The Times of Israel liveblogged events as they unfolded through Friday, August 22, the 46th day of Operation Protective Edge. Hamas pounded southern Israel with dozens of rockets and mortar shells Friday, killing a four-year-old boy, Daniel Tragerman — the first Israeli fatality since Hamas breached a truce on Tuesday and reignited fighting. Hamas also executed 18 alleged collaborators with Israel, after Israel killed several of its terror chiefs in air strikes Tuesday and Wednesday. (Saturday’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 46: Operation Protective Edge

PREAMBLE: Hamas fired dozens of rockets, mainly at southern Israel, all through Thursday, and vowed revenge for Israeli airstrikes that killed three of its terror chiefs. It also continued to claim that its military commander, arch-terrorist Muhammad Deif, had survived an Israeli strike late Tuesday, but produced no sign of life.

“If he’s alive, he’s certainly not available,” said Channel 10’s analyst Zvi Yehezkeli late Thursday, adding that Hamas was, for the first time in this conflict, showing signs of shock and lack of leadership.

Did Mashaal expose Deif to Israeli strike?

Hamas political chief Khaled Mashaal broke protocol and directly contacted the head of the military wing in the Gaza Strip, Muhammad Deif, to discuss a ceasefire with Israel, a call that was intercepted by Israeli intelligence giving away Deif’s location, Lebanese media claimed on Thursday.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas with Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal in Doha on August 21, 2014. (photo credit: AFP PHOTO/ PPO / THAER GHANEM)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas with Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal in Doha on August 21, 2014. (photo credit: AFP/PPO/Thaer Ghanem)

News1, citing Lebanese media, reported that the call may have enabled Israeli intelligence to pinpoint Deif, who has been in hiding for years in Gaza. There was no confirmation of the report, which was also carried by Israel’s Channel 10 news.

Hamas military wing commander Mohammed Deif

Hamas military wing commander Muhammad Deif

Shortly after the contact, the report stated, Israel authorized an airstrike Tuesday night on a Gaza City residence in which Deif’s wife, son and daughter were killed. It has not yet been confirmed if Deif was killed in the strike. Israeli officials have said there was firm intelligence that Deif was there; Hamas claims he is still alive, but has produced no sign of life.

According to Palestinian sources cited in the report, Mashaal, who is based in Qatar, was being pressured to agree to an Egyptian ceasefire proposal but wished to consult directly with Deif, and did so contrary to established Hamas secrecy protocols.

— Read our full story here.

Holdup of US missile shipment reportedly resolved

A holdup in the US supply of Hellfire missiles to Israel has been resolved and the incident “is behind us,” Israel’s Channel 10 news quotes a senior Israeli official as saying on Thursday night. The official says Israel has been assured that the suspension of the sale “was just bureaucracy.”

Hellfire missiles (photo credit: CC BY Wikipedia)

Hellfire missiles (photo credit: CC BY-Wikipedia)

The unconfirmed report did not specify when the weapons would be delivered.

The news came a day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed American support for Israel during the ongoing war against Hamas, noting that he spoke almost daily with Secretary of State John Kerry, and had held four calls with President Barack Obama since the conflict erupted 45 days ago.

— Read more here.

European powers discussing ceasefire resolution

UN diplomats said late Thursday that Britain, France and Germany are discussing a possible Security Council resolution, calling for a sustainable ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and an international monitoring mission to ensure its implementation.

One diplomat says both Israelis and Palestinians officials have privately suggested Security Council action would be helpful in persuading their constituents to accept measures to end the conflict.

The diplomats say the resolution would include opening up Gaza’s borders and a return of the Palestinian Authority to the territory. It would also include security assurances for the Israelis, including ways to prevent Hamas from acquiring more arms and building more tunnels. The international monitoring mission would likely be a joint-UN-European effort.

The countries have circulated a document entitled “Elements” to diplomats, outlining key points in the potential resolution, Haaretz reports. Major features include PA control of Gaza, a ban of unauthorized weapons sales, reconstruction of Gaza under international supervision, and restarting peace talks based on the 1967 lines.

The document recommends the full reopening of border crossings, and the lifting of the blockade on the Gaza Strip.

