The Times of Israel liveblogged events as they unfolded through Sunday, August 24, the 48th day of Operation Protective Edge. Hamas pounded southern Israel with 135 rockets during the day. Daniel Tragerman, 4, killed in a Friday mortar attack on Kibbutz Nahal Oz, was laid to rest. Israel hit dozens of targets in Gaza during the day. (Monday’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 48 of Operation Protective Edge

PREAMBLE: Day 48 of Operation Protective Edge begins with a rocket attack from Lebanon that hit the Galilee, and injured two five-year-olds.

Hamas has pounded Israel — mainly the south — with some 20 rockets and mortar shells on Friday and Saturday. The IDF is striking targets in Gaza, and Communications Minister Gilad Erdan said late Saturday that Israel is “closer than ever” to launching a new ground offensive against Hamas in the strip.

Stallone, Schwarzenegger lead Hollywood assault on Hamas

Numerous Hollywood heavyweights have put their names to a letter slamming Hamas over the “devastating loss of life endured by Israelis and Palestinians in Gaza,” it was reported late Saturday.

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone pose on the red carpet for the Macau premiere of their movie "The Expendables 3" in Macau, China, Friday, Aug. 22, 2014. (photo credit: AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone pose on the red carpet for the Macau premiere of their movie “The Expendables 3″ in Macau, China, Friday, Aug. 22, 2014. (photo credit: AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

The reported 187 signatories, who include Mayim Bialik, Minnie Driver, Kelsey Grammer, Seth Rogen, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sarah Silverman, and Sylvester Stallone, condemn the “ideologies of hatred and genocide which are reflected in Hamas’ charter, Article 7 of which reads, ‘There is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!’”

In their letter, set to be published on Sunday in Billboard, Variety and Hollywood Reporter, and also in leading US newspapers, they write that “Hamas cannot be allowed to rain rockets on Israeli cities, nor can it be allowed to hold its own people hostage. Hospitals are for healing, not for hiding weapons. Schools are for learning, not for launching missiles. Children are our hope, not our human shields.”

Other signatories include director Ivan Reitman, writer Aaron Sorkin, producers Michael Rotenberg and Avi Lerner, composer Michael Nyman, talent manager Danny Sussman and mogul Haim Saban, Ynet reported Saturday.

– Full story and full text of the letter are here.

Rocket makes direct hit on car in Beersheba, 2 people lightly injured

A rocket fired late Saturday from Gaza at Beersheba made a direct hit on car in a residential area, injuring two people lightly.

A nearby building sustained some damage.

Emergency services are on the scene.

Two children hurt by shrapnel in Lebanon rocket attack

Two five-year-old children were hurt by shrapnel from a rocket fired from Lebanon a little over an hour ago which landed in a community in the Upper Galilee.

Eighteen people were treated for shock.

The IDF fired artillery shells into Lebanon in response to the attack.

A Lebanese security source said the rocket was launched from Dheira, three kilometers from the border with Israel.

In mid-July, at least nine rockets were fired from Lebanon at Israel, prompting it to retaliate with artillery fire.

Lebanese military officials had, at the time, said they believed the attacks were carried out by a small Palestinian group in an act of solidarity with Gaza terror groups.

– AFP, Times of Israel staff

Herzog slams PM, prompts criticism from Likud, Shas

In a Saturday night TV interview, opposition leader and head of the Labor Party Isaac Herzog said Israel must go to general elections after Operation Protective Edge ends in order to choose whether to kick-start peace negotiations with the Palestinian Authority or not. He made clear his conviction that a resumed peace process, involving a partnership with the Palestinian Authority’s Mahmoud Abbas, was vital for Israel.

Israel Labor party Leader Isaac Herzog speaks during a Labor party meeting in the Israeli parliament on July 28, 2014. (photo credit: Flash90)

Israel Labor party Leader Isaac Herzog speaks during a Labor party meeting in the Israeli parliament on July 28, 2014. (photo credit: Flash90)

“The Israeli people will face a tough decision [after this conflict],” Herzog said during an interview with Channel 2. “Do they see a future for the two-state solution, or not, which is why I think that after this military campaign, we must go to elections.”

The Labor party head asserted that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government had failed to better the Israeli public’s situation on almost every front.

Herzog’s comments prompted Likud sources to slam him for attacking the government. The Shas opposition party also attacked him, saying the political leadership — government and opposition — should unite in times of war.

Last families leave Kibbutz Nahal Oz, day after 4-year-old killed there

Earlier Saturday night, ToI reported that as more and more families in southern communities and in towns near the Gaza Strip border choose to depart from the area for fear of rocket attacks, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon stated that the IDF will provide assistance to fleeing civilians in order to ease their move up north.

Speaking during a visit to towns in the south, Ya’alon said that although authorities did not specifically recommend that residents in the vicinity of the Palestinian enclave evacuate their homes, a decision to leave the area would be met with support and understanding on the government’s part.

Ya’alon added that the ongoing IDF operation in the Gaza Strip was, at this point, aimed at forcing Hamas to accept a ceasefire on Israel’s terms. “The goal of the [Israeli] decision makers is to bring Hamas to the negotiation table in Cairo under terms that Israel decides, and to achieve a ceasefire deal as demanded by Jerusalem,” he said.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon visits Israeli soldiers injured during Operation Protective Edge, at Tel Hashomer Hospital in Tel Aviv on August 11, 2014. (Photo credit: Ariel Hermoni/Ministry of Defense/Flash90)

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon visits Israeli soldiers injured during Operation Protective Edge, at Tel Hashomer Hospital in Tel Aviv on August 11, 2014. (Photo credit: Ariel Hermoni/Ministry of Defense/Flash90)

Ya’alon had been set to make an appearance at Kibbutz Nahal Oz, where four-year-old Daniel Tragerman was killed on Friday by a mortar shell, but the visit was nixed because of the heavy rocket fire throughout the day Saturday, prompting the ire of the residents.

The kibbutz dining hall was hit by a mortar shell Saturday morning.

Nahal Oz residents interviewed by Channel 10 expressed their frustration with the minister’s cancelation, asking why the government and the military told them it was safe to return to their homes earlier this month when it was much too dangerous even for the defense minister.

Daniel Tragerman (photo credit: Courtesy)

Daniel Tragerman (photo credit: Courtesy)

Earlier Saturday, the last few families who had stayed behind in the kibbutz, just two kilometers from the Gaza border, throughout Operation Protective Edge backed up their bags and left.

Of the nearly 360 ​​members of Nahal Oz, only about 90 people, almost all of them kibbutz employees, remained in the community after Saturday afternoon, Ynet reported. In nearby Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha, families with young children and the elderly have all left as well.

The army on Saturday revealed that Chief of the General Staff Benny Gantz was visiting Kibbutz Nahal Oz Friday afternoon when the mortar fire from Gaza hit the kibbutz and killed Tragerman.

– Full story here.

IDF levels Rafah building, multiple injuries reported

Israeli Air Force jets bombed a four-story shopping center in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, Palestinian media says. According to the report, the building was completely destroyed and multiple people injured.

There is no immediate statement by the IDF about the strike.

A Twitter user in the Gaza Strip uploads a photo of what he claims is the airstrike that hit the building.

Netanyahu, Sissi said to speak frequently and at length

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi have maintained close ties throughout Operation Protective Edge, Channel 10 reports, and have engaged in frequent and lengthy telephone conversations about the ongoing situation.

Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi. (photo credit: AP/Egypt's State Television)

Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi. (photo credit: AP/Egypt’s State Television)

Netanyahu is said to be very pleased with the close ties with Egypt developed during the conflict in the Gaza Strip, particularly in light of Cairo’s central role in mediating ceasefire negotiations between Israel and Palestinian factions.

