Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi on Sunday said that the only way to halt attacks from Gaza on southern Israel was to launch a major military ground offensive.
Speaking at the weekly cabinet meeting, Ashkenazi was quoted by The Jerusalem Post as drawing a parallel between the belatedly recognized need last summer to use ground forces against Lebanon's Hizballah and the inevitable necessity of sending soldiers back into Gaza.
Ashkenazi warned that Hamas continued to increase its military strength in Gaza, and that artillery attacks on southern Israel would only worsen until the IDF was given the order to take action.
A spokesman for a Hamas-affiliated terror group told the Palestinian radio station A Shams that his and other groups were waiting for the IDF to enter the area "so that we can kidnap more soldiers."
Defense experts have warned for months that the longer Israel waited to attack Gaza's terrorist infrastructure, the more likely it would be drawn into a lengthy and costly conflict similar to the Second Lebanon War.