Indian Point Down Before the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

Both Indian Point Reactors Down For First Time In 10 Years

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Indian Point Photo Credit: File

Both reactors at the Indian Point nuclear power plant in Westchester were temporarily offline for the first time in years.

An initial shutdown of one reactor began at approximately 3 p.m. on Friday, March 15, which lasted through the early hours of Sunday, March 24, according to Entergy. The shutdown of the reactor came while the plant’s other reactor was down for scheduled refueling.

According to Entergy, while both reactors were down for several days, Indian Point was not generating power. This was the first time both reactors were shut down in a decade.

A spokesperson for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said that the shutdown was “uncomplicated,” and the issue was caused by a fault in the main electrical generator at Indian Point.

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The Speed of the Bowls of Wrath (Revelation 16)

Russia’s New Nuclear Missiles Squeeze Response Time

As treaties end, Russia focuses on hypersonic weapons that could “tighten the noose” on current U.S. defenses

Matthew Gault

March 27, 2019

Both the United States and Russia last month pulled out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), a Cold War–era pact that prohibited land-based ballistic or cruise missiles with ranges between 311 and 3,420 miles. That agreement limited just one class of weapons, but it is not the only accord poised to end: The much-broader New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) will expire on February 5 next year, unless both parties agree to extend it—which they may not do.

New START limits the number of missiles the U.S. and Russia deploy, with an eye toward reducing the overall number of nuclear weapons in the world. Without it, for the first time since 1972 there would be no limit on how many warheads either nation can build and deploy. As tensions rise, both countries are looking to modernize their nuclear weapons, and Russia in particular is teasing terrifying new missiles that—if they work—could bypass the U.S.’s elaborate system of ground- and satellite-based defenses.

“The Russians really hate missile defense,” says Jeffrey Lewis, a nuclear policy expert and professor at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, Calif. “They really don’t like the possibility that they might be outmatched technologically. So there’s a whole battery of Russian programs—from the doomsday torpedoes, to nuclear-powered cruise missiles, to hypersonic reentry vehicles, to anti-satellite weapons.”

Last year Russian President Vladimir Putin unveiled six new weapons during a governmental address. The most impressive, according to nuclear experts, were the Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle, the nuclear-powered cruise missile Skyfall and the RS-28 Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). These three are the crown jewels in Russia’s aggressive new nuclear policy, capable—according to Putin—of circumventing U.S. missile defense systems. Currently, American defenses are designed to knock an incoming nuke out of the air before it can hit its target—but this was already a complicated and difficult task before the development of hypersonics.

Although Russia’s new weapons sound frightening, none has actually been deployed yet. They may be ready in the next year or two, but “none of them are fully operational,” says Philip Coyle, a board member of the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. Coyle (who has also served as U.S. assistant secretary of defense), explains that some have been tested, but “none of them have been so successful that they can claim to have operational capability.”

But that doesn’t mean Coyle is not worried, especially about hypersonic threats. “Some of those would be impossible for United States missile defense systems [to counter],” he says, “especially the hypersonic air-to-ground-system and the hypersonic glide system, both of which [Putin] said had been successfully tested.” The current crop of weapons that defense experts label as hypersonic reach speeds greater than 3,000 mph.

Inside the Nuclear Arsenal

Other countries, including the United States and China, have also tested hypersonic weapons—but it is Russia’s hypersonic glide vehicle, the Avangard, that has garnered the defense community’s most intense attention. Glide vehicles could theoretically combine the maneuverability of a cruise missile with the speed of an ICBM. On a traditional nuclear launch involving an ICBM, a powerful rocket sends the warhead on a trajectory similar to a space launch (long-range ICBMs even go suborbital) before it turns around and plummets to Earth at hypersonic speeds. Glide vehicles like the Avangard would ride an ICBM into the sky, but they would then be released and soar along at the top of the atmosphere—above sensor range—before heading to their targets.