Israeli diplomats were briefed on the document, but did not receive a copy themselves. They were eventually able to obtain a copy.

The resolution would condemn “all violence and hostilities directed against civilians, as well as indiscriminate attacks resulting in civilian casualties, and all acts of terrorism.”

— AP, Times of Israel staff

2 killed in airstrike in central Gaza, Palestinians report

Palestinian sources are reporting that two people were killed in an Israeli Air Force strike on Deir el-Balah, in the central Gaza Strip, according to Israel Radio.

The two fatalities bring the total death toll today in Gaza to 30, including an unknown number of gunmen.

Haniyeh: Israel to pay ‘heavy price’

Ismail Haniyeh, the former Hamas PM of Gaza, released a statement late Thursday promising Israel will pay a heavy price in retaliation for the elimination of three senior members of the organization’s military wing.

Then-Hamas Prime Minister in the Gaza Strip Ismail Haniyeh (L) flashes the V-sign as he greets the movement's deputy leader, Moussa Abu Marzuk, upon his arrival in Gaza City, on Monday, April 21, 2014 (photo credit: AFP Photo/Mahmud Hams)

Then-Hamas prime minister of the Gaza Strip Ismail Haniyeh (left) flashes the V sign as he greets the movement’s deputy leader, Moussa Abu Marzouk, upon his arrival in Gaza City, on Monday, April 21, 2014. (photo credit: AFP/Mahmud Hams)

“The path is long, and the fighters of the al-Qassam Brigades will cause the enemy to pay a heavy price. The crimes of the enemy only strengthen our adherence to our demands of a stop to aggression, a lifting of the siege and a life of freedom,” Haniyeh wrote, according to a Ynet translation.

‘Difference between IS and Hamas is tactics’

Col. Richard Kemp, the former commander of British troops in Afghanistan who has been outspoken in his support of Israel’s military tactics, writes an article today in the British paper The Jewish Chronicle arguing that the West does not recognize Hamas’s true nature.

“Few seem able to comprehend that the very extremist ethos that drives the barbarians who are subjugating ever-expanding swathes of Iraq and Syria, and who threaten Jordan and Lebanon, also drives Hamas,” he writes. “The difference is not in the depth of religious fanaticism or the extent of bloodlust, it is only in current tactics.

“Consequently, the same political leaders, commentators and human rights groups that demand something must be done to curb the horrific excesses of the Islamic State are fostering its equivalent in Gaza. What Western governments cannot see, many governments in the Middle East can. Countries such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan understand that Hamas and all it stands for is a threat not just to Israel but also to them.”

“As Hamas continues to break ceasefire after ceasefire by launching rockets at Israel’s civilian population, the Israeli government will continue to respond with military force. It has no alternative — to defend its people and its territory is every government’s inalienable obligation. When civilians die as a result, world leaders should hold to account Hamas, the group that caused and willed these deaths, rather than instinctively pile ill-judged pressure on Israel.”

Col. Richard Kemp, Jerusalem, July 24 (Photo credit: ToI staff)

Col. Richard Kemp in Jerusalem, July 24, 2014 (photo credit: Times of Israel staff)

Some US colleges calling students back from Israel

Some US colleges are pulling students from overseas study programs in Israel as the Gaza war rages, AP reported late Thursday, though the relative calm beyond the immediate battle areas is raising questions in some quarters about why they had to leave.

Colleges say security was the top concern, citing advisories about hazardous travel from the US State Department and from insurance companies that cover students for health, accidents, security and even the cost of evacuation.

“On the one hand, we want to introduce students to the dimensions of conflict,” said Yehuda Lukacs, director of the Center for Global Education at George Mason University in Virginia. “But this was too much, because their safety and security were challenged.”

— Full story is here

Gaza experiencing severe water shortage

Gaza residents are suffering from a severe water shortage as a result of the ongoing conflict there, JTA reports.

Damage to wells and Gaza’s energy infrastructure has disrupted the pumping and distribution of water, cutting the coastal strip’s water supply by half, according to Haaretz.

In addition, hundreds of thousands of displaced Gazans have been unable to bathe regularly. Haaretz reported that the water shortage could lead to the spread of infections and skin diseases.

