The Times of Israel liveblogged events as they unfolded through Tuesday, August 19, the 43rd day of Operation Protective Edge. After a five-day truce expired on Monday at midnight, the sides agreed a 24-hour extension, amid conflicting reports on the progress of talks in Cairo on a long-term Israel-Hamas deal. But rockets from Gaza broke the truce on Tuesday afternoon, Israel quit the talks, and the conflict re-escalated. (Wednesday’s liveblog is here.)

You can also follow @TOIAlerts on Twitter — we’re live-tweeting all the updates there as well.

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Day 43: Operation Protective Edge

PREAMBLE: As a five-day truce expired at midnight Monday, Israel and the Palestinians apparently agreed another 24-hour truce, amid conflicting reports on progress toward a long-term arrangement in indirect talks in Cairo to end the Israel-Hamas conflict.

Islamic Jihad threatened to resume rocket fire from Gaza, and Israel said it was braced for more violence, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowing to hit back hard if Israel was targeted.

Shin Bet reveals Hamas plot to topple PA, stage massive terror attacks

Earlier Monday, the Shin Bet issued details of what it said was a major terrorist plot by Hamas to topple the PA, spark a third intifada, and carry out a series of terror attacks on Israeli targets.

Here are the key points of our earlier story:

The Shin Bet said it arrested more than 90 Hamas operatives in May and June, confiscated dozens of weapons that had been smuggled into the West Bank, and seized more than $170,000 aimed at funding attacks. It produced photos of the confiscated weapons and cash and a flowchart of the Hamas operatives who had been questioned, and said they planned a series of massive attacks on Israeli targets, including the Temple Mount, in order to start a widespread conflagration. Indictments are expected to be filed against at least 70 of the suspects.

Terror cells were set up in dozens of Palestinian West Bank towns and villages — including in and around Jenin, Nablus, eastern Jerusalem, Ramallah, and Hebron — the Shin Bet said.

Many of those recruited for the cells were students studying chemistry and engineering, and academics, according to the investigation.

The Shin Ben said the plot was orchestrated by senior Hamas official Saleh al-Arouri, who is based in Turkey and enjoys the support of the local officials there.

Suspected key terrorists arrested by the Shin Bet during a sweep of Hamas operatives in May and June, 2014 (photo credit: Shin Bet)

Suspected key terrorists arrested by the Shin Bet during a sweep of Hamas operatives in May and June, 2014 (photo credit: Shin Bet)

Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007 from forces loyal to Abbas. It is currently negotiating in Cairo over a ceasefire to formally end the past six weeks of Israel-Hamas conflict.

The Israel-Hamas fighting was preceded by Israeli arrests of hundreds of Hamas members in the West Bank following the abduction and killing of three Israeli teenagers in June. The Shin Bet said it uncovered the West Bank coup plot due to information gleaned from those arrests.

The three teens — Eyal Yifrach, Gil-ad Shaar and Naftali Fraenkel — were slain on June 12 in the West Bank. Their killings were followed by the slaying of a Palestinian youth in what was likely a revenge attack. Hamas stepped up rocket attacks on Israel from Gaza, leading to Israeli airstrikes from July 8 at the start of what was called Operation Protective Edge. Nine days later, Israel sent in ground troops to destroy Hamas’s underground cross-border tunnels constructed for attacks inside Israel.

Detailing what it said was the thwarted bid to topple the PA in the West Bank, the Shin Bet said that Hamas military cells in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, run through headquarters in Turkey, sought to execute a string of attacks against Israel, overthrow the PA, and establish a second front against Israel during Operation Protective Edge.

The Shin Bet revealed that during a three-month operation, it arrested 93 activists and confiscated 24 rifles, six pistols, seven rocket launchers, a large amount of ammunition, a getaway car, and funds amounting to over NIS 600,000 (some $170,000). It said that the infrastructure for the unusually “severe” string of attacks was based, also, on a “forward front in Jordan.”

Using a network of couriers to Jordan and Turkey, the Shin Bet said, the Hamas activists transferred hundreds of thousands of dollars of funds into the West Bank, with the intention of purchasing arms, and preparing safe houses, warehouses for weapons and laboratories for manufacturing rockets.

The leader of the operation, Riad Nasser, a resident of the village Dir Kadis, was recruited by al-Arouri, the head of West Bank operations for Hamas abroad, the Shin Bet said. Al-Arouri was one of the founders of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the Hamas military wing

The Times of Israel’s Avi Issacharoff reported in June that, according to an Israeli security official, al-Arouri was behind the kidnapping and killing of the three Israeli teens on June 12.

— Read the full story here.

US envoy to UN slams Gaza probe

Samantha Power, the US ambassador to the United Nations, criticized the world body’s panel created to investigate the recent conflict in Gaza.

At a private meeting on Friday with American Jewish communal leaders, Power says the UN’s Human Rights Council “has shown itself incapable of engaging constructively on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” according to one attendee of the meeting.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power (photo credit: AP/Seth Wenig/File)

US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power (photo credit: AP/Seth Wenig/File)

Power also slammed the commission of inquiry announced last week as “wildly unbalanced,” according to the same source, and said “the process for the appointment of the commissioners was ill conceived, poorly executed and does nothing to dispel the perception of bias within the council.”

