Israel launched a military operation in Gaza on Wednesday, killing Hamas military chief Ahmed Jabari in an airstrike. Following four days of escalation on the Israel-Gaza border, Israel renewed its policy of targeted assassinations and killed the head of Hamas' military wing. Jabari, 52, was the man behind the abduction of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit in 2006.

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LIVE BLOG:

For Thursday's live updates, as Operation Pillar of Defense enters its second day, click here.

11:54 P.M. Iron Dome battery intercepts Gaza rocket over Ashkelon (Haaretz)

11:39 P.M. Home Front Defense Minister Avi Dichter in Be'er Sheva: We have no intention of ending this round of fighting and suffering more hits in the next. During Operation Cast Lead we didn't have Iron Dome batteries. This time, we do (Gili Cohen)

11:26 P.M. Two Gaza rockets explode in open areas near Ashkelon; Iron Dome battery intercepts another rocket over Ashdod (Yanir Yagna)

11:07 P.M. Five rockets explode near southern city of Sderot; no casualties, damage reported (Yanir Yagna)

11:03 P.M. U.S. State Department issues a statement saying the U.S. strongly condemns the barrage of rocket fire from Gaza; regrets the death and injury of innocent Israeli and Palestinian civilians; "We support Israel’s right to defend itself, and we encourage Israel to continue to take every effort to avoid civilian casualties."

"Hamas claims to have the best interests of the Palestinian people at heart, yet it continues to engage in violence that is counterproductive to the Palestinian cause."  (Natasha Mozgovaya)

11:01 P.M. Israel Police chief Yohanan Danino arrives in Be'er Sheva with Home Front Minister Avi Dichter for a meeting with city council officials (Gili Cohen)

10:52 P.M. Security Cabinet authorizes IDF to draft military reservists and expand Gaza operation if necessary (Barak Ravid)

10:47 P.M. Iron Dome battery intercepts two Gaza rockets over Ashkelon (Yanir Yagna and Yaniv Kubovich)

10:42 P.M. Gaza rocket explodes near a school in Ofaqim (Yanir Yagna)

10:32 P.M. Hamas' Alqassam Brigades answers IDF spokesperson's 8:22 P.M. tweet: "@idfspokesperson Our blessed hands will reach your leaders and soldiers wherever they are (You Opened Hell Gates on Yourselves)"

10:17 P.M. Summary of Gaza rocket fire toward Israel's south: 60 rockets were fired on Wednesday from Gaza at Israel's south; 48 toward Be'er Sheva, Dimona and Ofaqim; 12 toward Ashdod, the Lachish area and Sha'ar Havegev Regional Council; Iron Dome batteries intercepted 17 rockets (Haaretz)

10:10 P.M. Ashkelon Mayor Benny Vaknin: Ashkelon residents are willing to tolerate Gaza fire so that the IDF could act (Haaretz)

10:10 P.M. Since the beginning of the escalation between Israel and Gaza 128 rockets have been fired at Israel's south (Haaretz)

9:59 P.M. In the past 20 minutes at least 10 rockets were fired at Eshkol Regional Council; one rocket his an electric pole (Yanir Yagna)

9:50 P.M. Rocket explodes in open land in Ofakim (Haaretz)

9:41 P.M. United States Embassy in Tel Aviv issues security message for U.S. citizens in Israel, advises them to pay close attention to news reports and follow civil defense guidance provided by the Home Front Command (Allison Kaplan Sommer)

9:32 P.M. Another rocket falls in open area in Eshkol Regional Council; at least two rockets fired toward Ashdod region (Yanir Yagna)

9:25 P.M. Egypt recalls its ambassador to Tel Aviv for consultations in Cairo, in protest of IDF operations in Gaza; Israeli ambassador to Cairo expected to be summoned on Thursday to Egyptian Foreign Ministry (Haaretz)

9:18 P.M. Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter condemns rocket fire from Gaza against Israeli communities, the assassination of Ahmed Jabari, and other targeted attacks in Gaza (Natasha Mozgovaya)

9:12 P.M. Israel Navy strikes terrorist targets in Gaza Strip (Haaretz)

9:10 P.M. Three rockets fired toward Eshkol Regional Council; Iron Dome intercepts another rocket, bringing the total number of interceptions to 14 (Yanir Yagna)

