The Times of Israel liveblogged events as they unfolded through Saturday, August 23, the 47th day of Operation Protective Edge. Egypt has called on the sides to agree to an open-ended truce in Gaza. Hamas pounded southern Israel with some 200 rockets and mortar shells Friday and Saturday, 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 22 alleged collaborators with Israel in 48 hours, after Israel killed several of its terror chiefs in air strikes Tuesday and Wednesday. (Sunday’s liveblog is here.)
You can also follow @TOIAlerts on Twitter — we’re live-tweeting all the updates there as well.
Day 47 of Operation Protective Edge
PREAMBLE: A mortar shell fired from Gaza on Friday afternoon killed Daniel Tragerman, 4, inside his home at a kibbutz near the Gaza border. The shell exploded outside, and shrapnel smashed into home, killing the boy before his parents could get him into their protected room.
In response, Israel stepped up air strikes on targets in Gaza. The IDF spokesman warned Gazans living in buildings housing rocket launchers, ammunition and other elements of the Hamas war machine to evacuate.
Earlier Friday, Hamas executed 18 alleged collaborators with Israel, days after Israeli air strikes killed three of its top terror chiefs and leveled a building in which a fourth, Muhammad Deif, was said to be hiding out.
Mortar that killed 4-year-old fired near, not in, school
The mortar that killed 4-year-old Daniel Tragerman earlier today was launched near an UNRWA school in the Gaza Strip, not from within it, the IDF says.
The military’s statement corrects earlier reports that the mortar had been fired from within the school.
The Hamas mortar that killed 4-year-old Daniel Tragerman today was fired from near an UNRWA school being used as a shelter in Gaza.
— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) August 22, 2014
Daniel Tragerman, 4, killed inside his own home
Here’s more of Times of Israel’s earlier piece on the killing of Daniel Tragerman:
A four-year-old Israeli boy was killed by a mortar shell fired from the Gaza Strip on Friday afternoon. The boy, named late Friday as Daniel Tragerman, was at home with his parents and siblings at their kibbutz in the Sha’ar Hanegev Region, close to the border with Gaza, when the attack took place.
An Israeli army spokesperson said the fatal shell was fired from near an UNRWA shelter in Gaza. Earlier, Israeli officials had said it was fired from an UNRWA school — an asserted the IDF later corrected.
Sirens wailed only very shortly before the mortar shell struck outside the Tragerman family home at the kibbutz, and his parents — Doron and Gila — were unable to get their son Daniel into their protected room in time. He was killed by shrapnel from the explosion that smashed into the house.
Daniel is the first Israeli child to die in the current Israel-Hamas conflict. His death brought the Israeli death toll since Operation Protective Edge began on July 8 to 68.
He was critically wounded, and later died of his wounds.
Several cars and buildings sustained damage from the fire following the explosion of the mortar shell.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Hamas would pay a “heavy price” for the killing. 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.
Shuster said the family had only recently returned to their home, having stayed elsewhere during part of the war.
US ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro condemned the attack. “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 wrote on his Facebook page.
Tragerman was the first Israeli fatality since Hamas breached a truce on Tuesday and resumed rocket fire at Israel, prompting a re-escalation of fighting and the collapse of ceasefire talks in Cairo.
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 reported earlier.
The caretaker of the two victims — who were named as 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
113 projectiles launched from Gaza Friday
Gaza-based terror groups fired 113 projectiles into Israel on Friday, Army Radio reported.
Since indirect ceasefire talks in Cairo collapsed on Tuesday afternoon when Hamas breached a truce, 447 rockets have been launched into Israel.
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 said in a Friday night TV interview.
“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.”
Liberman went on to heavily condemn Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas who, the foreign minister asserted, 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 charged. “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 asked. “It just doesn’t fit.”
Abbas, Mashaal urge UN timetable to ‘end Israeli occupation’
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas’s political leader Khaled Mashaal are urging 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.
