The Times of Israel liveblogged events as they unfolded through Tuesday, the 22nd day of Operation Protective Edge. On Monday, four Israeli soldiers were killed and several more injured after a mortar round landed near a community outside Gaza, and five more died in a Hamas tunnel attack near Kibbutz Nahal Oz, as Hamas escalated attacks after a brief Eid al-Fitr holiday respite. Gazans reported several killed in a strike near Gaza’s largest hospital, but the IDF said a Hamas or other Islamist group’s rocket misfire was responsible. Overnight Monday and into Tuesday, the Israeli air force struck targets deeper inside Gaza, including in Gaza City.
At the same time, diplomatic efforts for a ceasefire moved along, with the UN Security Council drafting a statement, rejected by Israel as one-sided, calling for a halt in fighting. PM Netanyahu said late Monday that the Gaza op would go on until the tunnel threat was stopped. Fifty-three Israeli soldiers, two civilians and a foreign worker have been confirmed killed in three weeks of fighting, while Gazan health officials put the death toll there at over 1,000. Israel says hundreds of those are Hamas fighters. (Wednesday’s liveblog is here.)
You can also follow @TOIAlerts on Twitter — we’re live-tweeting all the updates there as well.
Week Four of Operation Protective Edge
We now enter the fourth week of Israel’s effort to stop Hamas rocket fire on Israel and to demolish the tunnels Hamas dug under the border.
Late Monday, Prime Minister Netanyahu said it was untenable for Israel to be threatened by “death from above and death from below.”
He told the country to brace for what could be a lengthy operation, which he said had to lead to a demilitarized Gaza.
Netanyahu earlier called Ban Ki-moon to reject the UN Security Council’s ceasefire appeal, in the process indirectly rejecting a similar call 24 hours earlier from President Barack Obama. Israel sustained more fatalities on Monday — including four in a mortar attack — and Netanyahu was adamant that the ground offensive to counter Hamas needed to continue.
Iran to Hamas, Islamic Jihad: Ceasefire must include end of blockade
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif calls the head of the Hamas politburo, Khaled Mashaal, and the secretary-general of Islamic Jihad, Ramadan Abdullah Shelah, to tell them that “any ceasefire agreement [with Israel] must include the end of the blockade [on the Gaza Strip] and the end of Israeli military activities” in the Palestinian enclave, according to a report in Ynet.
The terrorist misfire that deepened the conflict
ToI’s Avi Issacharoff notes that the explosion Monday at northern Gaza’s Shati refugee camp could easily become the incident that changes the face of the current Israel-Hamas conflict.
The incident, apparently born of a misfire of an Islamic Jihad rocket, prompted Hamas to embark on a series of fatal attacks on Israeli targets later Monday, leaving numerous Israeli army casualties.
The prospects of an expanded Israeli ground offensive grew more likely, with no sign of Operation Protective Edge coming to an end.
In Germany, echoes of 1933
On Monday in the Knesset, an emergency meeting discussed the drastic rise in anti-Semitism that has accompanied the Israel-Hamas conflict.
Reports Amanda Borschel-Dan: “Members of Knesset bemoaned the upswing in anti-Semitism since the start of Operation Protective Edge on July 8, and security and academic experts attempted to drive home the dire importance of concrete steps to counter and educate against the rising anti-Semitism throughout Europe.
“Vladimir Sloutzker, head of the Israeli-Jewish Congress, said starkly, ‘Never before since the Holocaust have we seen such a situation as today. We are potentially looking at the beginning of another Holocaust now.’”
And “Nathan Norman Gelbart, the head of Germany’s Keren Hayesod (United Jewish Appeal), reported that the German Jewish community is scared ‘because these are things that have not occurred since 1933.’ He cited demonstrators shouting “death to the Jews” and other anti-Semitic slogans.”
Over 100 Congressmen call on UN to condemn Hamas
WASHINGTON — Over one hundred congressmen prepare to deliver a strong missive to the United Nations’ High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, calling on the UN to condemn Hamas’s use of civilians as human shields, which they say is a direct violation of international law.
Reps. Steve Israel (D-NY), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Ted Deutch (D-FL) and Tom Cole (R-OK) announce that they had secured the signatures of over 100 members of Congress from both sides criticizing Hamas’s policy of using human shields, as well as its practice of launching missiles aimed at civilians in Israeli population centers and its refusal to de-escalate the conflict by adhering to internationally-backed ceasefires.
“The fact that Hamas uses Palestinian civilians as human shields shows their blatant disregard for human life. Israel, on the other hand, is doing everything in its power, not only to protect its own citizens, but also to prevent as much as possible causalities among Palestinians,” Rep. Israel wrote in a statement announcing the letter.
“That the UN is choosing to wrongly investigate Israel’s actions rather than condemning Hamas’ continual violation of international law is simply despicable. That’s why I join my colleagues in calling on the UN to rethink its course.”
“This letter puts the UNHRC on alert that it can no longer continue its anti-Israel agenda, and it must investigate Hamas’ human rights violations,” warned Ros-Lehtinen.
– Rebecca Shimoni Stoil
Funeral times for 5 soldiers killed today released
Staff Sgt. Moshe Davino, 20, from Jerusalem, who was killed in combat in the Gaza Strip on Monday, will be laid to rest at 3 pm on Tuesday at Mount Herzl.
Cpl. Meidan Maymon Biton, 20, from Netivot, who along with three other soldiers, was killed in a mortar attack on the Eshkol region on Monday, will be buried at 3 pm on Tuesday in the city’s military cemetery.
Cpl. Niran Cohen, 20, from Tiberias, will be laid to be rest at 5 pm at the military cemetery in the city.
Staff Sgt. Eliav Eliyahu Haim Kahlon, 22, will be buried at the military cemetery in Safed at 11 am.
Staff Sgt. Adi Briga, 23, from Beit Shikma will be buried at 4 pm at the military cemetery in Ashkelon.
France to transfer over $10 million to PA
The French government is set to transfer 8 million euros ($10.75 million) to the Palestinian Authority in the coming days, in addition to the 3 million euros (over $4 million) already transferred to help the population in Gaza.
According to a report on Israel Radio, French President Francois Hollande spoke to PA President Mahmoud Abbas by phone earlier today to discuss the transfer.
