The second day of Israel’s Operation Protective Edge saw intensified Israeli air strikes on Gaza, and Hamas rockets fired 120 kilometers to Zichron Ya’akov. The Times of Israel liveblogged a day of dramatic developments as they unfolded. June 10’s liveblog is here.
After rocket attacks, US Embassy to operate with minimal staffing
The US Embassy in Tel Aviv announces that it will operate a skeleton crew until further notice after hostilities between Israel and Gaza-based terrorist groups press on into their second day.
According to a notice posted on the embassy website, American diplomatic personnel are also barred from traveling south of Tel Aviv without prior approval.
“Embassy families living in Tel Aviv are being advised to remain at home and in close contact with one another,” the embassy writes.
Top Obama adviser lambastes Israel over Palestinian policies
President Barack Obama’s top Middle East aide launched a blistering attack on Israeli foreign policy last night in Tel Aviv — in a speech that he happened to deliver just as Hamas was targeting the city and points even further north.
Philip Gordon, a special assistant to Obama and the White House coordinator for the Middle East, appealed to Israeli and Palestinian leaders to make the compromises needed to reach a permanent peace agreement. Jerusalem “should not take for granted the opportunity to negotiate” such a treaty with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who has proven to be a reliable partner, Gordon said.
“Israel confronts an undeniable reality: It cannot maintain military control of another people indefinitely. Doing so is not only wrong but a recipe for resentment and recurring instability,” Gordon said. “It will embolden extremists on both sides, tear at Israel’s democratic fabric and feed mutual dehumanization.”
He promised: “The United States will always have Israel’s back. That’s why we fight for it every day at the United Nations. But as Israel’s greatest friend and strongest defender, Washington should be allowed to ask some fundamental questions.
Specifically, Gordon went on: “How will Israel remain democratic and Jewish if it attempts to govern the millions of Palestinian Arabs who live in the West Bank? How will it have peace if it’s unwilling to delineate a border, end the occupation and allow for Palestinian sovereignty, security and dignity? How will we prevent other states from supporting Palestinian efforts in international bodies, if Israel is not seen as committed to peace?”
— Raphael Ahren
Israeli planes, ships strike Gaza targets
Israeli planes and ships are bombarding targets across the Gaza Strip, according to Palestinian media reports. According to unconfirmed reports, a strike in the southern city of Rafah near the border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip damaged houses on the Egyptian side of the border.
In the past 24 hours, since Operation Protective Edge began early Tuesday morning, the Israeli Air Force has struck approximately 270 targets in the Gaza Strip, including the homes of major Hamas military commanders.
EU condemns Israeli-Palestinian violence
The European Union’s foreign affairs office issues a condemnation of rocket fire targeting Israeli citizens and the IDF’s retaliation against the Gaza Strip.
“We are following with grave concern the rapidly deteriorating situation in the South of Israel and the Gaza Strip,” the spokesperson says. “The EU deplores the growing number of civilian casualties, reportedly among them children, caused by Israeli retaliatory fire.”
“The safety and security of all civilians must be of paramount importance.”
Brussels calls on both sides to exercise restraint to avoid casualties and work toward a ceasefire to end hostilities.
Egypt to open border crossing for injured Palestinians
The Egyptian government announces that the Rafah border crossing will be opened Wednesday to allow a limited number of injured Gazans to receive medical treatment in Egypt. Cairo has yet to announce how many Palestinians will be allowed into the Sinai Peninsula, or what time the border crossing will open.
Gaza health officials say over 150 Palestinians have been injured in Israeli airstrikes since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge.
Arab League calls for Security Council meeting on Gaza
The Arab League has called for an urgent UN Security Council meeting on the crisis between Israel and Gaza.
An official from the pan-Arab bloc told AFP that Secretary General Nabil al-Arabi had “instructed the Arab League’s UN representative to initiate urgent consultations within the Arab group calling for an emergency security meeting of the Security Council.”
Arabi said he had been “in touch with president Abbas to follow the latest developments in the Gaza Strip” while also continuing “consultations with Arab foreign ministers on this subject.”
He denounced the “dangerous Israeli escalation” and warned against its humanitarian consequences in Gaza.
“The continued attacks on Palestinian civilians by Israel is a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law, the Geneva Convention and international resolutions on occupied Palestine,” said the Arab League chief.
Palestinians at al-Aqsa cheer as rockets hit Jerusalem
A video uploaded to YouTube on Tuesday evening shows Palestinian Muslims praying at Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa Mosque cheering, chanting slogans and calling “God is great” in Arabic upon hearing about rockets fired from the Gaza Strip reaching the Israeli capital.
Four rockets were fired at Jerusalem on Tuesday, three of which hit the city, according to the IDF.
Air raid sirens break early morning calm in south
As day breaks over Israel, air raid sirens sound in communities near the southern city of Beersheba, home to nearly 200,000.
Early morning reports say sirens went off in the town of Metar and the Lakia, Sdot Negev and Sha’ar Hanegev regions of southern Israel. At least one explosion was reported near Beersheba and another near the town of Netivot.
No injuries or damage have been reported.
Eight Palestinians hurt in airstrikes on Gaza
Palestinian news outlets report that eight Palestinians were injured in two Israeli strikes on two houses in the city of Gaza belonging to Hamas members who infiltrated Israel on Tuesday. The families reportedly received notification to evacuate their houses before the IDF attacked.
IDF hits 160 targets overnight
Israeli forces carried out a total of 160 strikes on Gaza since midnight, the army reports, including raids from the air and from naval-based forces.
Since that start of Operation Protective Edge over 24 hours ago, Israel has hit 435 targets in Gaza, Ynet news reports.
During that same time, Gaza terror groups shot 225 rockets at Israel, reaching Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, points all around the Western and central Negev and southern Israel, and as far north as Hadera.
Forty of those rockets were shot down by the Iron Dome anti-missile system.
Islamic Jihad leader, five family members killed
Palestinian news outlet Ma’an reports that Islamic Jihad leader Hafiz Hamad and five members of his family were killed in an air raid just after midnight early Wednesday.
The strike targeted Hamad’s home in the northern Gaza Strip. Gazan health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra says six members of the same family were killed in the strike.
