infantry and armored brigades are gearing up for a possible ground operation in Gaza.
Hundreds of soldiers from the Givati, Golani, paratroopers and armored brigades have started preparations and basic training ahead of their possible deployment
In the backdrop of the firing of rockets at the Tel Aviv
area and fears of heightened attacks against southern communities, top IDF officials are vowing to step up assaults against terrorist targets in the Strip.
Senior officers at the Gaza Division are discussing operation procedures with the commanders who will take part in the possible ground offensive.
On Thursday, the IDF halted the Armored Brigade's training in the Golan Heights and its commanders were called into the Gaza Division to take part in preparations for the operation.
The brigade's combatants are scheduled to join the commanders down south. Golani Brigade troops on active duty in the Northern Command are set to be replaced by other forces training in the Golan in order to be deployed in Gaza.
Meanwhile, troops who are slated to participate in the fighting have been gathered in the south.
The cabinet is set to approve Defense Minister Ehud Barak's request to draft up to 30,000 reservists but it is estimated the total number of recruits will be smaller.
Some of the reservists are meant to replace on duty soldiers so they can take part in the operation.
Earlier, Israeli fighter jets and Navy missile boats attacked some 70 underground launching pads designated for firing mid-range rockets (up to 40 kilometers) toward Israel.
More than 320 targets have been targeted since Israel launched Operation Pillar of Defense on Wednesday. The Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted 130 rockets, but some 300 rockets and mortars landed in Israeli territory.
A total of 19 Palestinians have been killed since the IDF launched the operation in Gaza.
Palestinian sources in Gaza reported that the commander of the Al-Aqsa Martyr's Brigades in Gaza, Salem Thabet, survived an assassination attempt when Israeli aircraft attacked his home.
It was further reported that the IDF hit a generator located in the Shati refugee camp, close to Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh's home.