Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich (Yisrael Beytenu) has called on the government to take a much firmer hand with Hamas, just hours before a ceasefire is rumored to go into effect Monday.
Aharonovich made his comments following a "difficult" visit to the Tragerman family, whose four-year-old son Daniel was killed in a mortar attack on Kibbutz Nahal Oz in southern Israel on Friday.
Relating to criticism by residents of southern Israel towards the government's dealing with incessant rocket fire by Hamas and other terrorists, Aharonovich said "I understand these things and accept them," according to Channel 10.
"They expect us to reach a decision, and I agree with them," he said. "With a terrorist group you need to deal in a far more violent and harsh way, to defeat it. I have said this already a number of times in the past."
"What is important to us is to return security to the residents of the State, with an emphasis on the south," he continued, adding that the government was committed to "taking care of the residents" of southern Israel, and was preparing additional aid and benefits to help them cope with their difficult situation.
Meanwhile, amid increasing talk of an imminent ceasefire, terrorists continue to pound southern Israel with rockets. 25 struck in the Eshkol Region alone, with five landing inside communities and the rest in open areas around them. At least 37 rockets have been fired on Israeli civilians since Monday morning, following six hours of quiet overnight.
Sirens were also heard in central Israel, but later revealed to have been a false alarm.