The two Palestinian leaders held talks in Doha Thursday and Friday, but little else filtered out of their meetings which were hosted by the emir of Qatar, a key backer of Hamas.
Abbas left for Cairo later Friday.
Qatari media says that Abbas and Mashaal discussed Israel’s “aggression” on 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.”
Abbas will undertake the diplomatic steps necessary to seek such a resolution, the reports say.
Rocket explodes outside Eshkol community
A rocket explodes outside a community in the Eshkol region.
No damage or casualties are reported.
War of attrition will go on, says Hamas chief
Hamas will continue to wage a “war of attrition” against Israel, Hamas’s representative in Cairo, Moussa Abu Marzouk, says this evening.
Ynet quotes the senior Hamas official as saying the organization prefers to negotiate under fire, and will not agree to another truce.
“Israel only understands the language of force. We will persist in the war of attrition until our demands are met,” he reportedly says, adding that Hamas is continuing to manufacture rockets to fire at Israel.
He also says the Palestinian factions in Cairo have signed a document calling on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to bring Israel before the International Criminal Court.
‘Hamas running out of rockets’
Hamas is running out of rockets to launch at Israel, Channel 10 reports, citing sources in the Israeli defense establishment.
According to the sources, the organization has only a few dozen medium- and long-range rockets left, and the number of rockets it has launched at Israeli targets farther from the Gaza Strip has decreased noticeably.
Shelter from which rocket fired run by Hamas, not UNRWA
The shelter from which a rocket was fired at Israel, killing a 4-year-old child, was maintained by Hamas, not UNRWA, IDF spokesman Peter Lerner says.
Lerner tweets that contrary to previous reports, which said the rocket was fired from or near an UNRWA school being used as a shelter, the facility in question was run by Hamas, not the UN.
This is the second correction the IDF has issued today pertaining to the fatal attack. Earlier, it corrected a report saying the rocket was fired from within the shelter, saying it was actually launched from a spot near it.
1/2 Correction: After further review, the school the mortar was launched near from is not being used as a shelter by @UNRWA
— Peter Lerner (@LTCPeterLerner) August 22, 2014
Hamas claims 3 killed in Gaza airstrike
Hamas claims three Gazans are killed in an Israeli airstrike on central Gaza tonight.
The organization’s medical spokesman, Ashraf al-Qudra, says the three are killed in a house in the Nusseirat refugee camp, with five others sustaining injuries.
The reported deaths bring the number of Gazan casualties since clashes between Israel and Hamas rekindled this week to 79, according to Hamas figures.
A 4-year-old Israeli boy was killed by Palestinian rocket fire earlier today.
UNRWA ‘categorically denies’ rocket claim
Moments before the IDF retracts its claim that the mortar that killed 4-year-old Daniel Tragerman in southern Israel was fired from an UNRWA school used as a shelter, the agency denies that the weapon was fired from one of its facilities.
The agency “categorically denies that the weapon that killed the Israeli child today was fired from an UNRWA installation,” tweets its spokesman, Chris Gunness.
Gunness later tweets that the Israeli military has retracted the claim.
UNRWA categorically denies that the weapon that killed the Israeli child today was fired from an UNRWA installation RT
— Chris Gunness (@ChrisGunness) August 22, 2014
Hamas official pans Islamic State comparison
A senior Hamas official rips into Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for comparing the Gazan Islamist organization to the Syrian-based Islamic State al-Qaeda breakaway group.
In a rare post in English on his Facebook page, Izzat al-Risheq says “the attempt by Netanyahu and his spokesman Ofir Gendelman to link Hamas and compare us with other groups is a deception and disinformation campaign that will not fool anyone.”
Al-Risheq blasts Netanyahu for exploiting “without any respect for the sanctity of the dead” the photo of American journalist James Foley’s beheading at the hands of Islamic State terrorists. “We strongly condemn and reject how Netanyahu, Gendelman and the Israeli media exploit the picture of the slain American journalist James Foley who was executed in a brutal manner,” he says.
