Photo Credit: Flash 90

“At this time, the IDF has begun striking terror targets in the Gaza Strip,” the IDF Spokesperson said early Monday evening, advising residents in southern Israel that “explosions” will be heard as military forces launch “offensive activities” in Gaza.

The Gaza border has been declared a “closed military zone” and roadblocks were set up in the area. Nearby Zikkim Beach has been closed as well.

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A limited number of IDF reserve forces were called up earlier in the day, and artillery and other units are already at the front.

The railway from Tel Aviv’s Ha’Hagana station south on the western Negev line to Ashkelon, Ofakim, Netivot and Sderot has been stopped. Trains to Be’er Sheva are stopped as well. The landing strips at Ben Gurion International Airport have been “changed” in accordance with orders from the IDF as well.

Iron Dome anti-missile defense batteries have been deployed throughout the southern and central regions.

Public bomb shelters have been opened in Tel Aviv, Herzliya, Ra’anana, Rishon Lezion, Be’er Sheva, Ashkelon, Kiryat Malachi, Sdot Negev and all the other regional council districts along the Gaza border ahead of a possible escalation.

Classes at Sapir College in Sderot have been cancelled and all youth activities in communities along the Gaza border are cancelled as well. Gatherings at events of 300 people or more are cancelled as well.

Updates to follow.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.