Speaking to Ynet on Friday Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz said that "Ismail Haniyeh
and Mahmoud Zahar are legitimate targets for assassination and if they continue to back the firing of rockets on Israel they
will pay the price."
"The operation is continuing and is damaging the terror infrastructure," Katz said of Operation Pillar of Defense
which began two days ago and which is set to expand to a ground operation following the mobilization of some 16,000 reservist soldiers.
"If this doesn't stop, deterrence is not restored and the threats of rocket fire are not halted, the operation will continue on both (land and air) fronts," Katz added.
Direct hit on home in southern Israel (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)
The minister added: "The Iron Dome system is not the solution, it is an important tool," he said noting that "in the mid and long term we must disengage from Gaza."
Addressing Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Kandil's visit to Gaza Katz said: "This is an excellent opportunity for Egypt to take responsibility. Mubarak did not wish to connect Gaza to Egypt, and with the Muslim Brotherhood there's a chance that they will do so."
The transportation minister also expressed his satisfaction with the support offered by US President Barack Obama to Israel. "The stance of the US president is very clear," he said noting: "He (Obama) visited Sderot and saw the explosion sites, the rockets and the children. He said that he would not have allowed it to happen."
Vice Premier Moshe Ya'alon said that Palestinian terror groups do not have many missiles that can reach Tel Aviv. "We launched this operation not because they were firing on the center of Israel but because of the residents of southern Israel.
"First of all, after the majority of Fajr missiles were destroyed we knew we were missing a few missiles and most likely, that was what was fired yesterday. The weapons are Iranian made. I don't know if they still have one or two missiles left, they don't have a stockpile that can threaten central Israel."
Former Israel Air Force Chief Brigadier General (Res.) Ran Pecker said that he was opposed to a ground operation in the Gaza Strip. "Until now we haven't targeted or hit innocents.
There is a great deal of precision and you can hit certain targets as well as preventing losses (to our forces). We need to understand that the price will be high. Very high. Fighting in an urban area has a high price."
Moran Azulay contributed to the report