Following the launching of Operation Protective Edge to extinguish Hamas rocket fire, Israel declared a "special situation" in all areas of the South within 40 kilometers of the Gaza Strip on Tuesday morning. A special situation is a legal decree that allows various authorities to safeguard public safety through a variety of means reserved for times of conflict. The decision came after Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon completed a security evaluation meeting with the Home Front Commander, Maj.-Gen. Eyal Eizenberg, as well as other civil defense chiefs, in which they examined the latest developments in the clash with Hamas."We are prepared for a campaign against Hamas, which will not end within days. Hamas is leading the current confrontation to a place in which it seeks to exact a heavy price from our home front. There is a need for patience," Ya'alon said at the end of the meeting.The defense minister called on the public to behave in accordance with Home Front Command safety instructions, adding that it is vital that the Israeli home front not sustain casualties."In recent hours, we have struck with force and hit dozens of Hamas assets. The IDF is continuing with the offensive effort, in a manner that will exact a very heavy price from Hamas. We will not tolerate missile and rocket fire on Israel, and we are prepared to expand the campaign through all of the means available to us, to continue striking Hamas," he continued."I'd like to send my support to residents of the South and to local government leaders there, who are displaying leadership and responsibility, and are allowing us to continue with the offensive efforts," Ya'alon added.