No sign of ceasefire as Israel pounds Hamas sites amid ongoing fire from Gaza
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No sign of ceasefire as Israel pounds Hamas sites amid ongoing fire from Gaza

Late night barrage sends residents across Gaza border region running for cover; IDF says some 70 projectiles fired into Israel in most serious flare-up since 2014

A picture taken from Gaza City on May 29, 2018, shows a smoke billowing in the background following an Israeli air strike on the Palestinian enclave. (AFP PHOTO / THOMAS COEX)
A picture taken from Gaza City on May 29, 2018, shows a smoke billowing in the background following an Israeli air strike on the Palestinian enclave. (AFP PHOTO / THOMAS COEX)

The Times of Israel liveblogged Tuesday’s events as they unfolded.

Belgium terror prosecutors take over Liege shooting case

Belgian prosecutors in charge of terrorism have taken over the case of a Liege shooting in which a gunman shot dead three people, two of them police officers, prosecutors say.

“There are elements that point in the direction that this is a terrorist act,” says Eric Van Der Sypt, spokesman for the Belgian federal prosecutors office.

State broadcaster RTBF reported earlier the shooting happened near a cafe on the Boulevard d’Avroy in the eastern city of Liege. The gunman fled the scene, taking a cleaning woman hostage at a nearby school, but he was later “neutralized,” RTBF reported quoting police and fire services.

A video posted on Twitter by a person claiming to be a witness showed people running in the area. About six gunshots could be heard.

— Agencies

Trump confirms senior North Korean official headed to NY

US President Donald Trump has confirmed that top North Korean official Kim Yong Chol is heading to New York for talks on an upcoming summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Trump tweeted early Tuesday: “We have put a great team together for our talks with North Korea. Meetings are currently taking place concerning Summit, and more. Kim Young Chol, the Vice Chairman of North Korea, heading now to New York. Solid response to my letter, thank you!”

South Korea’s Yonhap News said Tuesday it saw the name of Kim Yong Chol on the passengers’ list for a flight Tuesday from Beijing to Washington. They later reported that Kim changed his flight to go to New York on Wednesday.

Kim is a former military intelligence chief and now a vice chairman of the North Korean ruling party’s central committee tasked with inter-Korean relations.

— AP

Hezbollah commander reported killed in Syria strike

A senior commander and other fighters belonging to the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah were killed overnight in an Israeli airstrike, Sky’s Arabic language channel reports.

The strikes targeting a military coordination center for the Iranian-backed group reportedly took place near the Syrian town of Al-Qusair in the Homs district, close to the Lebanese border.

The report said Israel declined to comment on the raid.

Belgium gunman yelled ‘Allahu Akbar’ during deadly attack

Belgian news website reports the attacker who shot dead three people this morning shouted “Allahu Akbar” as he opened fire in downtown Leige, citing police sources.

The shooting occurred around 10:30 a.m. (0830 GMT) this morning near a high school on a major artery in the city, which lies some 90 kilometers (55 miles) east of Brussels.

Federal prosecutors took charge of the incident, which comes with Belgium on high alert after a string of attacks including twin suicide bombings in Brussels in 2016 claimed by the Islamic State group.

“There are elements that point in the direction that this is a terrorist act,” says Eric Van Der Sypt, spokesman for the Belgian federal prosecutors office.

— with agencies

Kremlin says Abramovich ‘has right’ to Israeli citizenship

Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich has the right to Israeli citizenship, the Kremlin says, after the Chelsea football club-owner reportedly traveled to Israel and became a citizen after delays to his British visa application.

“The Kremlin doesn’t think anything about this,” presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov tells journalists in response to a question on the reported move by Abramovich, a former regional governor seen as being on good terms with President Vladimir Putin.

“An entrepreneur receives Israeli citizenship. So what? It’s his right,” Peskov says of Abramovich, who is Jewish.

Abramovich, who was reportedly in Russia in recent days, flew into Tel Aviv on a private jet and received an Israeli identity card.


Palestinians say IDF bombardment extends to Gaza City

Palestinian Islamic Jihad says Israeli airstrikes on terrorist positions in the Gaza Strip are continuing this afternoon in the western part of the Palestinian enclave, near Gaza City.

Other Gaza media reports also report that large explosions can be heard deep in the Strip.