However, not everyone is fretting about high-speed glide vehicles. “I’m not so impressed by those,” Lewis says. He says the vehicles themselves, once released, will no longer be traveling at hypersonic speeds (although other experts disagree with this assessment). “The missile is gliding, so it actually slows down quite a bit and makes a much better target [than traditional ICBMs] for missiles defenses,” Lewis says. The vehicle could supposedly move to evade a defense system, but Lewis remains unconvinced. “It’s great that it can maneuver so that it doesn’t come into the range of missile defenses. But if it does, it’s going to be a much brighter target because it’s moving more slowly and it’ll be superhot,” he says. “The hypersonic gliders people are talking about actually represent slower reentry than what currently exists.”

Instead Lewis worries more about the Skyfall, the nuclear-powered cruise missile carrying a nuclear warhead. “I’m a little bothered by the menagerie of science fiction ideas that the Russians are working on,” he says. “We don’t know much about the technology behind that one (Skyfall), but certainly when the U.S. investigated the idea it was pretty nasty in terms of radiation released just to power it.” According to Putin, the Skyfall is a superpowered Tomahawk cruise missile launched via ground or air. The best Tomahawks can travel 1,550 miles—but with a nuclear reactor powering it, the Skyfall effectively has an unlimited range. Russian military sources reported the country had successfully tested the cruise missile in January 2019; however, U.S. intelligence suggests that it has yet to demonstrate a range greater than 22 miles, and may not reach its full potential for another 10 years.

Still, a radiation-spewing cruise missile with unlimited range is not Russia’s only frightening new weapon. It is also testing the RS-28 Sarmat, a liquid-fueled ICBM designed to brute-force its way through U.S. missile defense systems. The missile is fast, huge—119 feet tall with a weight of more than 220 tons—and full of weapons: It carries a 10-ton payload, big enough to include 24 separate nuclear-tipped Avangard hypersonic glide vehicles.

And the Sarmat is dangerous for reasons beyond its size. According to Coyle it also has a shorter-than-usual boost phase (the period of an ICBM’s launch when it is rocketing into the atmosphere), which gives U.S. missile defenses less time to shoot it down. If a brief launch window is not enough to protect the missile, Coyle says, “[Putin] also said that Sarmat would carry countermeasures designed to confuse U.S. anti-missiles systems.”

Response Time

The Sarmat’s short boost phase exemplifies what really makes these missiles so terrifying: time. Nuclear warheads are always dangerous, but the U.S. has long relied on its ability to create lead time between launch, detection and response. Essentially, the longer the commander-in-chief has to decide how to react to the news of an ICBM launch, the better. The abilities of these new weapons—short boost times, hypersonic speeds and unlimited range—all eat into those precious minutes. “It’s going to tighten the noose around our necks,” Lewis says. “These systems add complexity and reduce decision time. That’s the kind of change that can really threaten stability.”

Meanwhile, the most recent U.S. Nuclear Posture Review and Missile Defense Review promised to develop America’s own hypersonic weapons. The reviews also teased the creation of new sensors, floated the idea of turning the F-35—the new U.S. fighter jet—into an ICBM killer, and suggested developing space-based sensors to augment American missile defense systems. But both reviews were long on theory and short on details. In particular, Coyle says, “The Missile Defense Review is unclear about what it is we would deploy in space.”

As for shoring up U.S. defenses, the Pentagon is trying to develop hypersonic counter-measures. At the moment, the country’s missile defense shield includes a mix of 44 ground-based interceptors; Terminal High Altitude Area Defense systems deployed in Guam, the United Arab Emirates, Israel and South Korea; and Aegis missile defense systems on U.S. Navy ships around the globe. New plans include everything from thousands of interceptors orbiting the Earth to lasers fired from satellites, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is actively searching for a “glide-breaker,” a way to fight against hypersonic glide vehicles like the Avangard.

However, these protections are still theoretical. At the moment, no one has a concrete solution to the threat—and Russia continues to build and test new and potentially devastating nuclear weapons.

The Sixth Seal Is Past Due (Revelation 6:12)

New York City is Past Due for an Earthquake

by Jessica Dailey, 03/22/11

filed under: News

New York City may appear to be an unlikely place for a major earthquake, but according to history, we’re past due for a serious shake. Seismologists at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory say that about once every 100 years, an earthquake of at least a magnitude of 5.0 rocks the Big Apple. The last one was a 5.3 tremor that hit in 1884 — no one was killed, but buildings were damaged.