The meeting was held at the US mission to the United Nations in New York City.

The commission of inquiry has already drawn stiff criticism from Israel and a number of its allies for including Canadian human rights academic William Schabas as its head. Schabas has criticized both Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in past statements.


All sides confirm 24-hour truce extension

Israeli and Palestinian negotiators agreed on Monday to extend a temporary ceasefire in Gaza by 24 hours to conduct more talks on a long-term truce, Egypt and a Palestinian official said late Monday.

The five-day ceasefire had been set to expire at midnight local time (2100 GMT) on Monday.

“Both sides have agreed to a 24-hour ceasefire,” the official with the Palestinian delegation in Cairo said.

The official Egyptian MENA news agency later quoted an “official Egyptian statement” confirming the ceasefire’s extension.

Israeli diplomatic sources later confirmed that the ceasefire would be extended by 24 hours, “at Egypt’s request.”

The negotiations center on an Egyptian proposal that meets some of the Palestinian demands, such as easing the blockade of Gaza, but defer other stumbling blocks to later negotiations.

Hamas had repeatedly warned it would not extend the ceasefire, pressing for immediate gains that would allow it to claim concessions from Israel after the devastating four-week war in July and August.

But the militant group has come under pressure from both Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and Egypt, which borders Gaza to the west.

Hamas negotiator Izzat al-Rishq later confirmed to Al-Jazeera that the ceasefire has been extended by 24 hours under Egyptian pressure, but said that no progress has been made in talks with Israel.

He said that principles presented by Al-Jazeera as forming the basis of an agreement include “misinformation and confusion.”

— AFP, Raphael Ahren, Elhanan Miller

Reports of planned Hamas coup in West Bank a ‘threat to Palestinian unity’ says Abbas

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas says information revealed earlier today by the Shin Bet suggesting a planned coup by Hamas in the West Bank was “a grave threat to the unity of the Palestinian people and its future,” NRG reports.

The Shin Bet said earlier that, along with the IDF, it uncovered and successfully disbanded a West Bank- and Jerusalem-based Hamas cell, which had planned to topple Abbas and take control of the West Bank.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas looks on as he meets with members of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) on July 22, 2014, in the West Bank city of Ramallah. (photo credit: AFP/ABBAS MOMANI)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas looks on as he meets with members of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) on July 22, 2014, in the West Bank city of Ramallah. (photo credit: AFP/ABBAS MOMANI)

The large-scale operation to thwart the plan, in which 93 Hamas operatives were arrested, took place between May and August 2014, according to the national security agency, but was only released for publication today.

The Hamas cell, which the Shin Bet says operated under the instruction of Hamas leadership in Turkey, had plotted to perpetrate a series of attacks on Israel and thereby destabilize the security situation.

Abbas orders investigation into report of Hamas coup plot

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas orders his security forces to probe an Israeli revelation that Hamas was planning to overthrow him in the West Bank.

Abbas also indicated the report could severely impact the unity pact signed between Fatah and Hamas in June, saying it represents “a grave threat to the unity of the Palestinian people and its future,” NRG reported.

Hamas denied the report and said it was meant to stir up trouble.

The Shin Bet revealed today earlier that it had uncovered and successfully disbanded a Hamas cell, which had planned to topple Abbas and take control of the West Bank.

The Hamas cell had plotted to perpetrate a series of attacks on Israel and thereby destabilize the security situation.

The Shin Bet says it arrested 93 Hamas operatives.

Israel, US reportedly secretly agree on gradual easing of Gaza blockade

Israel and the US have already coordinated and agreed on the details of a future agreement for a long-term ceasefire with Hamas, and a gradual lifting of the blockade on the Gaza Strip, Ynet reports.

US Secretary of State John Kerry is reportedly expected in Israel next week to support the Israeli government headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the report indicated citing diplomatic sources.

These diplomatic sources tell Ynet that the agreement between Israel and the US on the terms of a deal with Hamas, was reached secretly and entails Israel opening the land crossings into Gaza, followed by sea access, not objecting to the payment of salaries to Hamas men in Gaza and facilitating the reconstruction of Gaza with international aid.

The US, according to the report, will support Israel’s demand to prevent the rearmament of Hamas and other terror groups in Gaza, and will help Israel promote this goal in the international sphere. Israel reportely conceded the demand that terror groups in Gaza disarm.

During Kerry’s visit, the PM and the secretary of state are expected to emphasize the close, solid relationship between Israel and the US and say that any disagreements were on specific issues only.

The US and Israel have been publicly at odds, most recently following a Wall Street Journal report that said the US had suspended a shipment of Hellfire missiles to Israel amid worsening ties over fighting in Gaza

12 arrested in West Bank overnight

Israeli forces operating in the West Bank arrested 12 wanted suspects overnight, the IDF says in a statement.

The suspects were transferred for interrogation, the army says

The arrests are the latest in a series of West Bank sweeps by Israeli forces over the last several days, and comes hours after the Shin Bet announced it had uncovered and thwarted a massive Hamas plot in the Palestinian territory to start a third intifada and overthrow the Palestinian Authority.

California protesters say they blocked Zim ship

In Oakland, where protesters have been trying to block a cargo vessel owned by Israel-based Zim Integrates Shipping Services from docking, activists report on Twitter that they have successfully forced workers to back off from trying to unload the ship for a second straight day.

