The Israeli security cabinet decided Monday to intensify the military attacks on Gaza Strip in response to a rocket barrage by Hamas and other Palestinian resistance groups in the Strip, according to Israel radio.
At the end of its three-hour meeting in Jerusalem, the security cabinet gave the green light to the Israeli army to expand and ratchet up the military strikes against militant targets in the Strip on a daily basis until Hamas leader realize that a ceasefire is in their favor, the radio reported, citing a government insider.
The Egyptian secret service will convey message from Israel to Hamas and vice versa in a bid to deescalate the tension.
The radio noted that there is disagreement between the political and military wings of Hamas on the proposed truce.
While Hamas movement was in favor of de-escalation of the tension, things went to the contrary today after Ezz-Eddin Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the movement, fired a volley of rockets into Sderot and other southern Israeli towns in retaliation to the Israeli air attacks which killed seven Hamas members last night.
Hamas demands, as a condition for truce, that Israel must release its members who were detained during the recent security campaign in the West Bank as well as the former prisoners who were rearrested.
Meanwhile, the Israeli army called up some 1,500 reservists from two infantry brigades around the Gaza Strip in preparation for a possible escalation that could result in a large-scale military operation.
The reservists, most of them are commanders and are from the home front command, will arrive in waves along the frontline with Gaza.
Haaretz daily quoted a senior military officer as saying that the escalation was aimed at halting the rocket fire and would be expanded as necessary if the launches did not cease.
"The blows will be harder. Each succeeding day will be harder for Hamas. We will escalate the attacks to make it clear to them that it is in their interest to stop the rocket fire," the officer said.
"We are prepared to broaden the operation in case the rocket fire does not stop," the senior officer added.
On its part, Hamas defied the Israeli decision and asked all resistance groups to mobilize their fighters and brace for an imminent Israeli aggression.
Spokesman of the movement Sami Abu Zuhri said in a brief statement that "our people will never yield to the Israeli crimes.
"We are capable of repelling any Israeli aggression; blood for blood," he said, vowing that Israel will pay dearly for the killing of seven Hamas members.