The Palestinian Water Authority said that bombing destroyed 11 wells and two purification plants, while damaging an additional 15 wells and four purification plants. Ninety percent of the water in Gaza is not potable, making the purification plants crucial to the area’s drinking supply.

US condemns Hamas threats to attack Ben Gurion Airport

The State Department condemns Hamas’s attempts to carry out a rocket attack on Ben Gurion Airport and its threats to airline carriers not to fly into, or depart from, Tel Aviv.

The US “condemn[s] Hamas’s targeted attack on Ben Gurion Airport and Hamas’s threat against civilian aviation,” says State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf.

“That’s something that is unacceptable. The rocket fire needs to stop,” she tells reporters at the daily press briefing in Washington.

UN failing to fight tyranny, Islamic terror — Israeli ambassador

The UN is failing to fight tyranny in the world, with the international community remaining silent on the growing threat of Islamic terror groups and the rise of anti-Semitism, Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, Ron Prosor, says during an address before the Security Council.

“In 2004, there were 21 Islamic terrorist groups spread out in 18 countries. Today, there are 41 Islamic terrorist groups operating in 24 countries. These groups have crippled communities and brought entire nations to their knee,” adds Prosor.

Ron Prosor addressing the Security Council in November (photo credit: screen grab

Ron Prosor addressing the UN Security Council in November 2012. (photo credit: screen capture

“And still the international community remains largely silent. It is silent as Hezbollah amasses and smuggles thousands of weapons, as al-Qaeda abuses and persecutes women, as ISIS slaughters Christian and Yazidi communities, and as Hamas intentionally places Gaza’s men, women, and children in harm’s way.”

Prosor says the world must wake up to the dangers posed by these groups and not stand idly by in the face of radical ideology.

“This is not a problem that is hundreds of miles and decades away. Radical extremism affects us all — right here and right now. Make no mistake: We are locked in a battle for our shared security,” he says.

Seventy years after the Holocaust, Prosor continues, Jews the world over are being threatened and “Death to the Jews” can once again be heard in Europe.

“The world seems to have learned nothing. When synagogues and Jewish-owned shops are burned and looted — is it enough to claim that anti-Semitism is wrong? When mobs beat Jews as they walk the streets — is it enough to only express disgust? When heads of state and ambassadors in this institution compare Israel to Hitler and the Nazis — is it enough to issue a condemnation?” he asks.

The UN “was born from the ashes of World War II to confront tyranny, but it is failing. Radical extremism has touched every part of the world from Buenos Aires to Burgas and from Bangkok to Burkina Faso,” he adds.

The Israeli envoy says world countries must fight extremism in order to prevent the next war.

“We must declare a war on incitement, a war on bigotry, and a war on hypocrisy.”

‘Hamas furious at Egypt for not condemning Israel’

Hamas is furious with Egypt for not issuing a condemnation of Israel after truce talks collapsed Tuesday and hostilities resumed, according to a report in the new Qatari media channel al-Arabi al-Jadeed, headed by suspected spy-for-Hezbollah, former MK Azmi Bishara.

Yesterday, Hamas political leader in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh urged the Egyptian “brothers” to condemn Israel for its “crimes against the Palestinian people and for its targeted assassinations of Hamas leaders.”

Truce talks to resume next week, say Palestinians

Members of the Palestinian delegation to the Cairo truce talks estimate that indirect negotiations will be renewed next week, following intense Egyptian efforts to get the sides back to the table.

Truce talks broke down Tuesday after a six-day temporary ceasefire, following rocket attacks into Israel.

Qais Abdul Karim, a member of the delegation and a leader of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, says that Israel may have walked out of the talks, but it didn’t mean the end of the dialogue, according to Israel Radio.

Karim says the Egyptian initiative is still on the table and is the only proposal being considered.

Another member, not named by Israel Radio, says Israel sabotaged the talks “for the sake of 100 words [in the proposed agreement].”

US joins European efforts for UN resolution on Gaza

With Egyptian efforts to end the Gaza war collapsing, the United States, Britain, France and Germany are discussing a possible Security Council resolution calling for a sustainable ceasefire and an international monitoring mission to ensure its implementation, UN diplomats say.

Diplomats say the US, Israel’s main ally, has joined the European effort to produce a resolution that would call for a ceasefire and advance the goal of a durable peace.

