Israeli minister of defense, Ehud Barak objected Sunday to a broader Israeli cabinet discussion of a military offensive on the Gaza Strip, for concern over possible leak of information to media outlets.

During a cabinet meeting earlier today, the Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, cited the objection to likely dissemination of related information to media outlets, particularly to the ruling Islamist movement in Gaza.

According to Israeli online daily Yediout Ahronot, the Israeli Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, was behind the blocking of a broader cabinet discussion on the matter, in order to ensure top secrecy.

Israeli military has recently threatened of larger offensives on the Gaza Strip, possibly targeting Hamas leaders in the coastal territory,

Israeli interior minister, Ma’air Shetreet, suggested during today’s cabinet meeting leveling entire neighborhoods of Gaza after having evacuated residents, in order to deter launchers of homemade shells.

Last September, Israel declared Gaza a ‘hostile entity’ and imposed in October a series of punitive measures on its 1.5 million residents, including fuel and power supplies cut.

The democratically-elected Hamas took over Gaza in June of last year, a midst a power struggle with Fatah party of Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, who embraces a peace strategy.

Right after the Hamas’ takeover of Gaza, Israel imposed a strict closure on the region, with no permission of access of people, even patients, in and out of the coastal Strip.