The report comes out amid efforts by Egypt to bring the two sides back to the negotiating table to forge a lasting ceasefire, after talks broke down following Hamas’s breach of a 24-hour truce on Tuesday.

Sirens in the Golan Heights

Alarms go off a few hours after rockets fired from Lebanon struck northern Israel.

Red alert sirens go off near Syria border

Sirens are reported in the Golan Heights, along Israel’s border with Syria, for the second time this hour. There are still no reports of explosions, or indications of where the rocket fire is coming from.

Rockets explode in Golan Heights amid clashes over the border

At least five rockets fired from Syria landed in open areas in the Golan Heights, inflicting no injuries or damage.

A Syrian rebel source indicates that Syrian Army forces launched a massive attack on opposition forces near the Israeli border, and some of those projectiles may have crossed into Israeli territory, triggering alarms in towns near the border with the Golan Heights.

Off-duty soldier injured in rocket attack still in critical condition

Netanel Maman, a soldier who fought in the Gaza Strip and was injured Friday by a rocket fired from Gaza that struck his car after returning home, remains hospitalized. A doctor at the Rabin Medical Center in Petah Tikva, where Maman is hospitalized, tells Ynet that the off-duty soldier is still in critical condition after successful surgery on his skill, and they’re doing their utmost to save his life.

Maman, 21, was wounded when a Grad rocket exploded near his vehicle outside the southern town of Gan Yavne, near Ashdod. He was struck in the head by shrapnel from the projectile. Maman was on leave after having served in combat in the Gaza Strip.

His brother, Tamir, 19, also a soldier, was lightly injured and released from the hospital.

“They were just on vacation and went out to enjoy themselves,” the young men’s father said. “We’re hoping for the best. Prayer is needed.”

IDF holds Syria responsible for rocket fire at Golan

The IDF Spokesperson says that it holds the Assad regime responsible for the rocket fire into the Israeli-held Golan Heights earlier this morning.

A high-tension power line is down in the Golan Heights, but it remains unclear whether it was a result of the rocket fire from Syria. Power is out in a few communities near the border with Syria.

A picture taken on May 11, 2014 from the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights shows smoke billowing from an explosion during clashes between rebels and Syrian pro-government forces in the Syrian town of al-Kahtaniyya. (photo credit:AFP/Jalaa Marey)

A picture taken on May 11, 2014 from the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights shows smoke billowing from an explosion during clashes between rebels and Syrian pro-government forces in the Syrian town of al-Kahtaniyya. (photo credit:AFP/Jalaa Marey)

Rockets fired at Tel Aviv area late Saturday ’caused slight flight delays’

Hamas rocket fire at the Tel Aviv area Saturday night caused slight delays to several flights, Channel 10 reports.

Hamas fired three rockets, two of which were intercepted by Iron Dome, and a third which was allowed to fall in open ground.

Planes sit on the tarmac at Ben Gurion International airport, near Tel Aviv, on August 21, 2014. (photo credit: AFP/Jack Guez)

Planes sit on the tarmac at Ben Gurion International airport, near Tel Aviv, on August 21, 2014. (photo credit: AFP/Jack Guez)

The rocket fire led to minor delays for some flights at Ben Gurion Airport.

When there is rocket fire that requires interception, there has to be “coordination” between the airport and the relevant Iron Dome battery to prevent, “heaven forbid, that an (Iron Dome) intercept rocket would hit a civilian flight,” the TV report said.

If no deal in next few days, renewed ground offensive expected

After Communications Minister Gilad Erdan said Saturday night that a new ground offensive “is closer than ever,” Channel 10 quoted unnamed diplomatic and military sources saying much the same thing, with more detail.

If no long-term arrangement is reached “within a few days” in Cairo, “on Israel’s terms,” the TV report said, then the army will move “to the next stage… a renewed ground offensive.”

This could take the form of incursions “in one or more areas… designed to harm Hamas” with the troops then “coming back out.”

The goal, as ever, would be to create conditions to ensure long-term calm for Israel. “No one is talking of reconquering the Strip,” the report says.

Israeli planes strike central, southern Gaza

Israeli planes continue striking targets in the Gaza Strip throughout the night, Palestinian media report. Gazans report attacks on Gaza City, Deir al-Balah and Rafah. At least six were injured in an Israeli strike on Rafah, Health Ministry officials say.

PMO dismisses ex-attorney general’s ‘staged’ rocket fire claim

Sources in the Prime Minister’s Office dismiss claims by former attorney general Michael Ben Yair that Israel staged rocket fire from the Gaza Strip in order to deliberately bring down the truce with Hamas last week.

The official tells the NRG news website that “Hamas is the one that fired first around 3:00 p.m., nine hours before the expiration of the ceasefire. Hamas fired three rockets at Beersheba and thus broke, for the eleventh time, the ceasefire.”

Ben Yair claimed in a Facebook post that the rocket fire was a false-flag in order to justify assassinating Muhammad Deif.

“There’s no deal,” Ben Yair wrote on Wednesday. “There are renewed acts of hostility. Who’s guilty? The big question — Hamas, which wants a better deal, or Israel, which staged a [truce] violation in order to assassinate Muhammad Deif.”

Israeli air force strikes near Khan Yunis

Palestinian media report Israeli airstrikes in fields northwest of Khan Yunis amid intense overflights of the Gaza Strip by IAF aircraft.

Sirens in Sdot Negev, Sha’ar Hanegev regions

Sirens in Eshkol, Sdot Negev regions

No injuries or damage are reported thus far in Sunday’s early morning bombardment.

Israeli air force hits building in Gaza City; 1 reported dead

A Gaza-based journalist reports that the Israeli air force struck an apartment block in Gaza City, and tweets a photo of the attack. The authenticity of the photo couldn’t be confirmed.

The Gaza Health Ministry says one person was killed and six injured in the strike on the building.

Rockets explode in Sdot Negev, Eshkol regions

At least four rockets exploded in the Sdot Negev region of southern Israel moments ago, Ynet reports, and another six fell in the Eshkol region. No injuries of damage are reported.

IDF strikes 17 ‘terror targets’ overnight

The IDF attacked 17 “terror targets” overnight in Gaza, the army reports. A short time ago, the IDF says, a site in the northern Gaza Strip was targeted, and three operatives were injured.

3 Israelis injured in West Bank stoning

An Israeli vehicle driving near Beit Ummar, north of Hebron in the West Bank, was targeted by Palestinian rock throwers overnight, the IDF says.

The vehicle overturned; one person was moderately injured and two others were lightly hurt.

Security forces were searching for the perpetrators of the attack. The injured were evacuated for medical treatment.

Sirens sound in Eshkol Region Council

Three rockets land in open areas in Eshkol. No reports or damage or injuries.

Rocket damages Eshkol power cable

Three rockets land in Sdot Negev area

No damage or injuries reported.

Unemployment offices in 4 southern towns close

Unemployment offices in Yavne, Ofakim, Kiryat Gat and Kiryat Malachi are closed today.

Recipients of unemployment benefits or participants in government-sponsored employment programs in areas within a  radius of seven kilometers of the Gaza Strip are being asked to check in with their unemployment offices only once during the month of August, instead of once a week.

Fatah said to probe Hamas crackdown on its men

Motorcycle driver said targeted in Gaza

A man riding a motorcycle is killed in an IAF strike, and seven people are injured overnight by Israeli strikes, Walla News reports, citing Palestinian and Lebanese news sites.

