Israel will step up the offensive in the Gaza Strip until rocket firing from there into Israel stops, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday, in response to renewed Gaza rocket attacks against central and southern Israel earlier in the day.
"Our policy is simple, if they (Hamas) will shoot, they will be hit back seven-fold," Netanyahu said on TV, adding that Israel will use "all means" to "restore the quiet" across the country. His remarks came just one day after the indirect Gaza truce talks in Cairo collapsed.
On the reported assassination attempt of Hamas' military wing leader Mohammad Deif, which Israel refused to confirm, Netanyahu said "the commanders of terror organizations are a legitimate target, no one is immune."
Israeli airstrike on Deif's home on Wednesday killed his wife and daughter, and triggered a barrage of more than 100 rockets fired into Israel. No injury was reported.
Israel in return carried out numerous airstrikes in Gaza on Wednesday, in which Palestinian officials said at least 20 Palestinians have been killed since the cease-fire talks collapsed.
Before the current round of escalation, more than 2,000 Palestinians have already been killed and about 10,000 injured during Israel's offensive in Gaza that started on July 8. Israel also lost 67 lives, including 64 soldiers who died in clashes with Palestinian militants in the ground incursion into the strip and three civilians killed in rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza.