In the worst outbreak of violence on the Israel – Gaza border since 2012, Israeli authorities have approved a motion to call up 40,000 reservists.
A surge in Palestinian rocket strikes on Israeli towns saw Israel bombard dozens of targets in Gaza on Tuesday.
The Palestinian Interior Ministry announced at least six people have been killed in an Israeli attack on a house in Khan Yunis in the Gaza Strip. Around twenty five are said to be wounded.
According to local residents, the dwelling belonged to the family of a member of the militant group Hamas.
It is believed people gathered on the roof of the residence after it was struck for a first time, hoping their presence would prevent a second devastating attack.
Air strikes on Tuesday killed a Hamas fighter in Gaza’s Nusseirat refugee camp, Palestinian medical officials said.
Later the same day, an attack on a car in Gaza city killed four people, one of whom was Hamas commander Mohammed Shaaban, reports suggest.
A further assault on Tuesday is believed to have killed at least two more, while some nine Israelis and 30 Palestinians have been injured, according to media reports.
In response, Hamas is said to have labelled all Israelis potential “targets”.
The Israeli military declined to comment on whether it had carried out the attack and made no immediate statement about the alleged assault on the house.
However, earlier on the same day, a source in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office quoted him as saying “The Israel Defence Forces must be ready to go all the way. All options are on the table, including a ground invasion.”
It reports at least 200 rockets have been fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip since Israel mounted the dragnet while searching for three Jewish teens who had disappeared from the occupied West Bank. Missing since June 12, they were found dead two weeks later.
Israel has accused Hamas of carrying out the killing. A matter of days later, a Palestinian boy was kidnapped and murdered in a suspected revenge attack.
According to Israel Defence Force figures, at least 200 rockets have been fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip in recent weeks – more than a hundred of which occurred between July 7 and 8. The Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepted some of the fire. No casualties are reported, although some people are said to have suffered shrapnel injuries.
Meanwhile the Arab League is said to have called for an urgent meeting of the United Nations Security Council to discuss the crisis.