Major Hamas rocket fire on Israel continued through a sixth day Sunday, with more than 130 rockets hitting southern and central Israel. In Ashkelon, a teen was critically injured by shrapnel from a rocket.
Israeli forces told residents of the Gazan town of Beit Lahiya to seek safer ground, ahead of a possible operation, and thousands of Gazans fled the area. Palestinian reports say over 160 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli airstrikes during Operation Protective Edge. As Israel seeks to stem the rocket fire, it sent a naval commando unit into the strip pre-dawn Sunday. The Times of Israel followed Sunday’s events as they unfolded. (Monday’s liveblog is here.)
Bomb shelters to open on Lebanese border after rocket fire
Several local councils on the Lebanese border are ordering the opening of public bomb shelters after three rockets are fired at the Upper Galilee on Saturday.
The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit says it has not changed its safety instructions to residents of the north. The opening of the shelters is being done at the behest of local officials.
One of the rockets landed in a warehouse in a northern village, another in an open field and the third in Lebanon.
Hamas is reporting that it is responsible for the rocket fire, which Israeli sources already noted did not appear to be launched by the Lebanese group Hezbollah.
The IDF is responding with artillery fire directed at the location from which the rockets were launched.
Sirens sound in Gaza periphery
Sirens are sounding in villages on the Gaza periphery, including Kfar Aza and Saad.
Sirens are sounding throughout the Shaar Hanegev Regional Council for the second time in the last few minutes.
Three Palestinians killed in Rafah, northern Gaza
Three Palestinians are killed in the latest Israel Air Force strike on the Gaza Strip, according to Palestinian sources.
The latest strikes took place in Rafah in the south, and in the northern edge of the Strip.
The death toll in Gaza, from the start of Operation Protective Edge on July 8, passed the 150 mark in recent hours.
Siren sounds in Shaar Hanegev for third time in 30 minutes
The “Color Red” siren is sounding for the third time in 30 minutes in the Shaar Hanegev Regional Council on the Gaza border.
The area absorbed dozens of rockets from the Hamas-run Gaza Strip on Saturday.
Saturday is bloodiest day for Gaza since start of fighting
According to a tally by AFP, Saturday marks the bloodiest day for Gaza since the start of the latest round of fighting last Tuesday, July 8.
According to the tally, 46 Palestinians are dead from Israeli airstrikes on Saturday. Hamas, which rules the Strip, has upped its rocket launches on Israeli cities, including a volley of ten rockets on Tel Aviv at 9 p.m. Saturday. The escalation is followed by a flurry of Israel Air Force strikes on a long list of Hamas targets in the Strip.
An estimated 157 Palestinians have been killed since the start of the fighting.
#HitlerWasRight hashtag finds an audience on Twitter
The fighting in Gaza is seeing parallel skirmishes in social media.
One recent meme is not beating around the bush.
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) July 12, 2014
— G-Nice (@ArikSharon) July 12, 2014
Since start of fighting, 632 launchers, 97 operatives targeted by IDF
The Israel Defense Forces says it has carried out 1,220 attacks against targets in Gaza since the start of fighting on July 8.
The number includes airstrikes and bombardment from naval ships off-shore.
The strikes targeted 632 rocket launchers, 130 military installations and 97 senior Hamas and Islamic Jihad operatives. Tunnels were struck 220 times.
The army also counts the number of Gaza rockets shot down over Israeli towns. That number so far: 108. (It is worth remembering that Iron Dome can track a rocket’s trajectory, and only fires when a rocket is headed to a populated area. Most rockets from Gaza miss the country’s population centers.)
In Gaza periphery villages, the fourth siren in an hour
A siren is sounding now in Kfar Aza and Saad, on the Gaza periphery. It is the fourth time a siren has sounded in the past hour, hinting at a difficult night ahead for the residents of the Gaza periphery.
All three Lebanon rockets land in Israel
Police say that all three rockets launched at Israel from Lebanon on Saturday landed in Israel.
The statement corrects an earlier report that said one of the rockets didn’t make it over the border, landing in Lebanese territory.
One of the rockets landed in the backyard of a private home, according to the updated report. No one was hurt in the attacks.
The rockets are reportedly 122-millimeter Katyushas. Israeli officials are filing formal complaints with the UN’s UNIFIL forces in south Lebanon.
Passenger plane headed to emergency landing at Ben Gurion
Rescue services are streaming to Ben Gurion International Airport in preparation for an emergency landing by a passenger plane, according to reports from airport authorities.
The plane is reportedly experiencing “technical difficulties,” and is expected to land within the hour.
Three rockets land near Gaza periphery villages
Three rockets land in the Shaar Hanegev Regional Council, near the Gaza border. All three land in open areas.
A siren is sounding in the area for the fifth time in under two hours.
No injuries or damage are reported.
Gazans report gunfire, possible IDF ground presence in Gaza
Gazans on social media are saying they can hear machine gun fire near Gaza City in the northern part of the Strip.
It is not immediately clear if the reported gunfire means IDF troops are operating on the ground in the Strip.
In north Gaza now it's literally a battle. Multiple shots with different calibers, drones, naval shelling and F16 in the background!
— Belal – Gaza (@Belalmd12) July 12, 2014
First images emerge from fighting on Gaza beach
Fighting is confirmed near the beach north of Gaza City.
It is still unclear if significant IDF forces are involved. The IDF has not conducted a sea landing with a large number of troops in decades.
— Jon Jensen (@jonjensenCNN) July 12, 2014
Report: Gaza police chief in stable condition after IDF strike
Israel Radio reporter Gal Berger cites official Palestinian sources when he reports that Gaza’s police chief, Tayseer al-Batsh, is out of surgery and in stable condition after an IDF strike on his home on Saturday.
Some 18 people were killed in that strike. Many were leaving a nearby mosque when it took place. Al-Batsh was not killed, and appears set to survive the strike.
Four rockets land in Sdot Negev area
Four rockets land in the Sdot Negev Regional Council, near Gaza. There are no reports of injuries or damage, as all the rockets appear to have landed in open areas.
Delta flight 469 lands safely in Ben Gurion
Delta Airlines flight 469 lands safely in Ben Gurion International Airport after experiencing “technical difficulties.”
PHOTOS: Delta flight 469 declaring emergency landing successfully landed moment ago at Ben Gurion airport pic.twitter.com/4hGLtX7Akd
— Israel News Feed (@IsraelHatzolah) July 12, 2014
Israeli rescue services had rushed to the airport as unconfirmed media reports suggested the plane may have to land without all engines operational. In the end, the landing is successful and all aboard are safe.
IDF video: Hamas lies
The Arab-Israeli conflict went social long ago, with Israel, Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas and other parties taking regularly to social media to attack their opponent, defend their positions and expand their audiences.
The latest IDF video demonstrates the rising production values and public relations savvy that accompanies the latest round of Israel-Hamas fighting.
Rocket shrapnel ignites forest fire in central Israel
A forest fire is raging in the Shfela area of central Israel.
It was started by falling shrapnel from a Hamas rocket that was intercepted and destroyed by Iron Dome.
There are no reports of injuries or damage from the fire, but authorities say they have yet to gain control over the spreading blaze.
Gazans seen leaving northern Strip in wake of IDF warning
As the IDF prepares for expanding its attacks on Hamas, it is asking the residents of northern Gaza to leave the area.
Hamas spokespeople have urged residents to remain in their homes in order to avoid giving Israel the green light to attack.
But some Gazans, at least, are listening to the IDF warnings.
Gazans are leaving from north of Gaza are leaving their houses. غزاوية الشمال تغادر بيوتهم الي مدارس ليلا pic.twitter.com/BqS3ZBgfUq
— Inas Safadi (@InassSafadi) July 12, 2014
Video of Iron Dome interceptions over Tel Aviv
Iron Dome has intercepted and destroyed at least 108 rockets from Gaza since the start of the latest round of fighting on Tuesday, earning the gratitude of every Israeli.
Thousands of videos of these intercepts are available on the internet. The nighttime videos are especially dramatic: a glowing rocket trail speeds headlong toward an inevitable explosion, and a city sighs in relief as a warhead aimed at its residents is destroyed in mid-air.
Come to think of it, it’s a wonder — and perhaps a sign of the trust Israelis place in the technology — that there aren’t infinitely more videos of these lights in Israel’s night sky.
