In what Reuters is calling the "worst outbreak of violence along the Gaza frontier since an eight-day war in 2012," the Israeli military today struck at least 50 sites in the Gaza Strip by air and sea—and mobilized 1,500 reservists for a potential ground invasion, though the military said such an invasion was not imminent. Still, an Israeli army rep emphasized, "indeed we are preparing." To that end, the Israeli government today gave the military the OK to mobilize as many as 40,000 additional reservists. The military says it has no immediate plans to actually do so, but described the order as a contingency if "Operation Protective Edge" needs to be expanded, reports the AP.
Israel says the operation could become a long-term one against Hamas and is aimed at stopping a recent barrage of rocket attacks against Israel. Per the military, more than 200 rockets have been launched from the Gaza Strip since it arrested hundreds in the search for three missing teens who were later found dead. Among the 50 locations the Israeli army said it targeted today were four houses it described as "activity sites" belonging to Hamas militants, reports the AP. The armed wing of Hamas threatened an "earthquake" in response to the Israeli strikes and said it would broaden the range of its rocket targets, and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas directed Israel to "immediately stop its escalation and the raids on Gaza," reports the BBC. (Read more Gaza stories.)