The raid brings the Gazan death toll to at least 24, including seven people killed in a strike on a house earlier Tuesday that a number of civilians attempted to protect with a human shield.
Videos show horrors of conflict
Behind the numbers, real terror is being felt in both Gaza and Israel as fighting wears on. Videos and pictures proliferating on social media and elsewhere on the Internet try to capture the horrors of the conflict, especially among civilians.
This video, from the Associated Press, shows Gazans running from an air strike and then attempting rescue operations.
Meanwhile, Israeli on Facebook and Twitter have been sharing this video from a wedding interrupted by a rocket siren Wednesday night.
Some 25 Gazans have been killed in the fighting thus far. Israel, armed with better protective measures, has suffered a few minor injuries among civilians and soldiers.
Sirens in Ashkelon, near Gaza
After a couple hours of mostly quiet, rocket sirens ring out in Ashkelon and communities surrounding Gaza, sending residents not already in shelters to seek cover.
‘Gaza has dozens more rockets that hit Hadera’
The likely firing of an M-302 rocket Tuesday night at Hadera, a city situated some 116 kilometers from the Gaza Strip, is being seen by the army as likely the most significant event amid the flurry of launches over the last 24 hours.
Lt. Col. Peter Lerner tells the Times of Israel that the M-302, generally made in Syria, was one of the sorts of rockets found on the Iranian arms ship Clos-C, which was intercepted by Israeli forces in March. Israel said the ship was headed for Gaza from Iran, though the UN said it was headed for Sudan.
Although those rockets were seized at sea, it is now clear that others of its kind managed to cross into Gaza. “Our assessment is that there are [dozens] more of these rockets in Gaza,” he says.
— Elijah J Magnier (@EjmAlrai) July 9, 2014
Additionally the Israeli army on Tuesday targeted 120 concealed rocket launchers, 10 command and control structures – which also serve as the homes of regional Hamas commanders – and six government buildings, including a navy facility and Hamas’ national security ministry building, the army said.
The conscripted Nahal Brigade, relieved by incoming reservists, will join the forces on the Gaza border Wednesday, Lerner says, “in preparation for a possible ground operation.”
Tuesday evening also saw an additional explosion in a Hamas tunnel near Kerem Shalom. Lerner says that the reason for the explosion is unclear and that the infrastructure and components necessary for a terror attack were apparently ready within the tunnel.
The army, he says, believes that the tunnel discovered last night is linked to the tunnel in which seven Hamas operatives were killed on Monday morning.
Three rockets hit near Eshkol, damage cars
Two rockets explode in a town in the Eshkol Regional Council which sits on the border with Gaza. Another lands in Sha’ar HaNegev Regional Council. Vehicles are damaged in the attack, news site Ynet reports.
Missile intercepted near Tel Aviv
Sirens are heard in Tel Aviv, as well as in towns and cities to the south, and a missile is seen being intercepted by Iron Dome.
Bat Yam, Palmahim, and Rishon LeZion hear sirens as well.
Multiple rockets reported intercepted near Tel Aviv
Multiple rockets are intercepted over Tel Aviv and the center of the country.
Channel 2 reports that three rockets are intercepted over Beit Dagan, near Ben-Gurion Airport outside Tel Aviv.
Other sources report up to five rockets shot down in the Gush Dan region.
No official word yet from Army.
Traffic halts on Tel Aviv’s main freeway
Commuters stop their cars on the Ayalon freeway during morning rush hour in Tel Aviv, as sirens are heard in the city.
Sirens heard in Ashdod
Warning sirens are heard in the coastal city of Ashdod.
Army confirms 2 rockets shot down over TA
The IDF now confirms that two rockets were intercepted this morning over Tel Aviv.
Hamas’s Al-Qassam Brigades takes responsibility, saying in a statement that they shot four M-75 rockets at the city.
Sirens in Gush Dan, Beersheba, Ashkelon
Sirens are heard in Ashkelon, Beersheba, and Gush Dan.
Sirens in Sha’ar HaNegev, Merhavim
Warning sirens are heard in Sha’ar HaNegev and Merhavim Regional Council in the south.
Sirens in Nahal Oz, Alumim
Sirens sound in the kibbutzim Nahal Oz and Alumim, both in the border area with Gaza.
Rocket hits open area in Sdot Negev
A rocket hits an open area in the Sdot Negev Regional Council. No reports of injury or damage.
Rocket fragments fall on three cities
Pieces of rockets fall in Rishon LeZion, Nes Ziona, and Beer Yaakov, Ynet reports.
According to the Home Front Command, this is why it instructs residents to remain in shelters for ten minutes after the end of the siren.
The photograph below is from Nes Ziona.
— חדשות 2 (@Channel2News) July 9, 2014
Baseball camp stays open despite rockets
Summer baseball camp run by the Israel Association of Baseball at the Baptist Village in Petah Tikvah remains open despite the sirens and rocket fire from Gaza, tweets Director Nate Fish.
Have you heard what’s going on in Israel? That’s right, summer baseball camp. pic.twitter.com/3RohhFvkZl
— Nate Fish (@kingofJbaseball) July 9, 2014
Mitzna: Gaza suffering more than Tel Aviv
Hatnua MK and retired general Amram Mitzna tells Ynet that “in Gaza, they are suffering more than those sitting in shelters in Tel Aviv.”
Mitzna formerly served as mayor of Haifa and Yeruham, and ran for prime minister as Labor party leader against Ariel Sharon in 2003, losing badly.
1 reported killed, 1 injured in Gaza strike
Palestinian sources report that one person was killed, and other injured, in an Israeli strike in the northern Gaza Strip, according to Ynet.
Livni says all options on the table
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni tells Ynet that “the Government of Israel is not ruling out any options.”
Israel strikes tunnels near Rafah
Israeli jets strike smuggling tunnels near Rafah on the Egypt-Gaza border overnight and Wednesday morning.
Sirens in Ashdod
Warning sirens are heard in the coastal city of Ashdod.
Sirens heard in Ashkelon, Beer Tuvia
Warning sirens are heard in Ashkelon and in the Beer Tuvia Regional Council.