Hollande emphasized the importance of the PA and of Abbas to ceasefire efforts between Israel and Hamas based on the Egyptian initiative and said that the needs of the Palestinian people must be met as well as Israel’s security needs.
US teen held in Israel after arrest at protest
WASHINGTON — The US confirms that a 15-year-old American citizen is being held by Israeli authorities for his alleged role in protests earlier this month in East Jerusalem.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki says that considering his age, the US is calling for a speedy resolution to the case of Mohamed Abu Nie.
Psaki says he’s been held since being arrested on July 3 on various charges alleging that he threw rocks, attacked police, was carrying a knife and was leading protests linked to the unrest between Israel and Hamas.
Psaki says the US also is concerned about allegations that he might have been beaten while in custody.
The US Embassy in Tel Aviv is assisting Nie and is in contact with his family and his lawyer.
Seven Palestinians killed in Rafah strike, say local medics
Seven Palestinians are killed in an Israeli strike in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip Tuesday, according to local medics in the Hamas-ruled Palestinian enclave, taking to 1,092 the number of Palestinians who have died since the start of Israel’s Operation Protective Edge launched July 8. That number includes hundreds of Hamas and Islamic Jihad gunmen, Israel says,
The seven, including five women and one child, died when their three-storey building was destroyed, says a spokesman for Gaza’s rescue services.
Israel launched Operation Protective Edge to stop Hamas rocket fire and degrade its military infrastructure. Hamas has fired over 2,000 rockets into Israel this month, and carried out five attacks through a network of tunnels dug under the Gaza-Israel border. Forty-three Israeli soldiers have been killed and three civilians.
– AFP, Times of Israel staff
Gazans, journalists report intense Israeli bombardement
Palestinians and foreign journalists in the Gaza Strip are reporting intense Israeli activity across the Palestinian enclave.
Getting scary here, explosions happening all around us now.. #Gaza
— Nick Casey (@caseysjournal) July 28, 2014
— Kate Benyon-Tinker (@katebt3000) July 28, 2014
I have lived in Gaza for almost all of my life. War is something not new to us. These, however, are the scariest moments we have ever lived.
— Mohammed Suliman (@imPalestine) July 28, 2014
— Guess what (@Farah_Gazan) July 28, 2014
Sirens sound in central Israel
Several explosions heard over greater Tel Aviv region
Another siren in Tel Aviv, surrounding region
Israel hits home of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh
According to preliminary reports, Israel has struck the house of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in the Shati refugee camp the Gaza Strip.
.”The Israeli enemy struck our house twice,” Haniyeh’s son, Abed Salam Haniyeh, said in a statement.
Gazans continue to report intense Israeli strikes across the Palestinian enclave.
This is the biggest offensive in Gaza. the focus is by tank shells and warplanes on coastal line…
— Mohammed Omer (@Mogaza) July 28, 2014
– AFP, Times of Israel staff
Sirens sound in Ashkelon
Hamas-run TV station hit in Gaza City
A building housing international TV channels and radio stations is hit in central Gaza City.
The BBC reports that the target is a Hamas-run TV channel.
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) July 29, 2014
#Israeli warplanes hit Shorouk Tower, which houses offices of Arab & foreign media offices, inc Al-Arabia & Sky news
— Rushdi Abualouf (@Rushdibbc) July 29, 2014
— Rushdi Abualouf (@Rushdibbc) July 29, 2014
— John Horne (@JohnHorneUK) July 29, 2014
Egypt’s Air Sinai cancels Tel Aviv flight
Egypt’s Air Sinai cancelled its flight on Monday to Israel’s Ben Gurion International airport although the facility was operating as normal, an airport official says
The Egyptian carrier operates two flights per week, on Mondays and Thursdays, and it was unclear whether the flight on Thursday will take off, the official says.
Monday’s flight was cancelled due to the situation in Israel, the official said without elaborating.
Several airlines including American, Russian and European had cancelled their flights to Israel for two days after a rocket fired by Hamas struck a neighborhood to the north of Ben Gurion airport last Tuesday.
These airlines resumed their flights two days later on Thursday.
N. Korea slams reports of arms deals with Hamas, Hezbollah
North Korea denounces allegations that it supplied missiles to Hamas and material support to Hezbollah as “sheer fiction” and a “sinister” effort to link Pyongyang to Middle East disputes.
The rebuttal from the foreign ministry was carried in a statement late Monday by the North’s official KCNA news agency.
It follows a weekend report by Britain’s Daily Telegraph, citing Western security sources, that Hamas had already made an initial cash down payment to secure additional missiles and communications equipment from North Korea.
That report came days after a US federal judge in Washington ruled that North Korea had provided advanced weaponry to the militant Hezbollah group in Lebanon.
“This is utterly baseless sophism and sheer fiction let loose by the US to isolate (North Korea) internationally,” the foreign ministry statement says.
“Lurking behind this propaganda is a sinister intention of the US to justify its criminal acts of backing Israel,” it said, accusing Washington of seeking to stir up anti-Pyongyang sentiment by linking the North to the Middle East disputes.
Weapons exports are a crucial source of hard currency for North Korea, which is known to have long-standing arms trade links with Syria and Iran.
In 2009, a plane loaded with 35 tons of weapons from North Korea made an emergency landing in Bangkok, where it was impounded.
Security officials believe the flight was bound for Iran and that the arms were eventually destined for Hezbollah.
Haniyeh unhurt in IDF attack on home, says Hamas ministry
The Hamas Interior Ministry says that top Hamas leader and former prime minister Ismail Haniyeh is unhurt following an IDF strike on his house in the Shati refugee camp earlier.
Hamas to be included in Palestinian delegation expected in Cairo
Egypt agrees to have a Hamas representative be part of a Palestinian delegation set to arrive in Cairo later today to discuss the situation in Gaza.
According to a report in Lebanon’s Al-Mayadeen cited by Ynet, the parties will discuss a ceasefire within the time frame of 48 hours.
NZ newspaper runs photo of dead ‘Jackass’ star instead of slain IDF soldier
The New Zealand Herald ran an article about slain IDF soldier Guy Boyland, killed in Gaza on Friday, using a picture of ‘Jackass’ star Ryan Dunn, who died in a car crash three years ago, Mashable first reports.