He goes on to note that Hamas, unlike the Islamic State, is a “national liberation movement” confronting “Israel[i] terrorism against our children and the innocent civilians of the Palestinian people.”
He says the group’s “main objective” is not a caliphate, but rather “to end the Israeli occupation and terrorism in our land.”
Mashaal admits Hamas members killed 3 teens
Hamas political chief Khaled Mashaal admits that Hamas members killed three Israeli teens in the West Bank in June, though he says the leadership of the organization was not made aware of the details of the abduction plan in advance.
In an interview with Michael Isikoff for Yahoo News in Doha, the Qatari capital, Mashaal says that the leadership of Hamas learned of the details of the killings of the three students, Naftali Fraenkel, Gil-ad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach, from the Israeli investigation into them.
“We were not aware of this action taken by this group of Hamas members in advance,” he says. “But we understand people are frustrated under the occupation and the oppression, and they take all kinds of action.”
In the same breath, he stresses that Hamas differs from Syria and Iraq’s Islamic State — which he calls a “religious, violent group” that is a “totally different phenomenon” — in that it does not target civilians, aiming its rockets “most of the time” at military targets and IDF bases.
“This is an opportunity for me to say we are against the killing of any civilians, any journalists,” he tells Isikoff. Claiming that it is Israel who is killing civilians and journalists, Mashaal vows that Hamas will, in the future, take measures to warn Israeli civilians of impending attacks, just as Israel does in the Gaza Strip — but admits that Hamas has a “problem” directing its strikes at military targets only.
“We do not have sophisticated weapons. We do not have the weapons available to our enemy … so aiming is difficult … We promise that if we get more precise weapons, we will only target military targets,” he says.
IDF strikes 11 Gaza targets overnight
As the rocket fire toward Israeli territory continues, the IDF strikes 11 targets in the Gaza Strip overnight, Israel Radio says.
A Hamas spokesman reports that 3 Palestinians died and 5 were injured in the strikes.
Air raid siren sounds over Sha’ar Hanegev
A Code Red air raid siren sounds over the Sha’ar Hanegev region, indicating an incoming rocket fired from the Gaza Strip.
Earlier tonight, a rocket exploded near a populated area in the Eshkol region.
Three rockets hit Sdot Negev region
Three rockets launched from Gaza have exploded in the Sdot Negev region, Ynet reports.
There are no reports of casualties or damage.
Navy fires warning shots at Gaza boat
The Israeli navy has fired warning shots at a Gaza boat after it sailed outside of the permitted fishing zone off the Gaza coast, Walla News reports.
There are no reports of casualties in the incident.
Daniel Tragerman’s mother: We were about to leave the kibbutz
The mother of 4-year-old Daniel Tragerman, who was killed by a Gaza mortar shell on Friday, says the family was preparing to leave their home for safer areas when the attack came.
Gila Tragerman says a shell had exploded in their kibbutz some time earlier, convincing the family to leave for her parents’ house in Kiryat Ono, near Tel Aviv.
“The suitcases were already packed,” she tells Ynet. “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.”
“We wanted to see him grow up,” she says.
IDF strikes 30 Gaza targets overnight
The army says it struck 30 targets in the Gaza Strip overnight, including weapons production and storage facilities and mosques used by Hamas as military bases.
Four rockets fired from Gaza at Israel
Four rockets are fired at Israel from Gaza. Iron Dome intercepts one, while the other three explode in open areas in the Sdot Negev region.
There are no casualties.
Sirens heard in the Ashkelon area
Israeli strike kills family of five, Palestinians say
An Israeli air strike hit a house in central Gaza before dawn on Saturday killing five family members, including two women and two children, Palestinian medics say.
Emergency services initially said three people were killed and five wounded, but later announced that two people had died of their injuries after the attack in al-Zawayda near the Nusseirat refugee camp.