Two rockets fall in Eshkol; light damage

Two rockets fall in the southern Eshkol region. One impacts in an open area, causing no injuries or damage, and one lands inside a community, causing light damage to a building.

Red alert sounds in Kibbutz Be’eri

Sirens sound in Sha’ar Hanegev and Sdot Negev

Targeted building in Rafah housed Hamas offices

IAF airstrikes overnight destroyed an office building in Rafah that housed an office of Hamas’s Interior Ministry, the Associated Press reports.

The seven-story Zourab building was leveled and the strikes caused severe damage to nearby shops, homes and cars, witnesses say. Another strike hit a nearby shopping center with dozens of shops, sparking a fire that gutted the two-story building.

After daybreak Sunday, smoke is still rising from the site as shop owners inspect the damage. Windows and doors were blown out in nearby buildings.

The Israeli military says the two buildings were attacked because they housed facilities linked to terrorists, but do not provide further details. The Gaza City apartment tower toppled Saturday was targeted because a Hamas command center operated from there, the army says.

– AP contributed

Over 20 rockets launched from Gaza in last 3 hours

Army Radio reports that over 20 rockets have been launched into Israeli territory from Gaza since 6 a.m.

Two reported killed in IAF motorcycle strike

Two men were killed by an IAF strike while riding a motorcycle in Gaza City earlier this morning, Reuters reports, citing Palestinian sources.

Five people were wounded in the attack, AFP reports.

Earlier reports indicated that one man was killed in the strike.

Picture shows building destroyed by IAF

Daniel Trageman, 4, killed by mortar shell Friday, laid to rest

The funeral begins for Daniel Tragerman, 4, who was killed by shrapnel Friday after a rocket fired from Gaza exploded near his home at Kibbutz Nahal Oz.

Daniel Tragerman (photo credit: Courtesy)

Daniel Tragerman (photo credit: Courtesy)

A red alert warning gave the family just three seconds to reach a safe room, and Daniel did not make it in time.

Hundreds attend the funeral, including some government officials and at least one Knesset member, Miri Regev of Likud.

On Saturday, Daniel’s mother Gila said the family had been preparing to leave their home for safer areas when the attack came on Friday afternoon.

“The suitcases were already packed,” she said. “A minute before the explosion I went out to take Uri’s baby carrier (her young son) from the clothesline and met the neighbor. I asked him if they were leaving and told him we were setting off now. I went inside and there was the Color Red siren.

“The children were playing in a tent inside the house, and from the moment of the siren to the explosion only three seconds passed. We didn’t have time to get the children and go into the protected room.”

Gila said her son Daniel was very disciplined when it came to rocket sirens.

“He always rushed to the protected room,” she said. “The moment the alarm sounded he knew what to do and where to go. When everyone reached the protected room Daniel would say ‘now we’re all safe.’”

Tragerman called her son a “beautiful, smart, sensitive boy. So sweet…We wanted to watch him grow up with his brothers and fulfill himself.”

Iron Dome intercepts rocket over Ashdod

Red alerts sound in Ashdod, Gan Yavne and the Ashkelon Regional Council. Meanwhile, one rocket is intercepted over Ashdod.

Slain toddler’s mom: We were the happiest family in the world

Gila Tragerman, mother of Daniel Tragerman, the 4-year-old child killed Friday whose funeral is currently underway, says at the funeral that “we were the happiest family in the world, and I just cannot come to grips with it. Daniel,” she says, “we want to thank you; you taught us how to love and you gave us so much joy. I find solace in the fact that you were a loved and happy child until your last minute.”

“We wanted to protect you but even the code red siren failed to save you,” she says. “You would always run first and call your little brother (to the shelter) and then in a second it ended. We don’t want to say goodbye. You are the love of my life, the perfect child, every parent’s dream: smart, sensitive, ahead of his age group and beautiful, so beautiful,” she adds.

Gila says, “We always said you’d be the youngest leader in the world, who would bring piece.” That didn’t happen in your lifetime, she says, so perhaps it will happen after you.

President Reuven Rivlin also speaks at the funeral, calling Daniel’s death, “the moment we so feared.”

The Tragerman family had previously left Nahal Oz in order to find safety during the Israeli-Hamas hostilities, but returned just days before their child was killed, during a ceasefire, on the safety assurances of IDF officials.

An IDF investigation showed that the mortar that killed Tragerman was fired from next to a Hamas-run shelter in Gaza.

Should Ya’alon have canceled visit to Nahal Oz?

Carmi Gillon, the former head of the Shin Bet, weighs in on the controversy over whether Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon should have canceled a planned visit to Kibbutz Nahal Oz on Saturday. The defense minister had been planning to make a solidarity visit to the kibbutz, a day after Daniel Tragerman was killed there, but was ordered to cancel for security reasons — infuriating some of the few kibbutz members who have not fled north.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon meets with local council chiefs from communities near the Gaza border at Sha'ar HaNegev Regional Council on August 23, 2014. Photo by Ariel Hermoni/Ministry of Defense/Flash90

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon meets with local council chiefs from communities near the Gaza border at Sha’ar HaNegev Regional Council on August 23, 2014. Photo by Ariel Hermoni/Ministry of Defense/Flash90

“By the same logic that he was allowed to visit the (general Gaza border) area, he could have gone to Nahal Oz,” says Gillon, noting that Ya’alon met with local council leaders elsewhere in the area.

Carmi Gillon. (photo credit: Orel Cohen/Flash90)

Carmi Gillon. (photo credit: Orel Cohen/Flash90)

“At the same time, he’s a symbol of the state and to harm him would have given Hamas the ‘victory picture’ that we are sending soldiers to their deaths to prevent,” he acknowledged.

Gillon emphasizes that Ya’alon, a former IDF chief of staff, has been in far more dangerous situations and is anything but a coward. He notes that the head of the Shin Bet makes such decisions, but that Ya’alon could have queried it, recalling that former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin — under whom Gilon served — often did query such security precautions.

Mofaz calls for renewed ground op

The current round of Israeli-Hamas hostilities is nearing its end, and a ground invasion might be necessary to stem rocket fire from Gaza, MK Shaul Mofaz of the Kadima party says.

“Mortar shells have exacted a very heavy price from us,” Mofaz, a former IDF chief of staff, tells Ynet, alluding to multiple Israeli soldiers killed in mortar attacks throughout the war with Hamas, as well as four-year-old Daniel Tragerman, who was killed by a shell on Friday.

“If there is no other way to stop it except a ground invasion, then we will have to go in,” he adds.

“We are nearing the end of the current round, and Israel can’t return to [the formula] quiet in exchange for quiet,” he says. “We need to put an end to the attrition and win the campaign.”

‘Hamas urges Gazans to ignore IDF warnings’

Ofir Gendleman, the Prime Minister’s spokesman to the Arab world, says that the Hamas Interior Ministry has requested again this morning that residents not heed IDF warnings to evacuate areas used by Hamas to fire rockets into Israel.

Red alerts sound in Sderot and Sha’ar Hanegev

IAF attacks target in Gaza City

The IAF attacks a target in Gaza City proper. There are no reports yet of injuries or damage.

Red alerts in Sderot and Sha’ar Hanegev. One rocket lands in an open area in the Eshkol Regional Council, no injuries.

Iron Dome intercepts rocket over Sderot area

Children bearing the brunt of a conflict that is not of their making — UNICEF

UNICEF releases a statement on the deaths of children in Israel and Gaza during the conflict, which reads:

The death of a four year old Israeli child in a rocket attack yesterday and the reported deaths of two Palestinian children in Gaza in an airstrike this morning, add to those of 478 other Palestinian children killed in attacks in Gaza over the last month. The deaths of children on all sides constitute further tragic evidence of the terrible impact the conflict is having on children and their families on all sides.