Ashkelon mayor says ‘rules have changed’
Itamar Shimoni, mayor of the city of Ashkelon near the Gaza border, tells Ynet that “the rules have changed, an entire country is under fire.”
Thursday’s Woodstock Revival postponed
Due to the security situation, the city of Jerusalem and the Homefront Command instruct organizers of the Jerusalem Woodstock Revival that the event cannot take place Thursday as scheduled at the Kraft Family Stadium in Jerusalem, according to event organizer Steve Leibowitz.
The event is rescheduled for August 21.
Thursday was to mark the sixth annual Woodstock, when local musicians pay tribute to the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Led Zeppelin and other iconic musicians of the period.
The now-annual summer event is a beloved “throwback festival,” said organizer Nadia Levene, and is sponsored by the Jerusalem Municipality, Times of Israel, Haaretz, HP, and others.
IDF releases footage of overnight attacks
IDF releases video of overnight attacks on Hamas commanders’ homes and tunnels.
Rocket hits near Ashdod
A rocket explodes in an open area near Ashdod.
Hamas’s slain naval commander?
Israeli blog The Muqata releases a photo it suspects might be of the leader of Hamas’s naval commando unit…
The commander was reported killed Tuesday in a strike on a car in the Gaza Strip.
Jordan condemns Israel’s ‘barbaric aggression’
Jordan calls for an end to the “barbaric aggression” by Israel in Gaza, AFP reports.
Government spokesman Mohammad Momani said in a statement that his country “condemns the military aggression launched by Israel in the Gaza Strip,” and demands an “immediate stop” to the campaign.
Momani also warns against “the consequences of this barbaric aggression.”
Hamas dedicates fire on TA to slain Egyptian soldiers
Hamas says it dedicates the rocket fire on Tel Aviv and the Gush Dan region to the 16 Egyptian soldiers killed in the August 2012 attack in which Gaza-based Palestinian terrorists commandeered two Egyptian armored vehicles before attempting to cross into Israel.
The attackers were stopped by the IDF and the air force, and several terrorists were killed. At least 16 Egyptian soldiers — some reports spoke of 20 — were killed and seven injured by the terrorists at the start of the attempted infiltration, which began with an armed assault on an Egyptian military position on the border.
After gunning down the Egyptian soldiers, the terrorists commandeered the two Egyptian vehicles, and tried to smash through the border into Israel at the Kerem Shalom crossing, reportedly firing as they moved. The first vehicle was said to have exploded on the Egyptian side of the border crossing. The second vehicle moved towards Israel and the IAF blew it up. Conflicting initial reports spoke of three to six terrorists who were killed by Israeli army troops, the Army Spokesman said.
Islamic Jihad rocket launcher targeted — IDF
The Israeli army confirms a strike in the northern Gaza Strip targeted Islamic Jihad leader Abdullah Diyfallah.
Palestinian media report one person was killed and one injured in the strike on a motorbike in Beit Lahiyeh in the northern strip. Ma’an news named Rafiq al-Kafarna as the fatality, quoting Gaza’s health ministry.
The army says in a statement that Diyfallah was a “known Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist responsible for firing rockets at Israel.”
IDF releases M-302 threat graphic
The IDF spokesman’s office circulates a graphic showing the range of the M-302 rocket, thought to have been the projectile that hit the northern city of Hadera Tuesday night.
Hamas’s long-range rockets, capable of striking Tel Aviv and beyond, include Iranian-made Fajr-5 rockets — built in Iran in segments in order to facilitate smuggling and for the express use of a terror organization — or self-made M-75s. Tal Inbar of the Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies describes the M-75 as a 133mm rocket equipped with a 90-kilogram warhead.
According to Brig. Gen. Itay Brun, military intelligence’s top analyst, there are several hundred of these sorts of rockets in Gaza.
The Grad rockets, of which Hamas has thousands, carry a smaller warhead, up to 20 kilograms, and have a maximum range of roughly 40 kilometers. They are factory-made, Inbar says, and are equipped with a fragmentation warhead.
In the past 24 hours, Hamas fired rockets at Tel Aviv, Jerusalem & other major cities. M302 can strike most of Israel pic.twitter.com/fHJgGsVT7V
— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) July 9, 2014
The Kassam rockets, he adds, exist in a quantity “too large to count,” and, though very basic, their flight time is too short for Iron Dome to effectively combat.
Hamas also possesses an array of anti-tank missiles and heavy anti-aircraft machine guns.
— Mitch Ginsburg
Jerusalem’s kids sent home from some camps
Child care facilities and summer camps in Jerusalem that are insufficiently fortified are ordered to send children home.
Three explosions were heard in Jerusalem Tuesday night after Code Red sirens blared in the capital.
Israel calling Gaza civilians to warn of strikes, says NY Times
As it did during Operation Cast Lead in 2008-9 and Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012, Israel is calling Palestinian civilians in Gaza to warn them minutes before airstrikes, according to the New York Times.
Israel has also been taking other measures like firing a flare at the building beforehand.
Palestinians have tried forming human shields to prevent the Israeli Air Force from bombing buildings, the NY Times reported.
Read the full report here.
Michael Oren posts pic of stopped Tel Aviv traffic
Former ambassador to the US Michael Oren was among the commuters who were forced to stop their cars Wednesday morning on Tel Aviv’s Ayalon Freeway because of Gaza rocket fire. He posts a picture on Facebook of the scene.
“All the cars stopped–many of them under a bridge–but the passengers got out to take pictures. We heard the booms–three rockets intercepted by Iron Dome,” Oren writes. “Then we all got back in our cars and drove to work.”
Oren currently holds a chair at Herzliya’s Interdisciplinary Center.
13 arrested in E. Jerusalem for Molotov cocktails, stones
Thirteen residents of east Jerusalem were arrested overnight for throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at police officers, according to Israel Police.
Ninety-six people have been arrested for rioting in Jerusalem in the wake of the murder of 16-year-old Shuafat resident Muhammad Abu Khdeir.
Seven individuals were also arrested for rioting overnight in the Arab towns of Shfaram and Sakhnin. One police officer was lightly injured.