Staff Sergeant Boyland, 21, was killed July 25, 2014 trying to raze tunnels in Gaza. He was laid to rest at his home Sunday on Kibbutz Ginosar in the Galilee.
Boyland was born in Taupo, a small lakeside community in New Zealand’s north island.
The paper issued an apology, after saying it had mistakenly retrieved the photo from Boyland’s Facebook page.
Our apologies to Guy Boyland's family for the wrong photo on this morning's lead story.
— nzherald (@nzherald) July 27, 2014
– Times of Israel staff, JTA
5 IDF soldiers killed during Monday’s infiltration attempt
Five IDF soldiers were killed when terrorists attempted to infiltrate Israel using a tunnel which lead from the Gaza Strip to Kibbutz Nahal Oz, the military has cleared for publication.
“The soldiers thwarted the attempt by identifying the squad and neutralizing one of the terrorists,” the IDF says in a statement
The names of four of the soldiers who were killed in the attack are as follows:
Sgt Daniel Kedmi, 18, from Tsofim.
Sgt. Barkey Ishai Shor, 21, from Jerusalem.
Sgt Sagi Erez, 19, from Kiryat Ata.
Sgt Dor Dery, 18, from Jerusalem.
The IDF has not yet released the name of the fifth soldier.
This brings the total military fatalities from Monday’s attacks to 10, raising the total IDF death toll to 53.
Details on infiltration attack that killed 5 soldiers
A squad of Hamas terrorists, emerging from a tunnel inside Israel, kill the five soldiers but failed to carry out an abduction. The attack takes place south of Kibbutz Nahal Oz in the vicinity of the Karni Crossing.
The Hamas squad surfaces 150 meters inside Israel and fires an anti-tank missile at an army position. The barracks, just below the lookout tower, is hit, the five soldiers mortally wounded.
The soldiers in the lookout tower, known as a pillbox for its round shape, spot the squad advancing on the position and open fire, killing at least one of the gunmen.
IDF strikes Gaza seaport
Following intense Israeli bombardment in Gaza overnight, reports emerge that the Gaza seaport was also targeted.
נמל עזה הבוקר. לאחר תקיפת מבנה במקום pic.twitter.com/LU9yqCYhOX
— Gal Berger (@galberger) July 29, 2014
— Ruth Pollard (@rpollard) July 29, 2014
Journalists in the Gaza Strip report a night of increased, incessant military activity.
Well, that was a pretty terrifying night. #Gaza
— Kate Benyon-Tinker (@katebt3000) July 29, 2014
Gunman in Hamas raid Monday tried to drag soldier’s body into tunnel
One of the Hamas squad members who raided an IDF post near Kibbutz Nahal Oz Monday, killing five soldiers after firing an anti-tank missile at their position, tried to drag one of the soldiers’ bodies back into the tunnel, Channel 2 reports.
The gunmen failed to carry out the abduction.
The soldiers in the lookout tower spotted the squad and fired at them, killing at least one gunman.
Senior Islamic Jihad commander killed
Islamic Jihad announces that Ahmed Najam Abu Hamda, the commander of its forces in Rafah, has been killed by Israel overnight.
The circumstances of Hamda’s death were not immediately clear.
Palestinian reports say 32 people were killed overnight Monday amid airstrikes that hit 150 targets in Gaza.
IDF names fifth soldier killed in tunnel attack
Sgt. Nadav Raimond, 19, is named by the IDF as the fifth soldier killed in a cross-border tunnel attack near Nahal Oz on Monday evening.
Raimond was killed after a squad of gunmen who emerged from a tunnel fired an anti-tank rocket at an IDF barracks. Soldiers in a watch tower fired back at the terrorists, killing one, before the others escaped back into the tunnel.
Iran accuses Israel of Gaza ‘genocide’
Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accuses Israel’s leaders of committing “genocide” in Gaza and calls on the Islamic world to arm Palestinians fighting “the Zionist regime.”
In a speech marking the Muslim festival of Eid al-Fitr, Khamenei says Israel is acting like a “rabid dog” and “a wild wolf” in acts that amount to a human catastrophe in Gaza and which must be resisted.
Right-wing crowd chants, ‘There are no children left in Gaza’
Video emerges of mostly young men in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square celebrating the death of children in Gaza.
“There is no school tomorrow, there are no children left in Gaza,” they chant.
They also sing, “I hate all the Arabs.”
The gathering was meant to counter a much larger left-wing demonstration calling for an end to the conflict in Gaza and the resumption of peace talks.
Some people can be seen in the video trying to get the right-wing demonstrators to stop singing, but they refuse to listen.
Later in the event, the demonstrators try to push through to disrupt the peace gathering, but police drive them back and arrest four.
The anti-Arab protesters also voiced threats against Arab MKs Ahmed Tibi and Hanin Zoabi.
‘Breakthrough’ reported in ceasefire efforts
Palestinian sources tell the leading Arabic daily Al-Hayat that there has been a “breakthrough” in international attempts to broker a ceasefire in Gaza.
The sources say that US Secretary of State John Kerry presented a proposal based on the Egyptian parameters, which would also include talks between Israeli and Palestinian delegations about issues that aren’t connected to the ceasefire effort.
Al-Hayat reports that Hamas and Islamic Jihad approved the ceasefire proposal, but the People’s Front for the Liberation of Palestine turned it down.
Soldier’s reaction said to prevent kidnapping
More details emerge about the attack on an IDF guard tower within Israel that left five soldiers dead.
According to an initial investigation by the IDF, four to seven gunmen emerged from a tunnel 150 meters inside Israel early Tuesday morning, Walla reports. The existence of the tunnel was known to Israeli forces.
The assailants managed to reach a pillbox guard tower next to Kibbutz Nahal Oz, and fired an anti-tank missile at the small barracks attached to the pillbox. Five soldiers were killed in that attack.
The terrorists then charged at the position in an attempt to kidnap a soldier and bring him to the Gaza Strip, but a soldier in the top portion of the tower opened fire, hitting one of the attackers. Two other soldiers failed to fire their weapons.
The other Hamas gunmen dropped their weapons and slipped back into Gaza.
Soldiers searching the area found a rifle and missiles left behind by the Palestinians.
