Defense Minister Amir Peretz said following a Sabbath of rockets fired on Sderot that Israel is prepared for an operation in Gaza. According to Yisraeli newspaper, defense officials say he is waiting for Israeli deaths to launch a full scale retaliation.

“We are prepared for a war in Gaza more than we were in the Second Lebanon War,” Peretz said over the weekend. “There is a plan.”

Peretz made the comments following a barrage of at least eight rockets on Sderot and other western Negev communities. One rocket fell on a home in Sderot and exploded, but the family was not in the house at the time. The IDF responded, but failed to strike any of the rocket-firing squads.

IDF officials told the Yisraeli daily commuter paper that the Gaza region will be “heating up” in the coming months. They said that the government has operative plans ready, but will not allow the IDF to carry them out unless there are fatal injuries due to a Kassam rocket strike.

Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal says that the ruling Hamas Islamist group will “not stop the shooting of Kassams.” He rejected an American proposal that Hamas stop the rockets and stop smuggling weapons over the Gaza-Egypt border in return for Israel’s easing of restrictions on the movement of PA Arabs in Judea and Samaria.