Residents of southern Israel said they have suffered long enough at the hands of Gaza-based terrorists, as a barrage of missiles and mortar shells that began over the weekend continued into Monday morning.
By Monday morning, nearly 150 rockets and mortars had hit communities across southern Israel over a 36-hour period. There was widespread damage, and seven people were physically injured during the attacks, including four soldiers whose patrol vehicle was hit by an anti-tank missile.
There was a brief lull on Sunday night, reportedly brokered by Egyptian intelligence, but Palestinian terrorists quickly broke the truce with a medium-range missile that hit just outside a home in the southern Israel town of Netivot as local residents were trepidly preparing their children for the dangerous journey to nearby schools.
"We heard a siren, ran for shelter and then the blast sounded," a Netivot resident told Israel's Ynet news portal about Monday morning's attack. "I don't know how long this will last. It's scary. Kids on their way to school are hysterical, and there's no one to save them."
Local residents told The Jerusalem Post that after 10 years of suffering such attacks they have had enough, and many just want to leave the area, which, of course, is precisely the aim of the terrorists - to drive the Jews of lands they consider to be Muslim territory.
Ruvik Danilovich, the mayor of the large southern town of Beersheva, said that it was time for the government to take decisive action and end what is becoming a war of attrition. Danilovich was scheduled to meet with the heads of other local communities ahead of a meeting on Tuesday with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
On Sunday, Netanyahu warned that if the rocket fire did not cease, Israel would up the ante. "The world needs to understand that Israel will not sit idly by in the face of attempts to attack us. We are prepared to intensify the response," said the prime minister.
A similar threat was issued by Defense Minister Ehud Barak, and even dovish President Shimon Peres said the "idiotic" rocket fire from Gaza warranted a "swift and strong" response from Israel.
Israeli military officials have been saying for over a month now that another ground invasion of Gaza was only a matter of time, as the only way to truly stop the rocket fire is to root out the terrorists in house-to-house combat.
But many Israelis remain skeptical of their leaders' threats, remembering that the government, fearing international condemnation, typically only takes decisive action when there is a significant Jewish death toll.