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Israel warns of major ground invasion of Gaza amid attacks

Israel is ready to act "with great force and great determination," Netanyahu said.

Israel gaza invasion 2011 3 25Enlarge
Palestinian youths take part in a weekly demonstration against Israel's separation barrier in the West Bank village of Bilin on March 25, 2011. (Abbas Momani/Getty Images)

Israel is ready to act "with great force and great determination" to stop terror attacks, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Friday.

Another Israeli minister, meantime, warned that the country could be poised for a major ground invasion of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

Netanyahu's warning came two days after a bomb attack in Jerusalem, the Israeli capital, killed a British woman and hurt at least 31 others, and amid increasing Israeli-Palestinian violence.

"No country could accept such attacks," Netanyahu said ahead of his meeting with U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates in Caesarea, according to Haaretz.

A marked increase in tensions which has seen more than 100 rockets and mortars fired by Palestinians from Gaza into Israel this week.

“No country could accept such attacks.”
~Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli Prime Minister

Israel has responded with airstrikes on targets in the Gaza Strip, in one instance wounding unarmed civilians, including children.

Also Friday, VOA quoted local media as reporting that a Palestinian in the West Bank threw a stone at an Israeli soldier and wounded him in the head. Israeli police, in return, fired on the Palestinian and wounded him.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has pointed to Hamas, which rules Gaza, as ultimately responsible for attacks on Israel by militant groups such as Islamic Jihad.

Israeli Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar, meantime, said Friday that any response to continued attacks would be even tougher than Operation Cast Lead, which left more than 1,400 dead, thousands homeless and prompted international condemnation of Israel’s actions.

"Israel will soon be left with no choice but to embark on an extensive military ground operation even bigger than Operation Cast Lead," Sa’ar reportedly told Israel Radio on Friday.

According to the Daily Mail, the Israeli government is under growing pressure from local leaders in the towns under attack where more than 100,000 children are being kept out of school for fear of being hit by Palestinian rockets.

Gates, meantime, said the U.S.-Israeli security relationship had never been stronger, at a time when the region is in turmoil.