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      Netanyahu Vows 'We'll Hit Them'

      Rocket fire on Israel's south enters its fourth day and 200 + rockets; PM Netanyahu vows to strike rocket squads; is equivocal on ground op.
      By Gabe Kahn.
      First Publish: 3/12/2012, 4:47 PM

      Barak and Netanyahu
      Barak and Netanyahu
      Flash 90

      Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Monday said the IDF will continue to strike terrorists in Gaza with "great power and aggression."

      Netanyahu's remarks came on the fourth day of rocket fire from Gaza. Some 200 rockets have been fired at Israel's southern communities by Gaza terror groups since Friday. Israeli retaliatory strikes have killed 23 Gazans.

      Speaking to a Likud faction meeting, the prime minister said of anyone planning to harm Israeli citizens, "We'll hit them."

      He claimed Israel's current air campaign combined with its technological edge and national resilience would allow the IDF to "expand its operations as needed."

      His comments were taken to signal that he was in no hurry to mount a ground incursion in Gaza aimed at rooting out the terror infrastructure in the Hamas-run coastal enclave.

      Earlier Monday, Defense Minsiter Ehud Barak warned that if the rocket fire escalates, Israel will continue air strikes against terrorist targets.

      However, Minister of Public Security Yitzhak Aharonovitch - a long time proponent of a major ground operation in Gaza - took issue with the governments reticence to enter Gaza under fire.

      "You simply cannot keep a million people in bomb shelters for four days," Aharonavitch said. He called for a "harsh" response to the rocket fire pounding Israel's south.

      Israel's airstrikes-for-rockets strategic posture vis-a-vis Gaza has come under mounting criticism as serving to perpetuate the poor security reality Israel's southern communities endure.

      Senior military commanders have increasingly said a major ground operation in Gaza is "inevitable," but government officials have yet to give the order.