The IDF on Wednesday recalled 2,000 reservists who had already been drafted and released during Operation Protective Edge, after Palestinian rocket fire at Israeli cities triggered renewed hostilities Tuesday night.
Rocket fire continued on Wednesday morning, with at least a dozen rockets launched at southern Israel since daybreak.
Meanwhile, IDF tanks and armored personnel carriers were massing along the border with the southern Gaza Strip as the army boosted its forces in the area.
At the height of Operation Protective Edge, which began on July 8 and later included a ground incursion into the Gaza Strip, the IDF called up some 86,000 reservists. Most have already been demobilized or were set to be released in the coming days.
On Tuesday afternoon, shortly after rocket fire commenced, Israel pulled its negotiating team out of the ceasefire talks with the Palestinians.
The rocket fire resumed around eight hours before a temporary truce was set to expire at midnight. Then, a heavy barrage of dozens of rockets rained down on Israel’s southern towns as well as the Tel Aviv and Jerusalem areas during the night.
Israel retaliated by renewing its airstrikes on the Gaza Strip, reportedly targeting the home of Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades commander Muhammad Deif and killing his wife and infant daughter.
The IDF said in a statement early Wednesday that since the temporary truce was violated by terrorists in Gaza, 70 rockets were fired at Israel — including 10 in one hour on Wednesday morning.
Since Gaza terrorists violated the latest ceasefire, they have fired about 70 rockets at Israel. 10 rockets were launched in the past hour.
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) August 20, 2014
Israel began Operation Protective Edge last month to stem the rocket fire from Gaza and to destroy a network of tunnels dug by Hamas under the border from the coastal enclave into Israel that have been used by terrorists to carry out deadly attacks.
A few fragile, temporary, ceasefires have been agreed on but the last and longest, a 24-hour extension of a five-day truce, quickly unraveled as the fighting resumed following the first rocket salvo on Tuesday afternon.
Israeli and Palestinian representatives were in Cairo this week for indirect talks via Egyptian mediators to hammer out a prolonged truce. While Israel is demanding a halt to attacks on its territory, the Palestinians, and in particular Hamas, are seeking the lifting of Israel’s naval blockade as well as other concessions, such as opening air and sea ports.