ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 149

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Israel, Islamic Jihad said weighing new Egyptian offer for Gaza ceasefire

Proposal reportedly includes humanitarian truce starting at midnight, hours after top commander in terror group killed in strike

  • Rockets are launched from the southern Gaza Strip towards Israel on May 12, 2023 (SAID KHATIB / AFP)
    Rockets are launched from the southern Gaza Strip towards Israel on May 12, 2023 (SAID KHATIB / AFP)
  • People take cover behind a wall as a building in Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip is hit by an Israeli airstrike, targeting an Islamic Jihad commander, on May 12, 2023. (Bashar Taleb/AFP)
    People take cover behind a wall as a building in Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip is hit by an Israeli airstrike, targeting an Islamic Jihad commander, on May 12, 2023. (Bashar Taleb/AFP)
  • Smoke rises above buildings in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, following an Israeli strike on May 12, 2023. (Said Khatib/AFP)
    Smoke rises above buildings in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, following an Israeli strike on May 12, 2023. (Said Khatib/AFP)
  • This handout photo shows a home in the souther town of Nir Am that was damaged by a rocket fired by terrorists in the Gaza Strip, May 12, 2023. (Shaar Hanegev Regional Council)
    This handout photo shows a home in the souther town of Nir Am that was damaged by a rocket fired by terrorists in the Gaza Strip, May 12, 2023. (Shaar Hanegev Regional Council)
  • Iron Dome missiles intercept rockets fired by terrorists in the Gaza Strip, over the southern town of Sderot, May 12, 2023. (Screenshot: Twitter; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
    Iron Dome missiles intercept rockets fired by terrorists in the Gaza Strip, over the southern town of Sderot, May 12, 2023. (Screenshot: Twitter; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
  • In this handout photo, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu consults with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant (L) and Mossad chief David Barnea (C) as Gallant observes the seven-day mourning period for his late mother, May 12, 2023. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)
    In this handout photo, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu consults with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant (L) and Mossad chief David Barnea (C) as Gallant observes the seven-day mourning period for his late mother, May 12, 2023. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)
  • Smoke is seen from the West Bank settlement of Bat Ayin after Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip fired rockets at Israel, May 12, 2023. (Courtesy)
    Smoke is seen from the West Bank settlement of Bat Ayin after Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip fired rockets at Israel, May 12, 2023. (Courtesy)
  • Smoke rises from buildings in Gaza City on May 12, 2023, following an Israeli airstrike. (Mahmud Hams/AFP)
    Smoke rises from buildings in Gaza City on May 12, 2023, following an Israeli airstrike. (Mahmud Hams/AFP)
  • This handout photo shows damage at a home in the southern town of Sderot that was struck by a rocket launched by Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip, May 12, 2023. (Sderot Municipality)
    This handout photo shows damage at a home in the southern town of Sderot that was struck by a rocket launched by Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip, May 12, 2023. (Sderot Municipality)

The Times of Israel liveblogged Friday’s events as they happened.

S&P affirms Israel’s credit rating, warns of ‘persistent’ domestic, regional risks

Credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s (S&P) keeps Israel’s favorable rating unchanged at AA- with a “stable” outlook but cites “persistent domestic and regional political and security risks” as potential threats to the economy.

The agency expects “some form of consensus” over the contentious judicial overhaul bid which will allow political tensions to moderate, it says in an announcement. The suspended government push to weaken Israel’s judicial system radically has dealt a blow to the economy, spooking investors, economists, and credit agencies, among others.

“We expect the current political uncertainty, combined with weaker economic performance in Israel’s key trading partners in Europe and the US as well as tighter monetary policy, to cause Israeli economic growth to slow to 1.5% in 2023 from 6.5% in 2022,” says S&P in its quarterly country report on Israel.

It also cites Israel’s credit strengths which include its “wealthy and diversified economy,” flexible monetary settings and “a relatively deep pool of domestic savings.”

“We could raise the ratings if we saw a significant reduction in regional and domestic political and security risks,” the agency says.