Children are bearing the brunt of a conflict that is not of their making. The fighting is inflicting terrible suffering on children and having a devastating impact on the infrastructure upon which they rely for their health, education, protection and well-being.

UNICEF once again calls on all parties to the conflict to protect civilians, especially children, as required by international law and to recommit to a ceasefire so that no further lives are lost and humanitarian agencies can expand their essential work in Gaza.

Three rockets intercepted over Sha’ar Nahegev

One more rocket lands in an open area in Eshkol.

Red alert sounding in Sderot.

‘The land of Israel is acquired through suffering’

“We are with you in deep mourning,” Alon Shuster, head of the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional council, says at the funeral of 4-year old Daniel Tragerman. “The land of Israel is acquired through suffering,” he added, quoting the Talmud, and added that “we are here, all of us, knowing and understanding the difficulty… we know we failed in protecting little Daniel.”

Shuster called on the government “to prevent more killings… Here, in this painful place, we are waiting for another day, a day where children can play in their yard and bomb shelters can be just another room. So many children made it to the bomb shelter and Daniel didn’t make it; we will do all that we can so that life will go on.”

Rivlin says southerners are not alone

“You have paid the price in blood, which is beyond price,” President Reuven Rivlin says at the funeral of Daniel Tragerman, addressing a crowd that consists largely of residents of the rocket-battered south.

“No one has the right to demand that you stay here,” he adds, “We assure you that you are not alone.”

“From this point, we will win and pull through,” he says.

More red alerts in Gaza-adjacent communities

Sirens sounding in Eshkol, Sha’ar Hanegev and Sdot Hanegev regional councils.

IDF will respond to further Lebanese rockets

The IDF chose to turn to UNIFIL in response to the overnight rocket into Israeli territory from Lebanon, but will not do so in the case of future attacks, the army says. The next time the IDF will respond, and “the Lebanese government should not count on future restraint from Israel.”

Overnight, a Katyusha rocket was fired from southern Lebanon on the Galilee, and five rockets were fired from Syria into the Golan Heights.

Red alert sounds in Nahal Oz

Lapid promises retribution for Tragerman

“The funeral of Daniel Tragerman, age 4, is something that we should not and do not need to suffer… a 4-year old child needs to go to kindergarten, or to the pool, and not to a funeral procession,” Finance Minister Yair Lapid says at the weekly cabinet meeting.

“Those responsible for his death will pay the price,” he adds. “Senior Hamas officials should know that we will pursue them, we will get them and we will cause them to pay the price for what is happening in the south of Israel. Nobody is immune, not the political leadership and not the leaders abroad.”

Large volley fired at south

Red alerts sound throughout the south including in Saad, Kfar Aza, Nahal Oz, Alumim, Mefalsim, Ad Halom Junction, Ashdod, Bnei Darom, Nir Galim, Nitzanim, Nitzan, Bnei Ayish, Bitzaron, Gan Yavne and Hatzor.

Netanyahu says Hamas war could last into new school year

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, opening the weekly cabinet meeting, says that Israel will not halt Operation Protective Edge until security and calm have been restored.

He says Hamas will pay a heavy price for the crimes it is committing. “I call on Gaza residents to leave any location from which Hamas is conducting terror activities,” he says. “Every such place is a target for us. We have seen in recent days that there isn’t, and won’t be, any immunity for someone who fires on the citizens of Israel.”

Operation Protective Edge will continue “until its goals are achieved. I said on the first day of the operation that it can take time and we’re prepared for the possibility that the campaign will last even until after the start of the school year.”

Netanyahu speaks now “to the dear residents of the Gaza periphery, the villages and kibbutzim. I admire your fortitude, I admire your suffering, and I share your pain. We will do everything to help you get through these difficult days. In the next cabinet meeting we’re going to approve an extraordinary package of aid to your towns. We are with you, and we will stay with you until the quiet is restored, and afterward as well.”

He adds: We embarked on Operation Protective Edge in order to restore for you and all Israel’s residents the quiet and security, and not to end the operation until this goal is achieved.”

“The more determined we remain, the more we demonstrate patience, the sooner our enemies will understand that they will not succeed in wearing us down,” says the prime minister. “While they try to tire us out, they are being crushed. I think anyone who observes [Hamas’s losses] in recent days understands this concept. The IDF continues to deliver, and to increase, its painful blows against Hamas and the terror groups in the Gaza Strip, and will continue to do this until the goal is achieved.”

Benjamin Netanyahu speaking to the press Wednesday, August 20, 2014. (photo credit: Screen capture Channel 2)

Benjamin Netanyahu speaking to the press Wednesday, August 20, 2014. (photo credit: Screen capture Channel 2)

Netanyahu says many states “in the region and the West” are beginning to understand that “this is a single front, because Hamas is Da’ash [Islamic State] and Da’ash is Hamas. They simply behave in the same way. I’d say, they are [born] from the same poisoned tree. They are two extremist Islamic terror [organizations] who kidnap and murder innocents, who execute their own people, who don’t shy from any means, including the intentional murder of children. In recent days,” he notes, “we’ve heard from Hamas spokespeople what we have said the whole time – that they are those who murdered (Israeli teenagers) Eyal (Yifrach), Gil-ad (Shaar) and Naftali (Fraenkel, in the West Bank in June). Two movements that are trying to establish Islamic rule, caliphates without human rights over large territories, accompanied by the massacre of minorities, the lack of respect for the human rights of anyone, women, men, children, Christians.”

Says the prime minister: “With every day that passes, the world increasingly understands that Hamas behaves like Da’ash and Da’ash like Hamas.”

“The state of Israel will continue to stand alongside the civilized world in its war against the extremist, violent form of Islam,” he concludes.

Four rockets explode in Sdot Hanegev

Volley lands in open areas with no reports of damage.

We will get Hamas leaders wherever they hide, says Ya’alon

Now Defense Minister Ya’alon speaks.

He offers condolences to the family of Daniel Tragerman, 4, who was laid to rest two hours ago, and wishes for the recovery of Netanel Maman, hit by a rocket on Friday night and in critical condition.

He says that “if the heads of Hamas think they can wear us out… they are wrong. We’re not rushing anywhere. We have patience.”

He says the operation will end “only when there is calm in the south” and when there is no more rocket fire.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R), Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon (C) and IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz are seen before a cabinet meeting at the Defense Ministry headquarters in Tel Aviv, July 31, 2014. (photo credit: Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry/Flash90)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R), Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon (C) and IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz are seen before a cabinet meeting at the Defense Ministry headquarters in Tel Aviv, July 31, 2014. (photo credit: Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry/Flash90)

Until then, Israel will pound Hamas, “for now from the air” but Israel has “other ways” too.

Israel has hit key Hamas terror leaders, and is using all its intelligence capabilities to find them, “even when they are hiding out among women and children… We know to get to them.”

Ya’alon says Israel is “in the midst of a long, complex operation against a ruthless enemy.”

The harm done to Hamas “is unprecedented but we need patience,” he says. “There are no magic solutions.”

“The only consideration guiding us is the good of Israel and its residents,” he says.

He notes that he met Saturday with council chiefs and residents of the south — “who represent the best of Israel.”

Their “hard feelings” about the situation “are justified,” he says, “and we will help them… We are obligated to restore quiet and security to their lives.” They face “not a ‘drizzle’ of rocket fire” but “daily attempts at murder,” says Ya’alon.

1 rocket shot down, second falls in Ashdod

One rocket fired from Gaza is downed by Iron Dome over Gan Yavne.