The IDF said that the soldier’s action prevented an infiltration into the kibbutz.
Hamas took responsibility for the attack, saying “conditions in the field did not allow” them to finish the mission.
Rocket lands in Gaza
A rocket fired at Israel lands inside the Gaza Strip, Ynet reports.
In addition, Israel is striking targets in the northern Gaza Strip with artillery and air-to-surface missiles.
Pictures of Haniyeh’s destroyed home
Photos emerge of the Israeli strike on the home of senior Hamas political official Ismail Haniyeh in the Shati refugee camp early Tuesday morning. Haniyeh has been hiding underground during the fighting in Gaza, and was not home at the time.
pics of Hamas deputy leader Ismail Haniyeh's house partly destroyed by Israeli airstrik בית איסמעיל הנייה נהרס חלקית pic.twitter.com/DMOj2j3R1i
— Gal Berger (@galberger) July 29, 2014
some more pics of Hamas deputy leader Ismail Haniyeh's house in Gaza pic.twitter.com/K1C3FSC1qF
— Gal Berger (@galberger) July 29, 2014
IDF graphic shows claimed Shifa, Shati rocket paths
The IDF spokesperson’s office publishes an infographic showing the paths of Hamas-fired rockets it claims hit Shifa Hospital and the Shati refugee camp Monday.
The strike on Shifa, which Hamas blames on Israel, killed at least 10 people. Another 10 people were killed in the Shati blast.
Israel says that a Fajr-5 missile fired by Gaza terrorists hit Shifa.
Gaza terrorists fired rockets today, hoping to kill Israelis. Instead, they hit a hospital & a refugee camp in Gaza. pic.twitter.com/dXNhtCHTQc
— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) July 28, 2014
Firefight between IDF, gunmen in Shejaiya
IDF troops in the process of uncovering a tunnel opening in the Gaza City neighborhood of Shejaiya come under fire, Ynet reports.
Details to come.
Iron Dome intercepts two rockets over Ashkelon
Supermarket magnate quietly helps mourning families
Rami Levy, owner of a chain of 27 supermarkets in Israel, has been quietly dropping off foodstuffs and goods at homes of soldiers who have died in the conflict in Gaza, the Jewish Press reports, quoting Channel 10.
This is not the first time Levy has provided support to those affected by terrorism and war.
“In 2011, Rami Levy took it upon himself to provide food and basics for the surviving children of the Fogel family of Itamar, until the youngest orphan becomes an adult,” writes the Jewish Press. “It only became public knowledge after Levy was spotted in the kitchen of the massacred Fogel family, personally stocking their fridge and cabinets.”
Gaza’s power plant knocked out
The only power plant supplying electricity to the Gaza Strip is knocked out of commission by Israeli shelling, deputy director of the energy authority in the Palestinian territory says Tuesday.
“Gaza’s sole power plant has stopped working due to Israeli shelling last night, which damaged the steam generator and later hit the fuel tanks which set them on fire,” Fathi al-Sheikh Khalil tells AFP.
An AFP reporter sees huge fires raging near the plant Tuesday morning, noting that fire department vehicles were still unable to reach the area.
The damage of the power plant exacerbates the heavy damage to civilian infrastructure in Gaza already inflicted during the 22 days of the Israeli offensive aimed at stamping out militant rocket fire and destroying attack tunnels.
Besides the power plant, Gaza also purchases electricity from Israel, but many of the supply lines have been badly damaged by the recent fighting, Sheikh Khalil says.
“Five out of 10 of the Israeli electricity lines into the Gaza Strip were also damaged because of Israeli shelling, and maintenance still cannot reach the areas and fix them,” he explains.
Barkey Shor to be buried at 7 at Mount Herzl
The funeral of Sgt. Barkey Ishai Shor, 21, from Jerusalem, will take place at Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl military cemetery at 7 p.m. Tuesday evening. Shor was killed Tuesday morning by Hamas gunmen who emerged from a tunnel near Kibbutz Nahal Oz and fired on an army barracks.
Thousands are accompanying Staff Sgt. Eliav Eliyahu Haim Kahlon, 22, to his burial place in the military cemetery in Safed, Ynet reports. Kahlon was killed Monday in a mortar attack.
Islamic Jihad, Fatah in Egypt for ceasefire talks
Channel 2 reports that senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Fatah officials are in Cairo to discuss proposals for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, along with other armed groups.
The Palestinian factions are working toward a joint proposal they can present to the Egyptians, who will then take it to the UN. If the UN’s Security Council approves the parameters, they will then turn to US Secretary of State John Kerry to help get Netanyahu on board.
There is currently no Israeli delegation in Egypt.
Iron Dome makers hacked in 2011-12 — blogger
Chinese hackers penetrated three Israeli companies responsible for the Iron Dome, and stole massive amounts of information, according to a private cybersecurity blog.
The cyber attack occurred in 2011 and 2012, says the KrebSonSecurity blog. The report is based on a study by the American Cyber Engineering Services firm, which says that between October 10, 2011, and August 13, 2012, Chinese hackers broke into Elisra Group, Israel Aerospace Industries, and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, which all worked on Israeli missile defense, UAVS, and ballistic missiles.
IAI brushed off the report, saying it was “old news.”
“At the time, the issue was treated as required by the applicable rules and procedures,” says IAI spokeswoman Eliana Fishler in an email to KrebsOnSecurity. “The information was reported to the appropriate authorities. IAI undertook corrective actions in order to prevent such incidents in the future.”
According to CyberESI, the attack bears the hallmarks of the state-sponsored Comment Crew hacking group.
“Once inside the IAI’s network,” writes KrebonSecurity, “Comment Crew members spent the next four months in 2012 using their access to install various tools and trojan horse programs on systems throughout company’s network and expanding their access to sensitive files, CyberESI said. The actors compromised privileged credentials, dumped password hashes, and gathered system, file, and network information for several systems. The actors also successfully used tools to dump Active Directory data from domain controllers on at least two different domains on the IAI’s network.
“All told, CyberESI was able to identify and acquire more than 700 files — totaling 762 MB total size — that were exfiltrated from IAI’s network during the compromise. The security firm said most of the data acquired was intellectual property and likely represented only a small portion of the entire data loss by IAI.”