Official says world not interested in Gaza op
Despite several statements by world leaders, the international community currently doesn’t really care about Israel’s Operation Protective Edge, a senior diplomatic official tells The Times of Israel.
“The international community is totally disinterested. Yes, there were a few press releases from [UK Foreign Secretary] William Hague and a few others, but generally the world doesn’t show any particular interest in this,” the official says. “They’re either very tired of this, or their attention is elsewhere or they want to go a summer vacation and don’t think this story is important enough.”
Most people are exhausted with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict because they have “seen it again and again,” the officials adds. “Much worse is happening in the region, and people saw that we were attacked by Hamas rockets.”
— Raphael Ahren
‘No Hamas commander has a home to return to’
“There is not one Hamas brigade commander left who has a home to return to,” a senior IDF officer said, according to Ynet.
Israel struck at least one Hamas commander’s home Tuesday. According to Israel Radio, a number of locals had earlier positioned themselves on the roof of the home to try and act as human shields against an Israeli attack.
Sirens in Ashdod, Be’er Tuvia and Lachish
Warning sirens are heard in Ashdod, Be’er Tuvia, and Lachish Regional Council.
Hotline for the blind opens, *9366
The Welfare Ministry opens an emergency hotline for blind Israelis in need of help. The hotline can be reached at *9366, Ynet reports.
80-year-old woman reportedly killed in Gaza
Palestinians sources report that an 80-year-old woman was killed by an Israel airstrike in the central Gaza Strip.
Over 25 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli strikes since the start of Operation Protective Edge.
Two rockets hit Eshkol region
Two rockets hit the Eshkol region, in southern Israel.
They fall in open areas, causing no casualties.
Ya’alon says operation will be expanded in coming days
Operation Protective Edge will be expanded in the near future, says Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon.
“The campaign against Hamas will expand in the coming days, and the prices the organization will be will be very heavy,” he says.
Ya’alon makes his comments after a security assessment with the Shin Bet and IDF.
“We are continuing with attacks that are extracting a high price from Hamas,” he says. “We are destroying weapons, terror infrastructure, command and control systems, Hamas institutions, administration buildings, and terrorists’ homes, and are killing terrorists in various command positions.”
“We are talking about a campaign that won’t be short, and we must continue to maintain patience,” he continues.
“We will continue to hit Hamas and other terrorist organizations in the Strip with harsh strikes from the air, from the ground, and the sea in order to guarantee security for Israeli citizens.”
— Mitch Ginsburg
PM instructs IDF to increase intensity of Gaza op
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructs the Israel Defense Forces to increase the intensity of Operation Protective Edge, a senior government official tells The Times of Israel.
“No target has immunity,” the prime minister tells the troops. The army will attack Hamas operatives, infrastructure and tunnels more forcefully than yesterday, the official says, adding that Netanyahu wants to prepare the Israeli people for what could be a long campaign. “It’s not ‘bang, and we’re done,’” the official says.
— Raphael Ahren
Sirens in Hof Ashkelon
Warnings sirens are heard in the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council, which borders the northern Gaza Strip along the coast.
Australia issues new travel warnings
Australia warned its citizens to “exercise a high degree of caution” when visiting Israel, in an announcement released Wednesday.
It also urged travelers to reconsider visiting the West Bank, and told citizens not to travel to the Gaza Strip and surrounding areas.
Canberra also warned Australians to avoid political demonstrations, use a high degree of caution on public transport, and be cognizant of threats on the Egyptian and Syrian borders.
3 rockets hit Kiryat Malachi, Be’er Tuvia
Three rockets from Gaza hit Kiryat Malachi and Be’er Tuvia. No injuries are reported.
40 rockets, 8 intercepts so far today
Forty rockets from Gaza were fired at Israel Wednesday as of 1 p.m., after around 160 hit on Tuesday.
Iron Dome batteries intercepted eight rockets on Wednesday.
Operation Protective Edge began early Tuesday morning following increasing rocket fire from Hamas in Gaza.
MK Deri says ‘We must cut off head of snake’
“A sovereign state cannot allow for a bunch of terrorists to run its life; we must cut off the head of the snake and for every Hamas man to know that his blood is upon his head,” tweets Shas party leader Aryeh Deri.
Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah used similar language about Iran in 2008, urging the US in a cable to “cut off the head of the snake” and destroy Iran’s nuclear program. The comments came to light on the Wikileaks whistle-blowing website.
Sissi vows to broker Gaza truce
In a phone conversation with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas last night, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi promises to help broker a ceasefire in Gaza.
Sissi promises that Egypt will exert pressure to end the Israeli strikes on Gaza and ensure the safety of the Palestinians, the Ma’an news agency quotes Abbas as saying.
The Egyptian leader also calls for the escalation to stop and for Gaza to avoid “dangerous attacks” so that a truce can be reached quickly.
At 3:30 p.m. this afternoon, Abbas will convene the Palestinian leadership at the Muqata in Ramallah to discuss the escalation.
Abbas’s Fatah says it shares goals with Hamas, PIJ
Fatah, the party led by Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas, says on its Facebook page today that Fatah, Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad all share the same goal, Palestinian Media Watch reports.
“One God, one homeland, one enemy, one goal,” reads the page. It also says that the three movements are “brothers in arms.”
The post also shows three masked fighters, with the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa mosque in the background.
Sirens in Lachish, Hof Ashkelon
Sirens are heard in Kiryat Gat, and the Sapir, Lachish, and Hof Ashkelon regional councils.
‘Bomb Shelter Blues’ to get you through the day
Blues rocker Lazer Lloyd, known as “Israel’s King of the Blues,” released a song in 2012 called “The Bomb Shelter Blues.”
In case you’re feeling down about incoming rockets from Gaza, Lloyd feels your pain.
“Lord, I ain’t ready to go…”
New footage of Gaza launches
New footage emerges Wednesday showing Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas rocket launches into Israel. More than 40 rockets have been fired into Israel Wednesday.
These two videos are from PIJ’s al-Quds Brigades–
This clip shows Hamas rocket fire–
Two rocket intercepts over Kiryat Gat
Iron Dome intercepts two rockets over Kiryat Gat. The anti-missile system has intercepted at least ten rockets Wednesday.