Last month, Moody’s downgraded Israel’s credit rating, citing a “deterioration of governance” as the government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has moved to revamp the judiciary. The premier suspended the efforts in late March amid societal upheaval but members of his coalition have vowed to press forward.

Moody’s downgrade rattled Netanyahu and according to the economic daily Calcalist this week, the PM was heavily involved with talks with S&P to get the credit agency to affirm Israel’s stable rating. According to the report, Netanyahu assured S&P economists that the judicial overhaul would not be carried out in its original form.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog, who is holding compromise talks on the overhaul without much headway, was also reportedly involved in the talks with S&P.

The IMF warned this week that prolonged uncertainty over Israel’s judicial overhaul presents a “notable downside risk” to the country’s economy.

“Absent the emergence of a durable and politically sustainable solution, continued uncertainty could significantly increase the price of risk in the economy, tightening financial conditions and hindering investment and consumption, with potential repercussions for growth, also in the longer term,” the IMF said in its initial country report on the Israeli economy. “Permanently lowering the uncertainty around judicial reform requires a politically sustainable solution that is clearly communicated and well understood both domestically and abroad.”

Man shot dead in Nazareth, the latest murder in the Arab community

A man has been shot dead in Nazareth, in the latest murder in the Arab community.

The 26-year-old was rushed to a hospital in critical condition but died of his injuries.

Preliminary reports indicate the background was a feud between organized crime organizations.

Palestinians say Egypt has circulated a new ceasefire proposal

A Palestinian source tells AFP Egypt has circulated a new ceasefire formula.

“The Palestinian side is going to study it,” the source says, adding that Egypt is also waiting for Israel’s response.

Meanwhile, Qatar-based Al-Araby TV reports that the new proposal would see a humanitarian truce starting at midnight, which would include the opening of the Erez and Kerem Shalom Crossings for medical supplies and other aid.

Hezbollah leader: We will not hesitate to assist Gaza if required

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah says in a speech that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “attacked Gaza in an attempt to escape the internal division” in Israel “and attend to his coalition’s dissolution.”

He also says Netanyahu is trying to restore deterrence, which he claims has been eroded on all fronts.

“We are in constant contact with the leadership of the resistance in Gaza, and we will not hesitate to provide assistance at any time that responsibility requires it,” he says.

Pittsburgh Jews monitoring hate speech amid trial of suspect in synagogue massacre

The head of security for Pittsburgh’s Jewish community says there has been an “uptick in hate speech” on the internet, but no specific threats, in the early stages of the trial of the man accused of killing 11 worshippers at a synagogue there in 2018.

Jewish leaders say that while the trial is bringing out the worst of extremists in some dark corners of the web, it’s also brought an outpouring of support from the community — ranging from law enforcement agencies helping with security to local food vendors collaborating to bring meals to victims’ families during the trial.

Shawn Brokos, director of community security for the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, says officials have monitored “general chatter in support of the defendant… and his hateful vitriol” on the internet. The materials “would turn anyone’s stomach,” she says.

Pittsburgh synagogues and other institutions have received physical improvements in security and have conducted recent training to prepare for security incidents, Brokos says. No threats have been received, but officials are bracing for the possibility that some white supremacist groups may show up in support of the defendant.

“We’d much rather be in a proactive stance and out in front of any potential threats,” she added.

Incoming rocket sirens sound in towns close to the border

Incoming rocket sirens sound in towns close to the border with the Gaza Strip after around an hour’s pause.

The alerts go off in the towns of Magen, Nir Oz, and Ein HaBesor.

Some locals report seeing Iron Dome interceptor missiles over the area.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

IDF says it struck 15 underground rocket launchers and mortar launch sites

The Israel Defense Forces says fighter jets and drones struck 15 Palestinian Islamic Jihad underground rocket launchers and mortar launch sites in the last few hours.

The sites were used to fire rockets at Israel over the past three days, the IDF adds.

The military publishes footage showing the strikes.

