Southern Command chief Tal Russo said Saturday that a ground offensive in Gaza is definitely an option and stressed, "We have a plan that is constantly intensifying and it's going to take time."
Meanwhile, Gaza rocket fire continues unabated. At round 8:25 Grad rockets were fired at Ashdod. The Iron Dome system intercepted four. Air raid sirens also sounded in Ashkelon and neighboring communities.
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In Gaza, it was reported that two Palestinians were killed in two strikes in the central Strip. Since the beginning of Operation Pillar of Defense, 40 Palestinians were killed.
The Southern Command chief further added, "We saw the rockets and the force of the missiles, that they're all aimed at civilians. This situation will not last."
Russo added that the IDF has decided to inflict great damage to the terrorist groups' long-range rocket launching capabilities. Nevertheless, hours after two rockets were fired at Tel Aviv, the IDF commander admitted that "there is rocket residue here and there."
The Southern Command chief hinted that the IDF destroyed most of Hamas' long-range Fajr missiles and explained that "most of the weapons are kept in residential houses and they use civilians. It's not easy, we don't want to hurt civilians in Gaza."
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to German Chancellor Angela Merkel. A statement issued in Berlin said the two leaders agreed on the need to achieve a ceasefire as soon as possible in order to stop the bloodshed.
Israeli state officials however said that Netanyahu had told Merkel that no country in the world would tolerate a situation where its people live under a constant rocket threat.
Netanyahu also spoke with Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti, Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and Czech Prime Minister Petr Nečas.
Ilana Curiel, Neri Brenner and Elior Levy contributed to this report
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