The IDF on Thursday warned citizens of Gaza to evacuate their homes and make their way from less populated areas to the Strip's major cities.
Close to 100,000 leaflets containing the message were dropped over the territory and hundreds of thousands of citizens from all over Gaza received recorded phone messages warning them to vacate villages.
The IDF has sent such warnings to citizens
on a number of previous occasions during Operation Protective Edge, but Thursday marked the biggest such effort.
The move by the IDF came on the tenth day of the operation which has seen the air force hit more than 1,500 terror targets in Gaza, while some in Israel, such as Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman have called for a ground incursion.
On Friday morning the security cabinet was set to meet in Tel Aviv at 11:00.
Israel sent a message that a ground operation was very much on the table on Wednesday, approving the mobilization of another 8,000 reservists to join the 48,000 who have already been called up since the start of Operation Protective Edge.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu – in conversations on Tuesday with the mayors of Ashkelon, Ashdod and Rishon Lezion – said Israel would “use as much force as necessary to restore the quiet.”
In addition, during a public statement before a meeting with visiting Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini, Netanyahu said that at this point Hamas had closed the door on diplomacy, and Israel was intent on returning fire with more intensive fire.Herb Keinon contributed to this report