Earlier, IDF strikes hit a Hamas training facility in eastern Gaza.

The Israeli strikes come in response to a barrage of mortar shells fired at Israel from Gaza earlier this morning, apparently by the Iranian-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group in revenge for the IDF killing three of its members in a cross-border exchange earlier in the week.

As a matter of policy, the Israeli army considers Hamas, which rules Gaza, to be responsible for any attack emanating from the beleaguered coastal enclave.

Police backtrack on added security for Kfar Saba pride march

Police say they are withdrawing their demand that organizers of the Kfar Saba pride parade erect 2-meter high fences along the route of Friday’s march, after LGBT groups appealed the order to the High Court of Justice.

Police previously said the march organizers would be responsible for paying for the additional security requirements, which included placing large trucks along the parade route in order to hide marchers in the event of an attack.

— Jacob Magid

Rocket sirens blare near Gaza

Rocket warning sirens blare in southern Israeli towns in the Sha’ar Hanegev and Ashkelon regions, near the Gaza Strip, the army says.

There are no immediate reports of impacts.

Belgium official says attacker killed police with their own firearms

A gunman shot and killed two police officers earlier today after seizing their own weapons, also killing a 22-year-old bystander, in a brazen attack in the Belgian city of Liege, a prosecutor says.

“Armed with a knife, the suspect followed and attacked two police officers, and used their own firearms to kill them,” prosecutor Philippe Dulieu says at a news conference.

An official at the Belgian federal prosecutor’s office says “there are indications” the shooting could be a terror attack.

— Agencies

Incoming rocket sirens blaring in Sderot

More incoming rocket warning sirens are sounding in southern Israeli town of Sderot this afternoon, as Israel mounts retaliatory strikes on terrorist positions in the Gaza Strip.

The army confirmed that earlier this afternoon sirens went off in nearby towns in the Sha’ar Hanegev and Ashkelon regions.

There are no immediate reports of impacts.

Army orders immediate evacuation of Zikim Beach

The army is ordering the immediate evacuation of Zikim Beach, north of Gaza, as incoming rocket alert sirens sounded in several Israeli towns adjacent to the Palestinian territory.

Iron Dome set off as projectiles from Gaza reportedly strike Israel

At least two projectiles from Gaza strike Israel in the latest barrage, hitting near Kibbutz Reim, according to emergency response officials.

The army says the Iron Dome defense batteries was activated, but did not offer further details.

There are no immediate reports of injuries.

— Judah Ari Gross

IDF destroys cross-border Gaza ‘terror tunnel’

The IDF spokesperson says Israel destroyed a “terror tunnel” in the Gaza Strip earlier this afternoon that extended hundreds of meters inside Israeli and Egyptian territory.

The IDF says the Hamas tunnel that was destroyed near Rafah and Kerem Shalom border crossings was still under construction and was not yet usable.

IDF: 35 airstrikes hit 7 Palestinian terror targets

IDF says it launched 35 airstrikes on seven military targets belonging to Palestinian terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip this afternoon in response to a barrage of rockets fired at Israel earlier in the day.

A statement from the IDF spokesperson says the strikes targeted weapons storage sites and administrative offices of Hamas or Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

The strikes also destroyed what the army says was a Hamas “terror tunnel” that extended nearly a kilometer into Israeli and Egyptian territory.

Israel says projectiles launched from Gaza ‘Iranian made’

The IDF says the projectiles fired at Israel earlier this afternoon were made in Iran.

“The Palestinian Islamic Jihad is terrorist organization rooted in Iranian ideology,” the IDF spokesperson said in a statement. “Today, they used Iranian-made weapons.”

Liberman calls ‘special assessment’ at army headquarters amid Gaza mortar barrage

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman calls a “special situational assessment” at army’s Tel Aviv headquarters with IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot and other senior figures from Israel’s security services, his office says.

In a tweet, Liberman confirms the IDF struck a tunnel as well as “terror targets” in a “massive and strong” retaliatory attack in Gaza earlier today.


Iron Dome intercepts 2 projectiles over Ashkelon

The Iron Dome defense battery intercepts two projectiles fired at the southern city of Ashkelon as Gazans launched a fresh volley of projectiles toward Israel.