The ship docked at the port Sunday evening after remaining at sea on Saturday to avoid arriving in the middle of a protest by thousands of pro-Palestinian demonstrators.

Unionized dockworkers at the port on Sunday honored the picket line and refused to unload the ship.

Similar actions against Zim are expected in Seattle, Tacoma and Vancouver later this week.

Israeli sources say no lifting of Gaza blockade

Despite Palestinian reports that Israel has agreed to lift the Gaza blockade as part of a ceasefire deal with Hamas, Israeli diplomatic officials tell Channel 2 that no such concession has been agreed to.

The officials say that the sides are not considering a wide-ranging deal, but rather a more “narrow” agreement by which Israel will try to make life easier in Gaza in exchange for an end to rocket fire, including by opening land crossings. Should Hamas continue to fight, though, Israel will respond, according to the report.

The report adds that Israel is not considering allowing either a seaport or airfield in the Strip.

Earlier, Israeli news site Ynet reported that Israel and the US have already coordinated and agreed on the details of a future agreement for a long-term ceasefire with Hamas, and a gradual lifting of the blockade on the Gaza Strip.

Diplomatic sources tell Ynet that the agreement between Israel and the US on the terms of a deal with Hamas, was reached secretly and entails Israel opening the land crossings into Gaza, followed by sea access, not objecting to the payment of salaries to Hamas men in Gaza and facilitating the reconstruction of Gaza with international aid.

The US, according to the report, will support Israel’s demand to prevent the rearmament of Hamas and other terror groups in Gaza, and will help Israel promote this goal in the international sphere. Israel reportely conceded the demand that terror groups in Gaza disarm.

Neither report is based on any named sources.

PM may have hidden Egyptian proposal from cabinet

Former Foreign Minister and head of the Yisrael-Beytenu party Avigdor Lieberman, February, 2013 (photo credit: Alex Kolomoisky/POOL/ Flash90)

Foreign minister and head of the Yisrael-Beytenu party Avigdor Liberman, February 2013 (photo credit: Alex Kolomoisky/POOL/ Flash90)

Reports of friction within Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet over the weekend emerge, as an unnamed Israeli official tells Haaretz that the prime minister tried to hide the 11-point Egyptian ceasefire proposal, only to be confronted by an angry Avigdor Liberman, Israel’s foreign minister, who pulled out his own copy of the proposal.

Netanyahu reluctantly acknowledged and presented the proposal to the cabinet, telling them that he did not intend to accept it because it failed to address his security demands, the source says, adding that the cabinet did not vote officially but agreed that the proposal was not sufficient.

However, the report puts a spotlight on Netanyahu’s relationship with the cabinet following complaints by unnamed ministers last week that they found out about the extension of the Gaza truce by five days through the media only after it had gone into effect and been violated by terrorist groups in Gaza.

A source close to Liberman confirms that version of events and scoffs at Netanyahu’s attempts to keep him in the dark, saying “the foreign minister has good enough sources to know what’s going on; he doesn’t need the prime minister to update him.”

Train line not running from Ashkelon to Sderot

Trains are still not running from Ashkelon to the southern city of Sderot, for fear of anti-tank missile attacks from across the Gaza Strip border, the army says.

The Defense Ministry is requiring that Israel Railways provide protection for the line before opening it to passengers again.

Sderot's train station, December 24, 2013. (photo credit: Transportation Ministry / via Facebook)

Sderot’s train station, December 24, 2013. (photo credit: Transportation Ministry / via Facebook)

According to Israel Railways, the line has not run since yesterday.

Home Front Command says its safety instructions remain in place and adds that precautions should still be taken in the south and in towns adjacent to the Gaza border.

Palestinians say no progress in talks

The head of the Palestinian delegation to Cairo, Azzam al-Ahmad, says no progress has been made during the ceasefire talks, according to Palestinian news agency Wafa.

He says Israel is “stubbornly” insisting that all of its demands be met.

“We hope to take advantage of every moment in order to reach an agreement to end the cycle of violence,” he says.

He confirms that the truce between Israel and Hamas has been extended for an additional 24 hours, until midnight.

Ahmad says a deal had almost been reached, but adds that the Israeli delegation requested additional time to discuss the agreement with their government.

IDF mulling route change for school-buses in south

Ahead of the school year, which is expected to begin in September, Home Front Command is considering changing the driving routes of school buses in the south in order to make sure children aboard the vehicles are sufficiently protected during potential rocket attacks, Channel 2 reports.

No final decision on the matter has yet been made.

Several schools and kindergartens in southern towns have been rocket-proofed over the summer, the IDF says.

Illustrative photo of schoolchildren taking cover as part of an IDF Home Front Command drill simulating a bomb attack, May 27, 2013 (photo credit: Sarah Schuman/ Flash90)

Illustrative photo of schoolchildren taking cover as part of an IDF Home Front Command drill simulating a bomb attack, May 27, 2013 (photo credit: Sarah Schuman/ Flash90)

Israel says no agreement reached in Cairo

A senior diplomatic source tells Army Radio that no deal has yet been agreed upon during talks in Cairo.

