An Israeli cabinet minister publicly called on Wednesday for the assassination of senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniya, whose Islamist group controls the Gaza Strip.
"The next step in our operations should be the elimination of the terrorist Haniya," Housing Minister Zeev Boim of the centre-right Kadima party told military radio.
"This is the only way to end the rocket fire against Israel," said Boim, who has no authority on security decisions.
Israel has killed a number of Hamas officials in the past, most notably its spiritual guide and founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin in 2004.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert threatened on Tuesday "the severest riposte" against Gaza after a rocket was fired on an Israeli town, the latest violence since the end of the devastating 22-war in the territory.