Report: Israel weighing ‘improved’ ceasefire proposal from Egypt

An unconfirmed report on Channel 12 says Israel has received an “improved” ceasefire proposal from Egypt, and is reviewing its outlines.

The network says Islamic Jihad is no longer demanding Israel permanently end assassinations, or hand over the body of Khader Adnan, the hunger-striking Islamic Jihad prisoner whose death in Israeli custody precipitated the current round of conflict.

The network also claims that Islamic Jihad has already sought to end the fighting after suffering significant losses in recent days, but that the organization’s leadership abroad has so far rejected this.

Woman killed in Rehovot rocket strike named as Inga Avramyan, 80

Yesterday’s fatality as a result of the rocket strike in Rehovot has been named as Inga Avramyan, 80.

Avramyan’s husband was also with her and was wounded in the attack.

Saturday’s anti-overhaul protests canceled due to ongoing Gaza conflict

Organizers of weekly protests against the government and its judicial overhaul plans say tomorrow’s demonstrations have been canceled as a result of the ongoing fighting between Israel and Gaza terrorists.

“Our foremost concern is the safety of our people who are defending democracy,” organizers say.

“Our of responsibility for the safety [of demonatrators], we have decided to put off the demonstration. We continue to have our fingers on the pulse. If we see the government is advancing changes tied to the regime coup, we will come out to the streets in full force.”

Senior official: Israel won’t hesitate to continue targeted killings against PIJ

A senior government official tells Channel 12 news Israel is “changing the equation” in Gaza.

“We have abilities for wholesale targeted killings and we will not hesitate to use them in an accurate manner.”

The official adds: “Islamic Jihad’s next leadership level must understand we will not stop and not stand by” if the rocket fire continues.

IDF strikes two PIJ command centers in Gaza

The Israel Defense Forces says it has carried out airstrikes against another two Palestinian Islamic Jihad command centers in the Gaza Strip.

Earlier, the IDF struck two similar command centers, housed in residential buildings.

The military first warned the occupants of the buildings to clear the area before carrying out the strike, the IDF says.

The IDF says the headquarters are used by Islamic Jihad’s rocket array to plan and carry out attacks on Israel.

Military spokesman expects more long-range rocket fire from Gaza

Military spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari tells reporters there will likely be more long-range rocket fire from the Gaza Strip after the latest targeted killing of a senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad official.

“As has been the case in recent days, including today when two rockets flew towards Jerusalem and were intercepted, we could be met by such fire even in the coming hours,” he says.

Hagari stresses that the campaign is still focused on Islamic Jihad, as it has been the terror group leading the rocket fire on Israel.

“I have seen statements about what Hamas is doing. [It’s] not involved in the fighting, not taking part, not assisting logistically, and therefore we are focusing on the one who is trying to harm us, the PIJ,” he says.

Regarding the strike that killed Iyad al-Hassani, in charge of Islamic Jihad’s operations department, Hagari says “the thing that affects [Islamic Jihad] the most is the targeted killings.”

“We are continuing as hard as we can in attacking those who are planning to launch rockets at us, while also keeping a strong defense,” he adds.

Rocket sirens ring in Gaza periphery

Rocket sirens sound in Netivot and the Gaza periphery as another salvo is fired at Israeli communities from the Strip.

Israel confirms Gaza strike kills head of Islamic Jihad operations

The Israel Defense Forces and Shin Bet security agency confirm carrying out a strike in the Gaza Strip targeting the head of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s operations.

According to a joint statement, Iyad al-Hassani, a top official in the group’s military council, in charge of operations, was killed in the strike on a hideout apartment in Gaza City.

The IDF says in recent days he also replaced the head of Islamic Jihad in northern Gaza, Khalil Bahtini, who was killed in an Israeli strike on Tuesday morning.

“He was involved in all the decisions concerning the rocket fire and rocket barrages carried out by the group toward Israel,” the IDF says.

The military publishes footage of the strike.

Islamic Jihad confirms death of senior commander Iyad al-Hassani

A spokesman for Palestinian Islamic Jihad confirms to AFP that senior commander Iyad al-Hassani was killed in an Israeli airstrike.