“The Israeli delegation has been instructed to insist on [Israel’s] security requirements,” the source says.

“As soon as an agreed upon document is produced, the cabinet will convene,” the source adds.

PM to brief cabinet ministers on Cairo talks

Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu will later today brief cabinet ministers on the course of the ceasefire talks in Cairo, Army Radio reports.

‘Israel gave up on demilitarization of Strip’

Ashraf al-Ajrami, the former Palestinian Authority Minister of Prisoners, says the Israeli delegation has given up on its demands to demilitarize the Gaza Strip. According to Ajrami, Israel instead agreed to the installation of an international task force charged with preventing arms from reaching the Strip.

“It is estimated that Israel’s demand may not be realized,” he says during an interview with Army Radio.

“The Israeli side will soon be satisfied with a Hamas that has limited access to arms, and that’s what will end up being the result of the talks in Cairo,” he concludes.

Stones hurled at bus in E. Jerusalem

Stones are hurled at a bus near the Damascus Gate of the Old City in East Jerusalem, shattering the windshield of the driver’s door, Ynet reports.

No injuries are reported. Police are searching the area in order to locate the stone throwers.

Islamic Jihad ready for deal, but not at any price

Khaled al-Batsh, the Palestinian delegation’s Islamic Jihad representative, says that negotiation efforts in Cairo almost collapsed, before a 24-hour extension of the truce was agreed upon, Ynet reports.

He adds that “the Palestinian delegation is determined to achieve the demands of the Palestinian people and is willing to sign an agreement [with Israel], but not at any price.”

Batsh does not elaborate further.

Palestinians dance while flying a Palestinian Islamic Jihad Movement flag reading in Arabic "there is only one God and Muhammad is his prophet," during celebrations in the West Bank city of Ramallah, late Sunday, July 20, 2014.  (photo credit: AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

Palestinians dance while flying a Palestinian Islamic Jihad Movement flag reading in Arabic “there is only one God and Muhammad is his prophet,” during celebrations in the West Bank city of Ramallah, late Sunday, July 20, 2014. (photo credit: AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

Most schools in south don’t have bomb shelters

Most schools in southern Israel do not have proper bomb shelters, Army Radio reports.

In Kiryat Gat and Ofakim, more than half of schools are considered to be unsafe in a case of a rocket attack.

‘Israel agrees to ease, not remove, blockade’

Palestinian delegate Qais Abdel-Kareem says discussions have resumed on key issues in Cairo, including Israel’s blockade of Gaza, its demands for Hamas’ disarmament and Palestinian demands for a Gaza port and airport.

The Palestinian ambassador to Cairo, Jamal Shoback, says the Israelis have proposed arrangements that are about “not [fully] removing the blockade but easing it.”

– AP

Policeman injured as rocks hurled on Temple Mount

Police say stones were hurled at a group of Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount, lightly injuring one policeman in the leg. The officer receives medical treatment at the scene.

A Palestinian minor suspected of throwing the stone is detained.

Police say visits to the site are continuing as usual.

Hamas says no more truce extensions, deal or no

Hamas political official Izzat al-Rishq says the Palestinian delegation will not extend the truce any longer after midnight.

“If they fail to formulate an agreement, the negotiations will end,” Rishq says of the sides engaged in negotiations.

“We are not interested in lengthening negotiations any more,” he adds, according to Ynet. “A significant part of the delegation did not want to extend the truce, up until the last moments [before the truce expired].”

Abbas to meet with Mashaal in Doha

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will travel to Doha Wednesday in order to discuss the ceasefire deal with the head of Hamas’s political wing, Khaled Mashaal, AFP reports. Abbas will also convene with the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, according to Palestinian Authority ambassador Monir Ghannam.

From Doha, Ghannam says, Abbas will travel on to Cairo as part of contacts the Palestinian leadership is staging “with all the parties concerned” in the Israel-Palestinian conflict, according to AFP.

5 Gazan operatives indicted in Beersheba

Five Gazans arrested during Operation Protective Edge are indicted in the Beersheba District Court. They are accused of attempted murder, various weapons offenses, prohibited military training, contacting a foreign agent, and membership in an illegal organization.

The prosecution seeks to extend their detention until the end of the legal proceedings, Israel Radio reports.

Parents seek to add siblings’ names on soldier’s gravestone

The parents of Li Mat, an IDF paratrooper who was killed in the Gaza Strip, are demanding that his gravestone be inscribed with the names of his siblings, and not only his mother and father’s names, as is customary in army cemeteries.

The Defense Ministry says that although the request does not comply with army guidelines, a special committee will convene in order to discuss the family’s plea.

Li Mat, 19, an IDF paratrooper killed during Operation Protective Edge in the Gaza Strip (photo credit: IDF)

Li Mat, 19, an IDF paratrooper killed during Operation Protective Edge in the Gaza Strip (photo credit: IDF)

Mat’s mother, Smadar, tells Army Radio that inscribing the names of her son’s siblings would not challenge the cemetery’s uniformity.

“All we are asking is to add one small line to the headstone,” she says.

“They [Mat’s siblings] are part of our family, and they are tied to him just as much as we, the parents, are tied to him.”

