Jerusalem: Israel on Friday threatened a
widescale military operation against the Gaza Strip after a
string of air strikes which injured three Palestinian children
following rocket attacks from the enclave.
Israel`s deputy prime minister, Silvan Shalom, warned
that the military would soon launch a new offensive on the
Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip unless the rocket fire was halted.
"If this rocket fire against Israel does not stop, it
seems we will have to raise the level of our activity and step
up our actions against Hamas," Shalom told public radio.
"We won`t allow frightened children to again be raised in
bomb shelters and so, in the end, it will force us to launch
another military operation," said the deputy premier.
"I hope we can avoid it, but it is one of the options we
have, and if we don`t have a choice, we will use it in the
near future," he said.
Three Palestinian children -- aged two, four and 11 --
were hit by flying glass in one of Israel`s six overnight
raids, said Moawiya Hassanein, head of the Palestinian
emergency services in Gaza.
There were no other reports of casualties.
The head of the Islamist Hamas movement`s government in
the Gaza Strip, Ismail Haniya, reacted by blaming the Jewish
state for the increase in tensions.
"We call on the international community to intervene to
stop this escalation and Israeli aggression," Haniya said in a