Moshe Ya'alon in the south near Gaza
Moshe Ya'alon in the south near GazaFlash 90

Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon on Wednesday held an evaluation of Operation Protective Edge with IDF representatives, General Security Services members and others, where he announced the operation is to be expanded.

"We continue with strikes that draw a very heavy price from Hamas. We are destroying weapons, terror infrastructures, command and control systems, Hamas institutions, regime buildings, the houses of terrorists, and killing terrorists of various ranks of command," said Ya'alon.

The minister stressed that the operational activities will continue and expand, and called on Israeli citizens to stay patient as the IDF attacks the terrorists; roughly 120 rockets were fired from Gaza on Tuesday, hitting as far as Hadera, 45 kilometers (28 miles) north of Tel Aviv.

"We will continue to hit Hamas and other terror groups in the (Gaza) Strip with heavy blows from the air, from the sea and from the ground so as to ensure the security of Israeli citizens. The campaign against Hamas will expand in the coming days, and the price the organization will pay will be very heavy," warned Ya'alon.

The IDF struck 160 terror targets in Gaza on Tuesday night as part of the operation, and has hit over 440 targets since the operation started on Monday night, including targeted strikes on terror leaders.

Ya'alon continued, saying "I would like to praise the conduct of the citizens again, and call on them to continue paying attention to instructions. I again strengthen the hands of the commanders, the fighters and the support fighters in the air, sea and ground, who continue to act firmly and professionally to defend the security of Israeli citizens."

"Even in these hours, the rocket attacks continue on Israel. Sirens were heard this morning in Gush Dan (in the coastal area), Rishon Letzion, Beit Dagan, Ashdod, Ashkelon and other cities around the country. The Iron Dome system shot down at least six rockets," added Ya'alon, noting this morning's attack on the Tel Aviv area.

At the start of the operation Tuesday morning, Ya'alon said it "won't end in just a few days," adding "we are preparing to expand the operation by all means standing at our disposal so as to continue striking Hamas."