Another senior Islamic Jihad member reported killed in Israeli strike near Gaza City

A source in the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group tells Al Jazeera that a “prominent leader” is killed in the Israeli airstrike near Gaza City earlier.

The slain man is not immediately named but unofficial reports identify him as senior Islamic Jihad member Iyad al-Hassani, a top official in the group’s military council. Some reports say he also replaced the head of Islamic Jihad in northern Gaza, Khalil Bahtini, who was killed in an Israeli strike on Tuesday morning.

The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza says two people are killed and five are wounded in the strike.

 

IDF: 937 rockets fired since start of fighting, 254 Islamic Jihad sites hit in Gaza

The Israel Defense Forces says that as of 4 p.m., Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have launched 937 rockets and mortars at Israel since the beginning of Operation Shield and Arrow on Tuesday.

The IDF says 761 of the projectiles crossed the border, while 181 fell short in Gaza.

Air defense systems intercepted 296 of the rockets, marking a 91% interception rate of projectiles heading for populated areas. Several have landed within towns, killing one and injuring several others, as well as causing extensive damage.

The rest landed in open areas without causing damage, according to the IDF.

The military says it has carried out strikes against 254 sites belonging to Islamic Jihad.

Security official warns chances growing of Hamas joining Gaza fighting

A senior security official warns that as the fighting between Israel and Palestinian Islamic Jihad continues, the chances of the Gaza-ruling Hamas joining the fray grow.

“The rope we’re walking on will be even thinner and the chance grows. We’re ready for the possibility,” the unnamed source tells the Ynet news site.

The official also says Israel will continue striking Islamic Jihad and says a ceasefire “is not currently on the agenda.”

Kerem Shalom targeted in mortar barrage from Gaza

Incoming rocket sirens are sounding in the southern Gaza border community of Kerem Shalom.

The alerts have been going off for several minutes, as Palestinian terrorists launch barrages of mortars at the kibbutz.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage in the attacks.

Palestinian reports say 3 bodies pulled from Gaza residential building struck by Israel

Palestinian media reports say medical teams have extracted three bodies from a residential building near Gaza City that was hit in an Israeli airstrike earlier.

The reports say medics are treating at least another ten people wounded in the strike.

The Israel Defense Forces has not yet commented on the strike, but said earlier it was carrying out strikes against Palestinian Islamic Jihad targets across the Gaza Strip.

Netanyahu to hold security assessment at 6 p.m.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will hold a security assessment at 6 p.m., his office announces.

Rocket warning sirens sound in kibbutzim along Gaza border

Rocket warning sirens sound in Kfar Aza and Sa’ad, a pair of kibbutzim along the Gaza border.

IDF cancels Backstreet Boys show in Rishon Lezion tomorrow night amid Gaza fighting

The military announces the cancellation of a Backstreet Boys concert in Rishon Lezion tomorrow night amid the ongoing fighting in Gaza.

A statement from the Israel Defense Forces says the move was made during a meeting held by Home Front Command officials and the Rishon Lezion Municipality.

Casualties reported in fresh Israeli strike on Gaza residential building

Palestinian media are reporting a new Israeli strike against a residential building near Gaza City.

The reports say several people were killed and wounded.

Footage from the area shows the top floor of the building on fire.

The Israel Defense Forces has not yet commented on the strike, but said earlier it was carrying out strikes against Palestinian Islamic Jihad targets across the Gaza Strip.

IDF says strikes in Gaza hit Islamic Jihad command centers

The Israel Defense Forces says it carried out a series of strikes against Palestinian Islamic Jihad command centers in the Gaza Strip.

Earlier, Palestinian media reported a number of strikes against residential homes in Gaza.

The IDF says the headquarters are used by Islamic Jihad’s rocket array to plan and carry out attacks on Israel.

One of the command centers, struck in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, was used by Ahmed al-Hashash, who is the commander of Islamic Jihad’s rocket array in the area, the IDF says.

