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Israel Launches Operation to Stop Gaza-based Rocket Fire
JERUSALEM — The Israeli government launched an operation aimed at ending rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.
“#IDF has commenced Operation Protective Edge in #Gaza against #Hamas, in order to stop the terror #Israel’s citizens face on a daily basis,” the spokesman’s office said in a tweet posted at 1:30 a.m. Tuesday, Israel time.
Israel’s Cabinet approved the call-up of as many as 40,000 additional combat reservists.
The approval came Tuesday afternoon, hours after army Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz requested the added troops with the start of Operation Protective Edge. Israel’s military is planning a possible ground invasion of Gaza, according to reports.
Also Tuesday, the Tel Aviv municipality said it would check and open public bomb shelters as Hamas threatened on its official websites that it would fire rockets at the city. In addition, Israel Railways has halted service between Sderot and Ashkelon in both directions, where a significant number of rockets have been aimed, following orders from the Home Front Command.
The Palestinian Health Ministry on Tuesday afternoon reported that at least seven Palestinians were killed and 25 injured in an Israeli airstrike Tuesday on the home of a Hamas operative.
Hamas and other terror organizations in Gaza have fired more than 130 rockets into civilian areas of southern Israeli since Monday night. In response, the Israeli military has targeted about 150 of what it calls “terror sites” in Gaza.
The Iron Dome defense system intercepted 12 rockets from the attacks — seven above Ashdod and five over Netivot — the IDF said. Another rocket was intercepted later over Beersheba.
Residents in southern Israeli communities within 25 miles of the Gaza border were advised to stay within 15 seconds of a shelter or protected room. It also ordered the municipalities of Ashdod, Ashkelon and Beersheba, as well as the Southern regional councils, to open and prepare public bomb shelters.
Summer camps and special education programs were canceled Tuesday in Ashdod.
The IDF denied reports that one of its airstrikes had killed six Hamas terrorists in a secret tunnel, saying Hamas operatives had collapsed the tunnel themselves by mishandling explosives intended to attack Israel.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday night called for an immediate end to Israeli military strikes on Gaza, calling on the international community to help put a stop to the attacks, according to reports.
U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki in a regular briefing with reporters Monday afternoon denounced the rocket barrage and said Israel has the right to defend its citizens.