8:59 P.M. Senior political source: Egypt approached Israel via a number of channels, requesting Operation Pillar of Defense be stopped (Barak Ravid)

8:50 P.M. Rocket fired toward Dimona for first time; another rocket fired toward Be'er Sheva; more rockets fired toward Eshkol Regional Council (Haaretz)

8:40 P.M. Michael Oren in press release issued by Israeli Embassy in U.S.: We are sending an unequivocal message that our citizens will not be hostage to terrorist missile fire and cross-border attacks. The scope of the IDF's defensive operation depends on Hamas and whether it takes the decision to cease firing missiles on our neighborhoods and homes (Natasha Mozgovaya)

8:40 P.M. Israeli Embassy in U.S.: The IAF has been surgical and restrained in its response to the Hamas missile escalations, and has not targeted the long-range missiles stored in mosques, schools, and hospitals (Natasha Mozgovaya)

8:40 P.M. Ehud Barak: It won't happen at once, but we will achieve the goals of this operation. We are at the start of the incident and not at the end. In the long term, the operation will contribute strengthening our deterrence (Haaretz)

8:39 P.M. Ehud Barak lists goals of Operation Pillar of Defense: intensifying the warning; thwarting the array of rockets; causing a painful blow to Hamas; limiting the damage on the home front (Haaretz)

8:39 P.M. Defense Minister Ehud Barak in press conference: Israel is not interested in engaging in war, but Hamas' provocation in the past days has made it imperative that we act sharply and decisively (Haaretz)

8:38 P.M. Benjamin Netanyahu: The IDF is ready for action; we will continue doing everything in order to protect our citizens. If necessary, we will expand operations (Haaretz)

8:37 P.M. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in press conference: Hamas and Islamic Jihad intentionally hurt our citizens while hiding behind their own citizens (Haaretz)

8:36 P.M. Eshkol Regional Council residents instructed to immediately enter bomb shelters; Iron Dome intercepts rockets; rocket lands in Be'er Sheva; IDF strikes cell that was about to launch rockets (Yanir Yagna; Gili Cohen)

8:35 P.M. Two rockets explode in open field in Eshkol Regional Council; alarms sound in Be'er Sheva and Merhavim regional councils (Yanir Yagna)

8:29 P.M. Iron Dome has intercepted 10 rockets fired from Gaza toward Be'er Sheva since 8 P.M. (Yanir Yagna)

8:22 P.M. IDF spokesperson tweets, 'We recommend that no Hamas operatives, whether low level or senior leaders, show their faces above ground in the days ahead'

8:20 P.M. More rockets reported fired from Gaza toward Be'er Sheva and Ofakim (Yanir Yagna)

8:19 P.M. Three more rockets fired toward Merhavim Regional Council and Ofakim (Yanir Yagna)

8:17 P.M. Two more rockets fired toward Be'er Sheva; as yet unclear where they struck (Gili Cohen)

8:10 P.M. Alarms sound again in Be'er Sheva; six rockets fired from Gaza, three  successfully intercepted by Iron Dome; parked vehicle hit by rocket; a number of people suffer anxiety (Haaretz)

8:09 P.M. Palestinians report explosion in house of former Fatah security chief Rashid Abu Shabak, in Gaza (Haaretz)

8:03 P.M. Palestinians put death toll at eight, 30 wounded (Haaretz)

8:01 P.M. Iron Dome battery intercepts two rockets fired from Gaza toward southern city of Be'er Sheva (Haaretz)

7:59 P.M. Alarms sound in Be'er Sheva instructing residents to take cover from imminent rocket fire (Haaretz)

7:50 P.M. Defense Minister Ehud Barak calls for 'special situation' status on home front at distance of 40 kilometers from the Gaza Strip. Declaration still needs government approval (Gili Cohen)

7:45 P.M. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas calls for urgent Arab League meeting on Israel's strikes on Gaza, Egypt's news agency MENA says (Reuters)

7:42 P.M. President Shimon Peres speaks to U.S. President Barak Obama on the phone, says Israel is not interested in raising the height of the flames, but for five days, rockets have been fired toward us and mothers and children are unable to sleep in peace at night. Ahme Jabari stood behind many terrorist activities (Barak Ravid)

7:37 P.M. Palestinians: Death toll in Wednesday's strikes rise to seven; some 20 wounded (Avi Issacharoff)

