Security Cabinet meets in Jerusalem to discuss escalation in southern Israel

The Security Cabinet convened Wednesday for a special discussion in the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem, following the recent escalation in southern Israel.

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman is expected to demand at the Security Cabinet meeting that the IDF lands a series of strong blows on Gaza at a magnitude not seen since the 2014 Operation Protective Edge, according to sources.

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ESCALATION IDF renews strikes in Gaza after rocket hits home in southern Israel (6)

An Egyptian delegation had been operating in Gaza to establish calm and prevent rocket attacks into Israel in response to IDF retaliation. According to Arab reports, the Egyptian delegation asked Hamas for three full days of calm before resuming ceasefire talks.

Meanwhile, PM Netanyahu reportedly told the Cabinet that he opposes a major operation in Gaza.  Reports suggest both sides will wait to see the results of the Friday riots along the border.

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The prime minister visited the Gaza Division, where he held a situation assessment with the heads of the IDF and the defense establishment.

“I said at the outset of the government meeting this week that if these attacks (from Gaza) don’t stop, we’ll make them stop,” Netanyahu said.

A rocket alert siren went off at 3:39am in Beer Sheva and surrounding towns in the Negev region, following which a rocket hit a house, breaking through two floors of concrete.

Seven Israelis were treated for shock after the attack, including a 39-year-old mother and her three children aged 9, 10, and 12, who were in the house when it was hit. In addition, three people were taken to the Soroka Medical Center in the city suffering from light bruising sustained when falling as they were running for shelter.

Another long-range rocket fired overnight landed in the sea near Tel Aviv.

Additional rocket sirens sounded in southern Israel communities around 8:30 a.m. The IDF said it had struck a group of Muslim terrorists that attempted to fire a rocket towards Israel and that the sirens were activated during the incident.

The rocket attacks are blamed on fringe elements of Hamas, who are opposed to the ‘moderate’ line of the terror group leader Yahya Sinwar and seem to be aimed to embarrass the Hamas leadership as Egyptian intelligence officials arrived for fresh talks in Gaza.

The rocket fired at Beer Sheva was particularly powerful with a modified heavy warhead. Only the major terror groups in Gaza have such capability, signaling a split between political and armed wings of Hamas.

In response, the IDF bombed 20 Hamas terror targets in Gaza, including another Hamas cross-border terror tunnel.

Additional strikes were carried out on a terror tunnel in Zeitun and a naval tunnel west of Khan Younis.

IDF bombs 20 Hamas targets, including a cross-border terror tunnel in response to rocket fire (3)

Israeli fighter jets bombed a number of weapons factories, military bases and other facilities connected to Hamas’s tunnel-building efforts.

IDF bombs 20 Hamas targets, including a cross-border terror tunnel in response to rocket fire (2)

The retaliatory strikes hit targets throughout Gaza in Rafah, Khan Younis, Tel al-Hawa, and in northern Gaza near Beit Lahiya.