Sirens in Zichron Yaakov, Hof Habonim
Sirens are heard in Zichron Yaakov, a city on the Carmel Mountain range some 35 km (22 miles) south of Haifa. Sirens are also heard in the nearby Hof Habonim beach.
It’s 120 km north of the Gaza Strip.
If a rocket does strike the region, it will be the northernmost point hit during Operation Protective Edge.
Rocket strikes near Zichron Yaakov
Rockets hit open areas near Zichron Yaakov, 120 kilometers north of the Gaza Strip.
This marks the northernmost point hit during the two-day old Operation Protective Edge.
The rockets leave one person with light shrapnel injuries.
The rockets are in all likelihood M-302 rockets, the same make that struck Hadera on Tuesday.
On March 5, Israeli naval forces intercepted the Klos-C, a ship carrying 40 Syrian M-302 rockets from Iran to the Gaza Strip.
MK Danon calls for end of fuel, electricity supply to Gaza
Hard-line Likud MK Danny Danon says Israel should “stop the supply of electricity and fuel to the Gaza Strip immediately. It cannot be that on the one hand we fight Hamas, and on the other hand we transfer electricity and fuel for the transport of missiles launched at Israeli cities.”
“In the campaign against Hamas, we need to use all the levers we have in our hands in order to make it ask for a ceasefire,” he continues.
Explosion heard in Sha’ar Hanegev area
An explosion is heard in the Sha’ar Hanegev region after a rocket is launched at the area.
IDF releases Navy footage of Zikim attack
In newly-released footage of Tuesday’s foiled attack on Zikim by Hamas naval commandoes, viewers can see the incident from the point of view of a Navy camera.
The clip shows gunfire coming from the ship as the terrorists run along the beach. Tense conversations over the ship’s radio can be heard as well, identifying one of the operatives popping up from behind a bush and running south before being hit.
The Hamas operatives were on their way to one of the bases in the area or toward the community of Zikim, a kibbutz.
Footage of the attack from land-based observation cameras was released Tuesday night.
Tuesday’s video shows a pair of Hamas gunmen firing their weapons, probably at the Israeli army infantry forces that first engaged them — the soldier on the right can be seen unjamming his weapon — and then running for their lives as an air force helicopter fires upon them.
Five Hamas men, reportedly naval commandos, were killed in the aborted infiltration attempt.
Jerusalem Season of Culture delays opening event
The Jerusalem Season of Culture announces that its opening event will be pushed back.
“Contact Point,” a late-night event at the Israel Museum originally scheduled for Thursday evening, was postponed, organizers say Wednesday, with the new date yet to be announced.
Organizers add that tickets will remain valid for the new date.
The Jerusalem Film Festival also announces Wednesday that their opening night festivities, originally scheduled for Thursday evening, have been postponed one week.
Hamas takes responsibility for strikes near Haifa
Hamas says that it fired the two rockets that landed near Zichron Yaakon Wednesday afternoon, lightly injuring one.
The rockets landed in open areas.
This marks the northernmost point struck by rockets during Operation Protective Edge.
‘Hamas empties long-range rockets to reach north’
Channel 2’s Ehud Yaari says that Hamas manages to reach areas south of Haifa with its rockets only by emptying them of their explosive materials.
Hamas rockets hit open areas near Zichron Yaakov, 120 kilometers from Gaza, on Wednesday afternoon, leaving one person lightly injured.
Hamas says Israel has hit Gaza over 500 times
Hamas’s interior ministry in the Gaza says that Israel’s army and air force have struck the coastal strip more than 500 times.
At least 25 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli strikes.
800 scouts evacuated from northern forest
Around 800 Israeli scouts hiking in the Carmel mountain range’s Ofer Forest are evacuated Wednesday afternoon, Ynet reports.
The decision is made after two rockets strike open areas near Zichron Yaakov, 120 kilometers north of the Gaza Strip.
Sirens in Eshkol Regional Council
Warning sirens are heard in the Eshkol Regional Council on the border with Gaza.
‘Bomb shelter selfies’ on Facebook
English-speaking Israelis are finding an opportunity for levity among the rockets and sirens, uploading selfie pictures to Facebook from their bomb shelters.
Though some of the photos are most certainly not selfies, it looks like some residents are able to smile even in trying times.
Fire breaks out after strikes south of Haifa
After rockets from Gaza strike an open area near Zichron Yaakov, a fire breaks out in the brush.
PM says operation will expand until rockets stop
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he has instructed the Israel Defense Forces to “intensify even further” the military operation against Hamas and other terrorist organizations in Gaza. “The IDF is prepared for any option,” he says, stopping short of announcing a ground invasion into the strip.
“Hamas will pay a heavy price for firing at Israeli citizens The security of Israel’s citizens is first and foremost. Our army is strong, the home front firm and our nation united. This combination is our response to the terrorist organizations that seek to hurt us,” the prime minister says in Beersheba, where he held security-related deliberations with Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz and Sami Turgeman, the IDF’s southern command chief.
“We are all united in the mission to hit the terrorists and restore calm,” Netanyahu says. “The operation will expand and continue until the rocket fire on our cities stops and quiet returns.”
The prime minister urges the public to continue following the Home Front Command’s instructions – “they save lives,” he says.
— Raphael Ahren
3 rockets hit Eshkol, start fire
Three rockets fall in the Eshkol region, igniting a fire, the Ynet news website reports.
The fire has been extinguished.
A number of buildings are damaged by the rockets, and the surrounding areas report a power outage.
IDF says 31 terror tunnels, 60 launch sites hit
The army says that since 7 a.m., it has targeted 129 sites in the Gaza Strip, including “31 terror tunnels, 60 rocket launching sites, 27 terror sites and 11 activity sites utilized by Hamas operatives.”
Overall, the IDF reports that over 170 rockets have struck Israeli soil since the start of the operation, and 57 were intercepted by the Iron Dome system.
Reports of army base attack are false, IDF says
The IDF says in a tweet that reports that dozens of IDF soldiers were wounded at an army base are false.
Five Palestinians killed in Gaza
Five Palestinians were killed on Wednesday when an Israeli missile struck a house in central Gaza, the emergency services told AFP.
Spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said the strike targeted a house in Al-Maghazi, a beachside refugee camp near Deir al-Balah.
There was no immediate word on the identities of the victims.
Sirens blare in Beersheba
The red alert sirens sound in the southern city of Beersheba.
MK ousted from Knesset for calling IDF ‘murderers’
MK Ibrahim Sarsur (Ra’am Ta’al) addresses the Knesset plenum in light of the security situation, and declares the IDF “murderers.”
After being asked to leave the podium and refusing, security guards forcibly remove the Knesset member from the hall.
Rockets targeting Haifa fell in Caesarea
Two projectiles fired toward Haifa earlier today landed in open areas in Caesarea, the Ynet news website reports.
The Iron Dome intercepts a rocket over Ashkelon.
48 rockets strike Israel since midnight
The IDF says that 48 projectiles slammed into Israel since midnight, and 14 others were shot down by Iron Dome.
“Since the beginning of operation ‘Protective Edge,’ more than 200 rockets hit Israel and 53 rockets were intercepted,” it says in a statement.
Police say paraglider over Gaza not infiltrator
A suspicious paraglider is spotted in Israel on the outskirts of the Gaza Strip, Channel 2 reports.
After tracking down the caller who reported the activity, police have rejected the possibility it is an infiltration from the coastal enclave.
Two toddlers, mother die in Gaza airstrike
The Palestinian Ma’an News Agency reports that three out of five Palestinians killed earlier in the day in an Israeli airstrike were members of the same family.
Nidal Khalaf al-Nawasrah, described as a “toddler,” his brother Muhammad Khalaf al-Nawasrah, 4, and their mother Sumud al-Nawasrah die after a missile hits their home.
The report says another two children are missing, and are apparently buried in the rubble of the destroyed building.
Sirens sound in Beit Shemesh
The code red sirens wail in the broader Beit Shemesh area.
Islamic Jihad operative said killed in Gaza
Palestinian sources report that a commander in the Islamic Jihad is assassinated, after the IDF targets his home in the northern Gaza Strip. According to Channel 10, five of his family members are killed in the airstrike as well.
The Israeli aircraft also hit a house belonging to a senior member of Hamas’s armed wing. It remains unclear if there were any casualties in that attack.
Egypt plays down role in mediating ceasefire
Egypt on Wednesday urges Israel and the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas in Gaza to halt their escalating conflict but plays down hopes of a Cairo-mediated truce.
Egypt, which signed a 1979 peace treaty with Israel, played a key role in mediating ceasefires in past wars between Hamas and the Jewish state.
But it has signaled a more hands-off approach in the latest conflict, which comes at a time of mounting tensions between the new government in Cairo and Hamas.
“There is no mediation, in the common sense of the word,” says Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman Badr Abdelatty.
“Egyptian diplomatic efforts are aimed at immediately stopping Israeli aggression and ending all mutual violence. (Egyptian) contacts have not yet achieved a result.”
Iron Dome downs rocket over Dan region
The Iron Dome intercepts a projectile over central Israel. Another rocket is thought to land in an open area.
Seconds earlier, the sirens in the cities of Bat Yam and Holon are triggered.
Islamic Jihad takes credit for latest fire
The Islamic Jihad takes responsibility for the most recent rocket fire over central Israel.
Rehovot hospital moves patients to fortified area
The Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot begins transferring patients from its cardiology and intensive care wards to fortified rooms in the wake of the uptick in rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.
Israeli op in Gaza is ‘genocide,’ Abbas says
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas accuses Israel of committing “genocide” in Gaza during its military campaign which has so far killed 43 Palestinians.
“It’s genocide — the killing of entire families is genocide by Israel against our Palestinian people,” he tells a crisis meeting of the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
300 protest Gaza operation in Nazareth
Some 300 protesters — including Israeli-Arab MK Hanin Zoabi — are rallying against Operation Protective Edge in the northern city of Nazareth, the Ynet news website reports.
Demonstrators block roads and wave Palestinian flags.
South gets NIS 15 m. in emergency funds
A budget of NIS 15 million ($4.3 million) in public funding for cities in southern Israel is approved by Finance Minister Yair Lapid and Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar.
The money will go toward expenses incurred by Operation Protective Edge, including equipment and medical services.
Nine rockets hit Eshkol; no injuries
In the past hour, nine rockets strike the Eshkol region, according to Ynet.
No injuries are reported, but one home is damaged after sustaining a direct hit.
72 rockets fall in Israel today, IDF says
The army tweets that 72 projectiles fired from Gaza strike Israel today.
Twenty-four of those are launched during the past two hours.
So far today 72 rockets fired from Gaza have hit Israel.
— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) July 9, 2014
Turkey condemns Operation Protective Edge
“Israel is dropping bombs, civilians are dying and some still claim ‘we are impartial on the Palestinian issue,'” Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan says, in an apparent rebuke relating to a lack of international response to the Israeli operation.
— Ilan Ben Zion
Abbas asks, ‘Shall we recall Auschwitz?’
PA President Mahmoud Abbas references Auschwitz in his address on the Gaza offensive — which earlier he says constitutes “genocide” — and the murder of 16-year-old Muhammed Abu Khdeir.
“Is this collective punishment?” Abbas says. “No way it’s collective punishment. It’s genocide. It’s called genocide. What can I say about Abu Khdeir? Shall we recall Auschwitz?”
Missile hits empty house in Shaar HaNegev
A rocket from the Gaza Strip strikes an unoccupied private residence in Shaar HaNegev. No injuries are reported.
“The family wasn’t home at the time,” police say.
Another missile falls in the area, damaging some electrical wiring.
Earlier, two rockets fall in the Negev. One lands in an open area, the other on the highway.
False chemical leak report sent by Haaretz impostor
A false text message goes out to thousands of Israelis, ostensibly sent by Haaretz, saying: “Rocket from Gaza hit petrochemical plant in Haifa, huge fire, possible chemical leak, advised to evacuate Haifa.”
Haaretz denies the statement came from it.
No such attack occurred.
URGENT CLARIFICATION: An SMS has been sent in Haaretz's name alleging that rockets have struck Haifa. This message was not from Haaretz.
