JERUSALEM, Israel -- Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said Operation Protective Edge, launched Monday evening against the latest uptick in rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip, won't end "in a few days."
During meetings with Homefront Commander Maj.-Gen. Eyal Eisenberg and Defense Ministry Director General Dan Harel, Ya'alon declared a "special situation" for cities and towns within 40 kilometers (approximately 20 miles) of the Gaza Strip.
"We are preparing for action against Hamas, which will not end within a few days," Ya'alon said. "Hamas has led this round of violence so it can target and damage our home front. There is a need for breathing room," he explained.
"In the last few hours we have launched powerful strikes and hit tens of Hamas' targets. The IDF is continuing its strikes to exact a 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."
When the Color Red air raid siren sounds, residents of southern Israeli communities have approximately 15 seconds to get to bomb shelters.
Ya'alon praised residents and heads of regional councils in the South for their "leadership and responsibility."
Meanwhile, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the "military wing" of Hamas, posted a "Military Communiqué" on its website, saying it "retaliated" against "Zionist aggression" by "shelling military bases" [Israeli towns and cities] with 35 missiles.