Any tremor above a 6.0 magnitude can be catastrophic, but it is extremely unlikely that New York would ever experience a quake like the recent 8.9 earthquake in Japan. A study by the Earth Observatory found that a 6.0 quake hits the area about every 670 years, and a 7.0 magnitude hits about every 3,400 years.

There are several fault lines in New York’s metro area, including one along 125th Street, which may have caused two small tremors in 1981 and a 5.2 magnitude quake in 1737. There is also a fault line on Dyckman Street in Inwood, and another in Dobbs Ferry in Westchester County. The New York City Area Consortium for Earthquake Loss Mitigation rates the chance of an earthquake hitting the city as moderate.

John Armbruster, a seismologist at the Earth Observatory, said that if a 5.0 magnitude quake struck New York today, it would result in hundreds of millions, possibly billions of dollars in damages. The city’s skyscrapers would not collapse, but older brick buildings and chimneys would topple, likely resulting in casualities.

The Earth Observatory is expanding its studies of potential earthquake damage to the city. They currently have six seismometers at different landmarks throughout the five boroughs, and this summer, they plan to place one at the arch in Washington Square Park and another in Bryant Park.

Won-Young Kim, who works alongside Armbuster, says his biggest concern is that we can’t predict when an earthquake might hit. “It can happen anytime soon,” Kim told the Metro. If it happened tomorrow, he added, “I would not be surprised. We can expect it any minute, we just don’t know when and where.”

Armbuster voiced similar concerns to the Daily News. “Will there be one in my lifetime or your lifetime? I don’t know,” he said. “But this is the longest period we’ve gone without one.”

Via Metro and NY Daily News

Israel Injures Seven More Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)


Explosions rang out in the Gaza strip after Israel’s military struck Hamas targets in retaliation for a rocket fired from Gaza. Prime Minister Netanyahu cut short a Washington trip and returned home.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

A familiar sound rang out in the Gaza Strip last night.\

GREENE: It’s the sound of Israeli rockets targeting Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Those airstrikes continued overnight and so did rocket fire from Gaza towards Israel. This round of violence began yesterday when a rocket from Gaza hit a house in Israel. It lightly wounded seven people. Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, considered the event serious enough that he cut short a trip to Washington, D.C. Here’s what he had to say at the White House before he returned to Israel.

PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: I have a simple message to Israel’s enemies. We will do whatever we must do to defend our people and defend our states.

GREENE: And we should say all this comes at a critical time. We’re just two weeks away from Israeli elections. And let’s talk about what this news means with NPR’s correspondent in Jerusalem, Daniel Estrin. Hi, Daniel.

DANIEL ESTRIN, BYLINE: Hi, David.

GREENE: So why these escalations? And why now?

ESTRIN: I think we have to zoom out and see some of the context, David. Tensions have been high here for a year now. Hamas, which rules Gaza, has been helping to lead protests at the Israeli border fence. You probably remember this. Palestinians have been flying burning kites and balloons with explosives across the border as well.

GREENE: Yeah.

ESTRIN: And Hamas is trying to pressure Israel to ease its blockade on Gaza to improve life in Gaza because there is a crisis there. Unemployment is above 50 percent. People are desperate. But Hamas has not succeeded, really, in improving conditions over this last year. And hundreds of Palestinians this month held unprecedented protests in Gaza against that, and Hamas responded with arrests and beatings. So I think with yesterday’s rocket attack, Hamas may have wanted to redirect focus on Israel.

GREENE: OK, so that’s the context, and then we have, I mean, these airstrikes and rockets. Although there were some reports of a cease-fire mediated by Egypt. I mean, are either or both sides confirming that?

ESTRIN: Right. Well, that announcement came last night, but violence actually continued overnight. And there were a few dozen rockets fired toward Israel. There were Israeli airstrikes on Gaza. At least seven Palestinians were reportedly wounded. So actually this morning, as we speak, things are quiet now. But today, an Israeli Cabinet minister said, no, there’s no cease-fire, and we intend to continue hitting Hamas if we need.