“This is not a competition,” says an American diplomat in Washington. “We share with other Security Council members a concern over the return to hostilities following the breach of the Egyptian-brokered humanitarian ceasefire. And the council has called on all parties to prevent the situation from escalating and to resume negotiations.”

Another diplomat says both Israeli and Palestinian officials have privately suggested Security Council action would be helpful in persuading their constituents to accept measures to end the conflict.

“The message that we are getting from both sides is that it would be helpful to prescribe some elements to enable them to sell it internally,” the diplomat says.

— AP

109 rockets launched at Israel on Thursday

Gaza-based groups launched 109 projectiles into Israel yesterday, the majority at the southern cities, but also Modi’in and the central region.

Thirteen of those rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome system, the military says.

The Israeli Air Force struck 60 targets in Gaza throughout the day, killing at least 30 people, according to medical officials in the Hamas-run enclave.

After rocket-free night, mortars launched at communities near Gaza

After a night without sirens and rockets, a volley of mortars was launched at the Eshkol Region.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

IDF increases readiness for possible Hamas retaliation

The IDF says there is a possibility that Hamas will try to carry out a large-scale terror attack, or a kidnapping of an Israeli soldier or civilian near the Gaza border, following the assassination of three of the group’s top commanders yesterday.

The IDF announces it is increasing readiness for such a possibility, Channel 2 reported.

Sirens sound in Hof Ashkelon

Cairo talks ‘not dead,’ says senior Israeli official

A senior Israel official tells Channel 2 that indirect truce talks between Israel, Hamas and other Gaza terror groups in Egypt, are “not dead,” three days after both delegations left Cairo after negotiations were halted and Hamas resumed its rocket fire.

The official said Egypt’s ceasefire initiative is the only relevant one at the moment.

Earlier, members of the Palestinian delegation indicated that talks may resume next week.

Sirens sound in communities near Gaza Strip

Army says it hit 5 operatives, 50 targets in Gaza

The IDF says that, over the past day, the air force has struck some 50 targets in the Gaza Strip, including rocket launch sites, weapons caches, and buried rocket launchers.

The air force also targeted a group of five terror operatives overnight, the army says, confirming that the men were hit.

The IDF says that among the launchers that were targeted was one that was used to fire at Israel Thursday night.

Israeli official says Deif probably dead

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzachi Hanegbi assesses that Hamas military chief Muhammad Deif is dead, although he concedes that, at this point, it’s still “a matter of guessing.

A digger removes the cement and debris on August 20, 2014 of the Deif home, destroyed the night before in an Israeli airstrike on Gaza City's Sheikh Radwan neighborhood (photo credit: AFP/MOHAMMED ABED)

A digger removes the cement and debris on August 20, 2014 of the Deif home, destroyed the night before in an Israeli airstrike on Gaza City’s Sheikh Radwan neighborhood. (photo credit: AFP/Mohammed Abed)

“My assessment is that he isn’t alive, because I don’t see any indication that he emerged from the debris [of his bombed house] alive,” he tells Israel Radio.

Still, Hanegbi concedes, past experience shows that Deif, who survived multiple assassination attempts by Israel despite being injured very badly, “has many lives.”

The airstrike on Deif’s house overnight Wednesday killed Deif’s wife along with his infant son and three-year-old daughter.

IAF said to hit landfill in central Gaza

Palestinian sources report an Israeli airstrike on a landfill in the central Gaza refugee camp of Bureij.

Rocket falls in Eshkol area

A rocket fired from Gaza falls in an open area in the Eshkol Region.

According to reports, the rocket does not trigger the alert siren.

Iron Dome downs rocket near Ashkelon

A rocket fired from Gaza is intercepted by the Iron Dome system over the Hof Ashkelon region.

Israeli strikes said to kill 4 in Gaza

Israeli airstrikes killed four Palestinians in the Gaza Strip on Friday, two in Deir el-Balah and two in Nusseirat, an emergency services spokesman says.

The strike on Nusseirat hit a house, whereas that on Deir el-Balah struck open farmland, Ashraf al-Kidra tells AFP.


