JERUSALEM: Palestinian militants slammed rockets into Israel on Thursday as warplanes raided the Gaza Strip, prompting officials to talk tough but admit they were powerless to eliminate the menace.
The strikes by both sides came one day after a 57-year-old Israeli mother of two was killed when a salvo of Palestinian rockets crashed into the southern town of Sderot in the first such lethal attack from Gaza since July 2005.
Hours later, Israeli warplanes carried out five overnight air raids across the Gaza Strip, targeting five buildings the military said were used by militants, in attacks that Palestinians medics said left five people wounded.
Even so, the Israeli leadership admitted they had no final solution to wipe out the near-constant rocket threat since Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005 after a 38-year occupation.
Flying home from California, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert acknowledged that rocket fire would not end in one swoop, calling yesterday's attacks "severe" but declaring only that operations will continue "according to circumstance".
"There has been Qassam fire in the south (for) a long time and we view it as extremely serious and therefore take actions," he briefed reporters travelling with him, claiming that "360 terrorists" had been killed since June.
"The rocket fire will not end with one blow," he confessed -- sentiments echoed by Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres, a Nobel peace laureate, who admitted to army radio that the government had no definitive solution.
Palestinian militant groups fired two rockets into southern Israel, one of which caused damage to a building in a kibbutz but neither of which caused any casualties today, an army spokesman said.