A second rocket falls in an open area in the coastal city of Ashdod.

There are no initial reports of injuries or damage.

Wounded soldier still in critical condition

Netanel Maman, 22, the soldier who was wounded by a rocket on Friday, is still in critical condition and remains in the intensive care unit in Bellinson Hospital in Petah Tikvah. Boaz Tadmor, assistant director of the hospital, says that Maman’s life is “still in danger.”

Maman was wounded when a Grad rocket exploded near his vehicle outside the southern town of Gan Yavne, near Ashdod on Friday night. He was struck in the head by shrapnel from the projectile. Maman was on leave from the IDF’s Ordnance Corps after having served in combat in the Gaza Strip.

Rockets intercepted over Sha’ar Hanegev, Ashdod

Iron Dome intercepts rockets over Ashdod and the Sha’ar Hanegev regional council.

Red alerts sounding in Ashdod, Gan Yavne, and Ashkelon.

Several Twitter users report a “loud boom” in Tel Aviv, with no preceding alert siren.

Iron Dome blocks 2 rockets as barrage continues

The Iron Dome intercepts two rockets over Be’er Tuvia.

Three rockets explode in open areas in the Eshkol Regional Council with no injuries reported.

Another rocket impacts in an open area near Tel Aviv. Earlier reports indicated an explosion in the Tel Aviv area with no preceding alert siren.

Sirens in Beersheba and Hatzerim

‘The Woz’ flies to Israel despite rockets

Steve Wozniak (Photo credit: Courtesy)

Steve Wozniak (Photo credit: Courtesy)

Apple co-founder and legendary technologist Steve Wozniak arrives in Israel over the weekend to attend a conference on education and technology, the Times of Israel’s David Shamah reports, despite the ongoing conflict with Hamas.

Wozniak, known as “The Woz,” was one of the two founders of Apple, along with the late Steve Jobs, but left a formal position at the company in the 1980s to pursue other interests. In the ensuing years he has been involved with a number of other ventures and has become a sought after lecturer.

He’ll be joining the education and science ministers, as well as mayors, MKs and other leaders, at a conference in Holon.

For the full story click here.

2 killed, several injured in Gaza City strike

Gazan medical officials say that two people were killed and several injured as the result of an IDF attack on the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood of Gaza City.

Car in Gaza said targeted by IAF drone

Twitter users reporting that a civilian car north of Gaza City near the national soccer stadium was targeted by an IDF drone, resulting in at least one death and several injuries.

Gila Tragerman’s eulogy for her son

Israel’s Channel 2 posts footage of Gila Tragerman eulogizing her son Daniel at this morning’s funeral.

At her side, by the four-year-old’s coffin, is her husband Doron.

“You taught us how to love and you gave us so much joy. I find solace in the fact that you were a loved and happy child until your last minute,” she says of her son, killed when shrapnel from a mortar shell which exploded outside their house at Kibbutz Nahal Oz on Friday smashed into their home before Daniel could reach their protected room.

5 Israelis injured along Gaza border

Five Israelis are reported to have been injured due to a mortar attack at Erez, near the Erez border crossing north of Gaza in the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council. Two of the injured are in serious condition.

Sirens sounding in multiple communities near Gaza

Ashkelon hospital moves children to shelter

Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon has transferred its children’s unit to an underground shelter. Due to the ongoing security threat, the director of the hospital, Dr. Hezi Levi, ordered the pediatrics unit to be moved to a secure location in the hospital for the indefinite future.

Rocket volley from Gaza continues

Three rockets fall in Eshkol and one in Sdot Negev. No injuries are reported.

Two rockets fall in Shaar Hanegev, with no damage reported.

Sirens continuing.

Iron Dome blocks rocket over Hof Ashkelon

Red alerts sound in Beersheba area

Hamas not ready to quit

Hamas, despite being battered by Israel, is more determined than ever to continue to inflict damage to the Jewish state, The Times of Israel’s Avi Issacharoff writes, and a negotiated ceasefire via Cairo is further away than ever, as is a Fatah-Hamas reconciliation.

Issacharoff writes:

All members of the Palestinian delegation know full well that the deadlock now is not with Israel, or even with Gaza, but with Doha [Qatar]. Mashaal and his colleagues are refusing any flexibility and resisting the Egyptian formula, with its key provision for an immediate ceasefire and only then the negotiations on all the various issues.

Mashaal and his people in Gaza are trying hard now to replace the Egyptian channel with one involving the Americans, Qatar and Turkey and to maximize their military gains in the meantime — that is, to kill as many Israelis as possible, even if this means dozens of Gaza apartment buildings being blown up in Israeli airstrikes seeking out those who are responsible. In Gaza, the despair is acute, but Hamas certainly is unmoved by the sight of the bodies and the destroyed buildings. As has been stated before, Mashaal is following the Muslim Brotherhood agenda, and is prepared to fight to the last drop of Gaza residents’ blood.

For the full analysis, click here.

Over 570 rockets from Gaza in past 5 days

More than 570 missiles have been launched from Gaza into Israeli territory since Hamas broke the latest ceasefire on August 19, five days ago, the Foreign Ministry says.

Many of these have been launched from “various civilian facilities exploited by Hamas terrorists,” the ministry says in a press release.

“In the course of Operation Protective Edge, the IDF has revealed the systematic abuse of these facilities and registered more than 260 rockets that were launched from schools, more than 50 rockets from medical facilities and more than 130 rockets from cemeteries,” the report states.

The report, viewable here in English, contains more information and infographics regarding the Foreign Ministry’s reports.

Images released on August 24, 2014 by the IDF documenting Hamas rocket fire from civilian areas in Gaza (credit: IDF Spokesperson)

Images released on August 24, 2014 by the IDF documenting Hamas rocket fire from civilian areas in Gaza (credit: IDF Spokesperson)

Multiple red alerts in Gaza border communities

Terror chief Deif’s mother-in-law offers him her other daughters

The bereaved mother-in-law of Hamas terror chief Muhammad Deif says she would be “honored” were he to marry her two other daughters, even if they were “martyred” as a consequence.

Deif’s wife Widad and his son and daughter were killed last week in an Israeli airstrike aimed at Deif, the Hamas military commander said by Israel to be responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Israelis in a career of terrorism dating back to the early 1990s.

Relatives of 27-year-old Widad Deif, the wife of Hamas's military commander Mohammed Deif, carry her body during her funeral procession at the Jabalia refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip on August 20, 2014. (photo credit: AFP Photo/Roberto Schmidt)

Relatives of 27-year-old Widad Deif, the wife of Hamas’s military commander Mohammed Deif, carry her body during her funeral procession at the Jabalia refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip on August 20, 2014. (photo credit: AFP Photo/Roberto Schmidt)

Apparently believing that Deif survived the Israeli strike, Widad’s mother Zeian Asfura, 61, tells London’s Sunday Times: “Should Deif request the hand of any of my other daughters, I will happily consent and even if she, too, is martyred I will consent to the third.”

“It is an honor to have Deif a husband to any of my daughters and be a father to their children,” Asfura adds.

Muhammad Deif

Muhammad Deif

Hamas claims that Deif survived Tuesday’s assassination attempt, but has produced no sign of life.

Asfura says that when she consented to the marriage in 2011, she realized the possible consequence. “When I agreed the marriage, I in effect consented to a fate of martyrdom for my daughter,” she says.

Full story here.

Erez attack targeted border crossing

More details emerge on the mortar attack which earlier wounded several Israeli citizens.