Yesterday, the IDF killed the chief of Islamic Jihad’s rocket array and his deputy in separate strikes.

Netanyahu holds security talks at shiva for Gallant’s mother

Amid the continued fighting in Gaza, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office releases the first picture of the premier from today, showing him consulting with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Mossad Chief David Barnea as the former observes the traditional seven-day mourning period for his mother.

Iron Dome interceptions reported as rocket sirens again sound in Gaza-area kibbutz

Further rocket sirens are heard in Kibbutz Nahal Oz in southern Israel.

Iron Dome interceptions are seen over the area, according to locals.

IDF says strikes on Islamic Jihad targeted underground rocket launcher, military post

The Israel Defense Forces says it struck a Palestinian Islamic Jihad underground rocket launcher and a military post in the southern Gaza Strip.

The IDF publishes footage of the strike.

Additionally, the IDF says an aircraft targeted a mortar launching position in northern Gaza, used by Islamic Jihad to fire projectiles at Israel yesterday.

Video from Gaza shows Israeli strike on home in Beit Lahiya

Footage shows an Israeli airstrike against a home in the northern Gaza Strip city of Beit Lahiya.

In the last hour, the Israeli Air Force has reportedly struck a number of homes in Gaza, thought to be used by Palestinian Islamic Jihad members.

There are no immediate reports of injuries in the latest strikes.

The IDF said earlier it was carrying out a new wave of strikes against Islamic Jihad targets.

Rocket sirens sound in kibbutz near Gaza

Rocket warning sirens sound in Kfar Aza, a kibbutz in southern Israel near the Gaza border.

Israeli strikes reportedly hit numerous homes across Gaza

Palestinian media outlets report that the Israeli Air Force struck a number of homes in the northern and southern Gaza Strip.

It is unclear if there are any injuries in the strikes.

The military says it is currently carrying out strikes against Islamic Jihad targets across the Strip.

Images from the southern Gaza city of Rafah show a destroyed home.

Islamic Jihad: ‘If Israeli escalation continues, we won’t stop before Flag March’

Palestinian Islamic Jihad is threatening to draw out the fighting with Israel, with a source in the Gaza-based terror group telling Saudi-based Al-Hadath, “If the Israeli escalation continues, we won’t stop before the Flag March” in Jerusalem next week.

The source is also quoted saying that PIJ wasn’t informed of Israel’s decision to halt ceasefire talks, adding that Egypt presented a proposal and the organization is waiting for the Israeli response.

Rocket warning sirens heard in Gaza border towns

Rocket warning sirens sound in a number of towns near the Gaza border, as Israel carries out airstrikes on Palestinian Islamic Jihad targets in the coastal enclave.

IDF launches fresh wave of airstrikes on Islamic Jihad targets in Gaza

The Israel Defense Forces says it is carrying out a new wave of airstrikes against Palestinian Islamic Jihad targets in the Gaza Strip.

The IDF says it will provide further details later on the targets.

IDF extends restrictions on Israelis living within 40 kms of Gaza until tomorrow night

The Israel Defense Forces has extended restrictions on movement and gathering for residents living up to 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the Gaza Strip to Saturday at 8 p.m.

The IDF says the extension of the restrictions comes following an assessment held by military officials, following renewed rocket fire from Gaza at Israel. The rules were supposed to end at 2 p.m. today.

The Home Front Command rules mandate school closures, work closures — unless employees have a bomb-safe room they can reach in time — and limit outdoor gatherings to no more than 10 people.

Indoor gatherings in towns near the Gaza border are restricted to 50 people, while further from the Strip and up to 40 km are limited to 100 people.

Additionally, special education schools are permitted to operate, provided there is a bomb-safe room that school kids and teachers can reach in time.

Official: Assassinations of Islamic Jihad top brass ‘also a message’ to Hamas, others

An Israeli official says the assassinations of top Palestinian Islamic Jihad members send “a message” to other terror groups such as Hamas, in apparent warning to the Gaza Strip’s rulers.