Army wary of cross-border revenge attacks

Channel 10 reports that IDF troops operating along the border with Gaza are bracing for the possibility that Hamas will try to avenge the deaths of three of its top military commanders, who were killed in an Israeli strike overnight Wednesday.

Israel is assessing that Hamas may try to exploit tunnels that haven’t been discovered by the IDF in order to launch an attack on soldiers.

Another threat that is taken into consideration is that of a bombing along the border.

Abbas gives Mashaal an earful in Doha

Hamas’s Qatar-based leader Khaled Mashaal was taken to task by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas during a meeting in Doha yesterday.

A senior Palestinian source tells The Times of Israel that the two men had a “difficult” conversation.

The source says that Abbas castigated Hamas to Mashaal and called his people “liars,” after the Shin Bet said that captured Hamas operatives had confessed to a plot to attack PA forces in the West Bank and even stage a “coup” there.

In this file photo provided on Nov. 24, 2011, by the office of Khaled Mashaal, Hamas leader Mashaal, left, and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas are seen together during a meeting in Cairo, Egypt. (photo credit: AP/Office of Khaled Meshaal)

Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal (left), and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas during a meeting in Cairo, Egypt, November 24, 2011. (photo credit: AP/Office of Khaled Mashaal/File)

Abbas also informed Mashaal that Hamas would have to choose between unity with Abbas’s Fatah movement and a permanent “divorce,” the source says.

The source adds that the information revealed by the Shin Bet in a press release this week was already known to Abbas’s security forces.

Abbas is scheduled to travel to Cairo today.

— Avi Issacharoff

Alert sirens sound in Ashkelon

Rockets fall in Eshkol Region

Two rockets fired from Gaza fall in the Eshkol Region.

There are no reports of casualties or of any damage.

Hamas said to kill 11 ‘collaborators’

Rocket alert in Netivot area

Official confirms Hamas executions

A Gaza security official announces Hamas has killed 11 suspected informers for Israel.

The security official says the 11 were killed early Friday at the Gaza City police headquarters. He says all the men had previously been sentenced by Gaza courts.

He speaks on condition of anonymity, because he is not authorized to discuss the incident with reporters. The killings of the 11 are also reported by al-Rai and al-Majd, two websites linked to Hamas.

— AP

Two rockets intercepted over Sderot

Beersheba man injured by rocket shard

An Israeli man is moderately wounded by rocket shrapnel in Beesheba after a large barrage of rockets is fired at southern Israel.

The man is evacuated to the city’s Soroka Hospital for treatment.

Images of rocket damage in Beersheba

Rocket falls next to kindergarten

One of the rockets fired at the Eshkol Region earlier this morning fell just outside a kindergarten in an Israeli town, reports say.

Yesterday, an Israeli man was wounded by shrapnel when he shielded a group of small children in a kindergarten from an incoming rocket.

Two rockets fall in Eshkol Region

Two rockets fired from Gaza fall in the Eshkol Region.

One of the rockets falls inside a community and causes damage to houses.

Abbas, Mashaal hold 2nd meeting in 2 days

PA President Mahmoud Abbas meets with Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal for the second time in two days, a Palestinian source tells AFP.

Hamas said to kill 18 suspected of aiding Israel

The most recent reports out of Gaza put the number of suspected “collaborators” killed by Hamas on Friday at 18, up from 11 earlier today.

Six of those executed were shot dead in front of a mosque by men in Hamas military uniforms, witnesses tell AFP.

Rocket fired at Tel Aviv area

A long-range rocket is fired from Gaza at the Tel Aviv region but falls in an open area and does not cause casualties or damage.

The IDF says that sirens were not activated because it determined that the rocket would not fall in a populated area.

Hamas says the rocket was a J-80 model, which is manufactured in Gaza.

‘Collaborators’ grabbed outside mosque, shot

Six of the Palestinians who were executed by Hamas Friday were grabbed from among hundreds of worshipers leaving the city’s largest mosque, by men in the uniform of Hamas’s military wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, witnesses tell AFP.

They were pushed to the ground. One of the masked men shouted: “This is the final moment of the Zionist enemy collaborators,” then the gunmen sprayed them with bullets.


Rocket hits synagogue in Ashdod

A rocket fired from Gaza a short time ago made a direct hit on a synagogue in Ashdod, causing damage to the strucrure.