Up to 11 mortar rounds landed near the Erez border crossing, which was closed as a result. Three people were injured, not five as had been previously reported. A car was hit by one of the rounds. In that incident, two people were seriously injured and one lightly. All were hospitalized.

All three of the injured were part of an Israeli-Arab family, who were at the crossing to pick up family members wounded in Gaza and bring them into Israel for medical treatment, Ynet News reports.

Another woman suffered from shock and received medical attention.

Rocket damages power line in Hof Ashkelon

Power is disrupted to some communities in the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council after a rocket damages a power line.

A rocket lands in an open area in the Eshkol Regional Council with no injuries.

The Iron Dome intercepts a rocket over Ashkelon with no reports of damage or injures from the resulting debris.

Target struck in Gaza in response to Erez attack

The army says it has retaliated against a hidden launch site in the northern Gaza Strip, from which a concentrated barrage was launched today at the Erez border crossing with Israel.

The IDF also says that four citizens were injured in the attack, contradicting previous reports of three or five injuries. The army also notes that the assault was a combination of rockets and mortars, not just mortars, as had been previously reported.

Sirens continue, rocket starts fire in Eshkol

Three rockets impact in the Eshkol area. No injuries are reported, although one of the rockets ignites a fire.

Red alert sirens heard throughout Gaza-adjacent communities.

Sirens in Kiryat Malachi, Be’er Tuvia

Sirens in border kibbutzim Nahal Oz, Alumim

‘Terrorist grabbed a small boy and escaped’

The IDF spokesman’s office publishes a video of Lt. Adam Landau, Operations Officer for the 188th Armored Brigade, recounting his experience fighting in Shejaiya in the Gaza Strip during Operation Protective Edge.

He speaks at some length about the challenge of targeting terrorists who use civilian infrastructure as cover, and relates one incident in which his battalion was searching for a terrorist in a specific house. “Suddenly a small boy appeared,” he said, “the terrorist grabbed him and escaped with him.”

“Just because a terrorist enters into a civilian area, it does not give him immunity. On the other hand, we have to think very carefully before we act because no one wants to injure innocent civilians.”

Iron Dome intercepts rocket near Ashkelon

A rocket fired from Gaza is intercepted over the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council, while another explodes in an open area.

Rocket strikes near Sdot Negev

No injuries or damage were reported.

Sirens sound in Ashkelon

Details to come.

IDF strikes Hamas finance official

The IDF targets Muhammad Al-Oul, who was responsible for Hamas’s financial transactions, according to the army spokesman’s office. The IDF confirms a hit.

Over 70 rockets have been fired at Israel since midnight, the IDF says.

Sirens sound in Sderot

After mortar fire, Erez Crossing closes

After 4 civilians were hurt earlier this afternoon at the Erez Crossing, Kamil Abu Rokan, the Director of the Crossings Point Authority of the Defense Ministry, and General Yoav Mordehai, the Coordinator of the Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) close the crossing to all traffic except for life-saving cases, the Prime Minister’s Office says.

Cars transported into Gaza via the Erez crossing (photo credit: Tsafrir Abayov/Flash90)

Cars transported into Gaza via the Erez crossing (photo credit: Tsafrir Abayov/Flash90)

Sirens sound across Gaza border region

Iran claims to down Israeli drone

Iran claims it downed an Israeli drone over a nuclear site, AFP reports. More details to come as they emerge.

An Israeli drone (Photo credit: Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash 90)

An Israeli drone (photo credit: Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash 90)

Iron Dome downs rocket over Sha’ar Hanegev

More details on Iran’s claims about Israeli drone

More details emerge on the Iranian claim that it downed an Israeli drone, according to AFP:

Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard says it brought down an Israeli stealth drone above the Natanz uranium enrichment site in the center of the country.

“A spy drone of the Zionist regime (Israel) was brought down by a missile… This stealth drone was trying to approach the Natanz nuclear zone,” the corps says in a statement on its official website sepahnews.com.

Rockets strike near Sdot Negev

Two rockets hit near a community in the Sdot Negev Regional Council on the Gaza border. There are no reports of injuries or damage.

Iron Dome shoots down two more rockets over Sdot Negev.

‘Everyone involved in terror has expiration date’

Minister of Economics and Trade Naftali Bennett visits Kibbutz Kfar Aza, and says that the government is expanding its strikes on Hamas’s military leaders, Ynet reports.

“Everyone involved in terror must know that he has an expiration date on his forehead,” he adds.

Economy Minister Naftali Bennett speaks at the Haaretz Israel Conference for Peace at the David Intercontinental Hotel in Tel Aviv, Tuesday, July 8, 2014. (photo credit: Flash90)

Minister of Economics and Trade Naftali Bennett speaks at the Haaretz Israel Conference for Peace at the David Intercontinental Hotel in Tel Aviv, Tuesday, July 8, 2014. (photo credit: Flash90)

Sirens in Sa’ad, Kfar Aza on Gaza border

Gaza sources say woman, 3 kids killed

Officials from the Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza say that a woman and her three children were killed in an IDF strike on a house in the al-Za’atar section of the Jabaliya neighborhood in the northern Gaza Strip.

Palestinians view the rubble of their destroyed home after Israeli rockets hit Hamas officies in Jabaliya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip on November 17, 2012 (photo credit: Wissam Nassar/Flash90)

Palestinians view the rubble of their destroyed home after Israeli rockets hit Hamas offices in the Jabaliya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip on November 17, 2012 (photo credit: Wissam Nassar/Flash90)

Sirens in Be’eri on Gaza border

Rockets strike across Gaza border region

Four rockets strike Sdot Negev Regional Council. No injuries are reported.

Meanwhile, five rockets hit Eshkol Regional Council, two of which hit a cattle pen, killing several cows.

Stacks of dollar bills found in car of targeted Hamas financier

Footage from Arabic media shows Palestinians standing around the burnt-out car of Muhammad al-Oul, the man responsible for Hamas’s financial transaction, holding wads of dollar bills which al-Oul was apparently transporting at the time. 

Abbas promises diplomatic surprise

Speaking to Egyptian television, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas promises an unorthodox diplomatic surprise in the next week.

Abbas recently was in Cairo for talks with top Egyptian officials.

He says the plan will be presented to John Kerry, who is unlikely to accept it. However, Abbas says, his plan enjoys broad Arab support.

It will be presented to the PA leadership in the coming days, he says.

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)

Iron Dome intercepts rocket over Sderot

Sirens in Erez, Sderot

Approximately 100 rockets and mortars on Israel Sunday

Spy who revived Mashaal calls on him to change

The senior Mossad officer who, in September 1997, helped bring Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal back from the clutches of death, now calls on Mashaal to adopt a less-extreme stance in the current conflict with Israel, telling the Telegraph that Hamas’s position is leading Israelis and Palestinians into ever more dire straits.

“I thought that it is time to address the rational side of Khaled Mashaal,” retired spy Mishka Ben-David tells Inna Lazareva. “And I thought that I am the person to do so, because I’m the person who had a hand in reviving him.”

Ben-David, a novelist and former school principal, was the chief intelligence officer of the Mossad’s operational unit, Caesarea, when, in 1997, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to covertly assassinate Mashaal in Amman. But the plan backfired and Ben-David was ordered to deliver the antidote to Jordanian officials.

Read Ben-David’s message for Mashaal here.

Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal answers AFP journalists' questions during an interview in the Qatari capital of Doha, on August 10, 2014. (photo credit: AFP/al-Watan Doha/Karim Jaafar)

Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal answers AFP journalists’ questions during an interview in the Qatari capital of Doha, on August 10, 2014. (photo credit: AFP/al-Watan Doha/Karim Jaafar)

Mitch Ginsburg

Interior Ministry speeds up shelter placement

Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar tells heads of southern regional councils that he will allow mobile shelters to be built without the usual planning and approval processes, according to the ministry’s spokesperson’s office. The move will speed up their placement ahead of the start of the school year.