GREENE: Knowing what you know about how these things can go, I mean, do you expect this to escalate even further? I mean, how bad could this get?

ESTRIN: I think neither side wants to go to war, but I also think neither side wants things to calm down quickly. Both sides are walking a tightrope here because Hamas wants to keep pressure on Israel but doesn’t want to get hit hard. So the Palestinian rocket fire we saw overnight was quite limited. And then on Israel’s side, it is signaling that it’s ready to continue fighting and – but it – its airstrikes overnight have been limited as well.

GREENE: And we talk about political pressures, I mean, on both sides here. We have elections weeks away in Israel, Netanyahu cutting his trip short and in the United States. How is his Gaza policy viewed broadly in Israel?

ESTRIN: Netanyahu is facing a lot of criticism in Israel on – from his opponents on both the right and the left. They claim he’s appeasing Hamas, that his policy on Gaza has failed. So Netanyahu has an interest to show that he’s tough on Gaza. He’s fighting for re-election now. But he can’t drag Israel into heavy fighting that could become a disaster ahead of elections.

GREENE: NPR’s Daniel Estrin in Jerusalem. Daniel, thanks a lot.

ESTRIN: Thank you, David.

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Nations Trample Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

Livet Updates Israeli Army Strikes Hamas Targets in Gaza in Retaliation for Rocket Fire After Day of Relative Calm

Jack Khoury

Both sides signal willingness to refrain from flare-up, but are primed for renewed aggression ■ Bomb shelters opened across Israel ■ Air force hits Hamas chief offices and multiple other targets

Fire and smoke above buildings in Gaza City during reported Israeli strikes on March 25, 2019. AFP

The Israeli military carried out a series of strikes on Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday night after a rocket launched from the coastal enclave targeted southern Israel.

The fire exchange came after a day of relative calm, following a serious flare-up that began on Monday. Seven people were wounded in the early morning after a house north of Tel Aviv was hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip, prompting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to cut short his visit to Washington and return to Israel.

Haaretz Weekly Episode 20 Haaretz

The Israel Defense Forces then launched an offensive, striking heavily in Gaza.

A Palestinian man inspects the damage of a building near the offices of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, in Gaza City, Tuesday, March 26, 2019. Adel Hana,AP

House struck by Gaza rocket in Mishmeret on March 25, 2019. Meged Gozani

Local councils and cities near the Gaza border as well as in central and northern Israel opened bomb shelters in preparation for responses to the offensive.

Tuesday 23:51 P.M.

Israeli army says one rocket launch from Gaza toward the industrial area of the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon was identified following sirens

Tuesday 23:40 P.M.

Rocket alert activated in the industrial area of the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon.

Tuesday 23:28 P.M. 

The Israeli army attacked several targets in the southern Gaza Strip, the army’s spokesperson’s unit said. According to the military, among the targets struck was a Hamas military compound and a weapons manufacturing site in Khan Yunis.

The strike was launched in response to a rocket fired by earlier toward Israel from the Strip, the army said, adding that it holds Hamas accountable for any hostilities emanating from the Strip.

Tuesday 23:05 P.M. 

The Gaza-border Eshkol Regional Council told its residents that the Israeli military started launching strikes on the Strip, and warned that they will hear loud blasts. However, the council said schools will still be open Wednesday morning.

Meanwhile, Palestinian reports said Israel struck near Khan Yunis’ port.

Tuesday, 9:18 P.M.

Reports from Gaza say that a delegation of Egyptian mediators will arrive at the Strip Wednesday.

Tuesday, 9:16 P.M.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad denied responsibility for the rocket fired earlier Tuesday evening, claiming that it was an “individual act” and unconnected to either organization.

Tuesday, 8:32 P.M.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett said in response to the latest rocket alert, “If you run from terror – the terror will follow you.”

Bennett and his party, Hayamin Hehadash, released a statement calling on the prime minister to “give the order for the Israeli army to neutralize and defeat Hamas” and to stop “holding the residents of the south hostage.”

Tuesday, 8:09 P.M. 

Rocket alerts blare in Gaza-border communities. Residents heard an explosion. It seems that the rocket fell in an open area. No reports of injuries or damage as of yet.