Three Hamas fighters dead in beach battle
Reports of fighting on a beach near Gaza City are confirmed by Hamas, which says three of its fighters were killed in a confrontation with IDF troops on Sudaniya Beach.
Initial reports suggest what may have been the first entry of IDF ground troops into the Strip since fighting began on Tuesday, though only a small commando force appears to have been involved.
The army is asking residents of the northern Gaza Strip to leave the area tonight, sparking speculation in the media that the IDF may be considering sending in ground troops overnight.
Reports of fighting in northern Gaza
Reports are continuing to come in via social media that IDF forces, possibly including on-the-ground commandos, are engaging Hamas fighters.
Hotel shaking from airstrikes. Israeli ships firing from sea. Hamas says its engaging Israeli commandos on beach. Sleeping away from windows
— Sophia Jones (@Sophia_MJones) July 13, 2014
The reports follow a confirmed battle on Sudaniya Beach, in the northern Gaza Strip, earlier tonight. That battle left three Hamas fighters dead.
4 IDF soldiers lightly wounded in first ground battle with Hamas
Four IDF soldiers are lightly wounded in the first ground battle with Hamas since the start of fighting on Tuesday. Three Hamas fighters are killed in the exchange, according to Palestinian sources.
According to Army Radio, an IDF ground force entered the Gaza Strip tonight to strike at a rocket launching site near Gaza City, in the northern part of the Strip.
The force encountered Hamas fighters, and a firefight ensued, the station reports.
The wounded IDF soldiers are now evacuated to a hospital inside Israel.
According to the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, the target of the operation has been destroyed.
MDA reports 5 injured in Saturday rocket barrage
MDA, Israel’s largest ambulance and rescue service, says that five Israelis were injured in the 9 p.m. Saturday rocket barrage on Tel Aviv and other central Israeli cities.
None of the rockets managed to land on an Israeli population center, so the injured were all hurt while rushing to bomb shelters as Color Red sirens sounded.
The organization says its teams also cared for 21 Israelis who suffered from anxiety in the wake of the barrage.
In all, 44 Israelis needed medical care on Saturday, 14 of whom were injured in the rush to bomb shelters.
One 74-year-old American tourist died in Jerusalem from a heart attack precipitated by a siren.
In all, MDA says, it has cared for 208 Israelis since the start of Operation Protective Edge on Tuesday morning.
Gaza ground battle targeted long-range missile site
The IDF is vowing to “continue to strike at anyone who uses terror against the State of Israel.”
The promise (Hebrew link) comes in the wake of the army’s first known ground operation in the Gaza Strip since fighting began on Tuesday.
The early Sunday operation led to a firefight on Sudaniya Beach in the northern Gaza Strip that left three Hamas fighters dead and four IDF soldiers lightly wounded.
The target of the operation, the IDF says, is a “storage site contained long-range rockets.”
The site was destroyed, the army reports.
Sirens sound in Ashkelon, Lachish
Sirens are sounding in Ashkelon and the Lachish Regional Council.
Hamas claims it had ambushed IDF naval commandos
The IDF identifies Flotilla 13, the army’s elite naval commando group, as the unit that entered the Gaza Strip overnight to destroy a long-range rocket cache in the Gaza City area.
Hamas claims their fighters ambushed the IDF soldiers on Sudaniya Beach.
Four IDF soldiers were lightly wounded in the ensuing gun battle, while three Hamas fighters were killed, according to Hamas sources.
Once the firefight commenced, the beach was bombarded by IDF naval and air forces.
In the end, the IDF says, “the mission was accomplished.”
Tensions run high in protests overseas over Gaza fighting
As always, the latest round of fighting between Israel and Hamas is making waves overseas, including among Jews and Arabs in the West.
Photos and videos of altercations and protests are starting to multiply on social media, suggesting that tensions rise whenever Israel’s borders heat up.
Some of the latest on social media:
— David Palumbo-Liu (@palumboliu) July 13, 2014
— Jeremy Burton (@BurtonJM) July 13, 2014
Sirens sound on Gaza’s southern border
Sirens sound in the Israeli villages of Holit, Nir Yitzhak and Sufa on Gaza’s southern border.
Sirens sound in Ben Gurion, throughout center, south
In keeping with their practice in recent days, Hamas appears to have timed its first rocket barrage of Sunday morning for the 6 a.m. news broadcasts.
At 6:05 a.m., sirens sounded — and in places, are still sounding — including in Ben Gurion International Airport and the cities of Ashdod, Ashkelon, Rishon Lezion, Lod, Yavneh, Nes Ziona, Mazkeret Batya, Na’an and Rehovot.
Sirens also sounded at the Tzrifin and Bilu industrial zones, in the towns of Kfar Chabad, Yad Mordechai and Netiv Ha’asara, along with several locations on the Gaza periphery, including the Eshkol Regional Council.
Bomb shelters to open in Nahariya, western Galilee
In the wake of Saturday rocket fire from Lebanon, the second such incident since fighting began on Tuesday, cities throughout the north announce that they will open public bomb shelters starting Sunday.
The shelters will open in the city of Nahariya and most towns and villages of the upper Galilee.
The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit says it has not changed its safety instructions for residents of the north. The opening of the shelters is being done at the behest of local officials.
Iron Dome intercepts rockets over Ashdod, Rishon Letziyon
Rockets are intercepted over the cities of Ashdod and Rishon Letziyon.
The Iron Dome missile-defense system downs multiple rockets over Israeli cities, authorities report, following a barrage from Gaza that began Sunday at 6 a.m.
Police are also repeating their warnings this morning not to approach or touch fallen rockets. Rockets that are felled by Iron Dome may still be dangerous. Iron Dome throws them off course, but does not always succeed in detonating their warhead. Anyone who finds a fallen rocket is asked to call the police so that trained sappers can safely remove the warhead.
Iron Dome downs rocket over Ashdod, 3 over Ramle
Iron Dome downs a rocket over Ashdod and three more over Ramle, the IDF says, as the morning rocket barrage from Gaza continues.
The IDF report appears to include two interceptions reported elsewhere a few minutes ago, so only two of the interceptions (both over Ramle) are new.
Three rockets from Gaza land in the Eshkol Regional Council, near the border with the Gaza Strip. No injuries or damage are reported.
IDF to issue safety instructions for West Bank
After two rockets struck the West Bank Saturday, the IDF plans to administer safety guidelines to Palestinian residents of the area. One of the rockets landed in the city of Hebron.
Hamas denies firing from Lebanon
Hamas is not behind rocket fire on Israel from Lebanon Saturday, a member of Hamas’s political wing in Israel’s northern neighbor says, according to Ynet, adding that the organization’s military wing respects Lebanon’s sovereignty and only operates in “the occupied territories.”
Hamas says truce would be temporary
“Many people are talking about the truce, its terms and timing,” deputy head of the Hamas political bureau Moussa Abu Marzouk says. “We don’t deal in wars. It hurts us very much to spill our blood and say goodbye to our beloved martyrs. We regret the destruction that the new Nazis are carrying out.
“If there is a truce, this will not be the last round… We will continue with the help of Allah.”
IDF says 1,320 Gaza targets hit so far
The IDF says it hit 20 targets in the Gaza Strip overnight, bringing the total number of airstrikes since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge to 1,320.
The Israeli raids successfully targeted “735 concealed rocket launchers, 64 training bases and militant compounds, 58 weapons storage and manufacturing facilities, 32 Hamas leadership facilities, 29 communications infrastructures and additional sites used for terrorist activities,” a statement from the army says.
Approximately 635 rockets have hit southern Israel since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge, with 147 interceptions by the Iron Dome, the statement says.
The IDF says it will distribute leaflets to Palestinian residents of Beit Lahiya today, urging them to “to stay away from Hamas’ operatives and activity sites that pose a grave risk to their safety.”
“The content of the leaflet was also conveyed by recorded voice-messages and text-messages,” it says.
IDF Spokesman Peter Lerner condemns indiscriminate Hamas rocket fire that is liable to harm Palestinians as well as Israelis, and warns Gazan civilians to stay away from the terror organization’s operatives:
Yesterday, during a barrage of rockets aimed at Jerusalem, one of the rockets hit a house in Hebron. Clearly, Hamas has no regard for human life and its rockets do not distinguish between Israelis or Palestinians. We do not wish to harm civilians in Gaza, but these civilians must know that remaining in close proximity to Hamas terrorists and infrastructures is extremely unsafe. Our campaign will continue as long as Hamas persists with firing rockets at Israel.
