Photo Credit: Ariel Harmoni / Israeli Ministry of Defense
Israel's Security Cabinet meets at the IDF's Kirya headquarters in Tel Aviv.

The Israeli Security Cabinet approved a massive aerial bombardment on Gaza in the wake of nearly continuous rocket fire that started with a missile barrage aimed at Jerusalem Monday afternoon.

A ground incursion was not approved.

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“Hamas must be dealt a heavy blow, and yet, everyone understands our limitations,” an Israeli official told Ynet on Monday night. “We have no desire for large wars.”

The IDF attacked and eliminated a three-member terror cell in northern Gaza. IDF fighter jets also attacked a Hamas offensive terror tunnel in Gaza as well. Two IDF drone missiles were launched at a Hamas terrorist position in northern Gaza as well.

There were more than 150 rocket and mortar launches from Gaza since the afternoon, the IDF said. Rocket fire began while Israelis were happily celebrating Jerusalem Day with the traditional Flag Dance March.

The Iranian-backed Hamas terrorist organization ordered Israeli police to quit the Temple Mount and Israeli authorities to release all Arab attackers detained in violent riots in recent days by 6 pm Monday.

At 6 pm, the rocket fire began.

At 8 pm the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group, an ally of Hamas also backed by Iran, warned that its rocket fire would resume at 9 pm and true to its word, at least 15 missiles were launched at 9 pm on the dot, targeting Ashkelon.

By 9:15 pm Monday night, at least 60 rockets had been fired at Israel from the Gaza enclave.

The Iron Dome anti-missile defense system activated in response to rockets that were headed towards populated areas.

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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.