MK Cabel pours freezing water on his head

Labor MK Eitan Cabel becomes the second Knesset representative to accept the Ice Bucket Challenge, to benefit the ALS Foundation in the fight against Lou Gehrig’s disease, after Yesh Atid MK Dov Lipman gleefully poured freezing cold water on his head yesterday

Barefoot and wearing a ragged T-shirt, Cabel can be seen in a video posted on his Facebook page as he showers himself with icy water.

Cabel nominates Yesh Atid MK Ofer Shelah to do the same.

“I hope you’ve prepared a bucket and that you don’t chicken out, because I dare you,” Cabel tells Shelah in a Facebook post.

Lapid urges Gaza rehabilitation

Israel must establish a committee comprising several regional powers in order to discuss the rehabilitation of the Gaza Strip, Finance Minister Yair Lapid says, according to Ynet. Lapid also says that the committee must demand that Hamas be demilitarized, and assure that Israel’s security concerns are sufficiently addressed.

“Our demand is quiet and security for the residents of Israel, and it is not for nothing that the delegation to Cairo includes only members with an understating in security,” he says during a visit to the Sapir College near the southern town of Sderot.

“That is the requirement of Israel, security.”

Gazans turn mortar shells into works of art

Images surface on Facebook of mortar shells being transformed into decorative works of art by Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

The shells were apparently fired by the IDF during Operation Protective Edge.

More unemployment benefits for southerners

The Labor and Social Affairs Committee determines that the maximum period of eligibility for unemployment insurance offered to residents living in communities adjacent to the Gaza Strip will be extended by up to 25 days.

Under the new ruling, discharged soldiers will be entitled to 95 days instead of 90 days of unemployment, people under the age of 25 will be entitled to 75 days instead of 50 days, people aged 25-28 will be entitled to 92 days instead of 67 today, and people aged 28 to 35 who have a maximum of two family members dependent on them for financial support will be entitled to 125 days of unemployment instead of 100.

IDF soldiers issue hummus challenge

Ice Bucket Challenge out, Hummus Tub Challenge in.

Three IDF soldiers have given a twist to the popular internet meme to benefit the ALS Foundation in the fight against Lou Gehrig’s disease, smearing their faces in pasty hummus instead of pouring freezing cold water on their heads.

The soldiers said the absurd endeavor, which they called Hamas vs. Hummus, was meant to emphasize the many great qualities of the Middle Eastern dip in contrast with the lesser qualities of the Gaza-based terror group.

“Hamas is a terrorist organization that threatens the lives of both Palestinians and Israelis,” 26-year-old Corey Feldman, the brains behind the challenge, says in the video.

“Hummus, on the other hand, is delicious.”

The three urged others to accept the Hamas vs. Hummus challenge as well.

No updates coming out of ceasefire talks

No updates concerning the ceasefire talks in Cairo are being reported. Both Israeli and Palestinian officials have not commented on the state of the negotiations for several hours.

Islamic State same as Hamas, Shas MK says

Shas MK Eli Yishai says that “there is no difference between the Islamic State and Hamas” and urges the government to declare the Oslo Accords a “catastrophe.”

Yishai was referring to reports of an alleged plan by Hamas operatives to orchestrate a coup in the West Bank and overthrow the Palestinian Authority.

“The Oslo agreement established a ‘Hamastan’ in the south and sent the State of Israel into shelters,” Yishai says, according to the Kikar Hashabbat website.

“The fact that we were a step away from the expansion of Hamastan into areas of the West Bank currently controlled by Mahmoud Abbas should make each and every citizen lose sleep. If, God forbid, Hamas were able to carry out even a small part of its plans, we would’ve been exposed to a massive firing of rockets at Jerusalem and central Israel, with a warning of only about 15 seconds.”

Soldier missing since Sunday

Israeli police issued a request for assistance in locating IDF soldier David Menahem Gordon, 21, who was last seen on Sunday at around noon in the Medical Corps facility in the Zrifin army base.

The missing soldier, as described by police, is 1.70 meters tall (about 5 ft 6), has brown eyes and black, cropped hair. He was dressed in IDF uniform and wore a purple beret. The soldier was carrying a Micro Tavor assault rifle and a large blue and black backpack. Police said the soldier has an American accent.

Police request that anyone with information concerning Gordon’s whereabouts should contact the 100 emergency hotline or call 08-9279244.

Hamas spokesman says Israel doesn’t want deal

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri says Israel is responsible for the standstill in the ongoing negotiations in Cairo, Ynet reports. He says Israel “is dragging its feet and shows no desire to reach an agreement.”

Abu Zuhri says Hamas is “prepared to deal with all possibilities and all developments.”

Fire near Lachish army base

Four firefighting crews from Kiryat Gat and Ashkelon are working to extinguish a fire that broke out near the Lachish army base. Firefighting planes are at the scene as well.

The blaze has not yet been put out, police say.

Turks to send Gaza a floating power plant

Turkish shipping company Karadeniz announces that, in light of the energy crisis in the Gaza Strip, it plans to send a mobile, floating power with in order to provide electricity to the coastal enclave.

Karadeniz’s announcement comes after Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said that an electricity generating vessel would be sent to Gaza as soon as port facilities in the Strip were upgraded.

Three rockets launched from Gaza at Israel

Three rockets were fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip, an IDF spokesman says. Many civilians reported hearing large explosions near Beersheba.