Hamas rejects Egyptian ceasefire proposal
As part of Egypt’s efforts to halt the fighting between Hamas and Israel, Cairo proposed to the Palestinian organization’s leadership and to the Israeli government to mutually stop the fire for 40 hours, after which a broader ceasefire agreement would be discussed — but Hamas rejected the offer, The Times of Israel learns from Israeli and Hamas sources.
The offer was presented to the deputy head of the Hamas political bureau Moussa Abu Marzouk by Egyptian intelligence officers a few days ago. Abu Marzouk rejected it after a brief consultation with the terror group’s military wing, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam brigades, sources say.
The Egyptians say they have no intention of publicly blaming Hamas for Cairo’s failure in its efforts to reach a ceasefire, but stressed that the organization will bear the responsibility for its refusal. These sources claim there is presently no outline for a truce that was presented to both sides, but there are various ideas that different officials – European, Egyptian, and others – are discussing with the goal of securing a ceasefire deal.
Yesterday, one of the Hamas spokesmen, Sami Abu Zuhri said: “They didn’t present any plan or outline for a ceasefire. “ According to Abu Zuhri, a temporary truce cannot be discussed so long as the “aggression continues.”
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi met with Tony Blair, a representative of the Middle East Quartet who also serves as the Egyptian leader’s economic adviser yesterday. The Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman, Badr Abed al-Ati, says Blair’s visit aims to restore the 2012 ceasefire agreement which followed the Operation Pillar of Defense.
This is seemingly Egypt’s intention — to lead the Arab world in calling for Hamas and Israel to return to its 2012 agreement. Israel has said it is willing to accept the terms of that agreement, but Hamas refuses.
Egypt has made it clear to Hamas it is willing to open the Rafah crossing under close monitoring conditions, including the presence of PA forces, not only at the border crossing, but also alongside the Gaza-Sinai border to prevent smuggling attempts.
— Avi Issacharoff
5 rockets fall in Eshkol region
Five rockets launched from the Gaza Strip pound the Eshkol region in southern Israel.
Israeli forces are at the scene to extinguish a fire sparked by the rockets.
There are no immediate reports of injuries.
Hamas ask Gazans to ignore Israeli warnings
“We are asking the courageous residents of Gaza not to follow the directives of the Israeli occupation army on leaflets that it dropped from the air and in telephone messages,” Hamas spokesman Eyad al-Bazam writes to residents on Facebook, according to Israeli news site NRG.
“To the residents of Beith Lahiya, the IDF intends to attack from the air terrorist networks and terrorist operatives in the area east of al-Atatra and al-Salatin Street and to the west and north of Jabaliya,” leaflets dropped overnight by the IDF read.
The IDF leaflets further advises “residents to evacuate their homes by noon [Sunday] 13/07/2014 and head south to Jabaliyah by way of Fallujah Street. The operation is meant to be temporary and short. Those who do not comply will be risking their lives and their families’.”
Neil Young concert canceled
The Neil Young and Crazy Horse concert scheduled for this coming Thursday, July 17, in Tel Aviv’s Yarkon Park, has been canceled over security concerns.
“We’re canceling the concert in light of the continued rocket attacks and concerns for the safety of the large audience,” promoter Shuki Weiss announces in a press release.
The cancellation was the decision of Weiss and the Tel Aviv municipality, says Merav Lahav, a member of Weiss’s public relations team.
The Neil Young Facebook page and website have yet to mention the cancellation.
Weiss says that information regarding ticket reimbursements will be published throughout the week in local newspapers and ticket offices.
Young was last in Israel in 1995 with members of Pearl Jam. He and Crazy Horse are in the mist of a world tour.
— Jessica Steinberg
670 Palestinian dual citizens leave Gaza
Some 670 Palestinians with dual citizenship left the Gaza Strip for Israel with the assistance of foreign consulates since this morning, the army says.
The Gaza residents are citizens of the US, Norway, Sweden, Belgium, and other European countries.
Sirens wail in Ashdod, Ashkelon
Code red sirens sound in the southern cities of Ashkelon and Ashdod.
Army preparing for ground offensive, IDF says
IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Moti Almoz says the troops are preparing for a ground offensive that will be launched as soon as it receives government approval.
“Hamas is exhibiting clear signs of great pressure,” he says. “The results of the past days are clear. The situation, as of now, indicates there is great damage in Gaza, and the citizens of Gaza will have serious questions for Hamas in the future.”
“We will continue to act and attack in the coming hours with all the means at our disposal. At the same time, we are preparing the ground incursion which will be implemented the moment the political leadership decides to [move it forward],” Almoz says.
Iron Dome downs rocket over Ashkelon
The Iron Dome intercepts a rocket over the southern city of Ashkelon, moments after the code red sirens are triggered.
2 policemen wounded in Temple Mount riots
Dozens of Palestinians hurl stones and firecrackers at police stationed on the Temple Mount, lightly injuring two officers.
Police respond with crowd control measures. The site is closed to visitors.
Disturbances on Temple Mount. Stones thrown at officers at scene. 2 officers injured. Situation under control. T Mount closed to visitors
— Micky Rosenfeld (@MickyRosenfeld) July 13, 2014
Egypt shoots down Hamas criticism over Rafah closure
Egypt is always on the side of the Palestinian people and is the only country that works for them rather than just talking, Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman Badr Abdel-Ati says in a television interview, addressing criticism levied by Hamas against Cairo after it decided not to open the Rafah border crossing between the Gaza Strip and Sinai Peninsula.
He adds that the Palestinians are attacking the wrong party, as the welfare of Gaza’s residents rests solely on the shoulders of Israel.
Sirens blare in Beersheba
The sirens in Beersheba and its surrounding areas sound.
Fifty-three rockets have been fired at the southern city in the past week, Haaretz reports, of which 24 were intercepted by the Iron Dome.
Casablanca rabbi beaten in anti-Semitic attack
Rabbi Moshe Ohayon, leader of the Casablanca Jewish community in Morocco, was beaten over the weekend in retaliation for Operation Protective Edge by a local Muslim man in his 20s, Channel 2 reports.
The rabbi sustained blows to his ribs and head as well as a broken nose on Friday evening, while making his way to synagogue.
The perpetrator, who is well-known to local police, screamed as he punched the rabbi that the attack came in response to the Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip.
Rabbi Ohayon cried out to passerby to intervene, but none stepped in.
Police arrived at the scene after the culprit fled, arresting a local vegetable store owner who witnessed the attack but did not get involved.
The local authorities are searching for the attacker, but have not yet located him.
Casablanca’s Jewish residents expressed concern about the increased anti-Semitism in light of the security situation in Israel, and called on the Moroccan police to boost security around the synagogues.
“Since the beginning of the recent events in the West Bank and Gaza, there is a rise in the incidents of harassment on Jews,” a Casablanca resident said. “It has become very scary to live here.”
Rockets land in open areas in Beersheba
Three missiles fired from the Gaza Strip fall in open areas around Beersheba.
There are no reports of damage or injuries.
Injured IDF soldiers undergo surgery
The four IDF soldiers who were lightly wounded in a Gaza Strip gunfight overnight have undergone surgery to extract shrapnel from their bodies, the Ynet news website reports.
Gazan gunned down in apparent collaborator execution
Witnesses in the southern city of Rafah reported seeing gunmen killing a man in the middle of the street in what appeared to be the execution of someone suspected of collaborating with Israel.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility from any of Gaza’s armed factions.
Israeli strikes on Gaza killed a teenage boy and a woman on Sunday, medics said, raising the overall death toll to 165.
According to emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra, one strike on the northern town of Jabaliya struck a house, killing a 14-year-old boy.
Shortly afterwards, another strike killed a woman in the Maghazi refugee camp in central Gaza, he said.
Elsewhere, a man injured in an earlier strike died of his wounds, hiking the toll to 165, Qudra said.
More than 1,000 people have been injured in the Gaza Strip.
Jewish Home MK responds to incitement criticism
Jewish Home MK Ayelet Shaked is promising to “take back” allegations she made via Facebook Thursday that a fire at a Jewish cemetery was arson if an investigation proves she was in error.
