The Security Cabinet has approved an IDF request to call up 40,000 reservists for Operation Protective Edge. Call-ups are expected to begin immediately and will last several days, raising the spectre that the army plans to use ground units to invade Gaza in order to put a stop to the rocket fire.
The request for additional manpower comes on the heels of an initial call up of 1,500 reservists on Monday. IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz. Gantz said he needed additional troops to accomplish the goals of the operation as laid down by the civilian echelon.
“Hamas and Islamic Jihad will be destroyed,” a senior IDF source told the website. “We have a green light to act without restraint… The terror organizations will learn in the coming days just what the IDF is made of and what its strength is,” the source said.
Operation Protective Edge is Israel’s response to hundreds of rocket attacks by Palestinian terrorists at civilian targets in southern Israel in recent weeks. The upswing in violence began with the abduction of Eyal Yifrah, Gil-Ad Sha’ar and Naftali Fraenkel, but took a sharp turn for the worse when Hamas responded to Israel’s unprecedented manhunt for the boys by attacking the Gaza Belt region.
More than 50 rockets have hit Israel Tuesday, reaching as far as Beersheba and Ashdod.
Senior IDF officials said the government has not put a time limit on Operation Protective Edge. Senior politicians have warned that Israeli civilians would be called to display “patience,” acknowledging that it could take weeks to accomplish Netanyahu’s stated goal.