“Opening the school year is a national mission,” Sa’ar says. “We must do all we can to guarantee the safety of Israeli children in educational institutions across the country. This directive gives an immediate answer that will allow the regional councils to prepare for the upcoming school year.

Thai foreign workers standing in a mobile bomb shelter at Moshav Beit HaGadi in the Southern Israel on August 20, 2014. (photo credit: Edi Israel/Flash90)

Thai foreign workers standing in a mobile bomb shelter at Moshav Beit Hagdi in southern Israel, August 20, 2014. (photo credit: Edi Israel/Flash90)

Gazans disappointed as classes don’t start

Marking the first day of the new school year in Gaza, dozens of children line up in the courtyard early on Sunday morning to sing the Palestinian national anthem.

But this year, class did not begin.

Instead, the youngsters then recited the opening verse of the Koran — the Fatiha — to honor the more than 2,100 Palestinians killed, among them hundreds of armed Hamas fighters, in a 48-day Israeli military operation against Gaza.

Palestinians at an UNRWA school after fleeing their homes following an Israeli ground offensive in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, on July 18, 2014. (photo credit: Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

Palestinians at an UNRWA school after fleeing their homes following an Israeli ground offensive in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, on July 18, 2014. (photo credit: Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

They then returned to classrooms packed to the brim with families displaced by the conflict, in the UN school being used as a shelter in the north of Gaza City.

Nearly half-a-million Gazan children will not be able to return to class this year, according to the UN children’s fund, UNICEF.

“Classes will remain closed in the conflict-stricken coastal enclave, denying these nearly 500,000 children their right to education,” UNICEF said in a statement Sunday.

At the UN school’s symbolic start to the new academic year, a young girl in a party dress recited a poem. A boy in shorts and glasses sang a popular song by the Palestinian winner of “Arab Idol.”

Proud mothers looked on, some taking pictures and videos with their mobile phones.

A few children appeared to enjoy the spectacle, clapping along, but were visibly disappointed not to be going back to school.

— AFP

‘Southern schools without protection will not open’

PM Benjamin Netanyahu announces that schools in the south that are not adequately protected will not open next week, Israel Radio reports.

During today’s cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said Operation Protective Edge will continue “until its goals are achieved. I said on the first day of the operation that it can take time and we’re prepared for the possibility that the campaign will last even until after the start of the school year.”

Rockets hit Eshkol, damaging house

A rocket hits inside a community in the Eshkol Regional Council, damaging a house. Two more fall near communities in Eshkol, without sirens going off. Those rockets did not cause damage.

Four rockets hit open areas in Eshkol Region

No damage reported.

Security sources fear Hamas tracking official visits near Gaza

Israeli security officials suspect that Hamas has recently managed to track visits by senior government and military figures to the Gaza border area, Haaretz reports.

Fire from Gaza on kibbutzim during visits by officials has sparked the concern. Chief of Staff Benny Gantz was in Kibbutz Nahal Oz Friday when mortars were fired, one killing 4-year-old Daniel Tragerman. Mortars were fired at another kibbutz Saturday when Sami Turgeman, head of the Southern Command, was there. A visit by Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon to Nahal Oz was cancelled at the last minute when Hamas fired on the kibbutz as his security detail was getting into position.

IDF officers say Hamas is tracking military movements on the border, and might be able to detect when special security details come through. Social media, official announcements, and media reports might also serve as important sources of intelligence for Hamas.

Hamas is working hard to strike a senior Israeli official as a moral victory, after Israel managed to kill top Hamas commanders in the past week.

Home Front Command releases new directives

The IDF’s Home Front Command issues new instructions, in effect until Monday at 6 p.m.

For communities up to 7 kilometers from the border, gatherings of over 300 people are forbidden. Summer camps and daycare programs will only take place inside protected buildings. Stores and offices will be open.

For communities 7-40 kilometers from the border — which includes Ashkelon, Ashdod, and Beersheba — gatherings of over 500 people are banned. Summer camps and daycare centers will only be held inside protected buildings. Stores and offices will be open.

In communities such as Jerusalem, situated 40-80 kilometers from Gaza, outdoor gatherings of over 1,000 people are forbidden, but there are no other restrictions.

Public shelters are to be open from 0-80 kilometers from the Gaza Strip.

Warning sirens in Nahal Oz, Alumim

Hamas says mortar fire at Erez aimed at soldiers

After mortar shells strike the Erez Border Crossing, wounding four civilians, Hamas claims it was targeting a bus full of soldiers, Israel Radio reports.

Sirens sound in Ramat Hanegev

Sirens sound in a largely unsettled area of the Negev Desert. A number of military installations are in the area, however, which includes Ketziot, Nitzana, Azuz, and Kemahin.

IAF officer says Israel might strike more Hamas officials

After Israel killed a number of senior Hamas military and financial chiefs over the past week, a senior Israeli Air Force officer says, “We are focusing on a defensive effort, locating and gathering intelligence, and in the offensive effort there is a continuation of the attempts to kill senior officials, and we are continuing to close in on senior officials who I think we can reach.”

He also says Israel has stepped up its operations against mortar launchers.

Palestinian Hamas supporters mourn over the bodies of two of the three Hamas senior commanders killed in an Israeli military strike, during their funerals at a mosque in Rafah in the south of the Gaza Strip, on August 21, 2014. (photo credit: AFP Photo/Thomas Coex)

Palestinian Hamas supporters mourn over the bodies of two of the three Hamas senior commanders killed in an Israeli military strike, during their funerals at a mosque in Rafah, in the south of the Gaza Strip, on August 21, 2014. (photo credit: AFP/Thomas Coex)

Sirens in Ashdod, Ashkelon

Rocket strikes open area in Ramat Hanegev

50 residents left in Nahal Oz

Kibbutz Nahal Oz’s secretary tells Channel 2 that 50 residents are left in the kibbutz out of about 350 residents, after a 4-year-old was killed by a mortar strike there on Friday.

Ashkelon house struck

A rocket hits a house in Ashkelon. No injuries are reported.

Tax authority workers survey the damage caused to a house after it was hit by a rocket in the Ashkelon Regional Council, on August 20, 2014. (photo credit: Flash90)

Tax Authority workers survey the damage caused to a house after it was hit by a rocket in the Ashkelon Regional Council, on August 20, 2014. (photo credit: Flash90)

‘Netanyahu trying to scare us’ — Hamas

Hamas dismisses as a sign of weakness Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s warnings to Gazan civilians to leave areas from which Hamas operates.

“The occupation (Israel) has failed in confronting the resistance (Hamas) in the field, and has resorted to threats of assassination and other threats designed to scare us. But the will of our people will not be broken,” spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri says in a statement.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri (photo credit: AP/Hatem Moussa)

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri (photo credit: AP/Hatem Moussa)

— AFP

Two rockets shot down over Ashkelon

Iron Dome intercepts two rockets over Ashkelon. Shrapnel hits a house in the city, but no injuries are reported.

Hamas is gleeful kibbutznikim leaving border area

Members of Hamas are delighted that residents of kibbutzim on the Gaza border are fleeing northward, Channel 2 reports. On Friday, a 4-year-old boy was killed by a mortar strike on Kibbutz Nahal Oz.

