The death of an Israeli woman in a rocket attack on the southern Israeli town of Sderot is likely to stoke further anger in an already tense situation. The 35-year-old is the first Israeli to die in a Palestinian rocket attack since last November. Ehud Olmert’s government warned at the weekend that it would step up military action in response to the dozens of rockets fired from Gaza since last week.
The EU’s top diplomat, Javier Solana, was meeting with Israel’s Foreign Minister in Sderot when the attack happened. Tsipi Livni called for international action:
“We expect the international community to act in the most firm and determined way, to put pressure on the terrorists, to continue the pressure on the Palestinian government and not to compromise with terror.”
Crowds of residents shouted “resign” and “disgrace” at Prime Minister Ehud Olmert when he visited Sderot a few hours after the rocket attack. Islamic Jihad, the Popular Resistance Committees and Hamas have all claimed responsibility. Israeli officials have warned that senior Palestinian officials may now be targeted, while the fear among Palestinians is that an Israeli ground offensive may be launched into Gaza.