Israeli Tanks Prepare Imminent Gaza Offensive After "Green Light" For "Major Retaliation"

Commenting on Monday's flare-up of rocket fire after a prior Israeli commando raid into Gaza territory to assassinate Hamas leaders, the Jerusalem Post observed that Hamas' retaliation included "the most amount of rockets ever fired into Israel in 24 hours."

Various international reports have cited over 300 rockets and mortars fired into Israeli, which began with a sustained barrage of about 100 within the first hour of the launches alone. What's been dubbed as a "revenge" attack on heels of Monday funeral prayers for slain Hamas commanders killed by Israeli special forces were quickly met with widespread airstrikes on the strip, including on a Hamas television broadcast building, and some 70 targets in total across the strip. 

Meanwhile there appears preparations for what could be a major war and full Israeli invasion of Gaza underway as tank units have been observed mustering at entry points into Gaza.

Notably after cutting short his Paris trip Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu held a lengthy meeting with his defense minister and military leaders to consider a response to the escalating violence and rocket attacks — one of which scored a direct hit Monday on what's now been identified as an IDF bus in southern Israel, which injured a 19-year old soldier. 

The Times of Israel reports that a major ground offensive is increasingly likely, and with more airstrikes to come:

The army was reportedly given a green light from policymakers to pummel terror groups in the Strip if they continued with the barrages, as the terror organizations in the Strip vowed to do.

Israel's Arutz Sheva reported of the defense and military meeting with Netanyahu: "in the prime minister's consultation with the heads of the defense establishment, operational decisions were made," and indicated "the IDF has been given a green light to launch a heavy retaliation." 

On Tuesday a full Security Cabinet meeting is expected to make final decisions regarding Israel's course of action. 

Meanwhile IDF Spokesperson Brigadier General Ronen Manelis warned on Tuesday: "Hamas is leading the Gaza Strip to destruction and will feel the intensity of the IDF's response in the coming hours."

In another indicator of what's to come possibly imminently, Major General Kamil Abu Rokon, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), wrote public comments on an official communications social media account: “Residents of Gaza, look closely at the pictures from Protective Edge in 2014: A picture is worth a thousand words.”

Late in the day Monday Hamas took the provocative step of publishing video of its operation to destroy the Israeli troop bus which had injured one soldier.

A Hamas militant had attacked the bus in an ambush from somewhat close range using a sophisticated anti-tank missile. 

So far at least 3 Palestinians have died with many more wounded, and an Israeli special forces soldier was killed Sunday during a daring cross border raid on a Hamas HQ. Israeli sources are reporting extensive damage on communities in the south due to incoming rockets from Gaza, and multiple civilians injured.