Israeli authorities, today, declared their military ready to deploy 40,000 reserve soldiers for a possible assault on Gaza.’Following a directive of the chief of staff the general staff… and the approval of the government, the Israel Defense Forces increased the draft of reserve forces,’ tweeted the military in English.

‘The approval is currently limited to 40,000.’

‘We have been instructed by the political echelon to hit Hamas hard,’ chief military spokesman General Moti Almoz told army radio earlier, saying the operation would take place ‘in stages’, Ma’an News Agency has reported (AFP).

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said that it was likely to be a ‘protracted’ campaign:

‘We are preparing for a campaign against Hamas, which will not end in just a few days,’ he said in a statement after meeting security chiefs, which defined the aim as being ‘to exact a very heavy price from Hamas… we will not tolerate rocket fire on Israel cities, and we are preparing to expand the operation with everything at our disposal to strike Hamas.’

Ma’an describes the current scenario in the Levant as ‘the most serious flare-up over Gaza since November 2012’. Israel has launched dozens of airstrikes on the Gaza Strip, targeting primarily civilians and farmers, with resistance fighters firing a number of homemade rockets into southern Israel.

Note: Israeli officials claimed that around seventy homemade shells were fired from the Gaza Strip toward southern Israel. These are crude shells that are little more than tubes with dynamite placed inside, which are fired blindly, without any possibility of aiming them. No injuries or damage were reported from the shells.

Over a dozen Palestinians have been killed and over 100 injured, so far, during the current and ongoing assault.

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