According to the IDF’s home front command, sirens are heard in Ashkelon’s industrial zone, and the nearby communities of Kibbutz Yad Mordechai and Netiv Ha’asara.

In first since 2014 war, rockets from Gaza reach 25 km inside Israel

Channel 2 reports that rockets fired from the Gaza Strip penetrated 25 kilometers inside Israeli territory for the first time since 2014 war with Hamas.

The report says some of the latest barrage of projectiles reached Ofakim, a city 20 kilometers west of Beersheba.

More rocket sirens blaring in Sderot

Incoming rocket alert sirens are blaring in the Negev city of Sderot for the second time today, as terrorists from the Gaza Strip continue barrage of projectiles toward Israel.

Israeli lightly injured in latest fire from Gaza — report

An Israeli man is lightly injured by shrapnel from a rocket fired from Gaza, Hadashot news reports.

He is being treated in the field with injuries to the legs.

Israelis close to Gaza told to stay close to sealed rooms

Israelis living close to Gaza border are being told by authorities to stay close to sealed rooms as Palestinian terrorist groups launch dozens of projectiles at southern Israeli communities, according to Hadashot news.

3 Israelis lightly injured from rocket shrapnel

Three Israelis are lightly injured by shrapnel from a rocket fired from Gaza into Israel this afternoon.

According to reports, the men were in the Eshkol region, adjacent to the southern Gaza Strip.

One of the victims is taken to Soroka Hospital in Beersheba for treatment.

Israeli navy seizes control of Gaza boat trying to break blockade

The Israeli navy stops and seizes control of a Palestinian protest boat this afternoon, organizers say, as those aboard sought to breach the blockade of Gaza.

“Israeli forces surrounded it and intercepted it,” Salah Abdul Atti, one of the organizers, tells AFP.

Communications had been lost with the boat for more than 30 minutes, he adds.

— with AFP

Rocket sirens sound in southern towns

Incoming rocket alert sirens are heard in the southern Israeli communities of Kibbutz Holit, Nir Yitzhak and Sufa.

Rocket sirens blare in towns adjacent to northern Gaza

Incoming rocket alert sirens are sounding in Israeli communities adjacent to northern Gaza.

The homefront command says sirens are being heard in Kibbutz Kfar Aza, Kibbutz Sa’ad, Kibbutz Nahal Oz and Kibbutz Alumim.

3 Sderot residents injured during rocket sirens

Three Sderot residents are hospitalized for injuries sustained during the incoming rocket alert sirens that blared several times throughout the southern Negev city earlier in the day.

According to reports, two people were lightly injured while running to a bomb shelter. Israel’s rocket alert system gives residents 15 seconds to reach shelter.

Another Sderot resident is hospitalized for an anxiety attack.

Police tell southern residents to keep away from fallen rockets

Police are asking residents of southern Israel to stay away from the dozens of fallen rockets and mortar shells fired from the Gaza Strip today.

In a statement, police instruct residents “not to approach [the wreckage], and allow law enforcement professionals to secure the scene safely without endangering civilians.”

US peace envoy: Gaza terror groups ‘reprehensible’ for targeting Israeli civilians

US President Donald Trump’s envoy to the Middle East, Jason Greenblatt, condemns Gaza terrorist groups as “reprehensible” for striking an Israeli kindergarten earlier today.

France says it’s ‘unconditionally committed’ to Israel’s security

France condemns Palestinian terror groups for firing dozens of mortar shells and rockets at Israeli civilians.

A Hebrew statement from the French embassy in Tel Aviv says Paris “roundly condemns” targeting civilians and “is unconditionally committed to Israel’s security.”

The statement calls the violence “inconsistent with a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

IDF says the three injured by shrapnel are soldiers

The IDF says the three people injured by rocket shrapnel near the southern Gaza Strip earlier today were soldiers.

The army says in a statement the three were airlifted to the Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba. One suffered moderate injuries to his legs, and the other two sustained light wounds.

Israeli diplomats instructed to highlight role of Gaza terror groups

The Foreign Ministry is instructing Israeli diplomats stationed abroad to emphasize to authorities and media outlets in their respective countries that Palestinian terrorist groups are responsible for the surge in violence in Gaza and southern Israel today.

Diplomats are being asked to convey that the violence “is an attack by terrorist organizations against innocent civilians, which unfortunately has already caused a number of injuries, and justifies our right to exercise our right to self defense.

