JERUSALEM: Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned Thursday that militants in Hamas-ruled Gaza would pay a “heavy price” if they continued to target Israel, as the Israeli military wrapped up preparations for a possible large-scale assault on the coastal territory.
In Cairo, President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt urged Israel to show restraint in his meeting with Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, an Israeli official said. Livni insisted that Israel would respond to protect its citizens.
On Wednesday, Palestinian militants pummeled southern Israel from Gaza with more than 80 rockets and mortars, causing no injuries but generating widespread panic. Cabinet ministers approved a broad invasion of Gaza, defense officials told The Associated Press.
“We will not accept this situation,” Barak warned Thursday. “Whoever harms the citizens and soldiers of Israel will pay a heavy price.”