Several people are being treated for shrapnel injuries and shock by emergency services.

Jewish school vandalized in Denmark

A Jewish school in Copenhagen has had its windows smashed and anti-Jewish graffiti referring to the conflict in Gaza spray-painted on its walls, the school says.

“We know that a political message has been written on the walls but we don’t know who is responsible,” Jan Hansen, headmaster of Carolineskolen, tells AFP.

Messages daubed on the school walls included “No peace in Gaza” and “No peace to you Zionist pigs.”

“There have been parents who didn’t want to send their children to school today and there have been some children who were sad and a bit afraid who we had to send home,” Hansen says.

Founded in 1805, the school, which includes a nursery, describes itself as the world’s second oldest still functioning Jewish school.

A rise in the number of reported anti-Semitic crimes in Denmark last week prompted local politicians to organize a “kippah march” in central Copenhagen in support of Jewish people’s right to display their religion openly.


Sirens sound in Nahal Oz, Alumim, near Gaza

Sirens sound in Sh’ar Hanegev, Sdot Negev

Palestinians throw firebomb at soldiers near Hebron; no injuries

Palestinians throw a firebomb at troops manning an IDF checkpoint near the West Bank city of Hebron, Israel Radio reports.

There were no injuries but the checkpoint structure sustained some damage.

Two rockets explode near Sdot Negev, no injuries

Over 70 rockets launched at Israel since morning hours

More than 70 rockets have been fired into Israel since 6:00 a.m. by Gaza-based groups, the IDF says.

Eight of them were intercepted by the Iron Dome system.

Meanwhile, the IDF says it struck over 30 terror targets in the Gaza Strip.

Sirens sound in Sderot, other communities near Gaza

PA forces clash with Hamas supporters in West Bank

Palestinian Authority security forces clash with hundreds Hamas supporters in the West Bank city of Hebron.

Palestinian media reports that tear gas was used by the forces to disperse the crowd, which was advancing on an IDF checkpoint near the city.

Hamas supporters held several demonstrations in solidarity with the terror group and the people living in Gaza across the West Bank.

Sirens sound in Eshkol region

Rocket hits home in Sderot; no immediate reports of injuries

A rocket fired from the Gaza Strip a short time ago hit a home in Sderot.

Police and emergency services were making their way to the scene. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

Sderot house hit by Gaza rocket was empty

The Sderot home hit directly by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip was empty, according to initial reports.

Police and emergency services are on the scene. Three people are being treated for shock, according to reports.

7 rockets explode near Eshkol region, no injuries

Sirens sound in Tel Aviv

Several explosions heard near Tel Aviv

Sirens sound in Holon, Bat Yam and Ramat Gan

Hamas claims it fired rockets aimed at Ben Gurion Airport

Hamas claims it fired several M-75 rockets, with a range of 75 kilometers, aimed at Ben Gurion Airport.

Moments ago, sirens went off across central Israel and several explosions were heard, possibly indicating Iron Dome interceptions.

4-year-old boy killed in mortar attack in Sha’ar Hanegev

A boy was killed in a mortar attack a short while ago on Sha’ar Hanegev near the Gaza Strip.

According to initial reports, the mortar made a direct hit on a car, critically injuring the boy, who later died of his wounds

Sirens sound in Eshkol region

Sirens sound in Ashkelon, communities in Gaza periphery

Sirens sound in Beersheba

Sirens sound in communities surrounding Gaza Strip

US ambassador to Israel condemns mortar fire that killed 4-year-old

US ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro says he condemns the mortar attack on southern Israel that killed a four-year-old boy.

“I condemn in the strongest terms this outrageous terrorist attack and offer condolences to the boy’s family. Israel has the right and obligation to defend itself, which the United States supports,” he writes on his Facebook page.

U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro (Photo credit: Flash 90)

U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro (Photo credit: Flash 90)

Netanyahu vows Hamas to pay heavy price for killing of 4-year-old

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Hamas will pay a “heavy price” for the killing of the four-year-old boy in a mortar attack on southern Israel.

