IDF: More than 190 rockets fired from Gaza; Hamas warns it has 'many options'
Israeli army bolsters Gaza border presence, says Iron Dome has intercepted dozens of rockets; Islamic Jihad rules out truce mediation 'while martrys' blood is not yet dry' after Israel kills group's commander in predawn airstrike
The IDF said Tuesday evening that 190 rockets had been fired from Gaza since the morning hours, after the targeted killing of Islamic Jihad commander Baha Abu al-Atta in a predawn airstrike in Gaza City.
The Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted dozens of rockets, the army said, with a success rate of around 90%. More than half of the rockets landed in open areas, according to the IDF.
The killing sparked a massive barrage of rocket fire on Israeli towns and cities in the south and as far as Tel Aviv in the center of the country.
The IDF was bolstering its forces in the Gaza Division on Tuesday evening, deploying tank convoys and armored vehicles to the border as rocket fire continued.
Hamas warned Israel on Tuesday evening against escalating its strikes on Gaza .
"Israel is the one who has committed a crime and the world sees it," Hamas said.
"If the cycle of aggression is expanded, the resistance will have many options."
The IDF also said Tuesday evening that its aircraft had attacked two terrorist operatives of Islamic Jihad in the northern Gaza Strip as they were preparing to launch rockets.
A volley of rockets was then fired at the Sderot area, with Iron Dome intercepting at least one rocket.
Education Ministry director Shmuel Abuav told Ynet that as things stand, there will be no studies in educational institutions from Tel Aviv southwards on Wednesday, but a final decision will be made after a situation assessment and depending on developments in the coming hours.
The IDF said Tuesday afternoon it had launched multiple strikes on Islamic Jihad targets in the Gaza Strip after failing to calm the situation.
The IDF said its tanks had fired on three Islamic Jihad military positions in the Gaza Strip.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met Tuesday afternoon for a security briefing with Blue and White leader Benny Gantz, who headed the military during the 2014 war in Gaza.
Netanyahu met earlier with the security cabinet, IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi and Shin Bet Director Nadav Argaman.
At least 160 rockets were launched at southern and central Israel from Gaza after the strike that killed Abu al-Atta. The Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted at least 60 rockets, but a handful scored direct hits on houses, businesses and even a central highway.
Israel shuttered all educational institutions in the center and the south of the country and told people who were not in essential professions to remain home or near a bomb shelter.
In Netivot, a home suffered a direct injury; no injuries were reported. Earlier in the day, a house on Sderot also sustained a direct strike, but no injuries were reported there either.
Despite Israeli declarations that "quiet will be met with quiet," Islamic Jihad on Tuesday dismissed the possibility of immediate ceasefire negotiations.
"It is too early to talk about mediation or communication,' the group said. "The martyrs' blood is not yet dry. The factions will not allow Netanyahu to use this crime for Israeli political purposes."
Islamic Jihad's leader in Gaza Khaled al-Batsh said: "The campaign against Israel is ongoing. We will not allow it to change the rules of our military conflict. We have no choice but confrontation and nothing will prevent us from responding to this assassination."
Hamas added: "The resistance has begun to respond and is united. The factions are meeting in the Gaza Strip.
"The enemy will be surprised by Palestinian resistance capabilities. The resistance will have the last word and it is its duty to respond to Israel's attacks."