7:30 P.M. Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino assesses situation and advises regional police commanders to raise alert levels throughout the country and to remain in contact with rescue and other emergency services. In coordination with Israel's Home Front Command, all events in Israel's south in which public safety may be at risk have been called off. Large police forces will be dispersed throughout the country (Haaretz)

7:10 P.M. Egypt's Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr condemns Israeli strikes on Gaza, calls on Israel to stop its strikes on Gaza immediately. (Reuters)

7:06 P.M. IDF releases video displaying strike on car carrying Jabiri and al-Hams (Haaretz)

7:01 P.M. IDF reinforces military in southern Israel (Haaretz)

7:00 P.M. Egyptian Foreign Ministry slams Wednesday's strikes by Israel on Gaza, saying, "Israel's escalation will greatly impact the entire region's security and stability." Senior Egypt Muslim Brotherhood official, Subhi Saleh, condemns Israel for Jabari assassination (Haaretz)

6:55 P.M. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast condemns the Israeli attacks on Gaza Strip (Haaretz)

6:45 P.M. Palestinian sources: Israel failed Egyptian efforts by ramping up attacks on Gaza (Haaretz)

6:39 P.M. IDF issues draft orders for Israel Home Front Command reserve soldiers (Haaretz)

6:35 P.M. Gilad Shalit's father, Noam: Jabari has a lot of blood on his hands and has acted in recent years against civilian population (Haaretz)

6:30 P.M. IDF strikes Rafah again, says strike killed two terrorists riding on motorcycles (Gili Cohen)

6:21 P.M. IDF Spokesman: Days ahead will not be easy, rocket fire on south likely (Gili Cohen)

6:17 P.M. Home Front Command advises Ashkelon city council not to hold school classes on Thursday. Schools in Ashdod and Ben Gurion University announce classes will not take place Thursday.

6:14 P.M. Total of six dead in Gaza from Israeli airstrikes, including Jabari and his assistant Mohammed al-Hams, who worked in Khaled Meshal's bureau as chief of propaganda. Of the four others, some are citizens, including a girl (Avi Issacharoff)

6:09 P.M. Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood calls on president Mohammed Morsi to reassess relationship with Israel (Avi Issacharoff)

6:03 P.M. Hamas spokesman says Israel will pay a heavy price for its actions (Avi Issacharoff)

5:48 P.M. IDF Spokesman: In a wide-scale attack, the IDF struck the long-range missile capabilities (capable of reaching almost 40 miles) of Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, severely damaging the underground launch sites and the ammunition warehouses in the Gaza Strip. The targets were pinpointed by Israeli military intelligence information. The Gaza Strip has become a front base for Iran. The IDF will continue to attack targets that are used for carrying out terror attacks against the State of Israel. (Haaretz)

5:39 P.M. IDF source: Some of rockets struck in ammunition warehouse were hidden in Gaza residential building (Haaretz)

5:36 P.M. IDF Spokesman: Israeli military ready for ground operation in Gaza, should there be need for an incursion (Barak Ravid)

5:26 P.M. Palestinians say Hamas military wing chief in Rafah, Raed al-Atar, killed in IDF strike (Haaretz)

5:22 P.M. IAF strikes ammunition warehouse stocking Iranian-made Fajr missiles, in Gaza (Amos Harel)

5:17 P.M. Jabari assassination was part of operation in which IDF hit 20 targets across Gaza Strip (Avi Issacharoff)

5:16 P.M. Kadima chairman Shaul Mofaz: I congratulate the prime minister on renewing the policy of targeted assassinations; all those in the chain of command of terror organizations need to live in a constant pursuit (Jonathan Lis)

5:15 P.M. Israel's Cabinet convenes urgent meeting in light of Operation Pillar of Defense (Barak Ravid)

5:13 P.M. Labor Chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich: Israel is united in its war against terrorism (Jonathan Lis)

4:47 P.M. Jabari becomes most senior Hamas official to be killed since Operation Cast Lead (AP)

4:20 P.M. Israel confirms it killed Hamas military chief, citing his 'decade-long terrorist activity' (Reuters)

4:19 P.M. Hamas source says Jabari killed in Israeli airstrike (Reuters)

4:06 P.M. Top Hamas commander Ahmed Jabari in car hit by Israeli airstrike (Haaretz)