In a phone call to local Sha’ar Hanegev council head, Alon Shuster, Netanyahu said the IDF and Shin Bet would intensify their operations against Hamas and other Gaza terror groups until sustained calm was guaranteed for Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a statement on August 20, 2014 in Tel Aviv. (photo credit: AFP/JACK GUEZ)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a statement on August 20, 2014 in Tel Aviv. (photo credit: AFP/JACK GUEZ)

Sirens sound in Netivot and Sdot Negev

Rocket intercepted by Iron Dome over Netivot, near Gaza

Hamas opposed to int’l demilitarization efforts

Hamas official Mahmoud Al-Zahar says his organization is opposed to the demilitarization of the Gaza Strip and will not “agree to international resolutions that will only harm the weapons of the resistance and won’t assist in completely removing the blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip,” Ynet reports.

Sirens sound in Eshkol region

Sirens sound in Beersheba

Amnesty International blasts Hamas for Gaza summary executions

The international group Amnesty International condemns Hamas for its summary execution of suspected collaborators with Israel.

Hamas killed 18 such people this morning and this afternoon alone.

“This flurry of executions by Hamas is made even more shocking by the fact that the victims were sentenced to death after trials which, if they happened at all, were summary and grossly unfair,” said Anne FitzGerald, Amnesty International’s Director of Research and Crisis Response.

“Hamas must immediately and totally cease its use of the death penalty,” she says.


Sirens sound in Sderot

Iran to send aid to Gaza via Egypt

Iran plans to send aid to the blockaded Gaza Strip after Egypt said it would allow the shipment to enter the Palestinian territory, an Iranian diplomatic source says.

The official IRNA news agency says Cairo had agreed to transfer humanitarian aid bound for the coastal enclave, citing a foreign ministry source in Tehran.

The source says a first Iranian Red Crescent shipment of 100 tons of medicine and food would be flown “soon” to Cairo.

Tehran says at the end of July it had sent a first shipment of aid to Cairo that was awaiting authorization to enter the enclave via Rafah in southern Gaza, the only crossing point not controlled by Israel.

Iran does not recognize Israel and provides financial and military assistance to Islamist Palestinian groups.

Iranian officials have said that Tehran provided Hamas and Islamic Jihad militants with the technology necessary to make rockets.

Iran has condemned Israel’s Operation Protective Edge, and Tehran municipality renamed a key street where the UN headquarters is located “Gaza Avenue”.

— AFP, Times of Israel staff

Turkish Jewish couple murdered in Istanbul home

A well-known Turkish Jewish couple in Istanbul were found murdered in their home on Friday, the Turkish daily Hurriyet reports.

The caretaker of the two, Jak Karako, 77, and Georgia Karako, 69, is the prime suspect in the double stabbing of the couple.

Police have launched a manhunt for the caretaker.

The couple founded Ören Bayan, the most famous textile brand in Turkey

Rocket intercepted over Beersheba, two explode in open terrain

40 hurt in airstrike on home in southern Gaza City — report

At least 40 people are injured in an Israeli strike on a home in the southern part of Gaza City, medics in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip report.

Witnesses tell AFP that a drone fired two rockets at the two-storey property before an F16 warplane dropped a large bomb. It was the home of a family that included members of Hamas, witnesses say.

113 projectiles launched from Gaza today

Gaza-based terror groups have fired 113 projectiles into Israel since this morning, Army Radio reports.

Since indirect truce talks in Cairo collapsed on Tuesday afternoon, 447 rockets have been launched into Israel.

Sirens sound in Ashdod, Ashkelon

Abbas, Mashaal seek UN timetable to ‘end Israel occupation’

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas’s exiled leader Khaled Mashaal urge the United Nations to draw up a “timetable” for the end of the “Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories,” Qatar state media says.

Abbas and Mashaal issued the appeal during talks in Doha, as fighting continued in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, Qatar’s state news agency QNA says.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas with Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal in Doha on August 21, 2014. (photo credit: AFP PHOTO/ PPO / THAER GHANEM)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas with Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal in Doha on August 21, 2014. (photo credit: AFP PHOTO/ PPO / THAER GHANEM)

The two Palestinian leaders have been holding talks in Doha since Thursday, but little else has filtered out of their meetings which are hosted by the emir of Qatar, a key Hamas backer.