In an interview on Army Radio, she says she has no problem apologizing if she was wrong, but that the incident was not the central point of her post, rather that media outlets and politicians focus too much on price tag crimes by Jewish nationalists on Arab property.
Shaked is defiant in a Facebook post Sunday as she turns the tables on those who accused her of incitement.
“Many are protesting in regarding my post on the burning of a Jewish cemetery,” she writes. “Some of them are even inciting, cursing and claiming that it never happened.”
She asserts that the director of the Tel Aviv burial society had told her there was a fire on the outskirts of the cemetery and that firefighters had suspected arson, but “but let’s wait for a police investigation,” she says.
On Thursday she castigated the media and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni for not treating the alleged incident as seriously as price tag crimes.
“Is Army Radio doing an piece on the burning of a Jewish cemetery right next to the station?”
“Is Tzipi Livni, who condemns every [instance] of graffiti, condemning the torching of a cemetery?”
Army Radio is responding by asserting that it didn’t report on it because police told the station that “it never happened,” and questioned why Shaked did not call out the many other news outlets that didn’t cover the alleged incident.
France calls on Israel to ‘show restraint’
France calls on Israel to show restraint in its military campaign in the Gaza Strip, where six days of airstrikes have left 165 people dead.
“France calls for an immediate ceasefire,” Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian says in a television interview. “We condemn the Hamas rocket attacks against Israeli civilians, but we also call on Israel to show restraint in its response and in particular to respect international law and to ensure that civilian casualties are avoided.”
Bennet takes piece of rocket to Fox News
Economy Minister Naftali Bennett says on Fox News just after pulling out a piece of a Grad rocket:
I’d like every one of your viewers to imagine this missile, this rocket — it’s about eight feet long filled with explosives and shrapnel — and imagine how they’d feel if one of these fell in their neighborhood in their children’s kindergarten or school or God forbid on their own home.
The Grad rocket is one of Hamas’s main weapons in targeting Israeli cities near the Gaza Strip.
Gazans flee Beit Lahiya after IDF warning
Some four thousand Palestinians evacuate their homes in the northern Gaza Strip following an IDF warning, taking refuge in UNRWA facilities in the coastal enclave, Israel Radio reports.
The Beit Lahiya residents head to six centers in Gaza City, and one in Jabaliya.
Earlier, the army dropped leaflets, and sent text messages and voice messages to residents, urging them to depart before noon due to an impending strike.
As of 2009, Beit Lahiya had approximately 75,000 residents.
ADL slams Gaza-Holocaust comparison
The Anti-Defamation League slams South African’s ruling party, the African National Congress, for comparing Israel’s Operation Protective Edge to Nazi crimes.
“It is irresponsible and unacceptable for a high-ranked representative of South Africa’s governing party to engage in such extremist and incendiary anti-Israel invective,” says Abe Foxman, the ADL’s national director, a Holocaust survivor.
On Thursday, the party’s deputy secretary-general, Jessie Duarte, said she was “reminded of the atrocities of Nazi Germany” and accused Jerusalem of turning the Palestinian territories into “permanent death camps.
Duarte is entitled to her opinions and policies, Foxman says. “However, when a high-ranked representative of the governing party perpetuates offensive comparisons of Israel to the Nazis, it reveals gross ignorance about the Holocaust, offends survivors of the Nazi genocide, and undermines the respectability and responsibility of the ANC itself.”
The ADL joins the South African Jewish Board of Deputies and the country’s Zionist Federation in calling for an apology from the ANC.
- Raphael Ahren
10 held for Temple Mount clashes
Police arrest 10 Palestinians for rioting earlier today at the Temple Mount, and lightly injuring two officers.
Police units on Temple Mount arrest 10 Arabs who rioted this morning throwing stones at officers and causing injuries to two of them.
— Micky Rosenfeld (@MickyRosenfeld) July 13, 2014
Fabricated IDF notice makes rounds on WhatsApp
False rumors attributed to the Home Front Command are circulating on WhatsApp urging Israeli citizens to stay close to shelter around 12:16 p.m..
The message says: “A message from the Home Front Command: at 12:16 the IDF will strike Gaza hard. At that time, please be near a shelter. The message applies to all citizens of Israel. Please pass on this message urgently to other groups.”
The IDF’s Home Front Command denies it sent the message.
Sirens sound in Ashkelon
Sirens wail in Ashkelon and in the surrounding region.
We don’t know when operation will end — PM
Operation Protective Edge “may take a long time,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says, adding that “we don’t know when it will end.”
The prime minister emphasizes that the IDF will continue to operate “responsibly and forcefully to restore the quiet.”
“We are hitting Hamas with increasing intensity,” he says.
Rocket explodes in Ashkelon; teen seriously injured
A 16-year-old male is seriously wounded by rocket fire, after two projectiles land in a residential area in the southern city of Ashkelon.
A 50-year-old man is also lightly injured in the blast.
Ambulances are on the scene.
The Iron Dome intercepts another missile over the city.
Foreign nationals fleeing Gaza
Australian Ambassador to Israel Dave Sharma tweets that 800 foreign nationals are expected to leave Gaza today:
— Dave Sharma (@AusAmbIsrael) July 13, 2014
— Dave Sharma (@AusAmbIsrael) July 13, 2014
Teen in critical condition from rocket shrapnel
The wounded Ashkelon teenager is in critical condition, and will likely be airlifted to central Israel for treatment, Channel 2 reports, quoting the mayor of Ashkelon.
The 16-year-old was playing outside when the sirens went off, and did not seek shelter. He was injured by shrapnel from the projectile.
Ashkelon Mayor Itamar Shimoni urges citizens to comply with the IDF Home Front Command instructions and not rely solely on the Iron Dome.
He says two other rockets fell in the city, causing damage, and adds that he hopes the IDF “breaks Gaza’s neck.”
In Asia, thousands attend pro-Palestinian rallies
Thousands of protesters from Australia to India rally to voice their support for Palestinians on Sunday.
In Sydney an estimated 3,000 people demonstrate outside the city’s Town Hall to condemn the military offensive, shouting “Free, free Palestine; free, free Gaza” and holding signs declaring “Shame Israel Shame.”
“Israel is targeting the civilians of Gaza with these bombings, and that is shameful and that is what we condemn,” Greens party senator Lee Rhiannon tells the crowd.
In Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, about 500 people march in the capital Jakarta shouting “Allahu Akbar” (God is great) and carrying Palestinian flags and posters of children killed in the offensive.
“This is a show of solidarity for our Muslim brothers and sisters in Gaza who are being oppressed by Israeli occupiers. We Indonesian Muslims share their suffering and pain,” activist Adityo Nugroho tells AFP.
In Hong Kong organizers of a pro-Palestinian rally say about 300 people, mostly from the city’s Muslim community, took part.
Some hold up banners depicting the Israeli flag with the star of David replaced by a swastika, as protesters march through the streets in the sweltering heat.
“We came to support our sisters and brothers in Gaza and our request is that they stop the killing of innocent children, women and men in Gaza,” 21-year-old restaurant manager Kashi Anjum tells AFP.
In the Indian capital New Delhi about 100 protesters, mainly students, gather outside Israel’s embassy carrying placards stating “We are with you Gaza” and “Say no to Zionist genocide.”
Protests were also held in Tokyo and Malaysia on Friday.
German FM to arrive, calls for ‘coalition of sanity’
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier is flying to Israel on Monday and Tuesday for talks with both Israelis and Palestinians to help negotiate an end to the increasingly bloody six-day offensive there.
The foreign ministry confirmed a report Sunday in weekly Bild am Sonntag newspaper which said Steinmeier would meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
The newspaper quoted Steinmeier as saying “Hamas’ rocket terror against Israeli cities and villages has to finally stop. The region now needs a coalition of sanity to find ways out of the escalation.”
Steinmeier warned “the violence is leading to more and innocent victims on both sides. The fear of rocket attacks is horrible; the number of deaths unbearable, the suffering of the injured civilians (…) is heartbreaking.”
Peres says Gazans can’t be free under Hamas
President Shimon Peres says Gaza will be free only once it rids itself of Hamas, which has been ruling the Strip since a bloody coup in 2007, two years after Israel withdrew from the territory.