Gila Tragerman, with her husband Doron at her side, speaks at the August 24 funeral of their son Daniel, 4, killed August 22 at Kibbutz Nahal Oz by a mortar shell fired from Gaza. (YouTube screenshot)

Gila Tragerman, with her husband Doron at her side, speaks at the August 24 funeral of their son Daniel, 4, killed August 22, 2014, at Kibbutz Nahal Oz by a mortar shell fired from Gaza. (photo credit: YouTube screenshot)

IRGC says it is decoding Israeli drone

The Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps announces its forces are “decoding” the devices on an Israeli drone it claims to have shot down over Natanz today, the semi-official Fars news agency reports.

The head of the Guards’ PR department, Ramezan Sharif, says that “our experts are studying the information and intelligence” of several parts that are still working.

“We are now analyzing the information of this plane,” he continues.

Oron Shaul remembered by family, comrades

Thousands gather for a memorial service in the northern village of Poriya for St.-Sgt. Oron Shaul, 30 days after his death in the Gaza Strip.

The location of his body is still unknown, and it is believed Hamas fighters snatched it during the bitter fighting in Shejaiya.

Hamas claimed they kidnapped him alive, but Israel determined he was killed in action.

A park and soccer field are dedicated in his name at the ceremony. In addition to comrades from Golani, families of other soldiers killed in the incident attend, as do the family of Ehud Goldwasser, kidnapped and killed by Hezbollah in 2006 at the start of the Second Lebanon War.

Rafi Peretz, the IDF’s chief rabbi, is also in attendance, as is Sara Netanyahu, wife of the PM.

Oron’s father, Peretz, asks the attendees to “carry the prayer that Oron will not be forgotten, and that his body be brought for burial in Israel speedily in our days,” Ynet reports.

Sgt. Oron Shaul, whose death in Gaza on July 20 was formally confirmed by the IDF on July 25 (Photo credit: Courtesy)

St.-Sgt. Oron Shaul, whose death in Gaza on July 20, 2014, was formally confirmed by the IDF on July 25, 2014. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 

IDF publishes footage of strike on rocket launcher

The army spokesman’s office publishes a clip of a rocket being launched toward Beersheba, then an Israeli missile striking the concealed launch site moments later.

The IDF has said its response time and coordination between forces are much improved during this operation, compared to recent conflicts in Gaza.

Sirens in Beit Shemesh, Jerusalem hills

Booms heard over Jerusalem

Eilat’s Red Sea Jazz Festival opens

Despite the ongoing rocket fire, and cancellations of performers and other festivals, the Red Sea Jazz Festival in Eilat opens, running through Wednesday.

Organizers say that there may be changes to the program on a day-to-day basis, but the event will go ahead.

Residents of the south enjoy reduced prices.

IAF strikes in northern Gaza

Israeli jets are attacking targets in Beit Lahiya and Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip, Ynet reports.

Iron Dome intercepts rocket over Jerusalem

129 rockets and mortars fired Sunday

Terrorists in Gaza have fired 129 projectiles at Israel Sunday, says the IDF. Seven hundred and twenty six have been fired since Hamas breached the ceasefire on Tuesday.

Soldier who took selfie next to bound Palestinians injured

Eden Naggar — who gained infamy four years ago when she was still named Eden Abergil — was wounded Friday in a rocket attack on Gan Yavneh, Walla news reports.

When she was in the army, Naggar took a picture of herself smiling in front of bound and blindfolded Palestinian men, and uploaded the picture to Facebook. The picture was roundly condemned.

Naggar was lightly wounded in the attack, along with three others, one seriously.

Naggar told Walla she would want to tie the hands of those who fired the rocket, and blindfold them, “but I’m not sure I’d want to take a picture with them. But I’d want them to be in an appropriate place — in jail, and that they be given the death penalty.”

‘Israel knew Deif’s location for days’

Israel reportedly knew the whereabouts of shadowy Hamas leader Muhammad Deif three days before they struck his house, but held off until the ceasefire crumbled, local media reports Sunday.

According to Israel’s Channel 10, Jerusalem received intelligence last week that the Hamas military wing head had emerged from his bunker as the ceasefire was extended to visit his wife and children. The government had solid evidence that Deif was in the building in the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood of Gaza City, it reports, and debated whether to launch an attack.

An alleged death certificate for Hamas leader Muhammad Deif (photo credit: Courtesy)

An alleged death certificate for Hamas leader Muhammad Deif (photo credit: Courtesy)

Israel ultimately decided to withhold a strike until the ceasefire was violated, and once it was broken last Tuesday targeted Deif.

Marissa Newman has the full story here.

‘Abbas to ask UNSC to set date for Israeli withdrawal’

PA officials say Abbas will ask the UN Security Council to set a deadline for Israel to withdraw from lands captured in 1967 to make way for a Palestinian state. If the council does not approve a resolution, they say the Palestinians will then pursue war-crimes charges against Israel in the International Criminal Court.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity, because the plan has not been officially unveiled.

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, left, greets Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas during his inauguration ceremonies at the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, on June 8, 2014. (photo credit: AP/MENA)

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, left, greets Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas during his inauguration ceremony at the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, on June 8, 2014. (photo credit: AP/MENA)

— AP

PM continues to push ‘Hamas is ISIS’ line

A day after the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS, posted the video of journalist James Foley’s killing, Netanyahu debuted his latest catchphrase: “Hamas is ISIS. ISIS is Hamas.” He voiced the slogan at a news conference, on Twitter, and even at his weekly cabinet meeting today.

Now he drives the comparison home on his Facebook page:

— AP

Sirens sound in Ashdod, Ashkelon

Rocket explodes in open area in Ashkelon; no injuries

IDF targets rocket launcher in Gaza

The IDF says it targeted a rocket launcher in the Gaza Strip, which was used to fire at Jerusalem a few hours ago.

“A hit was confirmed,” it adds.

Time retracts allegation on IDF organ harvesting

Time Magazine issues a retraction after citing a fabricated 2009 Swedish report accusing the IDF — in a video on their site — of harvesting the organs of Palestinians.

It writes: “Correction: The original version of this video cited a contested allegation in a 2009 Swedish newspaper report as fact. The allegation has been removed from the video.”

Sirens in Ashkelon, Gaza border towns

Two rockets intercepted over Ashkelon

Two projectiles are intercepted by the Iron Dome over Ashkelon, Ynet reports.

Two other rockets land in open areas in Ashkelon, causing no injuries or damage.

Mashaal rejects return to talks

Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal tells Iranian TV that “resistance” is the only effective means to secure its demands from Israel, and rejects the option of returning to the negotiating table.

“The negotiations did not succeed because Israel did not want to give a positive answer to the reasonable requests of the Palestinians,” he says, according to a translation by Ynet.

“We know resistance is the only way to break free of the burden of the Zionist regime.”

The Qatar-based official also addresses the recent wave of executions of alleged Palestinian “collaborators” with Israel. He says Hamas has managed to “purify” the Palestinians of its “spies.”

Obtaining information on the Palestinians through its intelligence has always been “a strong point of the Zionist regime,” Mashaal adds.

Hamas political chief Khaled Mashaal speaks to Michael Isikoff of Yahoo News in Doha, the Qatari capital, August 2014. (screen capture, Yahoo News)

Hamas political chief Khaled Mashaal speaks to Michael Isikoff of Yahoo News in Doha, the Qatari capital, August 2014. (photo credit: screen capture, Yahoo News)

Sirens in Gaza periphery

Sirens in Ashdod

135 rockets fired at Israel in past 24 hours — IDF

The army says in a statement that 135 rockets have been shot at Israel in the past 24 hours.

Iron Dome downs 4 rockets over Ashdod

Channel 2 reports that the Iron Dome intercepts four rockets over Ashdod.