JERUSALEM, Dec. 25 (UPI) -- Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is appealing to Palestinians in Gaza to stop the Islamic militant group Hamas from launching rocket attacks.
Olmert, speaking directly to Gaza residents during an interview Thursday on the Arab satellite station al-Arabiya, told viewers, "I say to you in a last minute call, stop it," The Jerusalem Post reported.
"Stop it, you the citizens of Gaza, you can stop it," Olmert said. "I know how much you want to get up in the morning to quiet, to take your children to kindergarten or school, the way we do, they way they want to in Sderot and Netivot."
Olmert added, "Don't let Hamas, which is acting against the values of Islam, put you in danger. Stop them. Stop your enemies and ours."
Hamas, meanwhile, said Wednesday that it would continue to fire rockets at Israel as an act of "self-defense" and derided what it called Israel's "state of confusion" about how to react to its biggest-ever bombardment of 70 rockets and mortar shells this week, the Post said.
"Israel will pay a heavy price for its crimes against the Palestinians," Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum told the newspaper.