JERUSALEM/GAZA, July 8 (Xinhua) -- Heavy rockets fired from the Gaza Strip showered over multiple Israeli cities, including Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, on Tuesday night, as Hamas intensified its response to Israeli military operations against the coastal enclave.
Hamas announced they have launched overall four rockets into the Jerusalem area on Tuesday evening. The Israeli military confirmed that a rocket hit a house in a community near Jerusalem. Channel 10 said another rocket was intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile battery, and a third one reportedly exploded in an open territory near Bet Shemesh. No injuries were reported in the attacks.
The Iron Dome also intercepted more rockets over the south and Tel Aviv, where public shelters were opened due to the escalation in the situation.
Sirens were also heard north of Tel Aviv in the cities of Herzelia, Raanana, Kfar Saba and Hadera. No injuries were reported.
Hamas' armed wing Izz al-Din al-Qassam brigades said on Tuesday that it hit the Israeli city of Haifa for the first time in history with its homemade long-range rocket. It also claimed responsibility for bombarding Tel Aviv and Jerusalem with homemade rockets used in the offensive in November 2012.
The Channel 2 news reported that more than 40 rockets were launched at Israel in a period of an hour. The military has called for Israeli citizens to follow the Home Front Command's instruction.
Since Operation Protective Edge started on Tuesday, the Israeli Air Force has attacked 146 targets in the Gaza Strip, hitting 98 rocket launchers and 10 tunnels. Palestinian media reported that more than 16 people were killed in the attacks.
The operation kicked off earlier on Tuesday following nearly 300 rockets fired from the strip towards Israel's southern communities.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the nation on Tuesday evening, saying the fighting "may take time." He has instructed the IDF to prepare for a possible future ground offensive.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Israeli cabinet decided to recruit 40, 000 reserve soldiers to take the place of active duty soldiers, as the latter were transported to the Gaza Strip border in southern Israel.