Israel on Sunday warned of "fierce and disproportionate" response against the Hamas as it accused the Islamist movement of firing rockets on the Jewish states' southern communes.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Tel Aviv would not agree to return to the old rules of engagement in Gaza. He vowed a "fierce and disproportionate" response against Gaza militants if they continued to fire rockets on Israel's southern communes.
"We will act according to new rules that ensure we will not be dragged into an incessant shootout that prevents us from living normal lives in the south," the Israeli premier said at the beginning of the weekly cabinet meeting.
"We've said that if there is rocket fire against the south of the country, there will be a disproportionate Israeli response to the fire on the citizens of Israel and its security forces," Olmert was quoted as saying by local media reports.
There have been sporadic rocket attacks by militants on southern Israeli communities and several Israeli air strikes in the Gaza Strip since a truce came into effect on January 18, following a twenty-two day of massive Israeli offensive in the Hamas ruled coastal territory.
In a fresh upsurge in violence that demonstrated the fragility of the two-week old ceasefire, four rockets were fired today on Israel's southern areas, with one falling between two kindergartens. However, there were no casualties in the rocket attacks.
Hamas has not taken responsibility for any of the new attacks, which have been claimed by smaller militant groups.
Israel, however, has said that it holds Hamas, which has ruled Gaza since seizing power in June 2007, responsible for all attacks emanating from Gaza.