Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
convened his nine top ministers for a special discussion Friday evening, on the third day of Operation Pillar of Defense in Gaza.
Meanwhile, Cabinet Secretary Zvi Hauser conducted a telephone survey among the government ministers to approve the call up of 75,000 soldiers.
According to a state official, "We are going to significantly aggravate the operation."
At the same time, Air Force planes attacked a rocket-launching cell in the Gaza Strip. According to the Palestinians, four terrorists were killed – one of the identified as Ahmed Abu Jalal, a district commander in Hamas'
Southern communities were bombarded with rockets throughout the day, and several rockets were also fired at Tel Aviv and the Jerusalem area.
Security forces comb rocket landing area in Gush Etzion (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
Shortly after the surprising air raid siren in Jerusalem, security forces confirmed that one rocket had been located in the Gush Etzion area, closer to a Palestinian village than to the settlement's houses. There were no reports of injuries or damage.
This was the first air raid siren sounded in the area since the IDF launched Operation Pillar of Defense in the Gaza Strip. Air raid sirens were sounded in southern communities throughout the day and a barrage of missiles hit the area.
On Friday afternoon, an air raid siren sounded in Tel Aviv, followed by an explosion caused by a missile landing in an open area.
Meanwhile, thousands of reserve forces are flocking to southern Israel. Hundreds of military trucks carrying supplies, ammunition, water and fuel, as well as tanks, armored personnel carriers and jeeps filled the Gaza vicinity's roads.
Shortly after the air raid siren sounded in Jerusalem, Hamas' military wing, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, claimed responsibility for the rockets fired at the capital area. according to the organization, it fired a homemade rocket called Qassam M76. The rocket Hamas fired at Tel Aviv is nicknamed Qassam M75.
Abu Ubaida, spokesman for the 'Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, said: "We are conveying a short and simple message – not a single Zionist on Palestinian soil is safe, and we are planning additional surprises."
At the same time the rockets were fired at Jerusalem, a factory in the Shaar Hanegev Regional Council in southern Israel sustained a direct hit. Later, a rocket hit the backyard of a house in the Be'er Tuvia Regional Council. There were no reports of injuries in both incidents.
Since the start of the operation, the IDF attacked 613 terror targets in the Gaza Strip. The Iron Dome system intercepted 197 rockets, 99 of them on Friday.
Three people were killed in Israel on Thursday after a rocket hit a building in Kiryat Malachi. The Palestinian death toll, according to Hamas' health ministry, stands at 24 – including Hamas military chief Ahmed Jabari, who was assassinated
on Wednesday. Some 270 people have been injured so far in Gaza.