“The high-quality targeted killings that harm the PIJ’s chain of command are also a message to Hamas and other terror organizations that threaten to harm Israel,” the official says in a statement to diplomatic correspondents.

General said to tell Egyptian mediators that Israel won’t negotiate under fire

Brig. Gen. Ghassan Alian, the military liaison to the Palestinians, informed Egyptian mediators that Israel was freezing ceasefire talks due to renewed rocket fire from Gaza by Islamic Jihad, according to Hebrew media reports.

Alian said that Israel will not negotiate while under attack, the Ynet news site says.

Gaza rocket hit empty home in southern town

A rocket launched from the Gaza Strip hit an empty home in the southern town of Nir Am, local officials say.

A spokesperson for the Shaar Hanegev Regional Council says the home was hit during the latest barrage.

There are no injuries as the family was not home during the attack.

IDF says 4 Islamic Jihad sites targeted in latest Gaza airstrikes

The Israel Defense Forces says it carried out strikes against four Islamic Jihad military sites, a mortar launching position, and the area used to fire rockets at southern Israel today, in the Gaza Strip.

The IDF publishes footage of the latest strikes.

Gaza rocket strikes home in Sderot, causing damage but no injuries

The Sderot municipality says a rocket launched from the Gaza Strip has hit a home in the city during the latest rocket barrage.

It adds that damage has been caused to the home but there are no injuries.

Israeli source says ceasefire talks frozen after rocket fire, pledges major response

Following the latest rocket fire from Gaza, a senior diplomatic source says Israel has broken off ceasefire talks and pledges a “significant” response.

“And if we need to escalate, we’ll do it,” the source says.

Two rockets fired at Jerusalem intercepted, including one by David’s Sling

The medium-range David’s Sling air defense system has made a second-ever successful interception after rockets are launched from the Gaza Strip at the Jerusalem area earlier.

According to a military source, two rockets fired from Gaza toward Jerusalem are intercepted, one by the Iron Dome, and the second by David’s Sling.

It marks the second-ever David’s Sling interception, after a rocket fired at Tel Aviv on Wednesday was downed by the system.

Singer Hanan Ben Ari cancels Sderot concert scheduled for Sunday

Singer Hanan Ben Ari announces he is canceling his concert Sunday in the southern town of Sderot, due to the ongoing fighting between Israel and the Gaza-based Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group.

Iron Dome intercepts rockets fired at Sderot

The Iron Dome air defense system has intercepted a number of rockets launched from the Gaza Strip in the latest barrage launched at Sderot.

The municipality says there are no reports of injuries or damage in the attacks.

Footage shows rockets being taken out by the Iron Dome over the southern town.

Rocket fired from Gaza lands near West Bank settlement of Bat Ayin

In the rocket barrage aimed at the Jerusalem area earlier, one projectile apparently lands close to the West Bank settlement of Bat Ayin.

The Beit Shemesh municipality says no rockets landed within the city, after sirens had sounded.

There are no reports of injuries or damage in the attack.

IDF launches strikes on Islamic Jihad targets in Gaza after rocket attacks

The Israel Defense Forces says it is carrying out a series of airstrikes in the Gaza Strip against Palestinian Islamic Jihad targets.

The strikes come after Islamic Jihad launched a barrage of rockets toward the Jerusalem area and at towns in southern Israel.

The IDF says it will provide further details later on the targets.

Islamic Jihad claims responsibility for rocket fire toward Jerusalem area

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad claims responsibility for rockets launched at the Jerusalem area and other cities a short while ago.

The Gaza-based terror group says it launched two main barrages, aimed at Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and other cities. Sirens did not sound in or near Tel Aviv.

Islamic Jihad says the attack comes in response to the “assassinations and the continuation of aggression against the Palestinian people.”

No injuries reported in latest rocket fire from Gaza; several treated for shock

Magen David Adom says it has not received reports of any injuries following the latest rocket fire from Gaza.

Paramedics are treating several people experiencing anxiety attacks, according to the ambulance service.