“We left Gaza of our own free will,” he says. “Gaza could have been prosperous and successful but instead it turned to terror. Gaza will be truly free when it breaks free of the shackles of the terrorist organizations.”
Speaking at his official residence in Jerusalem, the president says that, in contrast to Hamas, the Israeli army does not wish to hurt innocent civilians.
“Hamas terrorists aims to kill and injure as many innocent Israelis as possible. We do not wish to harm civilians. A reality in which 5 million of our people, including women and children, are running to bomb shelters is intolerable.”
The Israeli army is fighting terror “with determination and dedication,” Peres adds. “We cannot allow terrorism to drive our citizens into bomb shelters. There can be no compromise with terror.”
— Raphael Ahren
Pope calls for pols to pray for peace
Pope Francis is appealing for peace in Gaza during his weekly Angelus prayer, calling for “concrete gestures to build peace” as the deadly six-day offensive escalated.
“I urge all interested parties and all in local and international political office not to spare in prayer and efforts to cease all hostilities,” Francis says.
Francis visited the Middle East in May and held a joint prayer in the Vatican with Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in June.
Referring to the June 8 joint prayer, he says: “Some people might think that such a meeting was in vain. But this is not the case because prayer helps us not to be conquered by evil or resign ourselves to violence and hatred.”
Israeli airstrikes, naval strikes resume in Gaza
Hours after the IDF issued a warning to residents of the northern Gaza Strip to leave by noon, the Palestinian Ma’an news agency reports an airstrike in the northern town of Beit Hanoun kills one, and injures three.
According to Israel Radio’s Gal Berger, who cites Palestinian sources, Israeli aircraft hit a house in Beit Lahiya, as well as four other sites in the north and center of the coastal enclave.
The Israeli navy is firing from its ships off the northern coast of the Strip, he reports.
Details to come.
Stabbing thwarted in Jerusalem
A security guard at a Jerusalem light rail station at the Mahaneh Yehuda market foiled a terror attack by a teenager armed with a knife, the Hebrew news website NRG reports.
The culprit attempted to stab the officer, who responded by aiming his gun and directing the youth to lie on the ground.
The security guard, along with Border Police who arrived at the scene, disarmed and detained the youth.
“A report was received about a minor who had a box cutter. A Border policeman, assisted by the light rail security guards, overpowered the suspect” and he was taken in for questioning, police say.
Berlin protest against Gaza op turns violent
Police in Berlin say about 1,000 demonstrators, most of them Palestinian, held an unregistered march protesting Israel’s actions in Gaza.
Up to ten demonstrators were arrested for disturbing the peace and for trying to forcibly free others already arrested in Saturday’s melee, a police spokesperson said. Rocks were thrown during the disturbance and a police officer was struck but not injured.
Demonstrations in Berlin require a police permit.
The demonstrators initially tried unsuccessfully to enter the “Fan Mile,” where tens of thousands of soccer fans have been gathering to watch World Cup games on big screens over the past few weeks.
Pushed back by police, the demonstrators – who according to the spokesperson were aggressive and chanting – proceeded up one of Berlin’s main avenues near Potsdamer Platz. Facing a major police response, the demonstrators – at that point led by someone who tried to calm them, the spokesperson said – gradually broke up.
By some estimates, Berlin is home to 35,000 Arabs of Palestinian origin.
On Friday, several hundred pro-Israel demonstrators gathered at Wittenberg Platz in Berlin under the banner “Fight Terror, Support Israel,” organized by the Mideast Freedom Forum Berlin, a non-denominational NGO.
3 rockets fired at Ashkelon
Three rockets are fired at Ashkelon, Channel 2 reports.
One is intercepted by the Iron Dome, and another falls in the city, causing minimal damage.
Condition of injured Ashkelon teen worsens
The Ashkelon teenager seriously wounded earlier today took a turn for the worse this afternoon, with doctors saying his condition is critical and unstable, Channel 10 reports.
The 16-year-old, who was outside when the sirens sounded, hid behind a wall after he failed to reach a fortified room in time.
Gaza death toll climbs to 167
The death toll in the Gaza Strip rises to 167, as Samir Hamdan is killed in an airstrike on Beit Hanoun and Hussein Muhesin, 19, succumbs to wounds sustained in an earlier strike in Gaza City, the Palestinian Ma’an News Agency reports.
Three children are injured in the Israeli raids, with over 1,120 people wounded overall in the coastal enclave.
France calls for ceasefire in ‘disastrous’ conflict
France’s foreign minister calls for an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, where a deadly six-day conflict is escalating in what he said was an “absolutely disastrous” way.
“In Gaza like in Israel, the absolute priority is a ceasefire,” Laurent Fabius tells reporters in Vienna, where he is gathering with his Western counterparts to discuss Iran’s controversial nuclear program in a meeting that was also due to touch on the Gaza offensive.
“In this context of an absolutely disastrous escalation, France — like the UN Security Council — calls for a return to the truce of 2012,” he said, referring to a ceasefire agreement that ended the last round of fighting between Israel and Hamas in November 2012.
Sirens in Ashkelon
Sirens blare in the southern city of Ashkelon and the surrounding region.
Rockets hit Ashkelon, cause damage
A rocket falls in an open area in Ashkelon, following the seventh code red siren since this morning, Channel 2 reports.
Another projectile lands between two homes, causing damage to a house and a car.
According to the Ynet news website, the Iron Dome intercepts a missile over the southern city.
MDA adjusts ambulance siren to prevent panic
In light of its similarity to the code red siren, MDA changed its ambulance sirens to the higher-pitched tone known colloquially as the “ice cream truck” tone.
The decision was reached following numerous complaints by citizens, who said they would hear the ambulance sirens and panic momentarily, mistaking them for the code red sirens.
“During the days of fighting, the siren tone of the MDA ambulances was switched to a significantly different tone from the Home Front Command’s sirens,” it writes on its Facebook page.
Fire breaks out in Ashkelon
A rocket hits a residential area in Ashkelon, sparking a fire. Police and the fire department are at the scene.
Three missiles land in the Eshkol region. There are no immediate reports of damage or injuries.
German police duped during anti-Israel rally
BERLIN — German police say they allowed an anti-Israel protester to use a megaphone in a police car during a “Free Gaza” demonstration in Frankfurt and he shouted inciting slogans including “child murderer Israel” and “Allahu akbar.”
Frankfurt police spokeswoman Virginie Wegner said Sunday they let the protester use the megaphone because the demonstration had turned violent and he had offered them to calm down the situation.
But instead of doing that, he shouted anti-Israel slogans. A video shows a crowd following the police car during Saturday’s protest and repeating the chants blaring over the megaphone, which also included “Free Gaza.”
It wasn’t immediately clear if police would launch an investigation into the incident, but Wegner said police are neutral during protests.
Sirens in Tel Aviv, Sharon regions
Warning sirens are heard in Tel Aviv and the Gush Dan region, including Givatayim, Holon, Bat Yam, Ramat Hasharon, Bnei Brak, Givat Shmuel, and Herzliya.
Sirens are also heard in the Sharon region north of Tel Aviv.
Three interceptions over Tel Aviv
After sirens are sounded over the Gush Dan and Sharon regions, the Iron Dome intercepts three incoming rockets over Herzliya, Petach Tikvah, and the suburbs south of Tel Aviv, Channel 2 reports.
Sirens in Nahariya, western Galilee
Warning sirens go off in the northern coastal town of Nahariya and the western Galilee region, and in Haifa and Hadera.
Details to come.
Hamas claims fire on Nahariya, Haifa, Tel Aviv
On its Hebrew website, Hamas’s Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade claims responsibility for the recent barrage on Tel Aviv, Haifa, and Nahariya.
Nahariya is more than 170 kilometers from Gaza.
According to Israel Radio’s Gal Berger, Hamas TV says it fired an R160 rocket at Haifa, and three M75 rockets at Tel Aviv.
Israeli security forces are still checking whether the fire on northern Israel came from the south, as Hamas claims, or from Lebanon, as was the case earlier in the day.
No injuries in latest salvo on Tel Aviv, north
No injuries are reported as a result of the recent barrage on the Tel Aviv area and the northern cities of Haifa and Nahariya, according to Channel 2.
Several Iron Dome interceptions are reported over the Tel Aviv area.
Sirens in Ashkelon
Warning sirens are heard in Ashkelon, the seventh time today the coastal city has come under fire.
