Jerusalem: Vowing not to bow under international pressures, Israel`s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that Israel "will act with all power" in its offensive to stop rocket attacks on its land from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.
Netanyahu`s statement comes even as US President Barack Obama called the Israeli Prime Minister on Friday and offered to broker a ceasefire with Hamas, saying there was a risk of further escalation of the crisis.
"No international pressure will prevent us from acting with all power," he told reporters.
Obama in a telephonic conversation with Netanyahu had re-affirmed Washington`s support for Israel`s right to self-defence while offering to help mediate a ceasefire with Gaza-based militants.
Israeli jets bombed the Gaza Strip for the fourth day yesterday, killing 13 Palestinians, taking the death toll to 105, as the Jewish state was targeted by rocket attacks from Lebanon for the first time since the military offensive began.
"The Israeli people know that my first consideration is to restore calm," Netanyahu said in a pre-Sabbath address adding, "I will do everything necessary to achieve this objective."
Asked if Israel was considering a ground incursion after four days of aerial offensive, the Israeli Premier said, "we are weighing all possibilities and preparing for all possibilities."
Meanwhile, Israel Defence Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff, Benny Gantz has said that the military was ready for a ground offensive, and was only awaiting instructions from the political leadership.
"Nothing is stopping us from moving forward," Gantz said during a tour of a paratroopers training base adding, "The IDF is not waiting for the last straw to go on a ground offensive, it`s waiting on political instruction."
"Terrorists in Gaza are understanding that they`ve made a big mistake. In four days we`ve been intelligently using our offensive means while remembering that there are civilians there that Hamas has turned into hostages," the IDF Chief of Staff emphasised.
Holding Hamas responsible for the flare-up while Israel continued to say that calm will be met with calm, Gantz said, "Gaza is slowly sinking to its doom."