QNA says Abbas and Mashaal discussed Israel’s “aggression” in Gaza and underlined “the importance of acting at all levels in order to… lift Israel’s blockade of Gaza.”

They also agreed to request from the United Nations “a resolution that would define a timetable for the end of Israel’s occupation and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state”.

The agency said Abbas would undertake the diplomatic steps necessary to seek such a resolution.

During their meeting, Abbas and Meshaal stressed that the unity government “represents all the Palestinian people and looks after their interests”, QNA says.

It also reported that the Qatari ruler spoke by phone Friday to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to discuss efforts to stop “Israel’s aggression on Gaza and the lifting of the blockade.”

— AFP, Times of Israel staff

One person critically injured in rocket attack on Ashdod area

One person is in critical condition and three people are lightly hurt following a rocket attack on the Ashdod region moments ago.

Police and emergency services are on the scene.

Initial reports indicate that a rocket made a direct hit on a car.

Several other rockets fired in the same barrage were intercepted by Iron Dome, Ynet reports.

‘Gaza mortar that killed 4-year-old fired from near UNRWA shelter’

The mortar shell that killed a four-year-old boy in the Sha’ar Hanegev region this evening was fired from near a UNRWA shelter in Gaza City, Israeli security officials say. Initially, they said the shell was fired from near a school. Later, an IDF spokesperson corrected that to “adjacent to UNRWA shelter.”

Firefighters try to extinguish the fire where a rocket landed and killed a 4-year-old boy at a kibbutz in southern Israel on August 22, 2014 (Photo credit: Southern Region Fire Department Spokesperson)

Firefighters try to extinguish the fire where a rocket landed and killed a 4-year-old boy at a kibbutz in southern Israel on August 22, 2014 (Photo credit: Southern Region Fire Department Spokesperson)


Boy killed by mortar shell near Gaza named as Daniel Tragerman

The four-year-old boy killed this evening by a mortar shell fired from Gaza into a kibbutz in the Sha’ar Hanegev region is named as Daniel Tragerman.

His family had recently returned to their home, after having left for the majority of Operation Protective Edge, which was launched on July 8.

Daniel Turgerman was killed by a mortar shell fired from Gaza into a kibbutz in the Sha'ar Hanegev regional council on August 22, 2014. (Photo credit: Courtesy)

Daniel Tragerman was killed by a mortar shell fired from Gaza into a kibbutz in the Sha’ar Hanegev regional council on August 22, 2014. (Photo credit: Courtesy)

Israel must force Hamas ‘to raise the white flag,’ Liberman says

Israel’s objective in its offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip must be to defeat the Islamist terror organization and render the group incapable of orchestrating any further attacks against the Jewish state, Avigdor Liberman sayst

“Our strategic goal as a state must be either to defeat or force the surrender of Hamas,” the foreign minister said during an interview with Channel 2. “Surrender means that Hamas raises the white flag and begs for a ceasefire without any preconditions and requirements,” he elaborated.

“Defeat means that Hamas has no ability to fire missiles, produce rockets or restore tunnels.” He said this goal was entirely “realistic.”

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman speaks during the Foreign Affairs and Security Committee meeting at the Knesset discussing the operation 'Protective Edge,' on August 4, 2014. (photo credit: Flash 90)

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman speaks during the Foreign Affairs and Security Committee meeting at the Knesset discussing the operation ‘Protective Edge,’ on August 4, 2014. (photo credit: Flash 90)

Liberman went on to heavily condemn Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas who, the foreign minister asserts, has led an incitement campaign against Israel throughout the IDF operation in the Gaza Strip.

“Abbas failed in Gaza and lost it to Hamas, he did not deliver the goods then and is incapable of doing so today,” Liberman charges. “While Hamas focused on terrorist actions, Abbas led a militant and inciting line against Israel.”

While insisting that he did not wish to attack Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Liberman criticized Netanyahu for what he called his indecisiveness with regard to Abbas and for entrusting the Palestinian leader with assisting in ending the conflict with Hamas.

“When Abbas formed a government with Hamas, Netanyahu insisted on not recognizing it, and now suddenly Abbas is a lifesaver?” Liberman asks. “It just doesn’t fit.”