Defense Minister Ehud Barak ordered the expansion of the "special situation" was to all communities within a 30km radius of the Gaza Strip, including Ashdod and Gan Yavne, this as the IDF's operation "Cast Lead" entered its fourth day Tuesday.
The "special situation" enables the defense establishment to make decisions on local matters such as schools, factories, and the cancellation of various events. This is the first time a special situation is declared in towns that are not included in Gaza vicinity communities.
Cabinet will be asked to approve the "special situation" in these towns in the coming days.
On Monday Hamas seemed to have partially recovered from Israel's crushing blow on the first day of the operation and launched dozens of rockets and mortars toward Gaza vicinity communities, Ashkelon, Ashdod and even Yavne. Three Israelis were killed in the attacks.
The rocket fire continued overnight, as three Qassams and some 10 mortar shells landed in open fields in the Negev's Eshkol Regional Council area.
One rocket lightly damaged a house in the council. No injuries were reported.
Meanwhile, IDF officials are waiting for the green light to embark on a ground incursion, which may be unavoidable in light of the latest escalation in fighting.
The Air Force attacked Palestinian targets across the Gaza Strip overnight, with eyewitnesses reporting that fighter jets dropped at least 16 bombs on Hamas government buildings and security compounds, destroying them completely. At least 10 people were reportedly killed in the strikes and more than 40 were injured.
Ilana Curiel contributed to the report