IDF’s overnight summary: 70 sites hit
According to the IDF spokesman’s office, Israeli forces target more than 70 sites in the Gaza Strip overnight Monday-Tuesday.
Targets include two Hamas command-and-control centers, four weapon storage sites inside mosques, a rocket launcher, and one attack tunnel.
Israel also attacks other branches of Hamas, including its treasury and propaganda wings.
The army says it targeted 10 terrorists in the central part of the Gaza Strip, confirming hits.
Also Tuesday morning, gunmen fire at paratroopers within Gaza, who open fire and stop the attack. No Israeli soldiers are injured in the incident.
We are not close to a ceasefire– Akunis
Deputy Minister Ofir Akunis (Likud) says that “we are not close to a ceasefire.”
Speaking to Channel 2, Akunis emphasizes that the conflict in Gaza is a war, not a more limited operation.
As deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Akunis serves as the liaison between the government and the Knesset.
130 IDF soldiers in hospitals
One hundred and thirty wounded IDF soldiers are in Israeli hospitals Tuesday, Channel 2 reports. Several are in serious condition.
No soldiers have arrived at Israeli hospitals over the past few hours.
Khamenei urges Muslims to arm Palestinians
Iran’s supreme leader on Tuesday calls on Muslims from around the world to help arm Gaza Palestinians in their fight against Israel.
The call by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is his latest such message during the ongoing war between Gaza’s Hamas rulers and Israel.
Khamenei claims that while Israel and America seek to disarm Hamas, Iran says “the opposite … the Muslim world has a duty to arm the Palestinian nation by all means.”
Iran, a staunch Hamas ally, does not recognize Israel and supports militant anti-Israeli groups such as the Palestinian Hamas and Lebanon’s Shiite Hezbollah group.
Iran does not recognize Israel and has considered the Jewish state its archenemy since the 1979 Islamic Revolution that toppled the Western-backed monarchy and brought clerics to power
Khamenei spoke at a prayer ceremony in Tehran as Shiite Iranians marked the beginning of Eid al-Fitr holiday that follows the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
IDF releases footage of strike on Haniyeh home
The IDF spokesman’s office releases video of strikes on the home and office of senior Hamas political official Ismail Haniyeh.
The footage also shows strikes on Hamas media offices and the headquarters of a Hamas battalion commander in Shejaiya.
UK cricketer told not to wear Gaza wristbands
England cricket player Moeen Ali has been banned from displaying political messages on the field by the International Cricket Council, after wearing wristbands supporting Palestinians during the third test.
Ali wore wristbands with “Save Gaza” and “Free Palestine” while batting against India on Monday at the Rose Bowl.
An ICC release on Tuesday says Ali was told by match referee David Boon to not wear the wristbands anymore. Ali was not cited.
The statement says, “Whilst he is free to express his views on such causes away from the cricket field, he is not permitted to wear the wristbands on the field of play, and warned not to wear the bands again during an international match.”
ICC clothing rules do not allow displays of messages relating to political, religious or racial activities during internationals.
The England and Wales Cricket Board didn’t believe Ali was committing an offense.
After IDF warning, hundreds of Palestinians flee
On the ground, hundreds of Palestinians can be seen leaving their homes Tuesday after the army warned residents of five areas to flee and take refuge in central Gaza City, an AFP correspondent says.
Many head for already-cramped UN schools in the north, where children run barefoot around a dirty schoolyard alongside piles of rubbish.
“We came yesterday after the army warned us to leave,” says 46-year-old Ghassan Abed who fled from his home in the northern town of Beit Lahiya with his wife and six children.
“About 200 people just from our street have fled,” he says
UN statistics published Monday show 215,000 Palestinians have already fled their homes, with 170,461 staying in 82 of the agency’s schools.
Senior IDF officer says Gaza op reached its goals
A senior IDF officer says that Operation Protective Edge has achieved the target goals that were laid out at the start of the campaign.
“We have reached the goals that were defined for us,” the unnamed officer says in media reports. “The political leadership needs to take a decision if we are going in further or pulling out of the Gaza Strip.”
At the start of the ground operation two weeks ago Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared the objective was to destroy dozens of terror tunnels dug by Hamas under the Israel-Gaza border and to achieve an agreed upon prolonged period of quiet.
2 rockets land in Eshkol region; no damage
Relatively calm morning for southern Israel
Despite intense Israeli attacks overnight, and an early morning infiltration that killed 5 IDF soldiers, Tuesday has been a relatively quiet day in the south. Still, some rockets are falling, and sirens are heard on occasion in southern communities.
Over the past day, 25 rockets have been fired at Israel.
First rocket in a day hits near Sderot
After sirens sound in Sderot, a rocket hits an open area next to the city for the first time in a day. No injuries or damage are reported.
Hanin Zoabi suspended for six months
The Knesset Ethics Committee suspends Balad MK Hanin Zoabi from participating in debates on the Knesset floor for six months.
Zoabi, from the Arab city of Nazareth, was under investigation for saying that the killers of three Israeli teens in June were not terrorists. She is also under investigation for accosting a police officer in Nazareth.
Zoabi is no stranger to controversy. She said on Al Jazeera that the “Palestinian resistance will not surrender.”
She was also aboard the Gaza blockade-busting ship from Turkey, the Mavi Marmara, in 2010 when Israeli commandos boarding the ship came under attack and opened fire, killing nine.
Spanish film folk decry Gaza op
Spanish actress Penelope Cruz and her actor husband Javier Bardem sign an open letter calling Israel’s operation in Gaza “genocide.”
The two are joined by director Pedro Almodovar; all three are Oscar winners. Dozens of other Spanish actors, musicians, and writers sign the letter, which calls on the European Union to “condemn the bombing by land, sea and air against the Palestinian civilian population in the Gaza Strip.”
“Gaza is living through horror these days, besieged and attacked by land, sea and air,” the industry members write. “Palestinians’ homes are being destroyed, they are being denied water, electricity [and] free movement to their hospitals, schools and fields while the international community does nothing.”
Gazans to declare unilateral 3-day ceasefire
According to senior PLO executive committee member Yasser Abed Rabbo, the Palestinians will declare a unilateral 72-hour ceasefire shortly.
New Zealand town mourns native killed in IDF
A small community in New Zealand is mourning the loss of an Israeli soldier killed in action in Gaza.
