CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) continued to target Hamas power centers in Gaza city Monday morning, including two university laboratories used to store rockets and manufacture explosives, The Jerusalem Post reports.
Monday marks the third day of Israel's air strike campaign against Hamas military and government targets. Earlier on Sunday, the IDF Gaza operation began with pinpoint air strikes on Hamas strongholds in southern Gaza, while Palestinians resumed rocket attacks on Israeli civilians Sunday morning.
In a four-minute air strike in the afternoon, Israeli jets destroyed 40 smuggling tunnels near the Rafah border crossing with Egypt.
Watch video from some of the airstrikes on the video player.
Meanwhile on Sunday, Defense Minister Ehud Barak allowed 30 trucks laden with food and medicine to enter Gaza via the Kerem Shalom border crossing.
Sirens sounded in the port city of Ashdod as three Grad missiles fell east of the city, in the farthest reaching attacks to date -- nearly 25 miles from Israel's border with the Gaza Strip.
One missile, which landed in the courtyard of a private residence, shattered the windows, but no one was injured in the attack.
By mid-morning, six missiles hit neighborhoods in Ashkelon, two people were injured by shrapnel, and eight residents were treated for shock. One Grad rocket landed near a shopping mall that was hit last May.
During the night, an IAF strike demolished the building housing the al-Aksa TV studios, but Hamas continued broadcasting on the station using a mobile unit.
The air force also targeted a mosque in Gaza City, which served as a base for terror activities.
Another IAF air strike killed three members of a rocket-launching cell and injured four others.
Palestinian sources reported casualties rose to 280 Sunday, saying most were Hamas operatives.
Meanwhile, in an interview with al-Jazeera television, Damascus-based Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal called on Palestinians to launch a third "military intifada against the Zionist enemy," while in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh vowed to continue fighting.
"We will not raise white flags, and we will kneel only before Allah," Haniyeh said.
IDF Readies Ground Forces
The IAF targeted 30 Hamas sites on Sunday, bringing the total to 240 hits in the first 24 hours of "Operation Cast Lead." The IDF also began amassing tanks and infantry troops near the border with Gaza for a possible ground incursion into the Strip.
At Sunday's Cabinet meeting, ministers approved the call up nearly 7,000 reservists, who would be ready to reinforce ground troops, if necessary.
"Ahead of the continuance of planned operational activity, we need to draft some 7,000 reserve soldiers with emergency orders," Barak said.
A ground offensive may or may not be launched, depending on Hamas's next move, which the defense minister said he could not predict.
In an interview earlier with Fox News, Barak said asking Israel to agree to a cease-fire with Hamas is like asking the United States to sign a cease-fire agreement with al-Qaeda.
UN Security Council Renounces Gaza Op
On Sunday, Israeli UN Ambassador Gabriella Shalev submitted an explanatory letter to the Security Council.
"Israel is taking the necessary military action in order to protect its citizens from ongoing terrorist attacks originating from the Gaza Strip and carried out by Hamas and other terrorist organizations," Shalev wrote.
"Israel has exhausted all means and efforts to reach and maintain quiet and to respect the state of calm. The State of Israel has thus decided to actively fight terrorism and protect its citizens from further terrorist attacks through a decisive response," she wrote.
"Israel's response is aimed solely against the terrorists and their infrastructures in the Gaza Strip. It is not intended against the civilian population," Shalev said.
"No country would allow continuous rocketing of its civilian population without taking the necessary actions to stop it. Israel expects the understanding and support of the international community to its actions, as it confronts terrorism and advances the interest of all those who wish that peace and coexistence would prevail in our region," she concluded.
Her explanation fell on deaf ears.
The Security Council issued a statement calling for an "immediate stop to all military activities."
"The members of the Security Council expressed serious concerns at the escalation of the situation in Gaza and called for an immediate halt to all violence," a letter signed by Council President and Croatian Ambassador Neven Jurica read.
Sources: The Associated Press, The Jerusalem Post, YNet news