RISHON LEZION, Israel - Air raid sirens sounded throughout Tel Aviv on Saturday as Palestinian militants targeted the city for a third straight day.
CBN News spoke with an Israel Defense Forces spokeswoman by phone who said their goal right now is to cripple the capabilities of terrorist organizations and to defend the people of Israel.
"The big story here is the fact that we have attacked 850 sites with extremely low civilian casualties," Lt. Col. Avital Liebovich said.
Overnight Friday, the IDF hit 200 targets including arms smuggling tunnels, Hamas government buildings and the house of a senior Hamas commander.
The Iron Dome anti-missile batteries have intercepted 200 rockets, which the IDF calls "a very successful percentage."
The IDF said its strikes have put Hamas under great pressure and the evidence is they're "continually spreading lies and the lies are growing."
Hamas claimed to have targeted an IDF jeep full of soldiers, the Knesset and the Tel Aviv stock exchange, but the IDF said none of that is true.
Sixteen thousand ground troops have been called up in the initial stage, but the IDF has permission to recruit 75,000.
The government is weighing whether to head to a ground operation, but it's not final yet at this point.
More than 700 rockets have been fired at Israel since the beginning of 2012, but the IDF restrained itself for two years before launching this operation.
How troubling is it that Gaza rockets have reached Jerusalem? CBN News' John Waage, who has spent years covering the Middle East in our Jerusalem Bureau, has more. And will Egypt stand with Israel as it has in the past? Sr. International Reporter Gary Lane explains what to expect this time around, following this report.
Meanwhile, Palestinian rockets continue to fall on southern Israel as the Israel Defense Forces ramped up its bombardments of terror sites.
The key for Israel, say residents, is to allow the country to finish the job.
Panic in Tel Aviv
Air raid sirens sounded in Tel Aviv Thursday for the first time since the 1991 Gulf War, snarling traffic and sending shock waves through the center of the country.
"The alarm -- some of us got panic (ked). I was in the street. I saw people run and trying to call their families. A few seconds later, it was normal," one Israeli teen, Adir Joseph, recalled.
"And in Tel Aviv it was also," Eden Kabaso, 16, said. "My sister lives there. When there was an alarm she got panicked. She cried. She was also in the street with her kids and it was not a comfortable situation."
One rocket reached farther north than ever before -- some 30 miles to the southern Tel Aviv suburb of Rishon Lezion.
What do Christians need to understand about the spiritual battle at play here? CBN News' John Waage has more on Christian World News below.
"Everybody freaked out. It was crazy. It was the first time here in Rishon LeZion," Rafi Mor, a Rishon Lezion shop owner, said.
The army says in the last 36 hours they've struck more than 500 terror sites. Israelis in Rishon Lezion say their country should keep up the pressure.
"There's no way the people from the south have to endure all those missiles day after day after day," resident Omer Shani said. "There is no country in the world that will have -- that could have -- understood it. It can't go on. It just can't go on."
"I think we should have done this step a long time ago," he said. "I think we should solve the problem over there for a long time now. The army needs its time to do its job and finish the work over there."
Tel Aviv area resident Ayelet Shoshani said, "I think they need to do more. Now, after what happened yesterday, I can feel (it) -- I don't know how people in the south live, I don't know. I think I would get mad to live like that. I don't think we can get used to that kind of life. It's very difficult."
"Don't stop until they are quiet," Rishon Lezion resident Ruthi Schlosser said. "They should go on and beg for (a) ceasefire because it can't continue like that. We are very happy here you know in the midst of Israel, but poor people who are living there, their life must be hell.
Israel agreed to hold its fire during Egyptian Prime Minister Hesham Kandil's visit to Gaza on Friday, but rockets continued to slam into southern Israeli communities.
More than 300 rockets hit Israel in less than 48 hours. Dozens more have been intercepted by the Iron Dome anti-missile battery.
In the past, pressure from the international community has forced Israel to stop before it says it has accomplished its goals. But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says it won't happen this time.