The Israeli military says it is ordering Palestinians living in the northern Gaza Strip to evacuate the area "for their own safety." In a statement today, the military said it would send messages to residents overnight to leave the area. Brig. Gen. Motti Almoz, the chief military spokesman, said Israel planned to hit the area with heavy force in the next 24 hours as it steps up an offensive against Gaza militants. Officials say the area has been used to fire rockets at Tel Aviv. The death toll in Gaza has hit at least 135 and more than 920 have been injured after five days of airstrikes, the Hill reports. Meanwhile, more than 200 rockets fired from Gaza have gotten through Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system, and rockets are coming from southern Lebanon as well.
Also today, the UN Security Council called today for a cease-fire in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict centered on the Gaza Strip. A council statement approved by all 15 members calls for de-escalation of the violence, restoration of calm, and a resumption of direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians aimed at achieving a comprehensive peace agreement based on a two-state solution. The statement calls for "the reinstitution of the November 2012 cease-fire," which was brokered by Egypt, but gives no time frame for when it should take effect. (Click for more on that.)