Binyamin Netanyahu
Binyamin NetanyahuIsrael news photo: Flash 90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak held a short news conference Wednesday evening in which they announced the goals of Operation Pillar of Defense, which was launched in Gaza earlier in the day. Prime Minister Netanyahu said that the operation will be widened if necessary.

Defense Minister Barak called upon regional leaders to remain cool-headed so that calm can be restored as soon as possible. Channel 2 news said that Egypt had contacted Israel and asked it to stop the operation, but that Israel was ignoring these requests for now.

Egypt has recalled its ambassador to Israel and has asked the UN to convene a session to discuss Israel's action. In addition, Israel's ambassador to Cairo has been summoned by Egypt's government.

Barak said that most of Hamas's longer-range Fajr missiles had been hit, as had other infrastructures serving Gaza's terror organizations.

Barak explained that recent Hamas attacks like the explosive tunnel – part of which was inside Israeli territory – and the firing of an anti-tank missile at an IDF jeep, necessitated IDF action.

Netanyahu said that Israel will not accept a situation in which its citizens are under the threat of rocket fire. "No country would accept a situation like this. Israel will not accept this situation," he said.