Staff Sgt. Guy Boyland, 21, was killed Friday trying to raze tunnels in Gaza. He was laid to rest at his home Sunday on Kibbutz Ginosar in the Galilee.
Boyland was born in Taupo, a small lakeside community in New Zealand’s north island.
His non-Jewish father Glenn married his Jewish-Israeli mother Adva, and the family moved to Israel when Guy was 5.
Boyland’s 90-year-old grandfather, Jim Boyland, said the extended family was grieving the loss of the ginger-haired, guitar-playing kid.
“He was very gregarious,” he said. “He never knew what life was all about, he never lived like an ordinary child. But he was very patriotic and wanted to be in the bomb squad.”
He said Guy, who was just four months away from finishing his service as a combat engineer, had only returned to New Zealand once – about three years ago just before he was drafted into the IDF. “Glenn will stay there. They won’t leave their son behind; they’re committed to staying there in Israel.”
A Facebook page was established in memory of Boyland. “We deeply appreciate the love and concern that help to shed a fraction of light upon these dark times,” his sister, Kim, who served in the Israeli Air Force, wrote on her Facebook page. “Thank you so much.”
Yeshivas cancel summer vacation
Several major ultra-Orthodox movements cancel the “Bein Hazmanim” summer break for yeshiva students because of the ongoing fighting in Gaza, Haredi website Kikar Hashabbat reports.
Gur yeshiva students will get to head home next Monday to take care of errands and spend the Tisha B’Av fast at home, and will return to their studies on Wednesday.
In the Belz Hasidic movement, students will remain in the study halls, but will enjoy a more relaxed learning environment, including guest speakers.
Hasidic rabbis ruled that it was strictly forbidden to take vacations and trips to national parks while IDF soldiers are fighting in Gaza.
Non-Hasidic Lithuanian courts are waiting for a ruling from their spiritual head, Rabbi Aharon Leib Shteinman, who is expected to allow a limited break.
Sephardic ultra-Orthodox students were ordered last week by Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef to continue with their Torah study.
Hamas says 100 Gazans killed so far today
Hamas’s Health Ministry spokesperson says that 100 Palestinians have died Tuesday since midnight, raising the overall death toll to 1,156 since the outset of Operation Protective Edge. Hamas says at least 6,500 Gazans have been injured.
Hamas says it hasn’t accepted ceasefire
Hamas denies that it has accepted any 24-hour humanitarian ceasefire, contrary to claims by a Palestinian Authority spokesperson.
Spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri says that declaration by PA spokesman Yasser Abed Rabbo that Hamas agreed to a unilateral cessation of hostilities for a day, with the possibility of an extension to three days, is false and has no connection to Hamas’s stance.
No Israeli response to rumors of a Hamas truce
There’s been no Israeli reaction or response to conflicting claims by Palestinian parties of a possible 24-hour truce by Gaza factions.
In the meantime, rockets continue to fall on southern Israel, and sirens are going off in the Ashkelon area.
Erdogan ‘gladly’ returns Jewish group’s award
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is returning an award given to him by a Jewish American group in 2004, after the group asked for it back because of comments he made regarding the conflict in Gaza.
Turkey’s US ambassador writes to Jack Rosen, president of the American Jewish Congress, on Erdogan’s behalf saying that because of Israel’s actions in Gaza and “the regrettable stance” of the American Jewish Congress, Erdogan “will be glad to return the award.” The letter is dated July 27 and made available Tuesday.
Last week, Rosen described Erdogan as “arguably the most virulent anti-Israel leader in the world.” He said Erdogan was given the Profile of Courage award for working for a peaceful solution in the Middle East and his commitment to protecting Turkey’s Jewish citizens.
Hamas said to be interested in 24-hour truce
Hamas is expressing willingness for a 24-hour truce, but doesn’t know when it would begin, if at all, and is reluctant to make a public statement to that effect. In the meantime, its spokespeople have rejected PA claims that a truce has been declared.
Khaled Mashaal, Hamas’s politburo chief in Qatar, has announced that Hamas is ready for a 24-hour truce. This message was transmitted to Israel.
– Avi Issacharoff
IDF engages, kills five Palestinian gunmen
Moments ago a Givati brigade force identified five terrorists exiting a terror tunnel and opened fire, killing all five Palestinian combatants, the IDF says. It’s not clear from the IDF report whether the tunnel shaft was in Gaza or Israeli territory.
A large arms cache was found inside the tunnel after the gunfight.
Black smoke still billowing from Gaza plant
Thick black smoke continues to billow from Gaza’s power plant, which Israel struck early on Tuesday.
Group sets up English-language hotline
Magen, an Israeli NGO, has set up a War-Time Civilian Support Line to help provide English speakers in the country with information about the current situation.
“Whereas native Israelis in these situations are familiar with the situation and challenges of war, know where to turn for support, and are comfortable sharing their feelings and concerns in Hebrew,” the group says in a statement, “immigrants often are not in that position.”
Teaming up with other Israeli counseling services, Magen’s English support line has already provided support and information to many English speakers in Israel “in a calming and effective fashion.”
13 Gazans reported killed by tank in Jabaliya
A Hamas Health Ministry spokesperson says that 13 Palestinian civilians were killed by Israeli tank fire in the Jabaliya refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, near the border with Israel.
The report could not be independently confirmed.
Hamas said to execute 20 anti-war protesters
Channel 10 reports that 20 Palestinians who participated in an anti-war protest in the Gaza Strip were rounded up by Hamas and summarily executed as alleged Israeli collaborators yesterday.
Reports yesterday indicated that 30 suspected collaborators have been executed by Hamas thus far, but it isn’t clear whether that figure included the 20 anti-war protesters.
Power plant repairs to take a year; Hamas police kill 2 Palestinians
Channel 2 reports that the damage inflicted to the still-burning gas power plant in the Gaza Strip will take at least a year to repair.
The news outlet also reports that disgruntled Palestinians in Beit Hanoun clashed with Hamas policemen after an argument with UNRWA employees over food coupons yesterday. The police opened fire on the Palestinians, killing two and injuring dozens, the report says.
Kerry speaks with Netanyahu about ceasefire
US Secretary of State John Kerry speaks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who raised the matter of a ceasefire with the American diplomat.
