Prime Minister Ehud Olmert called the situation in southern Israel a “war” as the IDF struck several terrorist targets in Gaza overnight. 

Olmert met with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice Wednesday night in Tokyo, telling her, “The Palestinian are trying our patience.”  The statements came after some 50 rockets were fired at Israel, including one that killed 47-year old Roni Yihye, a student at the town’s Sapir college.  A powerful Grad missile was also fired at Ashkelon.

Olmert commented on the situation while visiting the factory of the Nissan car company in Tokyo. "We are in the midst of warfare and we will continue fighting until the danger looming over the residents of the south will cease to exist,” he said.” This is a long, painful process, but we do not have any magic solution to make it cease it in one day. We get hit, and hit back even harder."

Rice expressed concern for the humanitarian situation in Gaza.  The PM assured Rice publicly, at a press conference following the meeting, that Israel would continue to act with restraint. "We will make terrorists pay a heavy price, but we will not make exaggerated statements,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mahmoud Abbas - Israel's partner in peace talks and the head of Fatah and the Palestinian Authority - took the opposite approach.  "I do not rule out a return to the way of armed struggle against Israel," he told the Jordanian newspaper A-Doustour on Wednesday night.

Israel filed an official complaint with the United Nations regarding the latest barrage of rockets.