Earlier this morning, a teenage boy in the city was critically hurt by a rocket strike.
IDF allows entry of 500 units of blood to Gaza
Israel lets 500 units of donated blood into the Gaza Strip Sunday to be used for injured civilians, according to an IDF statement.
Over a thousand Gazans — both civilians and combatants — have been injured in the conflict.
Rocket on Hadera came from Gaza
The missile that hit Hadera, over 100 kilometers from the Gaza Strip, were launched from the Gaza Strip, Channel 2 reports.
Analysts have claimed over the past week that Hamas and Islamic Jihad empty long-distance rockets of their warheads in order to increase their range.
Rocket lands in open area near Haifa
After a rocket barrage on the Tel Aviv and Haifa areas, a rocket lands in an open area hear Haifa.
No injuries or damage are reported.
Hamas claims it fired an R-160 rocket, the locally produced version of the M-302, at northern Israel.
In March, Israeli naval forces intercepted a weapons shipment bound for Gaza on the ship Klos-C, which included boxes of M-302 rockets.
IDF targets 3 rocket launchers
The Israel Defense Forces targets two rocket launchers from which missiles were fired at Ashdod and Beersheba early Sunday, according to an army statement.
Israel also targets a medium-range rocket launcher in the northern Gaza Strip.
Netanyahu goes on US media blitz
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is making the rounds on American Sunday-morning talk shows today, defending Israel’s operation in Gaza against Hamas and trying to keep Western attention focused on the Iranian nuclear program as well.
Netanyahu dismisses claims by Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who said that Iran’s leaders “don’t see any benefit in Iran developing a nuclear weapon.”
Appearing on Fox News Sunday, Netanyahu says Zarif’s comments are a “joke.”
“Of course they’re developing nuclear weapons. What are they developing… these enormous underground nuclear facilities, if not for nuclear weapons,” he says, according to Politico.
Netanyahu also says that Israel uses its rockets to protect its civilians, while Hamas use its civilians to protect its rockets.
In addition to Fox News Sunday, Netanyahu will also be on NBC’s “Meet the Press” and CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Peres to hold summer camp at residence
President Shimon Peres is opening the doors of his official residence in Jerusalem for children from Israel’s rocket-stricken communities in the south. The President’s Residence will host a “special summer camp” on Monday for tens of children from cities near Israel’s borders with Gaza, and promises them a fun time away from the constant sirens.
— Raphael Ahren
Despite sirens, no rocket lands near Nahariya
Sirens were heard Sunday afternoon in Nahariya, but no rockets came close to the northern city.
A rocket did fall in an open area near Haifa, to the south, where no sirens sounded.
Hamas claimed it fired an R-160 rocket at Nahariya, more than 170 kilometers from Gaza, but since the missiles has a range of only 160 kilometers, it was unlikely it would have hit the northern coastal city.
65 rockets fired today, 12 intercepts
Sixty-five rockets have been fired so far Sunday at Israel from Gaza, Channel 2 reports. Twelve rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome.
A rocket that landed in Ashkelon earlier Sunday seriously injured a teenage boy who failed to take proper shelter, and another rocket reached an open area south of Haifa.
Sirens heard over Ashkelon, Gaza border
Warning sirens are heard for the eighth time today in the coastal city of Ashkelon, and in towns bordering the Gaza Strip.
Sirens in Ashdod region
Warning sirens are heard over the Ashdod region, including in Gan Yavne, Hatzor (of the Ashdod region), and Yad Mordechai. Details to come.
Rocket intercepted over Ashdod
After sirens sound in the Ashdod region, Iron Dome intercepts one rocket over the coastal city.
‘Hamas leadership hiding in Gaza hospital’
Some of the Hamas leadership is hiding out at Gaza’s Shifa Hospital, says Channel 2’s Ehud Ya’ari, because they know Israel won’t attack it.
Ya’ari also says that Hamas wants a ceasefire, but doesn’t want to acknowledge it.
The veteran commentator also says that Hamas fears an Israeli ground offensive, though publicly it is saying the opposite.
Israelis cope by trading jokes
As they tend to do in difficult times, Israelis have been coping with the conflict in Gaza and the incessant rocket fire with self-deprecating black humor.
Here are some of the lines that have been circulating on Facebook and WhatsApp:
- Poor missile — traveled 70 kilometers to Tel Aviv and couldn’t find a parking spot.
- My GPS asked me where I wanted to go, and I said Ashkelon. It said, No way buddy, you’re on your own.
- A siren went off in Caesarea, and all the residents ran to their safes.
- Rockets on Nes Ziona, Rehovot, Tel Aviv, and Rishon Lezion. But nothing in Rosh Ha’ayin and Gedera. Does Hamas also discriminate against Yemenites?
- Israeli men should thank Hamas for proving once and for all that Israeli women can actually get ready to leave the house in 90 seconds.
10,000 ignore Hamas, leave Beit Lahiya
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency says that 10,000 Gazans from the Beit Lahiya area have abandoned their homes after Israel warned them of an imminent attack, Channel 2 reports.
It appears that Hamas orders for residents to stay put are being ignored on a massive scale.
Abbas asks UN for Gaza protection
In the West Bank city of Ramallah, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said he had appealed to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for “international protection” for the Palestinian people.
“The situation has become unbearable — hundreds of martyrs and thousands of wounded and huge destruction,” Abbas said.
Despite forming a government with Hamas’s backing last month, Abbas’s influence in Gaza is minimal.
Hamas hacks Domino’s Pizza FB page, for some reason
Hamas hacks Domino’s Pizza Facebook page to warn Israelis that major Israeli cities would be hit at 7 p.m. Sunday evening, Maariv reports.
“Today we will strike the depths of Israel, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Jerusalem, Ashkelon, Ashdod more than 2,000 rockets,” writes Hamas, in English, Hebrew, and Arabic.
Domino’s employees post an apology on the company’s FB page and thank their customers for flooding them with support and for giving them a laugh by creating a new meme about the hacking incident.
Sirens over Ashkelon
Warning sirens are heard over the coastal city of Ashkelon. Details to come.
IDF warned, ‘Gaza will be your graveyard’
The armed wing of Islamic Jihad, the al-Quds Brigades, posted a video on YouTube Sunday warning Israeli ground troops against invading the Gaza Strip.
“An announcement to the Zionist ground forces,” the text in the video reads in broken Hebrew. “To the defeated army, if you thought about the stupidity of going into Gaza, we will turn your tanks into metal ruins, and turn your soldiers into shreds, and Gaza will be your graveyard.”
The text is interspersed with footage of Israel Defense Force soldiers and tanks advancing, then a three-man masked Palestinian anti-tank squad destroying an Israeli vehicle.
The video also shows images of IDF soldiers combing the dirt of Gaza’s Philadelphi Route in 2004 after 13 soldiers were killed in an APC explosion.
IDF officer lays out Code Red siren dilemmas
The process of detecting a rocket launch takes seconds, says Lt. Col. Levi Itach, the head of the army’s early warning branch. But it is filled with operational dilemmas.
Itach suggests, as an example, a Grad rocket with a 40-kilometer range. His soldiers, seated beside air force soldiers, in a joint command center in central Israel, receive notice of a launch after five seconds. By then they know that the object is neither a flock of birds nor a crop-duster mimicking the ballistic path of a rocket. The air force’s electro-optic systems then analyze the heat signature of the rocket and the trajectory of the take-off and provide the IDF Home Front Command with an initial target area.
Five seconds later, additional radars, tracking the behavior of the projectile, narrow the target area further. This continues throughout the rise of the rocket, Itach says, with the stain on the map diminishing throughout, but with the response time dwindling, too.
“Operationally speaking, where do you cut it off?” he asks. “How much time do you leave the citizen? What’s enough time? A 70-80-90-year old; a 5-year-old: realistically speaking, how much time do they need?”
The Grad with the 40-kilometer-range, he says, flies for two minutes. The more exact the warning, the fewer people exposed to the siren, the lesser the impact on the national psyche, the scanter the toll on the economy. In the case of the Grad-40, he says, the citizens are given 45 seconds to scurry to shelter.
– Mitch Ginsburg
Canada is ‘unequivocally behind Israel’
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper gives Israel full backing for its operation in Gaza and calls on the international community to do the same, saying that solidarity with Israel is the best way of stopping the current conflict.