According to a State Department official, Kerry said that the US is working carefully to prevent the conflict from reaching a point where both the Israelis and Palestinians will have difficulty addressing underlying issues.
.@JohnKerry re Gaza:Working carefully to prevent things fr reaching place where both sides will have difficulty addressing underlying issues
— Rick Stengel (@stengel) July 29, 2014
Kerry says it’s all about Israel’s right to self-defense
US Secretary of State John Kerry responds to harsh criticism of his handling of Gaza ceasefire negotiations, saying it wasn’t about him. “This is about Israel and Israel’s right to defend itself” and ensure its civilians and soldiers aren’t under fire from the Gaza Strip, he says at a press conference with the Ukrainian foreign minister in Washington.
“Last night we talked, and the prime minister talked to me about an idea and a possibility of a ceasefire. He raised it with me, as he has consistently,” Kerry says. “Israel itself had accepted an Egyptian ceasefire with no pre-conditions.”
He adds Netanyahu had said he “would embrace a ceasefire that permits Israel to protect itself against the tunnels and obviously not be disadvantaged for the great sacrifice they have made thus far.”
– AFP contributed to this report.
All sides have reached ceasefire, Israeli official says
An Israeli source tells Channel 2 that all sides have agreed to a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.
Israeli official denies ceasefire deal rumor
Contrary to a Channel 2 report, an Israeli official tells The Times of Israel that he’s never heard of the ceasefire deal Israel is said to have accepted in the Gaza Strip.
– Raphael Ahren
Bennett’s call to ‘strike Hamas mercilessly’ said to enrage Netanyahu
Economics Minister Naftali Bennett said in an outburst earlier on Monday that Israel must “strike Hamas mercilessly,” to the outrage of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Channel 2 reports.
Bennett says Israel must do everything it can to destroy the terror tunnels, and “we need to say to the residents of the region near Gaza in a clear voice that we’re ending this threat now.”
According to a translation of his remarks outside a Ashkelon hospital by Israel National News, Bennett said that “Egypt has humiliated Hamas and so the entire constellation is one that enables us, this time, to bring them to their knees, and we have to do just that.”
No ceasefire deal, Channel 2 quotes official saying
Channel 2, which originally reported that “all sides” had reached a ceasefire deal in Gaza, now backtracks, quoting a senior official saying that there is no ceasefire agreement.
Cabinet meeting delayed to tomorrow
The cabinet meeting scheduled for this evening has been postponed until tomorrow afternoon.
A ceasefire looms, or not, maybe
Let’s try to sort out the conflicting reports over a possible ceasefire.
Israel, officially, has not agreed to a ceasefire, and certainly hasn’t sought one. But Netanyahu is interested in one under certain conditions, as John Kerry has just made clear.
Some in Hamas are denying that they want a ceasefire, after Khaled Mashaal announced this afternoon that it does — for 24 hours.
Earlier today, Mahmoud Abbas’s senior colleague Yasser Abed Rabbo announced an imminent 72-hour ceasefire.
For now, the Israeli army is continuing its operations in Gaza.
According to Channel 2′s expert Ehud Ya’ari, Hamas wants a ceasefire but doesn’t want to acknowledge this. Abbas is pushing a ceasefire, and, according to Channel 2, has been assured by Kerry that his PA forces will return to Gaza, deploying at the Rafah border crossings, under a subsequent agreement.
Hamas, says Ya’ari, is hoping to make gains in post-ceasefire negotiations, having initially been told by Kerry — via Qatar and Turkey — that some of its demands for a lifting of the Gaza siege would be met.
Except that Kerry, having been subject to blistering criticism in Israel for his weekend diplomatic activities, has now rolled emphatically back from the Qatar-Turkey axis, and is working on the basis of the original Egyptian ceasefire proposal. While the draft/proposal Kerry conveyed to Israel did not address Israel’s specific security concerns, notably including the Hamas cross-border tunnels, Kerry said just now that “what we put on the table” would allow Israel “to continue to deal with [the Hamas] tunnels even as they were in a short-term ceasefire to try to reach a sustainable ceasefire.” The US has “made certain” that a ceasefire would ensure Israel’s continuing ability to protect itself, he’s now stressing.
Confused? You’re not alone.
And amid the lack of clarity, the Israeli cabinet meeting scheduled for tonight just got moved to tomorrow. By which time things might be clearer.
Third rocket cache found at UNRWA school
UNRWA, the UN aid agency for Palestinian refugees, says it’s found another rocket arsenal stashed at one of its schools in the central Gaza Strip. This latest find is the third case of arms discovered at a UN-run school since the outset of Operation Protective Edge.
The UN agency says the school was closed for the summer and not in use as a shelter.
.@UNRWA says rockets found on Tuesday at one of its schools in central Gaza, adds school was closed for the summer & not used as a shelter.
— Dan Williams (@DanWilliams) July 29, 2014
Hats off to UNRWA -just announced rocket cache found in school in central Gaza. Condemns "flagrant violation of neutrality of premises".
— Barbara Opall-Rome (@OpallRome) July 29, 2014
Kerry-Netanyahu friction, part 94
After Kerry just said Netanyahu raised the idea of a ceasefire with him, an Israeli source rushes to deny this.
“Last night we talked, and the prime minister talked to me about an idea and a possibility of a ceasefire. He raised it with me, as he has consistently,” Kerry said a few minutes ago, adding Netanyahu said he “would embrace a ceasefire that permits Israel to protect itself against the tunnels and obviously not be disadvantaged for the great sacrifice they have made thus far.”
Er, no, says an unnamed Israeli source quoted by Channel 2. It was Kerry who raised the idea of a ceasefire.
Sirens in Beit Shemesh, Etzion bloc
One rocket is reported intercepted and one explodes in an open area after sirens sound in the Jerusalem hills as far south as the outskirts of Hebron, and as far west as the bedroom community of Beit Shemesh.
No injuries or damage in barrage fired at Jerusalem
No injuries or damage are reported in the latest rocket barrage fired toward Jerusalem, after one rocket fell just south of the city.
Six soldiers injured in Gaza mortar attack
Six IDF soldiers are reported injured by a mortar round fired at them in the northern Gaza Strip. They’re receiving medical treatment in Israel.
