IDF attacked about 160 terrorist targets belonging to Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip, including four 'unique' terrorist properties. In addition, Iron Dome defense system intercepted more than 100 rockets out of 460 rockets launched from the Strip, the IDF Spokesperson's Unit said Tuesday.
IDF attacked Tuesday a terrorist squad that was apparently preparing to fire rockets at Israel. During the operation, one terrorist was killed. In addition, shortly after 4:00pm, the Palestinians reported that an IAF aircraft fired a warning missile at a house in Gaza in preparation for its destruction.
Meanwhile, after a seven-hour meeting, a statement was issued saying that the Secuirty cabinet instructed the IDF to continue to operate in Gaza as necessary, although most of the ministers who attended the meeting agreed with the defense establishment that the Egyptian efforts to reach a cease-fire should be given a chance.
Overall, according to the IDF Spokesperson's Unit, IDF striked at least 160 targets belonging to Hamas and Islamic Jihad, including four 'unique' terrorist properties.
Earlier on Tuesday, at least six Palestinians were reported killed in a wide-scale campaign of airstrikes carried out by Israel Air Force (IAF) in response to some 400 rockets fired from Gaza at southern Israel since Monday afternoon, claiming the life of a 40-year-old Palestinian man in Ashkelon.
IDF Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Ronen Manlis said the military started ramming up reinforcements along the Gaza Border.
"We are in the midst of a wide-scale process of accumulating more infantry, armored and other forces to the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip, and we are mobilizing reserves for Iron Dome operations and the Home Front Command," he said.
“We struck four multi-story buildings that Hamas uses for terror activity. We attacked the buildings in an orderly manner after the inhabitants have been evacuated," he explained.
"Hamas is behaving as if we have moved on to targeted assassinations, as their men have been in hiding since Monday afternoon," Manelis added.
"Hamas knows very well what we are attacking and what the cost of the confrontation with the IDF is. We will continue to act with full force,” Manelis wrote on Twitter.
"Our activity over the past 24 hours is fundamentally different from what we've being doing so far," he added.
In response, the armed wing of Hamas threatened to step up attacks and fire rockets at the southern cities of Ashdod and Be'er Sheva if Israel continues to carry out airstrikes in Gaza.
The spokesperson for Islamic Jihad went as far as to imply the faction will strike the center of the country next.
The IDF said some 150 targets were attacked in the Gaza Strip on Monday evening and overnight Tuesday, including the Gaza City headquarters of Hamas' Al Aqsa TV station. Israel had fired warning shots ahead of the airstrike, prompting the station to halt programming and replace it with a logo. Minutes later, the airstrike flattened the three-story building and the station went black.
"The station broadcasts violent propaganda against the State of Israel and its citizens, as well as operational messaging to militants, which include methods for carrying out attacks against civilians and soldiers and way to obtain weapons," the IDF said.
Gaza's TV broadcasts emphasize the destruction caused across the strip caused by IAF strikes, in an attempt to influence global public opinion.
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum condemned the bombing as "a barbaric, brazen aggression." Ten minutes later, the station resumed broadcasts, airing pre-recorded national songs.
The IAF also hit Hamas's interior security headquarters, which were disguised as the Al-Amal Hotel. The activity conducted in the structure apparently included the planning of terror attacks against Israeli targets. The hotel is located in the heavily populated a-Rimal neighborhood in the northern Gaza Strip. Gaza’s health ministry is located nearby.
Another high-quality target attacked was Hamas' military intelligence force for research and development—a high-rise structure located near a school.
In addition, the IAF hit a weapons storage facility in Khan Yunis, a military complex in Zeitoun, and a weapons manufacturing site in Sheik Omdan.
The Israeli Navy attacked a vessel belonging to the Hamas naval force at the Nuseirat port in the southern Gaza Strip.
Later, the air force hit a terror cell launching rockets in northern Gaza, during which one Palestinian was killed and another was wounded, according to the Palestinian health ministry.
In addition, two Palestinians breached the security fence at the Karni border crossing in northern Gaza. They sabotaged the fence and returned to the strip shortly thereafter.
The fighting cast doubt over recent understandings brokered by Egypt and UN officials to reduce tensions.
The office of the UN's Mideast envoy, Nickolay Mladenov, said Monday that efforts were underway help "to ensure that Gaza steps back from the brink."
"The escalation in the past 24 hours is EXTREMELY dangerous and reckless," tweeted Mladenov. "Rockets must STOP, restraint must be shown by all!"
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, meanwhile, urged Israel and the Palestinians "to exercise maximum restraint," according to a statement.
Senior Hamas official abroad Izzat al-Rishq said, "We are holding talks with a large number of Islamic Arab countries, as well as with western countries and international organizations to condemn the escalation caused by the Zionists, and to end the ongoing aggression against our people, during which innocent civilians are hurt."
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas cut short his trip to Kuwait, and will return to Ramallah on Tuesday amid the latest escalation at the Gaza border. The Palestinian Authority, meanwhile, sent medical supplies to Gaza's residents.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad instructed Palestinians not to reveal information on social media about the Israeli strikes in Gaza, claiming the Jewish State was lying in its reports about the real number of casualties it sustained. In addition, the Palestinian factions called on their members not to have security-related conversations online or communicate with people they don't know.
As part of the psychological warfare, the Palestinians posted a photo online from a computer game in reference to the Israeli bus that was hit by a Cornet anti-tank missile, critically wounding a 19 year-old IDF soldier.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.