Warning sirens sound in Beit Shemesh, Etzion bloc as rockets fired toward J’lem area

Incoming rocket sirens are sounding in the Gush Etzion area of the West Bank, Beit Shemesh near Jerusalem, and towns near the Gaza border.

It is the first time during the current escalation that rockets are launched toward Beit Shemesh, and the settlements of Elazar, Efrat, Neveh Daniel, Rosh Tzurim, Alon Shvut and Bat Ayin.

Interceptions are reported over the area.

Fresh warning sirens sound in towns near Gaza

Fresh rocket warning sirens sound in several southern Israel communities near the Gaza Strip.

Egypt seeking Gaza ceasefire ahead of ‘destabilizing’ Jerusalem flag march

Egypt is determined to broker a ceasefire ahead of next Thursday’s contentious rally of Israeli religious nationalists through the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City, which Cairo fears could inflame tensions to a point of no return, an Egyptian official familiar with the indirect negotiations between Israel and Palestinian Islamic Jihad tells The Times of Israel.

“This rally already poses a threat to stability, but if the fighting is still ongoing by then, it will be much harder to stop and it is likely that Hamas will ride this wave and join as well,” the official says.

The Egyptian official expresses hope the Biden administration will coax Israel to reroute the march this year, given the already tense situation in Gaza, which started on Tuesday when the IDF launched a series of airstrikes eliminating the top brass of PIJ, which has responded by firing hundreds of rockets at Israel.

A senior Israeli official told the Times of Israel last week that the hardline government was not likely to reroute the march.

“We’re not particularly optimistic, which is why it’s critical that the fighting ends as soon as possible,” the Egyptian official says, adding that Cairo would seek assurances from the sides in order to ensure that it will withhold even if the Flag March does go ahead through the Muslim Quarter.

While there had been cautious optimism that a ceasefire was within reach after an overnight pause in rocket fire from Gaza, the lull was disturbed by a barrage launched from the Strip this morning.

Israeli strike reported in southern Gaza after renewed rocket fire

Palestinian media reports say Israeli aircraft have carried out a strike near Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.

There are no immediate reports of injuries in the strike.

The airstrike comes after over 15 rockets were launched from Gaza at towns in southern Israel, following a pause of 13 hours.

Local council says greenhouse struck in Gaza rocket barrage; no injuries

Local authorities say a greenhouse has been hit in the latest rocket barrage from the Gaza Strip toward towns in the Eshkol Regional Council.

The council says 15 rockets are launched at the area, one of which hits a greenhouse outside a town. The extent of the damage is not immediately clear.

The rest of the rockets are downed by the Iron Dome air defense system or land in open areas, the council adds.

There are no injuries.

Further rocket sirens sound in Gaza-border area

Further rocket warning sirens are heard in the Gaza-border area, with residents of Moshav Netiv Ha’asara instructed to take cover.

Netanyahu holds meeting with top officials on Gaza fighting

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is currently meeting with top officials after “the night’s events” in Gaza, his office says.

Among those taking part in the security assessment are Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi, Shin Bet head Ronen Bar, Mossad chief David Barnea, Netanyahu’s military-secretary Avi Gil, Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer, and others.

The meeting comes as rocket sirens are heard in Israeli communities for the first time in 13 hours.

Hamas-run health ministry raises Gaza death toll to 31

The Hamas-run health ministry in the Gaza Strip says a Palestinian man succumbed to his wounds this morning, sustained in an Israeli strike a day earlier, bringing the death toll to 31 since the IDF launched its operation against Islamic Jihad.

Rocket sirens sound in Gaza-border towns after 13-hour pause

Incoming rocket sirens are sounding in towns close to the border with the Gaza Strip, after a lull of 13 hours.

The alerts go off in the southern towns of Sufa, Nir Itzhak, Holit, and Sdeh Avraham in the Eshkol Regional Council.

The apparent attack marks the first since 10 p.m. last night, amid reports of ceasefire talks.

Some residents report seeing Iron Dome interceptor missiles flying overhead.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage in the latest attack.

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