Israel to Launch Tougher Attacks on Hamas?

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JERUSALEM, Israel - A new audiotape - supposedly from Osama bin Laden - calls on Muslims to launch a jihad to stop Israel's military action in Gaza.

Israel's political leaders still have not decided whether to push for a cease-fire or expand their military campaign. But they do agree that something had to be done about Hamas. 

Will They or Won't They

Israel's security cabinet has not met for several days, prompting speculation That Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and his top ministers don't agree on whether to launch a highly intensive third phase of the attack on Hamas.

Olmert is said to favor tougher military action, while Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni believe the goal of deterring Hamas has been accomplished.

The Gaza fighting has cut deeply into Israel's elections. In less than four weeks Israelis will choose the next Knesset and prime minister. But because of the war, there has been very little campaigning.

Netanyahu: Hamas Must Be Removed

Opposition leader Benjamin Netanayhu is still the favorite in the elections. But although he has his quarrels with the current government, he strongly supports the Gaza operation.

Speaking to the foreign press in Jerusalem Tuesday, Netanyahu called for the removal of Hamas from Gaza.

"What would you do if your country was rocketed for a full eight years by thousands of rockets?" Netanyahu challenged reporters. "Because that's how long these rockets have been coming from Gaza. Eight years are two U.S. presidential terms.

Netanayhu says he will continue to support the government if it works to end the Hamas rocket fire and shut down the tunnels for weapons smuggling from Egypt.

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Chris Mitchell

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