The launches are the first since the truce between Israel and Hamas was announced, midnight of Wednesday last week.

The rockets fell in open areas outside the city and caused no injuries or damage.

No sirens were sounded after the rockets were launched.

IDF will retaliate, security official says

An Israeli security source says that the IDF will retaliate against Gaza for the rockets fired minutes ago at southern Israel, Channel 10’s military correspondent Alon Ben David reports.

PM orders IDF to hit Gaza after rocket fire

Israeli officials say that after Hamas violated the ceasefire by launching rockets at the southern city of Beersheba, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed the IDF to attack terror targets in Gaza, Haaretz reporter Barak Ravid tweets. 

Rockets are ‘grave violation’ — PM spokesman

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s spokesperson Mark Regev calls the rocket attack an hour ago a “grave and direct violation of the ceasefire to which Hamas committed itself.” He notes on Twitter that is the “eleventh ceasefire that Hamas has either rejected or violated.”

There is still no word from Hamas about the rocket fire, nor have any Palestinian groups taken responsibility.

Reports of explosions near Ashdod, Ashkelon

There are unconfirmed reports of explosions near the southern cities of Ashdod and Ashkelon. They come shortly after rockets were fired at Beersheba, breaking the ceasefire, and Israel instructed the IDF to retaliate.

There is no immediate confirmation of the reports, and no sirens have gone off in either city.

IDF begins strikes on Gaza Strip

The IDF says it’s currently targeting terror sites across the Gaza Strip in response to the rockets fired in the past hour at the southern city of Beersheba, breaking the 24-hour truce extension agreed upon last night. 

There are no immediate reports from Gaza concerning the strikes.

PM recalls delegates from Cairo talks

The prime minister and defense minister have instructed the Israeli delegation at the Cairo talks to return to Israel because of the ceasefire violation by Hamas, Israel Radio says citing diplomatic sources.

Israel strikes north Gaza, local media say

Gaza news agencies report that Israel is firing at open areas in northern Gaza Strip and at Gaza waters, near the coast.

According to Al-Aqsa radio, a Hamas media outlet, the IDF has struck targets in Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip and in al-Maghazi, in the central Gaza Strip.

There are no immediate reports of casualties.

IDF hit 10 targets in Gaza, Channel 2 says

The IDF has thus far struck 10 terror targets in the Gaza Strip in the first Israeli strikes since rockets hit southern Israel, breaking the ceasefire earlier this afternoon, Channel 2 military correspondent Roni Daniel says.

Rocket hits Eshkol region after sirens sound

After sirens go off in the Eshkol region of southern Israel, at least one rocket is reported to have exploded in an open area, causing no injury or damage.

The projectile was the fourth fired from the Gaza Strip at Israel in recent hours.

False alarm in Eshkol region

Channel 2 says that its previous report of a rocket fired at the Eshkol region was a false alarm.

No Gazans reported hurt in Israeli airstrikes

No Palestinians have been injured thus far in the 10 Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip, Hamas’s Al-Aqsa Radio reports.

Hamas spokesman hinted at rockets before launch

Shortly before the launch of rockets at Israel, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum hinted at more rocket fire, saying: “If Netanyahu doesn’t understand … the language of politics in Cairo, we know how to make him understand.”

— AP

Hamas says 2 kids injured in airstrikes

Two children were reported injured in Israeli airstrikes near Rafah, Hamas’s Health Ministry spokesperson says. There is no indication of the extent of their injuries.

‘For calm, Israel must do as we say’ — Hamas

Hamas spokesperson in the Gaza Strip Mushir al-Masry says, “If Israel wants calm it must accede to the demands and rights of the Palestinians.”

Hamas officials Sami Abu Zuhri (right) and Mushir Al-Masri in Gaza (photo credit: AP/Hatem Moussa)

Hamas officials Sami Abu Zuhri (right) and Mushir Al-Masri in Gaza (photo credit: AP/Hatem Moussa)

The announcement comes a couple hours after the breaking of the ceasefire, when rockets from Gaza exploded near Beersheba. No Palestinian group has claimed the fire.

Police sappers reach site of rocket impact

Police sappers are at one of the rocket impact sites near Beersheba, a spokesperson says on Twitter. No injuries or damage were reported in the incident, which effectively broke the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

Hamas says it’s unaware of the rocket fire.

Hamas denies attacks, blames Israel

Hamas spokesperson Sami abu Zuhri says his organization has “no knowledge of rocket fire from the territory of the Gaza Strip” and blames Israel for the escalation of violence.

“The attacks intended to topple the negotiations in Cairo, [and] Israel is responsible,” he says.

Sirens in Sdot Negev, Sha’ar Hanegev regions

Warnings come moments after a mortar explodes in the Sdot Negev region without causing any damage or injuries.

There’s no immediate report of impacts in the latest bombardment.

Rockets downed over Netivot

Iron Dome makes its first interceptions in a week over the southern town of Netivot, downing two inbound rockets. It’s not clear how many rockets were launched in the latest volley.

Thousands of Gazans flee homes

Thousands of Palestinians flee their homes in neighborhoods of eastern Gaza City, carrying bags of clothes, pillows and mattresses after renewed Israeli airstrikes, witnesses say.

