Rockets fired by Palestinian terror groups in the Gaza Strip pounded southern Israel throughout the night, and at least six people were wounded when two residential buildings were hit in Ashkelon in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
The southern city, which is just 6km from Gaza, was targeted by dozens of rockets in a period of some 30 minutes.
Among the wounded were four members of the same family, whose eight-story apartment building sustained a direct hit.
The father of the family was seriously wounded, his wife suffered moderate wounds and their two children were both lightly hurt. Two other residents of the building also sustained minor injuries.
All six were being treated in hospital.
The current round of fighting on the southern border escalated Monday when Hamas terrorists fired a barrage of rockets at the Jerusalem area during a march of Israeli nationalists on Jerusalem Day, marking the unification of the city after the 1967 Six-Day War.
Israel responded with aerial attacks on Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip. Palestinian sources in the Hamas-run Strip said that 24 people had been killed in Israeli attacks so far and claimed that nine children were among the dead.
Rocket fire from Gaza continued overnight and by Tuesday morning, Hamas and other Gaza terror groups had fired more than 200 rockets. Since Monday evening, at least four residential homes suffered direct hits from Gaza rockets.
IDF Spokesperson Brig. General Hidai Zilberman, said in a press briefing early on Tuesday that the IDF attacked 130 terror targets in the Strip overnight.
"We hit 15 terrorists, attack tunnels near the border fence, the home of a senior Hamas commander and the Hamas intelligence command in the southern part of the Strip. We also hit rocket production sites, weapons depots, military posts and an Islamic Jihad training facility," The spokesperson said.
"We will increase the level of attacks in the coming hours," he added. "We will not stop until we make a substantial impact on the Hamas terror group's infrastructure. This will take days and not hours," he said.
The Iron Dome missile defense system had a 90% success in its interception of the rockets fired from Gaza, the military said, adding that a third of all rockets fired from the Strip landed short of the border causing injuries to Gaza residents.
Schools were to remain closed Tuesday in southern Israel communities within a 40 kilometer range from the Gaza border.
According to instructions issued by the IDF Home Front Command, workplaces that do not contain shelters on their premises will also remain closed.
Public bomb shelters were also opened in the Tel Aviv area as Israel prepared for rocket fire on the center of the country.
Congregation in open areas will be limited to no more than 10 people outside and up to 50 people indoors.
In cities outside the 40 kilometer range, schools that do not have proper bomb shelters will also be closed, including in the cities of Rishon Lezion, Bat Yam and Holon, which is south of Tel Aviv.
On Monday, Defense Minister Benny Gantz said that all communities located 80 kilometers from the Gaza border fall under the "special situation" order for the next 48 hours, including Tel Aviv and the Sharon region, Jerusalem and Be'er Sheva.
Gantz's order means that the IDF Home Front Command will have special authority to restrict movement of the population and limit economic activity.