign Minister Ghazi Hamad said in an interview on Israel Radio, according to Haaretz.
But there remain concerns in Israel that Hamas may no longer be in control of its militants, as another splinter group appeared to have emerged in Gaza. The new group, called the At Tawhid and Al Jihad Beit Al-Maqdis, has claimed responsibility for some of the rocket attacks, the Jerusalem Post reported.
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak does not see a true desire for a ceasefire among Hamas' militant supporters, and the prospect of more violence seemed imminent.
"Hamas' military wing doesn't want a cease-fire," Barak said, addressing the Israeli cabinet, according to Haaretz.
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