“The indiscriminate rocket attacks from Gaza on Israel are terrorist acts, for which there is no justification. It is evident that Hamas is deliberately using human shields to further terror in the region,” Harper says. “Failure by the international community to condemn these reprehensible actions would encourage these terrorists to continue their appalling actions.”
Ottawa calls on its allies and partners to recognize that these terrorist acts are unacceptable and that “solidarity with Israel is the best way of stopping the conflict,” Harper says. “Canada is unequivocally behind Israel. We support its right to defend itself, by itself, against these terror attacks, and urge Hamas to immediately cease their indiscriminate attacks on innocent Israeli civilians.”
Canada calls on the Palestinian government to disarm Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups in Gaza, including Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
– Raphael Ahren
Rocket hits Netivot, no injuries
A rocket hits the southern city of Netivot, but causes no injuries, according to police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.
Rocket strikes city of Netivot in the south. No injuries. Police units on site pic.twitter.com/jp9ywlmxVr
— Micky Rosenfeld (@MickyRosenfeld) July 13, 2014
Sirens sound in Ashdod, Jerusalem hills
Sirens sound in Ashdod, as well as in the Mateh Yehuda Regional Council in the hills southwest of Jerusalem.
Kerry says US ready to help with ceasefire
US Secretary of State John Kerry phones Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and tells him that the administration is ready to help broker a ceasefire in Gaza.
Kerry “highlighted the US concern about escalating tensions on the ground,” a senior State Department official said, according to AFP. The US’s chief diplomat is engaging with regional leaders “to help to stop the rocket fire so calm can be restored and civilian casualties prevented.”
The Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem declines to comment on the conversation.
NBA star tweets ‘Free Palestine’
Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard tweets #FreePalestine, then removes the tweets seconds later, TMZ reports.
He then promptly tweeted an apology, saying it was a mistake and that he never comments on international politics.
previous tweet was a mistake. I have never commented on international politics and never will.
— Dwight Howard (@DwightHoward) July 12, 2014
Incidentally, Howard plays on the Rockets with Israeli-born forward Omri Casspi.
IDF starts striking Beit Lahiya
The IDF has begun striking targets in the northern Gaza neighborhood of Beit Lahiya, Channel 10 reports.
On Saturday night, Israel warned Beit Lahiya residents to leave their homes in advance of an IDF attack on the neighborhood. Hamas ordered the residents to stay in place, but, according to UNRWA reports, 10,000 Palestinians left their homes in Beit Lahiya.
According to the IDF, 10 percent of rockets fired from Gaza come from Beit Lahiya.
Rocket reported shot down over Ariel
Following a massive rocket barrage sent from Gaza to the Jerusalem and Ashdod areas, several rockets are shot down by the Iron Dome.
One rocket is reported by Channel 2 shot down near the West Bank city of Ariel, which would mark the first time a rocket has targeted the Samaria region of the northern West Bank.
Ariel is about 85 kilometers from Gaza.
Two rockets are also reported shot down over Gan Yavne.
It is not yet clear how many rockets were fired during the large salvo, which set off several consecutive sirens in Ashdod.
No damage or injuries are reported.
Some 20 rockets said shot in last volley
Some 20 rockets were shot at Israel from Gaza over the last few minutes, Channel 2 reports, the largest salvo since Hamas tried to overwhelm Iron Dome near Tel Aviv Saturday night.
The Gazan terror groups seem to have a habit of sending large salvos at around 8 p.m., to ensure the attacks get prime-time coverage.
Channel 2 reports that three or four rockets were shot down by Iron Dome.
German FM to visit Jordan, PA, Israel
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier is set to arrive in Amman tomorrow for talks with the Jordanian government, before visiting Jerusalem and Ramallah for meetings with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Steinmeier is traveling to the region in a bid to broker a ceasefire between the Israel Defense Forces and Hamas and other terrorist groups in Gaza. Germany officially doesn’t have any contact with Hamas, which it considers a terrorist organization.
Although he is not scheduled to travel to Cairo, Steinmeier will be in contact with the Egyptian government, which, in the past, has been instrumental in reaching ceasefire agreements between Israel and Hamas.
“Hamas’s rocket attacks against Israel have set in motion a spiral of violence that appears to be hardly unstoppable,” Steinmeier says in Berlin, on the eve of his departure to Jordan. “On both sides, people live in constant fear of the next attack. The images of the many innocent victims are hard to bear. We cannot remain indifferent to this tragic development — not only out of concern for Israel’s security, but also because the possible consequences of further escalation are hardly foreseeable.”
Hopes for a resumption of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process have become a distant prospect, Steinmeier adds. “Nevertheless,” he continues, “precisely in this situation we need to make contact with the decision makers. This is the only way approaches to a de-escalation can be found,” he concludes.
IDF says everything Hamas tries, is failing
A senior IDF spokesman tells Channel 2 that Hamas is failing in its campaign against Israel.
“With all due caution, we can say that nothing Hamas planned has come to fruition,” Brig.-Gen. Moti Almoz says. “Everything it tried has failed… It fired and found a citizenry that was resilient, followed instructions.”
“Now we’re using considerable forces in Gaza, including special forces. The use of an elite force, in penetrating into Hamas, is deeply troubling for them,” he adds.
Mortar shell from Syria lands in Israel
A mortar shell launched from Syria lands on the Israeli side of the Golan Heights. No injuries or damage are reported.
It is still unclear whether the shell was a misfire, or an attempt to harm Israeli soldiers or civilians.
‘Hamas wants ceasefire, but only if blockade lifted’
Hamas wants a ceasefire, reports Ehud Ya’ari of Channel 2, but is unwilling to return to the arrangements in place since the end of Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012, in which Hamas pledged not to attack Israel, and to keep other factions from doing so, while Israel refrains from striking Hamas figures and increases the flow of goods through border crossings.
Hamas is holding firm on the demand that the closure on Gaza be lifted, says the commentator.
Hamas is not willing to have PA President Mahmoud Abbas or Egypt serve as mediators, says Ya’ari. Israel is in touch with the US, which passes messages on to Qatar, which in turn talks to Hamas.
Video emerges of roof-knock, Israeli strike
A video posted to YouTube by the Palestinian Watania media agency shows a home in Gaza being struck by an inert Israeli missile — a technique known as “knocking on the roof” to warn residents to leave — before the structure is destroyed by a live missile.
According to Watania, the clip shows the house of the Nofal family being hit.
The footage, posted Saturday, is clearly edited at the 1:16 mark to make it seem that Palestinians have less time to leave their homes.
Hamas rocket cuts off power to 70,000 Gazans
A rocket fired from Gaza strikes infrastructure in Israel that provides electricity to the coastal strip, cutting power to 70,000 Palestinians.
Israel has not shut off power to Gaza, says Channel 2, but will not risk the safety of Israel Electric Corporation personnel to repair the damage caused by this shell. Still, overall electricity supply to Gaza will not be significantly affected by the strike.
Syrian mortar shell causes Golan fire
The mortar shell fired from Syria into Israel earlier this evening causes a fire on the Golan Heights, according to the IDF.
Firefighters are on their way to the scene.
ANC official posts pro-Hitler message
South African Jews are furious about an anti-Semitic post the social media manager of a local branch of the country’s ruling party — the African National Congress — is said to have posted on Facebook.
The ANC official, Rene Smit, is said to have posted a photo of Adolf Hitler next to this text: “Yes, man, you were right… I could have killed all the Jews, but I left some to let you know why I was killing them.”
The South African Jewish Board of Deputies is said to have written to the ANC to complain, but so far, the party has not commented on the issue.
The party has been extremely critical of Operation Protective Edge. On Thursday, the party’s deputy secretary-general, Jessie Duarte, said she was “reminded of the atrocities of Nazi Germany” and accused Jerusalem of turning the Palestinian territories into “permanent death camps.”
The hashtag #Hitlerwasright has been trending on Twitter among pro-Palestinian activists.
– Raphael Ahren
Paris protesters stone synagogue
Clashes erupt in Paris on Sunday as thousands of people protest against Israel and in support of residents of the Gaza Strip, where a six-day conflict has left 166 Palestinians dead.
Several thousand demonstrators walk calmly through the streets of Paris behind a large banner that reads “Total Support for the Struggle of the Palestinian People.”