An AFP reporter sees hundreds of Palestinians streaming out of Shejaiya, one of the areas worst affected by more than a month of fighting between Israel and Hamas.

Thousands more are leaving the areas of Zeitun and Shaaf, alarmed by a series of explosions, and heading toward shelters in UN schools, the witnesses say.


Kiryat Gat, Rehovot switch to emergency footing

The southern city of Kiryat Gat announces that it is going on emergency footing, after rockets from the Gaza Strip once again target Israeli towns.

The municipality says the city market and public pools will be closed, and kindergartens will be held in shelters.

The city of Rehovot opens its public bomb shelters and sets up a municipal emergency hotline.

3 Gazans injured in Israeli strikes, Hamas says

Three Gazans were injured in the northern Gaza Strip by an Israeli airstrike, Hamas Health Ministry spokesperson Ashraf al-Qidra says.

He says five Palestinians have been injured in today’s bombings, which come in the wake of rockets fired from the Gaza Strip, breaking a 24-hour ceasefire extension.

IDF carries out 25 strikes on Gaza

The IDF has carried out 25 airstrikes on the Gaza Strip in the past few hours, and Gazan terror groups have launched at least eight rockets at Israel, Channel 2 reports.

‘No progress’ in ceasefire talks, Hamas says

The chief Palestinian negotiator conducting indirect talks with Israel for a long-term Gaza truce says there had been “no progress,” with less than five hours to go before the temporary ceasefire expires.

The Palestinian delegations presented their demands for a truce to Egyptian mediators and were awaiting Israel’s response, says the official, Azzam al-Ahmed.


Rocket hits near Ashdod

No injuries or damage are reported after a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip explodes in an open area near the southern city of Ashdod. Air raid sirens didn’t go off before the rocket hit.

Missing soldier David Gordon found dead

The IDF says that Cpl. David Gordon, who went missing Sunday, was found dead this afternoon in central Israel with his weapon by his side.

Gordon, a Givati brigade soldier from Jerusalem, was 21-years-old.

The IDF’s military police launches an investigation into Gordon’s death.

The full story is here.

Sirens in Asheklon coastal region

Rocket hits north of Gaza Strip

No injuries or damage are reported in explosion near the border fence with the Gaza Strip in the Ashkelon coastal region.

Communities within 25 miles of Gaza told to open shelters

The Home Front Command instructs all cities and towns within 40 kilometers (25 miles) of the Gaza Strip to open public bomb shelters.

According to GlobalPost correspondent Noga Tarnopolsky, cities in central Israel, far outside the 40 kilometer radius, have already opened their shelters without Home Front Command orders as a precautionary measure.

The mayors of the Tel Aviv suburbs of Rishon Lezion, Rehovot, Bat Yam and Ramat Gan ordered the opening of public bomb shelters in their cities because of the possibility of renewed rocket fire at the greater Tel Aviv area, Channel 2 reports. In Holon, another Tel Aviv suburb, shelters are already prepped and open.

Livni calls for heavy blow to Hamas, cooperation with PA

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni says she’s in favor of dealing a heavy military blow to Hamas, but that in order to effect real change in the Gaza Strip Israel needs to cooperate with the Palestinian Authority.

Ceasefire talks canceled? Depends who you ask

Egypt’s Foreign Ministry says that ceasefire talks between Israel and the Palestinians have been canceled indefinitely amid renewed fighting.

But a conflicting report says that talks are “ongoing,” despite the Israeli delegation being recalled to Israel following rocket fire from Gaza.

US blames Hamas for ceasefire breakdown

The United States is “very concerned” about the violation of an extended ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, placing the blame for rocket fire from the Gaza Strip on the shoulders of Hamas, even though no organization has taken responsibility for today’s barrage.

“We are very concerned about today’s development and condemn the renewed rocket fire,” State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf says at a press briefing.

She notes that the US has confirmed that rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip, and that “Hamas has security responsibility for Gaza.”

Harf reiterates that the US supports Israel’s right to defend itself against terror attacks from Gaza.

Rebecca Shimoni Stoil

US State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf (screen capture: Youtube)

US State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf (screen capture: Youtube)

Sirens in Ashkelon coastal region

An explosion is reported in the region.

Rocket hits shopping center in southern Israel

A rocket hits a shopping center in the Ashkelon coastal region, causing damage but no injuries, Channel 2 reports.

Massive explosions reported in Gaza City

Journalists in Gaza City report massive explosions from Israeli airstrikes. There are no immediate reports of casualties.

Airstrike on Gaza hits Al Aqsa radio station

An Israeli airstrike reportedly hit Hamas’s Al Aqsa radio station in Gaza City.

The station appears to be broadcasting static.

Multiple casualties in strike on Gaza

Palestinian media report a strike on a house in the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood of Gaza City and multiple casualties on site.

There is no official statement about the toll, but multiple people are reported killed and injured.

Hamas radio says 1 killed, 10 injured in Gaza airstrike

Hamas’s Al Aqsa radio tweets that one died and ten were injured in an Israeli airstrike on a house in the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood of Gaza City. Roughly 20 Palestinians are reported injured in total thus far since Israel commenced airstrikes on Gaza following rocket fire that broke the ceasefire.