The air raid hit a family home, witnesses and medics say. Doctors at the al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir al-Balah say the five dead all came from the same family — a 28-year-old father, his 26-year-old wife and their two boys aged three and four. The father’s 45-year-old aunt was also killed, they say.
Iron Dome intercepts rocket over Ashkelon
An Iron Dome interceptor has hit a rocket above the city of Ashkelon, officials say.
Abbas to meet Egyptian president later today
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is set to meet today with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, Israel Radio reports, to discuss a ceasefire in Gaza.
Abbas has told Palestinian factions in Gaza that there is no alternative to Egypt’s mediation role in the conflict.
Man critically injured on Friday is IDF soldier who fought in Gaza
The man critically injured by a rocket in Ashdod Friday night is a 21-year-old IDF soldier who was on vacation after returning from operation in the Gaza Strip, Ynet reports. His brother, 19 and also a soldier, was lightly injured.
“They were just on vacation and went out to enjoy themselves,” the young men’s father says. “We’re hoping for the best. Prayer is needed.”
Rocket hits Eshkol community, damages property
A rocket launched from Gaza explodes inside a community in the Eshkol regional council, causing light damage to property. There is no word of casualties.
Three other rockets have exploded in the past few minutes in open areas in the Eshkol and Sdot Negev regions.
Sirens wail repeatedly throughout Gaza periphery
The rocket barrage continues on the Sabbath, with alarms going off 5-6 times in communities near Gaza the past half hour alone.
At least 4 rockets have exploded in various open spots, causing no casualties.
Palestinian killed while approaching Gaza border fence
A Palestinian man is shot and killed by IDF troops after approaching the border fence in the northern Gaza Strip, Walla News reports.
The man was suspected by troops to be a militant, according to the report.
IDF warns Gazans to stay away from combatants
The IDF is warning Gaza residents via pamphlets, automated phone calls and text messages to stay away from any facilities used by Gaza terror operatives or locations used to launch rockets.
The effort could be a sign that the IDF plans to intensify its strikes in the territory.
Abbas: Egypt to invite Israel, Hamas to new talks
Egypt will invite Israeli and Palestinian delegations to return to Cairo to resume talks on a long-term ceasefire for Gaza, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas says.
“Egypt is going to invite delegates to return to the negotiating table to consider a long-term truce,” Abbas says after talks with his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah el-Sissi.
“What interests us now is putting a stop to the bloodshed,” Abbas says. “As soon as a truce goes into effect, the two sides can sit down and discuss their demands.”
A previous round of ceasefire talks collapsed on Tuesday, shattering nine days of calm, as the deadly six-week conflict between Israel and its Islamist foe Hamas resumed.
Sirens heard in Ashdod, Ashkelon and Gan Yavne
Rocket intercepted over Ashkelon
A rocket has been intercepted in the skies above Ashkelon. Another exploded in an open area.
Aharonovich: Gaza periphery residents should leave for a break
Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich is visiting the Gaza periphery today, and suggests that residents of the Gaza periphery leave the area for a time in order to take a break from the constant rocket barrages.
Israel cannot accept a war of attrition with Hamas, he says. “We need to strike and there is much work yet,” he says, according to Ynet. “The IDF has dealt a blow to Hamas but we need patience.”
4-year-old Daniel Tragerman to be laid to rest Sunday
The funeral of 4-year-old Daniel Tragerman, who was killed on Friday when a mortar shell hit his home, will be held at 9 a.m. Sunday at the Pitchat Shalom cemetery in the northern Negev.
Soldiers capture car with thousands of M16 bullets
Israeli soldiers have confiscated thousands of M16 rifle bullets from a car at a military checkpoint near Modi’in, Ynet reports.
The car’s driver, apparently a resident of the southern Bedouin city of Rahat, fled the scene. Police are searching for him.