— Haaretz.com (@haaretzcom) July 9, 2014
Missile intercepted over Ashkelon
The Iron Dome shoots down a rocket over Ashkelon, as two consecutive sirens are heard in the southern city, approximately one minute apart.
Additional projectiles are thought to have landed in the area, but have not been located yet.
Hamas committing war crimes, Netanyahu says
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, US Secretary of State John Kerry and German Chancellor Angela Merkel to ask for their support for Israel’s Operation Protective Edge.
No country in the world would agree to be under constant rocket fire and have terrorists infiltrate their territory via the sea and through tunnels, Netanyahu tells the leaders, according to a statement released by his office.
“Hamas is committing a double war crime when it tries to hurt Israeli civilians and utilizes the Gazan civilian population as a human shield,” Netanyahu says. Therefore, Hamas is responsible for their own civilian casualties, he tells the foreign leaders.
Hamas is recognized as a terrorist group, “and thus it is upon the international community to forcefully condemn the ongoing rocket fire on Israeli cities by Hamas and other terrorist organizations,” Netanyahu says.
In coming days, Netanyahu plans similar conversations with additional world leaders.
Tomorrow, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman is scheduled to give a briefing about the military operation to foreign ambassadors serving in Israel. His spokesman, Tzachi Moshe, refuses to say whether Liberman has spoken to any of his counterparts in foreign capitals since the operation started.
— Raphael Ahren
‘Ground offensive may happen quite soon’
In an interview with CNN, President Shimon Peres says a ground offensive in the Gaza Strip “may happen quite soon.”
“If they won’t stop the missiles, there will be a ground attack. I’m not going to tell you when and where. But that’s the logic[al] conclusion.”
“Whatever we can do without ground forces, we shall do. So we waited. We didn’t start a war today, they started it already several days ago. And they continue and they spread the fire on more areas in Israel,” he says.
“If they continue, sooner or later, this will be the response.”
Northern cities told to open bomb shelters
IDF Home Front Command instructs local authorities to make public bomb shelters ready for use in the northern city of Haifa, the Carmel region, and the Wadi Ara region.
— Stuart Winer
End the occupation or Haifa will explode, Mashaal says
Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal calls for the end of the Israeli airstrikes, and says Israeli citizens have Netanyahu to blame for the rocket barrage.
He calls for “the end of the aggression and the bombings immediately — the time has come to end the occupation. You, the Israelis: Go out and condemn Netanyahu and his extremist government because of whom you are in the shelters.”
“Until the occupation ends, Haifa will explode,” he says.
Mashaal adds the murders of the three Israeli teenagers “was the starting point for Netanyahu, as if the occupation, the settlement, and the closure are not a blatant violation of Palestinian rights.”
2 rockets intercepted over Dimona
Two missiles are downed by the Iron Dome over the southern city of Dimona, moments after the sirens in the city and in nearby Yeruham sound.
Rubble, gaping holes in house hit by missile
Police post images of the demolished home in Shaar Hanegev that was hit earlier today.
The house was empty, with the family away on vacation in Eilat, Channel 2 reports.
תמונות מהנזק שגרמה נפילת הרקטה על בית המגורים בשער הנגב pic.twitter.com/GrDHweJbkj
— משטרת ישראל (@IL_police) July 9, 2014
We tried to strike nuclear reactor, Hamas says
Hamas says the most recent attack on the southern city of Dimona targeted Israel’s nuclear facilities.
The Iron Dome shoots down two rockets, but others are thought to have fallen in the area. No damage or injuries are reported.
With TV prime time, Hamas ups the ante
It’s 8 pm — time for Israel’s main nightly news broadcasts, and media-savvy Hamas, as on the past two nights, is timing rocket barrages for maximal ratings.
We’ve now reached the surreal situation where we’re watching Hamas rockets being knocked out of the sky by Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system on TV.
Iron Dome manager says system working well
Danny Gold, the IDF brigadier-general who led the development of Iron Dome, acknowledges in a Channel 2 interview that the system is performing extremely effectively.
But each intercept costs a fair amount of money, he’s asked. Correct, he says, but Iron Dome calculates if the rocket fire is heading for a residential area, and doesn’t intercept unless there’s a risk of that.
Thus, while Hamas has fired 170 rockets into Israel, he says, Iron Dome has only launched to intercept a small fraction of them.
A ‘growing sense’ Israel headed for ground offensive
Channel 2’s diplomatic correspondent reports there is a “growing sense” that Israel is being dragged toward a ground offensive. He quotes an unnamed senior source saying “we can’t on for long with these tit-for-tat Hamas rocket strikes and Israeli air attacks.”
He says people in Netanyahu’s circle are “starting to talk about an incursion into Gaza to try to strip Hamas of its terrorist infrastructure.”
Is this possible, Segal asks? And answers yes. Will it cost a heavy price? Yes, again.
But both Israel and Hamas, he concludes, are now saying they are not prepared to go back to the understandings that preceded this conflict.
Israeli airstrikes bombard Gaza; 51 dead
The Israel Air Force airstrikes in the Gaza Strip are ongoing, with over 150 sites targeted since the morning, according to Channel 2.
The Palestinian Ma’an News Agency reports the Palestinian death toll stands at 51, with over 450 injured.
Hamas vows to resume suicide bombings
In four separate videos broadcast in Hebrew on Al Aqsa TV, Hamas threatens to resume suicide bombings in Israeli cities and urges Israel to “count its coffins.”
The video statements are as follows, according to Palestinian Media Watch:
“Zionists, wait and see terror attacks, stabbing everywhere. Wait for suicide attacks on every bus, café and street. Wait for the rage and for revenge for Gaza, wait for the flames of the West Bank, inside you.”
“Zionists, [we] can reach you above ground and below it. So start counting the number of coffins you’ll need in these months.”
“Zionists, do you still remember the rockets that made Tel-Aviv and the Israeli Parliament tremble? We just wanted to tell you that we have thousands of them.”
“Zionists, the resistance has many goals, it has the ability to reach places you thought were safe. Look, they [the rockets] are on their way to you, now they will reach you soon.”
Home Front Command advises PA residents
In coordination with the Palestinian Authority, the IDF Home Front Command submits its instructions for rocket preparedness in Arabic for Palestinian residents in the West Bank.
