As the Ledger went to press on Tuesday, July 8, rockets rained down on many communities across Israel, hours after the IDF called up 40,000 reservists and launched Operation Protective Edge to counter the attacks from the Gaza Strip.
On Monday, July 7th alone more than 30 rockets were fired at southern Israel in the span of 30 minutes, and more than 80 were fired throughout the day, the IDF said. Code Red rocket alerts sounded in Be’er Sheva, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Ofakim, Merhavim, Ramat HaNegev. and Eshkol on Tuesday. The Iron Dome missile defense system was in operation in various locations, intercepting at least two rockets over Be’er Sheva and another fired at the coastal city of Ashdod.
The heavy barrage was launched from Gaza, at the same time as the funeral procession for the six Hamas members killed in a tunnel explosion Sunday night. Hamas claimed responsibility for the heavy rocket fire and threatened an “earthquake” that would reach Tel Aviv, in response to Operation Protective Edge.
“Hamas chose escalation and it will pay a heavy price for it,” said Netnayahu.
IAccording to Interior Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich, Israel attempted to reach a cease fire deal with Hamas, but to no avail. “We attempted to send them a clear message, and the moment they were ignored by Hamas we stepped up our response,” said Aharonovich.
Arab reports indicate that Egypt is working to mediate a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.