Tuesday, 7:38 P.M.

A senior Israeli official said that “no cease-fire has been reached yet and the fighting can be renewed at any minute.”

The official added that the top defense echelon decided to prepare for any scenario and increase presence of forces along the border.

Tuesday, 6:40 P.M.

An incendiary balloon from Gaza set fire to a field in a farming community near the Strip. The fire was extinguished by Israeli firefighters. No injuries were reported.

Tuesday, 5:41 P.M.

Several Palestinian suspects breached the security fence and crossed from the southern Gaza Strip into Israeli territory, the Israel Defense Forces’ Spokesperson’s Unit said.

One of the suspects set a military camouflage net on fire in an unmanned military post along the fence. All suspects were returned to the Strip.

Palestinians inspect their house that was damaged in a nearby Israeli air strike in Gaza City, March 26, 2019. \ MOHAMMED SALEM/ REUTERS

Tuesday, 5:28 P.M.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said that the only way for Syria, Lebanon and the Palestinians to ensure the return of their lands is through resistance. Nasrallah also called on the Arab League committee to withdraw its peace initiative.

Tuesday, 4:33 P.M.

The UN Mideast envoy is urging the Security Council to condemn the indiscriminate firing of rockets by Gaza’s Hamas rulers toward Israel, saying this dramatically increases the risk of escalation and a new conflict.

Nikolay Mladenov told the council Tuesday that since 6 A.M. on Tuesday, “a fragile calm seems to have taken hold.” He urged all sides “to exercise maximum restraint as the situation remains very tense.”

Mladenov said the rocket attacks from Gaza targeting the Tel Aviv area “represents a very serious escalation.”

Tuesday, 3:38 P.M.

Following the conclusion of his speech at AIPAC, the prime minister is continuing to assess the situation and consult with the chief of staff, head of the Shin Bet, head of the National Security Council, and senior officials within the army and the security establishment.

Tuesday, 3:31 P.M.

With permission of the security establishment, train lines in the western Negev (from Be’er Sheva to Ra’anana) will gradually return to service. The first train from Be’er Sheva will depart towards Ra’anana at 5:20 P.M.. The first train from Ashkelon to Be’er Sheva will depart at 4:10 P.M..

Tuesday, 2:58 P.M.

The area surrounding the Strip has enjoyed relative quiet since the early morning hours. Farmers returned to work in the fields, after they were asked to refrain from doing so yesterday.There have been no reports of army activity or sounds of planes in the past several hours.

In the south, army forces are spread out between several different focal points. Judging by the equipment and organization of troops, it seems to be preparation for defensive maneuvers on Friday and Saturday. The army appears to be preparing for demonstrations marking one year since the start of the March of Return, the weekly Friday protests at the Gaza border, and in honor of Land Day, a day of protest that commemorates a 1976 land grab by Israel in the north of the country.

Tuesday, 2:38 P.M.

Nighttime protest along the Gaza-Israel border has been delayed, the oraganizing committee of the “Great March of Return” announces Tuesday, stressing it’s postponed, rather than cancelled, due to security concerns.

Israeli army tanks near Gaza Strip border, Israel, March 26, 2019. Eliyahu Hershkovitz

Earlier on Tuesday, the committee said it would halt all activities on Gaza’s northern shores.

Tuesday, 12:50 P.M.

No cease-fire agreement has been reached with Hamas, an Israeli official said Tuesday, adding that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed the Israeli army to continue striking Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip as he was en route to Israel from Washington.

The official stressed that Netanyahu, who left for a security briefing at the Israel Defense Forces headquarters in Tel Aviv immediately after returning to Israel, maintained constant communication with Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi and other security officials.

“There was no agreement over a cease-fire,” he said, “It’s not over.” The official said Israel’s latest attack on Gaza was at 3:30 A.M. on Tuesday, and inflicted “very harsh blows” on Hamas. “We’re ready to deal even more” blows, he said.

Tuesday, 10:00 A.M.

Palestinian sources in Gaza say that Israel’s condition for a cease-fire is an end to all activities around the border fence, including the launching of incendiary balloons and the planned Friday protest, which marks the one year anniversary of the “March of Return.”