A huge crowd of protesters attacks a synagogue in Paris, throwing stones and trapping a couple hundred Jews inside, a local Jewish resident says. Police protect the synagogue.
Clashes erupt at the end of the march on Bastille Square, with people throwing projectiles onto a cordon of police who responded with tear gas. The unrest continues early Sunday evening.
In the northern city of Lille, meanwhile, between 2,300 and 6,000 people protest peacefully, according to differing figures provided by the police and organizers.
Six injured Gazans taken to Jordan via Israel
Six injured Palestinians are transferred from Gaza to a hospital in Jordan via Israel, Ynet reports.
The transfer was arranged through the IDF’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories unit based at the Erez Crossing.
Egyptian forces stop rocket fire into Israel
Egyptian forces find two rockets in the northern Sinai town of Rafah waiting to be fired into Israel, according to Sky News Arabia.
Residents of Rafah who noticed the launchers alerted government forces, say Egyptian media.
Italian FM headed to region for talks
Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini, who holds the EU’s rotating presidency and is seen as a possible candidate for European Union foreign policy chief, is heading to the region to meet with leaders about the conflict in Gaza, Rome said.
Her ministry says Mogherini is due to be in Israel and the Palestinian areas from Tuesday to Thursday; and in Egypt, a traditional mediator in the Middle-East conflict, from Friday to Saturday.
17,000 Gazans leave Beit Lahiya
After having reported earlier Sunday afternoon that 10,000 Gazans had defied Hamas by following IDF instructions to leave their homes in Beit Lahiya, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency ups that number to 17,000 residents, Israel Radio reports.
The agency says it has opened the doors of 10 Gaza schools to house the refugees, and might open two more.
Late Saturday night, Israel instructed residents of Beit Lahiya to leave their homes in advance of an Israeli operation in the neighborhood. The IDF says that 10% of rockets fired into Israel have come from there.
After mortar attack, IDF fires into Syria
Israel fires three missiles into Syrian territory, Channel 10 reports, after a mortar shell from Syria lands on the Golan Heights and starts a fire.
No injuries are reported as yet on the Syrian side.
Hundreds of US citizens left behind in Gaza
Hundreds of American citizens are stranded in the Gaza Strip even after 800 Palestinians with foreign passports — including Australia, the United Kingdom and the US — left the coastal territory Sunday.
BuzzFeed reports that the foreign nationals were given only a half-hour window in which to show up Sunday morning at a UN facility in order to be evacuated by bus. Some, including a mother with two daughters, could not find a way to reach it in time. One mother says she has been trying for weeks to leave Gaza by turning to the US Consulate, but they kept asking her for the same information repeatedly, instead of facilitating her exit.
But the US Consulate defends its handling of the crisis, saying 150 Americans were evacuated.
“We sent out a message on the 10th of July, telling US citizens living in Gaza who were interested in leaving to send us their information,” Leslie Ordeman, a press attaché at the consulate, tells BuzzFeed. “The consular staff then followed up with people. The end results were that those people who were willing and able to leave Sunday morning left.”
The evacuees left through the Erez Crossing into Israel, and the US Consulate says that people trying to leave into Egypt through the Rafah Crossing do so at their own risk.
Video emerges from violent Paris protest
Footage from the violent anti-Israel protests in Paris today has been posted to Instagram.
Protesters clashed with police during the demonstration, and trapped hundreds of Jews inside a Paris synagogue. The far-right Jewish Defense League says the worshippers have been let out of the synagogue by police.
French prime minister condemns synagogue attacks
AFP reports that two synagogues in Paris were attacked Sunday night, with six arrests made.
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls condemns the attempted synagogue stormings “in the strongest possible terms”.
“Such acts targeting places of worship are unacceptable,” he says in a statement.
“I am profoundly shocked and revolted. This aggression towards the Jewish community has taken an absolutely unacceptable turn,” Joel Mergei, president of the Israelite Central Consistory of France, tells AFP.
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo called for “calm in the face of tensions” in the Middle East.
Cabinet decides on continued call-up, air strikes
Israel will call up more reserves troops and continue to attack targets in Gaza from the air, the security cabinet decides tonight, according to Ynet.
The green light for a ground invasion is not given, and will depend on developments in Operation Protective Edge.
More than 130 rockets were fired at Israel Sunday, the IDF says in a statement. Over 100 struck, while 22 were intercepted.
Conflict takes partial break for World Cup game
Rocket fire has slowed to a bare trickle over the last 85 minutes, which happens to coincide with how long the World Cup finals match between Argentina and Germany has been going on (discounting one rocket during halftime).
Despite the threat of rockets, Israelis flocked to outdoor screens and other venues Sunday night to watch the match (which is currently tied 0-0).
Channel 10 Arabic affairs reporter Alon Ben-David posted this picture of soldiers near Gaza taking a break to watch the game.
הפסקה הומניטרית pic.twitter.com/zTxYzv03l7
— Alon Ben-David (@alonbd) July 13, 2014
Argentinians in Israel for the Taglit-Birthright program also made sure to catch the game, pushing security worries aside for 90 minutes.
In the Gaza periphery, the hardest hit area, fans also gathered outside to watch the game together.
However, across the border in Gaza, catching the action was less simple.
Reports indicated heavy IDF strikes across the Strip starting at 8 p.m. and continuing until at least 11.
Compounding the problem, a rocket fired out of the Palestinian enclave earlier hit a power line, knocking out electricity, and the ability to watch TV, for some 70,000 Gazans.
Mayors close camps, defying IDF
Mayors in Israeli cities under the heaviest rocket fire from Hamas will keep summer camps closed Monday, despite permission from the Home Front Command to open them.
The Home Front Command and Education Ministry released guidelines Sunday for communities from 7-40 kilometers from Gaza, saying that normal summer activities should take place tomorrow if there is a shelter nearby that the kids can reach in a certain period of time, depending on the distance from Gaza.
But city authorities chose to take extra precautions, with Beersheba closing all educational and recreational activities except special education classes. Ashkelon, Ashdod, Gan Yavne, Kiryat Gat, Kiryat Malachi, and regional councils in the area all followed suit.
In communities closer than 7 kilometers from Gaza, summer educational and recreational activities will only take place in sheltered areas, NRG reports.
Rockets shot at Ashkelon, Gaza area communities
Several rockets have just been fired at Ashkelon and the Gaza periphery, breaking about two hours of calm during the World Cup match.
The match is now entering overtime after 90 scoreless minutes, but the terrorists apparently could not wait until the game ended.
Pro-Palestinians activists join Rio protest
RIO, Brazil — Pro-Palestinian activists join some 500 protesters on the final day of the World Cup in Rio.
Covering a mile-long tract of Rio’s Tijuca neighborhood on Sunday morning before the tournament concludes at nearby Maracanã Stadium, the protesters are flanked by phalanxes of military police, with groups of police stationed on every side of Praça Saens Pena where the protest terminated.
The protesters represent a diverse group of causes including those against the economic and social cost of the event, and political parties. Of particular note, however, are the handful of large Palestinian flags and a potpourri of protest signs against Israel’s ongoing military action in Gaza.
Support for Palestinians has long been a cause célèbre of the global left and in Brazil that is no exception. The protest, advertised on social media, was not explicitly billed as a pro-Palestinian or anti-Israel event, and no mention of current events in the Middle East were made in the event description. However, in addition to the flags and signs, some marchers hand out literature decrying the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip. At the conclusion of the march, a group chant in solidarity with victims in Iraq and the Palestinian territories.
There are scattered Germany and Argentina jerseys in the crowd and one woman wears a Messi jersey with a keffiyah over her head, a common accessory among the pro-Palestinian supporters.
— Greg Scruggs
Iron Dome intercepts 7 rockets over Ashkelon, Hof Ashkelon
Iron Dome intercepts seven rockets over Ashkelon and Hof Ashkelon, after several hours of quiet as Germany and Argentina face off at the World Cup final.
Six days of conflict
And so ends another traumatic day of conflict, in which more than 130 Hamas rockets hit Israel, and the IDF prepared for more intensive efforts to stop the fire from Gaza, warning thousands of Palestinians to flee ahead of expected military action. We’ll wrap up this liveblog here, and hand over to our colleague Ricky Ben-David, who’s started a new liveblog here. Wishing all our readers a peaceful night.