Rocket Attacks Force Israelis to Spend Nights in Bomb Shelters

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Israeli leaders yesterday began preparing domestic and international opinion for a renewed onslaught against Palestinian militants after more than a million Israeli citizens spent a third night in bomb shelters as more than 100 rockets rained across the Gaza border in less than 48 hours.

Politicians and former generals lined up to urge Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to take decisive action to stop the most intensive rocket barrage since Israel's ill-starred invasion of the Hamas-controlled enclave ended in January 2009. Mr Netanyahu is under increasing pressure from both politicians and residents to end Israel's policy of pinpoint attacks against weapons smuggling, storage or production facilities and "ticking bombs" - militants identified with specific attacks.

"The situation is very complex," Israel's Public Security Minister, Yitzhak Aharanovich, told The Independent. "My personal opinion is that we should respond in the harshest manner by striking at the heads of Hamas. Hamas is the controlling power and they must put a stop to this. A million Israeli civilians are confined to bomb shelters under intolerable conditions. The government must reach a decision about the range of options open to them and my understanding is that a decision is not far off."

Ministers were divided on whether Israel should launch another ground invasion or opt for assassinating Hamas leaders. Israel said it holds Hamas, as the controlling power in Gaza, responsible for the rockets.

US Ambassador Dan Shapiro posted on Facebook and Twitter: "Our thoughts are with the residents of southern Israel, who continue to be bombarded with missile attacks from terrorist organisations in Gaza. …