Rocket causes damage to kibbutz dining hall
A rocket fired from Gaza earlier today hit the dining room of a kibbutz in the Sha’ar Hanegev region, causing some damage, Israel Radio reports.
No injuries occurred in the attack.
Gaza officials say 8 killed, 10 injured in IDF strikes today
Palestinians say eight people have been killed in Israeli strikes in Gaza on Saturday, Israel Radio reports, with 10 others injured.
PA official: Hamas acting like Islamic State group
The Palestinian Authority is denouncing Hamas for its recent executions in Gaza of 18 suspected collaborators with Israel, with Tayeb Abdel Rahim, the PA president’s secretary-general, calling the killings cold-blooded murder, Israel Radio reports.
According to the report, the official adds that Hamas’s actions were reminiscent of the actions of extreme Islamic groups such as the Islamic State, which has taken over parts of Iraq and Syria.
Egypt calls for open-ended truce in Gaza
Egypt is calling for an open-ended truce in Gaza, urging the Palestinians and Israel to return to indirect talks.
The foreign ministry statement Saturday comes shortly after PA President Mahmoud Abbas met with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi.
A temporary cease-fire collapsed earlier this week, bringing the Cairo talks to a halt.
Sirens heard in Hof Ashkelon region
IDF says over 40 rockets launched since midnight
IDF releases text of warning pamphlets dropped in Gaza
“To the residents of the Strip,
The IDF will thwart any terrorist action and will hit the terrorist infrastructure and operatives of Hamas and the other organizations.
Hamas leadership will continue to be hunted, while hiding underground and ignoring the needs of Gaza’s civilians and their wish for calm.
The IDF will act with full force against any military or civilian installation from which terrorist activity is directed at the State of Israel.
Any house from which military action originates will be attacked and hit.
For your own safety, prevent terror operatives from using your property for terrorist purposes and stay away from any place used by terror operatives.
The IDF urges you to immediately evacuate any area from which fire is directed at Israel.
Residents of Gaza – the campaign is ongoing. You are warned.
Sirens sound in communities near the Gaza Strip
Sirens in communities near Gaza for second time in minutes
Families leave communities near Gaza amid mortar fire
The few families who stayed behind in Kibbutz Nahal Oz, just two kilometers from the Gaza border, throughout Operation Protective Edge have now left, a day after four-year-old Daniel Tragerman was killed when a mortar shell landed outside his home in a kibbutz in the Sha’ar Hanegev Region.
Daniel’s funeral will be held tomorrow at 9 a.m. at the Pitchat Shalom cemetery in the northern Negev.
By this afternoon, no families with children remained in the kibbutz, according to the community’s spokeswoman.
Of the nearly 360 members of Nahal Oz, only about 90 people, almost all of them kibbutz employees, remained, Ynet reported.
In nearby Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha (some 25 km south of Nahal Oz), families with young children and the elderly have all left as well.
Amid the incessant rocket and mortar fire since indirect truce talks between Israel, Hamas and other Gaza-based terror groups broke down on Tuesday, residents in southern Israel say they can no longer stay living in their communities.
Many southern residents had come back following a temporary truce that lasted six days, and at the urging of the military and the government two weeks ago.
The residents of Nahal Oz have criticized the government for what they say is its inaction, a month and a half after the operation began.
“We are disappointed that the reality on the ground has not changed,” the residents said in a statement.
“The [government] instruction to return to our homes does not correspond with the reality since the rockets and mortars are still being fired. We live with a great degree of uncertainty,” writes Kibbutz spokeswoman Yenina Barnea.
Another kibbutz resident had some harsher words for the authorities, accusing them of “leading us like a herd, they said everything was ok.”
“We will come back when we feel safer,” Selba Bermovitz tells Ynet.
Netanyahu to UN chief: Hamas is Islamic State, Islamic State is Hamas
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon about the ongoing operation in Gaza, telling him that Hamas is committing war crimes and using civilians as human shields.
