Israel’s security cabinet authorised the military Tuesday to call up 40,000 reservists for a possible assault on the Gaza Strip, media reported.
The move came during the most serious flare-up over Gaza since November 2012, as Palestinian militants rained rockets onto southern Israel and Israel hit back with deadly air strikes.
“The security cabinet has voted to call up some 40,000 reservists in preparation for a possible ground operation in the Gaza Strip as part of Operation Protective Edge,” the Ynet news website said, referring to the campaign launched to stamp out rocket fire.
Officials refused to comment.
“We have been instructed by the political echelon to hit Hamas hard,” chief military spokesman General Moti Almoz told army radio earlier, saying the operation would take place “in stages.”
Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon warned it was likely to be a protracted campaign.
“We are preparing for a campaign against Hamas, which will not end in just a few days,” he said in a statement after meeting security chiefs, which defined the aim as being “to exact a very heavy price from Hamas.”
“We will not tolerate rocket fire on Israel cities, and we are preparing to expand the operation with everything at our disposal to strike Hamas,” he said.