Most Palestinians do not have bomb shelters in their buildings, Israel Radio reports.
Both sides acting like children, Desmond Tutu says
Nobel peace laureate Desmond Tutu lashes out at Israeli and Palestinian leaders for behaving “like children,” seeking to blame each other for the latest bloody conflagration in the long-running conflict.
“Once again, the people of Israel and Palestine are embroiled in a deadly contest of tit-for-tat violence in which there can never be victors, only losers,” the South African cleric says in a statement.
“Like children following a playground dust-up, political and religious leaders fall over each other, not to make peace, but to proclaim: It wasn’t us, they started it.”
“The world is looking to Israelis and Palestinians to be bigger than themselves; to act now, before any more children are harmed,” says Tutu.
3 suspects in Abu Khdeir case to be freed
Three of the suspects in the murder of Muhammed Abu Khdeir are set to be released tomorrow.
The three have repeatedly denied involvement in the incident, and one was found to have an alibi.
Seven people — a number of them minors — have been arrested in connection with the killing of the East Jerusalem teenager.
Three of them have been said to confess to the gruesome crime.
Israel not eager to conquer Gaza — Bennett
Economy Minister Naftali Bennett says an Israeli recapture of the coastal enclave of Gaza is “a possibility,” but one Israel would prefer to avoid.
In an interview with Channel 10, Bennett says: “I am not eager, and the government of Israel is not eager, to conquer Gaza, but it is certainly a possibility on the table.”
IDF clip shows Palestinian human shields
The IDF releases footage documenting Gazans acting as human shields to prevent an Israeli airstrike. In the video, the IDF fires a warning shot at a building. Immediately afterwards, dozens of Palestinians are spotted going up on the roof to hamper a military raid.
Spoof ADL ad on Gaza goes viral
An image parodying an ADL advertisement on Hamas goes viral on Twitter, after creator Daniel Sieradski revises the text and image to refer to the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Compare the original and the spoof below.
— ADL (@ADL_National) July 8, 2014
— daniel sieradski (@selfagency) July 9, 2014
Infiltration from Gaza suspected near Zikim
For the second night in the row, Gazans reportedly attempt to infiltrate southern Israel via the sea.
Two figures are spotted by Israeli troops, who open fire and kill one, Channel 10 reports. The second one is trying to flee, it reports, and the incident is ongoing.
However, according to Channel 1, both are killed by Israeli fire.
The residents of Zikim are asked to barricade themselves in their homes.
Hamas toys with Israelis’ psyche
Hamas is waging war on the psyche of the Israeli public.
That is the root of terrorism: the spread of fear. The rockets, though, with Iron Dome operating at a reported 90 percent success rate, have been somewhat defanged. Hence the effort to dig tunnels, scarring the consciousness of many residents of the border region with the constant scratch of shovels, and, for the second straight night, an attempt to execute a naval infiltration in which frogmen, emerging on Israeli shores from a choppy sea, raid a civilian community.
Thus far, the army has managed to stifle these attempts thanks to a combination of intelligence, alertness, and technology — both infiltration attempts were thwarted by female surveillance operators in the border region — but Hamas, it seems, will continue to try.
— Mitch Ginsburg
Germany speaks out against rocket attacks
German Chancellor Angela Merkel condemns rocket attacks on Israel from Gaza in a telephone call with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a government spokeswoman says.
“The chancellor today telephoned Mr. Netanyahu and condemned without reservation rocket fire on Israel,” she says.
ABC News conflates Israelis, Palestinians
In its coverage of Operation Protective Edge, ABC News mistakes Palestinian residents of Gaza for Israelis. Over transposed images of buildings reduced to rubble by Israeli airstrikes in the Strip, anchor Diane Sawyer says: “Here an Israeli family trying to salvage what they can,” and “One woman standing speechless among the ruins.”
Here’s the full clip:
Journalist said killed in Israeli airstrike
Islamic Jihad claims a car carrying journalists in the Gaza Strip is hit by an Israeli airstrike, killing one and leaving several others wounded.
The report has not been confirmed.
Volley of rockets fired into Israel
Rockets are fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel, and sirens sound in Ashkelon, Ashdod, Be’er Tuvia, Kiryat Malachi and other towns.
Initial reports say several rockets have been shot down.
One rocket falls in a field next to Netivot.
There are no immediate reports of casualties or damage.
Some 15 rockets fired into Israel
Hebrew media is reporting that at least 15 rockets were fired into Israel in the most recent barrage.
Initial reports indicate that many of the rockets fell in open fields while others were shot down by the Iron Dome rocket defense system.
So far, there have been no reports of wounded or damage.
Five reported killed in Khan Younis airstrike
Reports out of Gaza say that an Israeli airstrike in Khan Younis killed at least five. Some reports indicate that the bombing hit a cafe with spectators watching the World Cup match between Argentina and the Netherlands. At least another 10 Palestinians were reported injured.
Moments before, the IDF reported that the Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted two rockets over the southern town of Kiryat Malachi.
Six arrested in Amman anti-Israel protest
Jordanian police are reportedly cracking down on an anti-Israel protest outside the Israeli embassy in Amman. Six demonstrators have been arrested.
According to the Jordan Times, dozens of protesters gathered outside the embassy in the Jordanian capital and attempted to storm the building. The paper says that the demonstration was organized by the Muslim Brotherhood.
The protesters called for shuttering the Israeli embassy and expelling the ambassador, “customary demands” since the 1994 peace agreement, the paper reports.
Images of the police crackdown are circulating on Twitter and other social media.
Jordanian police crack down on pro-Palestinian protesters near the Israeli embassy in Amman. Arrests reported pic.twitter.com/37SdeZj7AZ
— Hossam عمو حسام (@3arabawy) July 9, 2014
The end of Day Two
We’ll end this liveblog of Day 2 of Operation Protective Shield at this point — a day of extended and extensive Hamas rocket strikes, and an Israeli vow to intensify the attacks on Hamas until it will no longer fire on Israel. Our June 10 liveblog will be opening up with our colleague Ilan Ben-Zion o-to-to — very soon. Goodnight.
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