Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni rebuffed Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's appeal for Israel to show restraint in the face of Hamas rocket attacks when the two met in Cairo on Thursday.
The meeting came a day after Gaza-based Hamas terrorists fired some 80 missiles and mortar shells at communities in southern Israel, causing widespread damage and panic. At least half-a-dozen more rockets were fired on Thursday morning.
"Enough is enough," Livni told reporters following her meeting with Mubarak. "We must react to people who fire on us, that is how all other countries would act, and that is what we will do."
Livni said that Israel's relationship with Egypt is important, and that it takes serious the appeals of its neighbor, but that Jerusalem must place greater importance on "the security of the children who yesterday were hiding in bomb shelters instead of lighting candles for Hanukkah."
Israeli media reported that the army had shifted into high gear preparing for aerial and possibly ground operations against the terrorist infrastructure in Gaza. The first phase of the proposed retaliatory action would include heavy aerial bombardment of Hamas institutions and bases.
But while the order to prepare to attack was given, the order to execute those plans is still being withheld by Defense Minister Ehud Barak, reported Israel National News.
Barak was once again harshly criticized on Wednesday evening over his failure to immediately strike back at the terrorists with overwhelming force.
Hamas leaders in turn taunted Israel, saying they knew the Jewish state would not or could not respond to its provocations, and that if it did, the terrorists would "open the gates of hell."