“The world saw yesterday [when Hamas killed 18 suspected “collaborators” with Israel] that Hamas, like the Islamic State, carries out mass public executions. In addition, Hamas, like the Islamic State, it persecutes and oppresses minorities.”
“The ideology of these two groups calls for Islamic caliphates and both use the same murderous methods — Hamas is the Islamic State, the Islamic State is Hamas,” he says.
Netanyahu came under fire earlier this week when his office posted a controversial tweet that used an image from the graphic beheading video of US journalist James Foley released by the Islamic State terrorist group.
The deleted Israeli tweet, which has been posted on BuzzFeed, juxtaposed an image, labeled “ISIS,” of Foley with his black-clad executioner with blade in hand alongside a picture, labeled “Hamas,” of a body being dragged through a street behind a motorcycle. The tweet was labeled “Hamas is ISIS. ISIS is Hamas,” repeating a statement made on Wednesday by Netanyahu.
A few hours later, the tweet was deleted after the Prime Minister’s office received criticism for using the image.
Last night, the office released a similar tweet, this time juxtaposing images of ISIS and Hamas performing public executions.
— PM of Israel (@IsraeliPM) August 22, 2014
Sirens blare in communities near Gaza
60 rockets fired at Israel since midnight, 6 intercepted
Some 60 rockets have been fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip since midnight, six of them shot down by the Iron Dome system.
The interceptions took place over Ashdod and Ashkelon earlier.
Sirens sound in communities in Sdot Negev, Sha’ar Hanegev
Sirens sound in communities near Gaza for 3rd time in 15 minutes
Sirens sound in Eshkol Regional Council
Hamas: Return to talks depends on Israeli readiness to meet demands
Hamas says it supports Egypt’s efforts to resume indirect ceasefire negotiations in Cairo, but its return to the table is contingent on Israel’s readiness to accept its demands.
“Any return to the negotiations will depends on if the’resistance’ feels that Israel is willing to meet our demands, without evasiveness and foot-dragging,” Hamas said in a statement cited by Ynet.
“We will not agree to negotiate just for the sake of negotiation,” read the statement.
Hamas has demanded a full lifting of the Gaza blockade imposed by Egypt and Israel in 2007 after the terror group violently seized control of the Palestinian enclave. The blockade was imposed in large part to prevent Hamas importing weaponry.
Hamas is also demanding the building of an airport and a seaport.
Two rockets explode in Sdot Negev, no injuries reported
Sirens sound again in Gaza border communities
Sirens blare in Hof Ashkelon region
Sirens sound in Ashdod, Ashkelon regions
4 rockets shot down near Ashkelon
Sirens sound in Gaza border communities
Hamas executes 4 more suspected ‘collaborators’
Hamas gunmen execute four more suspected “collaborators” with Israel, in the Jabaliya refugee camp, in the northern Gaza Strip
— Hazem Balousha (@iHaZeMi) August 23, 2014
Yesterday, the terror group executed 18 people whom it accused of providing information to Israel.
Sirens sound in communities near Gaza
Opposition leader calls for elections after operation ends
Opposition leader and head of the Labor Party Yitzhak Herzog says Israel must go to general elections after Operation Protective Edge ends.
“The Israeli people will face a tough decision [after this conflict]: does it 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,” he says.
“The people will have their say because this government has failed on almost every front. Economically, we’re on the verge of an economic catastrophe, not to mention the dead end on the diplomatic front regarding the peace process, which in its way, has led us to where we are now,” he says during an interview with Channel 2.
Herzog says Netanyahu failed to shore up the Palestinian Authority’s Mahmoud Abbas, “who belongs to the moderate axis in the region,” and has instead strengthened Hamas, by calling off US-brokered negotiations in April.
“I’m not here to defend Abbas. Abbas is a rival, but he’s a rival who recognizes the state of Israel and says ‘I will not use terror,” Herzog stresses.
“We must give hope to the Israeli people. We can’t live like this forever.”