Tuesday, 8:50 A.M.

Fire and smoke below above buildings in Gaza City during reported Israeli strikes on March 25, 2019 AFP

A senior Hamas official tells Haaretz that Gaza factions are committed to cease-fire. Aljazeera reports that Egypt is in talks with Gaza factions and the Israeli government to establish calm.

Schools in the Gaza Strip are closed.

Tuesday, 8:20 A.M.

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan tells Israeli army radio “we will continue to exact a very heavy price from Hamas for its attacks on Israeli citizens, and that’s why all rumors and heresay of a cease-fire are incorrect.”

Erdan says it is clear Hamas seeks a truce, but that Israel will not relent its offensive until the objectives are reached.

Tuesday, 8:01 A.M.

Since Hamas declared a ceasefire on Monday night, attacks have continued. Launches from Gaza was limited to areas of the border communities, and ended at 3:00 AM. Israeli airforce strikes also continued through the night, and the latest was around 4:30 AM.

It appears that both sides are interested in a ceasefire, but intermittent attacks may persist until total calm is established. The Israeli army says it is prepared for an escalation in a scenario of high number of casualties.

The narrow range of fire and the choice to launch a limited number of rockets (in comparison, hundreds of rockets were fired within 24-hours during the last round of aggression in November) indicate Hamas is looking to contain the conflict and end the current bout with Israel.

Tuesday, 6:10 A.M. 

Local schools in Gaza bordering communities of Netivot, Ofakim, the Merchavim Regional Council and the Bnei Shimon Regional Council closed. Local authorities have also closed schools in Ashkelon.

Tuesday, 3:15 A.M.

Rocket sirens activated in Sderot and the Sha’ar HaNegev Regional Council.

Tuesday, 3:11 A.M. 

Israeli army attacks 15 targets in the northern Gaza Strip including a Hamas compound belonging to Beit Hanoun and a compound belonging to Islamic Jihad in the town of Beit Lahia. An official statement by the Israel Defense Forces says the attack is in retaliation for earlier missiles launched into Israeli territory.

Tuesday, 2:47 A.M.

About 30 rockets were launched from the Gaza Strip into Israel since 10 P.M. Monday, IDF Spokesperson says. The Iron Dome intercepted several rockets and the rest fell in open areas.

Monday, 11:47 P.M.

Two alarms were activated in the Eshkol Regional Council near the Gaza Strip.

Monday, 11:32 P.M.

The Israeli military says that 30 rockets were launched at Israeli territory before 10 P.M., with Iron Dome shooting down several of them and the majority falling in open fields.

Monday, 11:06 P.M.

Palestinian factions say the latest barrage targeting border communities was a response to Israeli attacks.

Monday, 10:52 P.M.

Despite reports of cease-fire, Iron Dome air defense system intercepts rockets over Gaza border communities after sirens blare in Sderot and regional councils Eshkol and Sha’ar HaNegev.

Monday, 10:39 P.M.

Media outlets in Gaza report of several strikes along the Strip. Hamas sources tell Turkish state news agency Anadolu “the factions cooperated with the Egyptian effort for a cease-fire and will be bound to it if Israel doesn’t strike.”

An Islamic Jihad spokesperson echoes the statement, says the organization agreed to a “quiet for quiet” cease-fire, and warns Israel of continued aggression.

Monday, 10:13 P.M.

Popular Resistance Committees spokesman Mohammed Elbarim says “a great Egyptian effort managed to achieve a cease-fire, but we continue to follow developments in the field.”

Monday, 9:50 P.M.

Hamas media reports Egypt has managed to negotiate a cease-fire between Israel and the Gaza factions.

Monday, 9:50 P.M.

Gaza Health Ministry reports seven total people wounded since Israeli strikes began.

Monday, 9:38 P.M.

Gaza Health Ministry reports three wounded were evacuated in light to medium condition to a hospital after an Israeli strike in the northern Gaza Strip.

Monday, 9:35 P.M.

Gaza factions war room warns that if the Israeli offensive persists, the coastal city of Ashdod will enter the launch radius.

