BREAKING NEWS 18:15 EDT: Another barrage of rockets has been falling on Israel since Midnight local time. Hamas is claiming responsibility and says there will be no possibility of a ceasefire, only further escalation until their demands are met.
BREAKING NEWS 13:15 EDT: Hamas fired over 30 rockets in a ten-minute period into Israel on Monday, with hits reported in Sha’ar HaNegev, the Eshkol Region, Netivot, Sderot, Ashkelon, Kiryat Malachi, Ashdod, Ofakim, Bnei Shimon, Sdot Negev and and Be’er Sheva between 8:00 – 8:10 pm IST.
“We are also investing significantly in gathering our security forces,” an Israeli official stated to Arutz Sheva Monday afternoon. “Until now we have had two full staffs working on the situation and we are readying ourselves for escalation [with Hamas].”
Iron Dome intercepted 10 rockets from the barrage – this time against Lachish, Gan Yavneh, Kiryat Malachi, Beer Tuvia, Rehovot, Gedera and Ashdod.
UPDATE: Moments after the above reported barrage, incoming sirens are now sounding in Central Israel and Mevaseret Zion. Rocket hits Gan Yavne
In preparation for a serious escalation in violence the Home Front Command on Monday instructed the municipalities of Ashkelon, Ashdod, Beersheba, and Gaza border communities to open public bomb shelters.
UPDATE 12:30 EDT: After three hours of deliberations the Israeli cabinet has approved an escalation of IAF strikes on Gaza and further buildups of Israeli forces on the Gaza border. Reserves are being called up to replace regular forces in various areas so that those regular forces can be deployed to the Gaza border.
An intensive Israeli aerial blitz against Gaza has been approved by cabinet and may begin soon; Hamas is expected to respond by increasing the range of its strikes to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem; which would then bring an Israeli invasion, after the aerial target list has been exhausted.
More than 40 rockets had been fired from Gaza today with more still coming.
11:10 EDT: A senior Israeli military source has said that Hamas hasn’t been stopping rocket fire into Israel and has even been taking part in the fire itself. According to the source, “Quiet won’t be answered by quiet and therefore we are expecting escalation.” A senior military official confirmed Monday that the IDF had called up “some 1,500 reservists.most of them are commanders” over the weekend. These commanders are now in place to receive an expected call up of thousands of reserve combat troops.
Rocket fire has continued from Gaza throughout the day, hitting as far away as Beer Sheva. The IAF has attacked sites in Gaza several tines today and is currently bombing the area near the Rafah border crossing near Egypt.