“We have to decide, We can’t hold on to the West Bank as whole. We can’t keep [millions of] Palestinians in a pressure cooker. Those who want the West Bank to be, God forbid, like Gaza, should continue on this path. Those who don’t must pursue a brave [peace] process,” he goes on.
Herzog says Netanyahu should have immediately resumed talks with Abbas while operating against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
Borrowing from the late Yitzhak Rabin’s famous saying “we have to fight terror as if there were no peace talks, and we have to pursue peace as if there were no terror,” Herzog says of the situation “we must hit Hamas as if there are no peace talks with Abbas, and pursue peace talks with Abbas as if we are not hitting Hamas.”
Rocket explodes in open terrain in Be’er Tuvia causing a fire
82 projectiles fired into Israel since midnight, says IDF
We will help southerners move north — defense minister
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 says 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 says 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 adds 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 says.
Sirens blare in Ashkelon region
Baby lightly hurt by stone-throwers in the Old City
An hour ago, a 10-month baby was lightly hurt when a group of Israelis were attacked by Palestinian stone-throwers in the Old City of Jerusalem, Army Radio reports.
There are no reports of any arrests in the incident.
Sirens blare in Gaza border communities
Two rockets intercepted near Hof Ashkelon
IDF chief was at Kibbutz Nahal Oz when mortar shell there killed Daniel Tragerman
The army reveals that Chief of the General Staff Benny Gantz was visiting Kibbutz Nahal Oz yesterday afternoon when mortar fire from Gaza hit the kibbutz and killed four-year-old Daniel Tragerman there.
The kibbutz dining hall was also hit by mortar fire, Army Radio reports.
The attacks on the kibbutz have seen most of its 350 members leave and take refuge further north.
Tragerman’s parents were about the head away when the fatal shelling happened.
Gila Tragerman, Daniel’s mother, said they were going to her parents in Kiryat Ono.
They were in their house when the fatal mortar shell exploded outside, sending shrapnel into the house and killing Daniel before he could get to their protected room.
East Jerusalem resident in serious condition after shooting at Jewish homes
A 20-year-old resident of the Shuafat refugee camp in east Jerusalem, who is suspected of shooting at homes in Pisgat Ze’ev — also in east Jerusalem — yesterday, was shot and seriously wounded today by Border Police guards.
The man was evacuated by a Red Crescent ambulance to Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital, having been hit as he was allegedly firing more shots.
Police say they are looking for other suspects involved in the shooting at Pisgat Ze’ev residences.
Sirens in Ashkelon, Gaza border communities
Defense minister visit to Nahal Oz nixed; residents furious
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon visited several southern communities today and was set to make an appearance at Kibbutz Nahal Oz, where four-year-old Daniel Tragerman was killed yesterday by a mortar shell, but the visit was nixed because of the heavy rocket fire, prompting the ire of the residents.
Nahal Oz residents interviewed by Channel 10 expressed their frustration with the cancelation, asking why the government and the military told them it was safe to return to their homes earlier this month when it was too dangerous even for the defense minister.
Channel 10 reports that Ya’alon’s security detail forbade the visit following the barrages fired from Gaza into the communities bordering the Palestinian enclave all afternoon.
The Nahal Oz kibbutz dining hall was also hit by mortar fire this morning, Army Radio reports.
Of the nearly 360 members of Nahal Oz, only about 90 people, almost all of them kibbutz employees, remained, while the rest took refuge further north.
Over 600 Gaza rockets fired from civilian areas since op began — IDF
The IDF says that over 600 rockets fired into Israel from the Gaza Strip since Operation Protective Edge began on July 8, were launched from civilian areas.
The military says 260 of them were fired from schools or other educational institutions, 130 from cemeteries, 160 from religious institutions and 50 were fired from hospitals in the Hamas-run Palestinian enclave.
Hamas and other Gaza-based terror groups have launched over 3,500 rockets at Israeli cities over the past month and a half.
