The Israeli Government has ordered the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) to mobilise additional reserve-duty soldiers for operations in the Gaza Strip.
An unnamed Israeli military source was quoted by RIA Novosti as saying: "The army received the political leadership’s permission to call up 10,000 reservists, in addition to the 20,000-25,000 who were mobilised earlier and remain in service."
A decision proposal carried by JerusalemOnline reads: "Following the continuing of Operation Protective Edge and the ceasefire collapse, the defence minister, under the PM’s approval, decided to recruit a maximum number of 10,000 reservists and has authorised the Operation Division to call on the reserve soldiers."
The new reservists will replace the 30,000 soldiers who were released from duty after IDF withdrew its forces from Gaza two weeks ago, as an Egyptian-mediated ceasefire came into effect.
Approximately 55,000 IDF reservists currently remain in defensive positions at the Gaza border, according to the news agency.
Israel and Hamas resumed hostilities in Gaza on 19 August, hours before the ten-day ceasefire was scheduled to expire.
An IDF air strike on a house in the southern Gaza town of Rafah in the early hours of 21 August killed three senior Hamas leaders, namely Mohammed Abu Shamala, Mohammed Barhoum and Raed al-Attar.
Israeli defence minister Moshe Ya’alon said: "The Hamas military commanders killed on Wednesday night were responsible for serious attacks on Israeli citizens and soldiers, including the abduction of Gilad Shalit.
"Israel will continue to chase and strike Hamas leaders wherever they are."
Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri was quoted by Reuters as saying: "The assassination of the three Qassam [Hamas military wing] leaders is a grave crime. But it will not break our people and Israel will pay the price for it."
At least 2,016 Palestinians and 66 Israelis are believed to have died since Israel launched its offensive in Gaza on 8 July.
Meanwhile, the US and the European Union are working on draft resolutions aimed at ending the Gaza crisis. These will be submitted to the UN Security Council for a binding vote, Channel 2 reported.
Image: Raed al-Attar is one of three senior Hamas commanders killed by an Israeli air strike on a house in Rafah, Gaza. Photo: courtesy of al-Qassam Brigades.