Against a backdrop of mounting international criticism, Israel’s Defence Minister Ehud Barak has attempted to justify what he called a “war without mercy” against Hamas. This afternoon he told a stormy session of the Knesset that Israel was not targeting the people of Gaza, rather its rulers, Hamas, which it blamed for the current situation.Meanwhile, one of the homemade Palestinian rockets regularly launched from Gaza killed an Israeli in the city of Ashkelon this morning. He and more than a dozen other Israeli Arabs had been working on a building site in the city centre. The man was the second Israeli to have been killed over recent days. Two rockets hit the city on Sunday and more than 20 landed in the surrounding area.