HAPPENING NOW: Israeli fighter jets began bombing Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror targets in Gaza after a rocket launched by Muslim terrorists hit a home in central Israel.
“At this time, the IDF has started to attack terror targets belonging to the Hamas terror group throughout Gaza,” the IDF said in a statement.
Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai ordered all public air raid shelters opened. Following Tel Aviv, the cities of Rishon Lezion, Beer Sheva, Petah Tikva and Kiryat Gat also order bomb shelters opened.
So far the “first wave” of strikes appear to have targeted tunnels, pop-up launchers, terror outposts, naval command sites, terror training sites.
Initial reports of a long-range missiles depot destroyed in northern Gaza.
The IDF confirms strikes on a secret headquarters of the Hamas terror group that serves the general security, general intelligence, and military intelligence of Hamas.
According to Arab reports, a group of Muslim terrorists survived a targeted assassination attempt by an IDF drone east of Shujayieh.
Israeli government officials deny that this air campaign is the start of a major operation as strikes continue in the Sourani, Tuffah, and greater Khan Younis areas.
Hamas called on all terror groups in Gaza to respond urgently and aggressively to the Israeli strikes.
Gaza residents are raiding bakeries and shops to take as much food as they can in anticipation of a long conflict. All police and security forces are absent from public view or underground.
Due to the escalation, an IDF Paratrooper Brigade has been deployed in the south.
Israeli jets bombed the offices of Hamas terror group leader Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza City with three missiles.
The IDF is now reportedly targeting one of Haniyeh’s mansions.
Gaza terrorists declared that the Egyptian mediation efforts have failed and that they “will make sure that this night will be hell for Israel”.
A woman was light-to-moderate wounded and six others, two of them babies, suffered light injuries.
Four dogs did not survive the direct impact.
The missile used in the attack was a locally-developed J80 rocket (named after Hamas commander-terrorist Jabari) fired from Rafah in southern Gaza over 100km into central Israel.
Following the rocket attack, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terror groups and Gaza factions evacuated all posts and took positions in underground bunkers as the IDF and defense commanders gathered in Tel Aviv to discuss a response.
PM Netanyahu has canceled a planned appearance at AIPAC conference in Washington and has decided to cut short his visit and return home early on Monday to deal with the security situation.
Hamas terror group leader Yahya Sinwar canceled his planned public address this afternoon as other public events in Gaza are being canceled today, including the opening of Rafah’s new municipal stadium.
The Islamic Jihad terror group issued a statement saying that they will respond fiercely to any Israeli retaliation while the Hamas terror group sent a message via Egyptian mediators that they are not responsible for today’s rocket fire.
The IDF claims the rocket was fired from an Izz ad-Din al-Qassam controlled position.
In view of the assessment of the situation and as part of preparedness measures, the IDF has declared Zikim Beach, Nahal Oz, and areas surrounding the Gaza border a “closed military zone”.
In addition, it was decided to stop agricultural work in areas adjacent to the security fence.
The Israeli aviation authorities announce that flight paths for civilian airliners to Ben Gurion airport have been changed to allow freedom of operation for missile defense systems.
The Shaar Hanegev Regional Council canceled all school after 3 pm, Eshkol after 3.45 pm. The Sdot Negev Regional Council released all students and asked parents to immediately pick up their children.
All educational facilities will close, no after-school activities.
The IDF Homefront Command ordered all events -with 300 people or more, canceled in Israeli towns surrounding the Gaza border.
Earlier this morning, the IDF called up reserve units of Iron Dome anti-air missile system and intelligence for the Gaza front following a rocket launched from Gaza to central Israel this morning.
Two infantry brigades to be deployed along the Gaza border, in addition to forces already deployed there.
In addition, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Major General Kamil Abu Rukun, announced on Monday the closure of the Erez and Kerem Shalom crossings, as well as a reduction of the fishing zone in the Gaza Strip until further notice.