The rocket count has escalated to over 65 on Monday evening alone, Walla! News reports close to 9:45 pm Monday; the Iron Dome missile defense system has shot down 12-13 of them over Ashdod and Netivot.
No buildings were reportedly damaged. An Askelon woman and her child are being treated for shrapnel injuries; several Ashdod residents were treated for shock.
"Code red" sirens have reportedly been sounded as of 8:30 pm as far as Tel Aviv and in Gush Etzion; rockets could be seen from as far away as Beit Shemesh, just west of Jerusalem, eyewitnesses told Arutz Sheva.
Magen David Adom (MDA) has raised the alert level as of Monday night throughout central Israel.
In addition, preschools without bomb shelters in Ashkelon have been closed until the situation is quieted.
Late Monday night, US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki condemned the rocket fire, adding that "Israel has the right to defend itself against these attacks, and we support them."
Operation in Gaza?
The barrage follows the Security Cabinet decision to prepare for escalation in the South, including a possible military campaign.
At least 1,500 reserve soldiers had been called up for preparatory training for a possible operation, security officials stated earlier Monday. Hours earlier, photos surfaced showing tanks and IDF forces gathering close to the Gaza border.
"We are also investing significantly in gathering our security forces," the official stated to Arutz Sheva Monday afternoon. "Until now we have had two full staffs working on the situation and we are readying ourselves for escalation [with Hamas]."
The Israeli Air Force (IAF) struck multiple terror targets earlier Monday, including a "significant" terror tunnel.