Rockets in Beersheba, Negev
Rocket sirens sound in Beersheba and several points around the northern Negev as at least four rockets are shot out of Gaza.
No initial reports of injuries, damage or Iron Dome interceptions.
Four rockets intercepted over Beersheba
Hebrew transcript of Obama and Netanyahu’s phone call
Israel’s Channel 1 publishes a Hebrew transcript of a portion of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama’s telephone conversation Sunday, in which Obama is insistent that Israel unilaterally halt all military activities in the Gaza Strip.
The following is an English translation of the Hebrew account of the talk given in the report:
Barack Obama: I demand that Israel agrees to an immediate, unilateral ceasefire and halt all offensive activities, in particular airstrikes.
Benjamin Netanyahu: And what will Israel receive in exchange for a ceasefire?
BO: I believe that Hamas will cease its rocket fire — silence will be met with silence.
BN: Hamas broke all five previous ceasefires. It’s a terrorist organization dedicated to the destruction of Israel.
BO: I repeat and expect Israel to stop all its military activities unilaterally. The pictures of destruction in Gaza distance the world from Israel’s position.
BN: Kerry’s proposal was completely unrealistic and gives Hamas military and diplomatic advantages.
BO: Within a week of the end of Israel’s military activities, Qatar and Turkey will begin negotiations with Hamas based on the 2012 understandings, including Israel’s commitment to removing the siege and restrictions on Gaza.
BN: Qatar and Turkey are the biggest supporters of Hamas. It’s impossible to rely on them to be fair mediators.
BO: I trust Qatar and Turkey. Israel is not in the position that it can choose its mediators.
BN: I protest because Hamas can continue to launch rockets and use tunnels for terror attacks –
BO: (interrupting Netanyahu) The ball’s in Israel’s court, and it must end all its military activities.
Leaders’ chat leak a ‘severe violation of a private discussion’
According to BBC reporter Paul Danahar, the State Department says that if President Barack Obama’s conversation with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was indeed leaked to Israel’s Channel 1, it would constitute a “severe violation of a private discussion.”
.@statedeptspox says if transcript of Obama talking to Netanyahu was leaked to Israeli TV is a "severe violation of a private discussion"
— Paul Danahar (@pdanahar) July 29, 2014
Two rockets intercepted after sirens sound in Tel Aviv area
One rocket intercepted en route to Ashkelon and another downed heading toward the greater Tel Aviv area. The two launches from Gaza City come amid heavy Israeli strikes on the Gaza Strip.
Hamas militia chief says his fighters ‘eager for death’
Muhammad Deif, the titular head of Hamas’s Al-Qassam Brigades, says in a recorded statement broadcast on Al Aqsa TV that his forces will not accede to a ceasefire until Israeli hostilities end and the siege on Gaza is lifted.
“The balance of power has changed,” Deif says, along with the release by Hamas of a video of its gunmen attacking an Israeli army position near Kibbutz Nir Oz.
“We see the barbaric attack and the killing of children. The enemy destroys our homes.”
“Israeli soldiers are up against soldiers who are eager for death and united forces,” Deif says. “The steadfastness of the Palestinian people is what will bring victory on the battlefield. The enemy is sending its soldiers to certain disaster.”
Channel 10′s military correspondent says the Nahal Oz video appears to be authentic.
White House says PM-POTUS transcript doesn’t ‘bear any resemblance to reality’
The White House’s National Security Council tweets that the Channel 1 transcript of a phone conversation between President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is bogus.
“We have seen reports of an alleged POTUS-Netanyahu transcript; neither reports nor alleged transcript bear any resemblance to reality,” @NSCPress says on Twitter. “Shocking and disappointing someone would sink to misrepresenting a [private conversation] between POTUS and PM in fabrications to Israeli press.”
We have seen reports of an alleged POTUS-Netanyahu transcript; neither reports nor alleged transcript bear any resemblance to reality 1/2
— @NSCPress (@NSCPress) July 29, 2014
Shocking and disappointing someone would sink to misrepresenting a pvt convo between POTUS and PM in fabrications to Israeli press 2/2
— @NSCPress (@NSCPress) July 29, 2014
Hamas video of attack on IDF post near Nir Am
The Al-Qassam Brigades video of yesterday’s Hamas attack on an army position near Kibbutz Nir Am, near the Gaza Strip, is uploaded to YouTube.
Warning: Graphic content.
The video shows a squad of Hamas fighters exit a tunnel near the army post and attack IDF soldiers.
Channel 1 reporter says PM-POTUS transcript legit
Despite rejections by American and Israeli officials, Channel 1′s Or Nahari insists that the transcript leaked to him by a “senior American official” is authentic, but acknowledges that the quotes he published were merely an excerpt from a long conversation.
– Raphael Ahren
Netanyahu rejects PMO-POTUS call transcript
The Prime Minister’s Office says in a statement that the Channel 1 report is false, using precisely the same words as the White House.
“We have seen these reports, and neither the reports nor the alleged transcript bear any resemblance to reality. It’s shocking and disappointing that someone would sink to misrepresenting a private conversation between the President and the Prime Minister in fabrications to the Israeli press,” the PMO says.
– Raphael Ahren
Hamas says death toll in Gaza tops 1,200
The Hamas health ministry says that the death toll in the Gaza Strip has risen to over 1,200 — of which Israel says hundreds are Hamas fighters — and over 7,000 have been injured.
Erdogan sends special envoy to Israel to discuss Gaza ceasefire
Despite tensions between Israel and Turkey over the IDF’s operation in the Gaza Strip, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has dispatched a special envoy to Israel to advance ceasefire negotiations between Israel and Hamas, Israel Radio reports.
Meanwhile, Ankara receives Israeli approval to send planes of humanitarian aid for Gazans, and prompting the cancellation of a second Gaza flotilla.
Chile and Peru, however, deepen their diplomatic chill with Israel and pull their envoys from Tel Aviv for consultation, Haaretz reports.
IDF bombardment in Jabaliya said to kill at least 9
Massive IDF artillery bombardment of the Jabaliya refugee camp has killed nine or 10 Palestinians, Channel 10 and Israel Radio report, citing Palestinian health officials in the Gaza Strip.