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sraeli leaders vowed to escalate military operations against the Gaza Strip after two days of Palestinian rocket attacks and warned Syria that additional cross-border fire would bring a "painful" response. Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel won't "sit idly by" after more than 110 missiles fired from Gaza yesterday caused property damage and injuries in neighbouring Israeli communities. Defence minister Ehud Barak raised the prospect of a new ground offensive, the first since Israeli troops withdrew from Gaza in 2009 after a three-week military assault that left more than 1100 Palestinians dead. "If we have to re-enter to strike Hamas and provide security for Israeli citizens, we won't hesitate," Mr Barak said at an international defense industry conference in Tel Aviv. Violence in Gaza increased amid concern about renewed conflict on Israel's northern border with Syria, its quietest frontier since the 1973 Middle East war. A mortar shell shot from Syria yesterday struck an army post on the Israeli- controlled side of the Golan Heights, causing no injuries. Israeli soldiers responded with warning shots and the government filed a complaint with the United Nations. "We are closely monitoring what is happening on our border with Syria and there we are also ready for any development," Mr Netanyahu said at his weekly Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem. Mr Barak said Israeli's military "has been instructed to prevent" the Syrian conflict "from spilling over into our ...
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