OCCUPIED JERUSALEMÂ (Reuters) â€”Â A Hamas rocket attack from Gaza killed a man in Israel on Sunday and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert pledged unlimited military action against theÂ group, saying â€œno one involved in terrorâ€ would be immune.
Olmert told his Cabinet Israel should â€œbe prepared for a long confrontationâ€ and that he would not necessarily agree to halt fire if Hamas agreed to a truce deal under negotiation with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbasâ€™ Fateh group.
Hamas responded by rejecting Abbasâ€™ truce proposal as well. â€œWe will not surrender, we will not raise the white flag,â€ Ayman Taha, a spokesman for the group said in Gaza.
Hamasâ€™ armed wing said it had promoted members of the squad that launched the rocket into the southern town of Sderot, where it exploded on a street, spraying shrapnel into a car and causing its 36-year-old driver to slam into a wall.
He was the second Israeli to die in a rocket attack in a nearly two-week surge in bloodshed, with no end in sight to violence that has made revival of peacemaking even more remote.
Israel later launched a new air strike in Gaza, firing a missile at a Hamas military position along the coast, the Palestinian group said. There were no reported injuries. An Israeli military spokeswoman confirmed the strike.
Hamas responded by firing more rockets at Israel after darkness fell. One rocket slammed into a house in Sderot, injuring one Israeli, an emergency service said.
â€œNo one involved in terror has immunity â€” pure and simple,â€ Olmert said in broadcast remarks at Israelâ€™s weekly Cabinet session, after the deadly Sderot attack.
His comments appeared to suggest that Hamas political leaders â€” regarded by Israel as giving the green light to rocket salvoes from territory Israeli troops and settlers quit in 2005 â€” might also be attacked in a wider air campaign.
Taha, a spokesman for Hamas, said after Olmertâ€™s comments there was no point in agreeing to a truce, and reiterated the groupâ€™s demand for a wider truce that would include the West Bank where Israel launches frequent arrest raids.