Monday, 9:30 P.M.

Rocket sirens sound off in several Gaza border communities.

Monday 9:27 P.M.

Rocket hits home in Sderot. No casualties reported.

Monday, 9.26 P.M.

The joint war room of the Gaza factions announces they have begun launching rockets towards Sderot and Netiv Ha’asara in response to “Israeli aggression in the Strip.”

Monday, 9:24 P.M.

Senior Israeli official say there’s a “high-quality target bank” for the operation, which was presented to and approved by Netanyahu.

House struck in central Israel struck by rocket on March 25, 2019. Meged Gozani

Monday, 8:40 P.M.

There are reports in Gaza that the offices of Hamas politburo chief Ismail Haniyeh have been hit. The Israeli army confirmed the attack.

Monday, 8:17 P.M.

The Gaza Health Ministry says one man was evacuated to the hospital after strikes hit eastern Gaza City.

Monday, 8:16 P.M.

European Union releases statement reiterating its commitment to Israel’s security, says “Rocket attacks from Gaza and any other violent actions or provocations by Palestinian militants in Gaza must stop immediately.”

Monday, 8:15 P.M.

An explosion was heard in the Eshkol Regional Council following rocket sirens. No casualties or damage has been reported thus far.

Monday, 8:06 P.M.

The head of Lebanon’s Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, reportedly met Monday with a Hamas delegation in Beirut led by senior Hamas official Saleh al-Arouri.

Monday, 7:55 P.M.

The Israeli army says it bombed Hamas’ public security offices in Gaza City, the third terror asset it claimed it struck since this round of aggressions began. Hamas confirmed the strike.

Monday, 7:45 P.M.

In an interview for Channel 13, acting Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz said the offensive is the most expansive action Israel has taken in Gaza since 2014’s Operation Protective Edge.

Monday, 7:05 P.M.

Sources in Gaza also reported the strikes are targeting Hamas training and military outposts. Reports have also said civilian buildings have been bombarded in the strikes. All hospitals in the Strip are on alert, and residents have been asked to show vigilance. An official notice stated schools across the Strip would be closed on Tuesday.

Monday, 7:02 P.M.

The Israeli army said it struck a three-story building in the Strip, claiming it served as headquarters for several wings of Hamas’ intelligence apparatus. The statement called the building a central asset of the organization.

Reports in the Strip say the building is used by a well-known insurance company.

Monday, 6:10 P.M.

Hamas politburo chief Ismail Haniyeh said “any crossing of red lines would be met with a response,” and that this offensive must be faced with “a unified front.”

Earlier Monday, the Israel Defense Forces said that the rocket, which struck a home in the community of Mishmeret in the early hours of the morning, was fired from a Hamas position near Rafah in the southern Strip, some 120 kilometers away. The military said the rocket was manufactured by the group.

The military sent two infantry brigades and armored forces to southern Israel and is preparing to call up thousands of reservists, including some from the Air Defense Command, the Intelligence Corps and the Home Front Command.

The military has not issued the usual formal orders for an immediate reserve call-up, but is instead telling reservists to prepare for a call to duty in the event of a significant escalation. This is the first time in years that the IDF is taking such a step.

Israel also closed the Erez and Kerem Shalom border crossings into the Gaza Strip.

Nickolay Mladenov, the UN special coordinator for the Middle East process, said earlier Monday that the UN is “working intensely with Egypt and all sides” to reduce tensions.

Islamic Jihad warned the “Zionist enemy against attacking the Strip,” saying they would “respond with force” to any attack. A statement on behalf of the armed groups in Gaza said that if Israel strikes the Strip, “all Israeli targets will be in the range of fire.”

The rocket attack on central Israel left a 60-year-old woman in moderate condition, with her husband sustaining light wounds; a man and woman, both 30, were lightly wounded along with their 3-year-old and 6-month-old; and a 12-year-old neighbor was also lightly wounded. The 12-year-old, 6-month-old and 30-year-old woman remain hospitalized, while the others have been released.

The army confirmed that the Iron Dome defense system had not been activated Monday morning when the rocket hit because rocket fire toward the center of the country was not expected at the time.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.