IDF publishes video of strikes on Gaza targets

The IDF spokesperson’s unit publishes a video of its airstrikes on rocket and mortar launching sites in the Gaza Strip after the collapse of the ceasefire agreement.

Sirens in Gaza periphery

Rocket intercepted over Tel Aviv

A loud explosion is reported in the vicinity of Tel Aviv as a rocket is intercepted over the metropolitan area.

Sirens are still sounding in the greater Tel Aviv area.

Child said killed in Gaza airstrike

A Gaza health official tells the BBC that a five-year-old was killed and 15 others injured in an Israeli airstrike on Gaza City.

Israel going back to all out-war, official says

A defense official tells a Channel 10 correspondent that Israel is going back to all-out war.

“The IDF has been instructed to operate from the air in preparation for a ground operation,” he tweets.

Sirens in Ashdod

Rocket explodes in greater Tel Aviv area

The IDF says a rocket fired from Gaza struck an open area in the greater Tel Aviv area.

No reports of injuries or damage have come in.

8 rockets reported fired at Tel Aviv area

Eight rockets were fired at the Tel Aviv metropolitan area in the latest barrage, Ynet reports.

Air raid sirens are going off across southern and central Israel.

Sirens in Jerusalem outskirts

Air raid sirens are going off in Beit Shemesh and the Judeah region.

The IDF Home Front Command instructs communities up to 80 kilometers (50 miles) from the Gaza Strip to open their public bomb shelters as rockets are launched deeper into the country.

Hamas armed wing claims rocket fire

Hamas’s Al Aqsa radio says the Al Qassam Brigades are responsible for the latest fire at Israel.

Rocket shard said to fall on Tel Aviv road

After sirens and explosions are heard throughout central Israel, a rocket is said to have landed on a road in Tel Aviv, with the shrapnel causing a car to go up in flames.

Twitter users upload photos of the car burning and of a rocket lying in the road. It is unclear whether the rocket in the picture is the one that caused the car to go up in flames.

No casualties are reported.

Over 20 rockets launched in 1 hour

As a temporary ceasefire between Israel and terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip quickly unravels, over 20 rockets are launched from the Gaza Strip in one hour, Channel 2 reports.

Hamas claims Tel Aviv rockets

The armed wing of Hamas, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, claims responsibility for the rockets fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip this evening, including those that were launched at Tel Aviv.

IDF orders bomb shelters near Gaza opened

In the wake of numerous rocket attacks against Israel this evening, the IDF Home Front Command orders all bomb shelters within a 40-80 kilometer radius from the Gaza Strip to be opened.

Code Red sirens sound over southern Israel

Air raid sirens sound over southern Israel, signaling incoming rocket attacks.

The sirens sound in Beersheba, the Eshkol region and Sderot, as well as in areas near Jerusalem and in Beit Shemesh.

At least two rockets are shot down over Beersheba, and two others explode in open areas in Eshkol.

IDF confirms Tel Aviv rocket hit

After Hamas claims responsibility for firing dozens of rockets at Israel, including at Tel Aviv, the IDF confirms a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip hit the central Israeli city.”

“A rocket hit an open area in the Tel Aviv metropolitan area,” a statement from the military reads.

The IDF also confirms a hit in the southern city of Beersheba.

— AFP contributed

Code Red siren heard over Jerusalem

A Code Red siren sounds over Jerusalem after a rocket hits Tel Aviv.

No hits are reported.

Thud heard over Jerusalem

After a siren sounds in Jerusalem and its environs, including in Beit Shemesh and the West Bank, a thud is heard over the capital, indicating that a rocket was shot down.

Channel 2 reports that a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip was successfully intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.

Hamas claims Jerusalem rocket fire

After claiming responsibility for rockets fired at Tel Aviv and southern Israel, Hamas takes responsibility for rocket fire at Jerusalem.

At least one rocket was fired at the capital earlier this evening. Air raid sirens were heard over the city, followed by a loud thud indicating a successful interception.

Ynet reports that the rocket fired toward Jerusalem was an M-75 long-range rocket.

‘Rocket fire retaliation for Israeli airstrike’

Members of the Palestinian delegation to Cairo say this evening’s barrage of rocket fire by Hamas was launched in retaliation for an Israeli airstrike on a house in the Gaza Strip.

Channel 2 suggests the strike may have targeted the house of a senior Hamas member in the coastal enclave, prompting the terrorist organization to launch a large number of rockets at Israel.

Report Israel tried to kill senior Hamas man

A Channel 10 reporter says that prior to the recent massive rocket barrage, Israel tried to assassinate a senior Hamas figure in the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood.

Alon Ben-David tweets that Israeli officials refuse to comment on rumors that the target of the assassination attempt was the secretive Hamas military leader Mohammed Deif, who survived several Israeli assassination attempts over the years.

Hamas blames Israel, says ‘no security’

A senior Hamas official accuses Israel for resuming the Gaza conflict and warns it will not be secure as long as Palestinians are not.

Shortly after the midnight ceasefire deadline, senior Hamas official Ezzat al-Rishq warns: “Israel will not enjoy security so long as the Palestinian people do not, and it started it.”



50 rockets fired at Israel Tuesday

Fifty rockets were fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, the IDF says. Six were shot down.