Israeli airstrike hits Gaza City apartment tower
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Palestinian police say Israeli warplanes have fired two missiles at an apartment tower in central Gaza City, sending a huge ball of fire and a black cloud of smoke into the air.
The force of the blast shook neighboring buildings.
Ashraf al-Kidra, a Gaza health official in the Hamas-run Palestinian enclave, says at least 10 people, including four children, were wounded in the strike.
Police say a warning missile hit the roof of the 12-story building about five minutes before the airstrike. The building has 48 apartments.
A video posted online from Channel 2 shows the collapse of the tower.
— AP, Times of Israel staff
Sirens blare in Sderot
Sirens in greater Tel Aviv region
Several explosions heard near Tel Aviv as rockets intercepted
Egyptian official: Cairo preparing for arrival of Israeli, Palestinian delegations
A senior Egyptian official says Cairo is preparing for the arrival of the Israeli and Palestinian delegations in the framework of renewed indirect talks aimed at reaching a permanent ceasefire.
The official estimated that Egypt would extend a formal invitation to Israel by tomorrow to resend its delegaton to Cairo.
Minister: We are closer than ever to new ground op in Gaza
Communications and Home Front Defense Minister and security cabinet member Gilad Erdan says Israel is closer than ever to launching a new ground operation in Gaza.
Erdan was speaking to Channel 2 News.
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.”
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.
3 killed in airstrike on car in Gaza — report
Palestinians report that three people were killed and one critically injured when a car was struck in the Gaza Strip.
The identities of the targets are still unknown.
Sirens sound in Gaza border communities
Southern residents demonstrate in front of PM residence
Dozens of southern residents have been protesting in front of the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem, urging the government to come up with an immediate, long-term plan to thwart rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip.
Over the weekend, several demonstrators camped out in a tent outside the residence, though the protests largely quelled down by this evening.
“We demand that the prime minister explain to us how he plans to solve the security problem we have been suffering from over the past 14 years,” a resident of the Eshkol Region who took part in the Friday protests tells Walla.
“We hope that, contrary to what we see now, he does have a strategy and a vision.”
Sirens sound in Acre, Galilee region
Sirens sound in Beersheba
At least one rocket fired from Lebanon, IDF says
At least one rocket was fired from Lebanon into Israel, hitting open territory east of Acre, the IDF says.
The rocket set off sirens across the Western Galilee in northern Israel moments ago.
Rocket makes direct hit on car in Beersheba, 2 people lightly injured
One of the rockets fired moments ago 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.
BREAKING NEWS: 3rd Rocket hits directly a car in Beer Sheva in latest barrage, 2 lightly injured, MDA on scene. pic.twitter.com/ooIO5LC9XL
— Israel News Feed (@IsraelHatzolah) August 23, 2014
Israeli helicopters seen around Lebanon border following rocket attack — report
A Lebanese security source says the rocket fired into Israel earlier tonight was launched from Dheira, three kilometres from the border with Israel.
The same source notes that Israeli helicopters were seen flying around the border area.
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
IDF fires artillery shells into Lebanon after rocket attack — report
The IDF fires artillery shells into Lebanon in response to a rocket attack earlier that hit open territory in the Upper Galilee, Lebanese media reports.
The reports are unconfirmed.
Lebanon rocket hit Upper Galilee, IDF clarifies
The rocket fired from Lebanon an hour ago struck an area in the Upper Galilee, the IDF says.
Earlier, the military reported that the projectile hit east of the northern city of Acre.
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.
Executed ‘collaborators’ sat in Hamas prison for years
Israeli security sources tell Walla news that Hamas’s claim that the 18 “collaborators” it executed publicly gave information to Israel during Operation Protective Edge is false.
The men, the site reports, were imprisoned by the Islamist group before the outbreak of violence earlier this summer. Some were detained by Hamas for more than two years, and Hamas executed them after pulling them out of prison, the officials say.
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