“Also, make clear to decision makers we expect unequivocal condemnation of these terrorist attacks,” the instruction says. “We see Hamas, which is partnered with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, as responsible for this escalation.”

Netanyahu meeting with defense, security chiefs amid Gaza rocket barrage

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is holding a security briefing with Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, Shin Bet chief Nadav Argaman and other senior security officials in Jerusalem to discuss the barrage of rockets fired into Israel from the Gaza Strip.

Senior minister warns Gaza tensions will get worse as night falls

Intelligence Minister Israel Katz says Israel is closer to war than it has been since its 2014 war with Gaza’s Hamas rulers.

“We are the closest to the threshold of war since Operation Protective Edge,” he tells Army Radio. “We don’t want it, and the other side doesn’t either, but we have our red lines.”

He adds that the tensions in Gaza will only worsen later this evening.

More rocket alert sirens blare in southern Israel

Sirens sound again in the Eshkol region, as projectiles are fired from the Gaza Strip at Israeli communities over the border, the army says.

The sirens can be heard in the communities of Kissufim, Nirim, and Ein Hashlosha.

— Judah Ari Gross

Irish foreign minister condemns Gaza rocket barrage

Ireland’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Simon Coveney, strongly condemns Palestinian terrorist groups for firing a barrage of rockets and mortars at Israeli civilian targets throughout the day.

Palestinian media: 114 rockets, mortar shells fired at Israel today

Media site Palestine Info reporting that 114 rockets and mortar shells have been fired at Israel throughout the day.

According to Palestine Info,

Minister says Israel may be forced to re-take Gaza

Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz says Israel may have to re-capture the Gaza Strip to put an end to the ongoing terror attacks emanating from the Palestinian territory.

“We may have no choice, we will have to strike in Gaza and conquer it, and put once and for all the end of this terrorist regime,” Steinitz tells the Ynet news site.

Steinitz, a member of the high-level security cabinet, says that Israel “is not interested in conquering Gaza, and we hope that we won’t be forced to, so it’s important that our response be sharp so the situation doesn’t deteriorate into something much worse.”

IDF warns Israelis against spreading misinformation on Gaza

The IDF is warning Israelis against spreading rumors about the ongoing clashes in the Gaza area.

“Please act responsibly and don’t distribute false information,” the army says in a tweet.

— Judah Ari Gross

Belgium shooter was on police watchlist for Islamist contacts

A gunman who shot and killed two police officers earlier today and seriously injured a third was on a watchlist because of his contacts with radical Islamists, a source close to the investigation tells AFP.

“He is suspected of having been radicalized [in prison]… He has been reported or presumed to [belong] to the entourage of an Islamist recruiter,” the source says on condition of anonymity.


Gaza rocket damages Palestinian power supply

One of the rockets fired by terrorist groups from Gaza at southern Israel struck equipment that provides electricity to the southern Gaza Strip, a spokesperson for Israel’s Electric Company says.

The damage is preventing the flow of electricity to the beleaguered coastal enclave.

The electric company says the repairs are expected to take several days.

Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz orders the company to hold off repair work until the situation is calm in order to “not endanger its workers.”

— Judah Ari Gross

Hospital releases 2 of the 3 soldiers injured by rocket shrapnel

Two of the three soldiers injured by shrapnel from a mortar attack near the Gaza border have been released from Beersheba’s Soroka Medical Center, a hospital spokesperson says.

The third serviceman sustained moderate wounds and remains hospitalized.

— Judah Ari Gross

Train schedules disrupted by Gaza bombardment

Israel Railways announces service disruptions in the south due to the ongoing rockets and mortar shells fired from the Gaza Strip throughout the day.

The company says train drivers have been instructed to go slowly to make sure there is no shrapnel on the tracks.

Jewish teens arrested for anti-Arab hate crime

Police detain four minors — three from Bnei Brak and one from the northern West Bank — suspected of carrying out price-tag attacks against Arabs.

According to the Honenu legal aid organization representing the teens, two have been released while the other two remain in custody. The group says the two still under arrest have been prevented from seeing their attorneys.

— Jacob Magid

Liberman says Israeli retaliatory strikes could reach all of Gaza

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman warns that Israel is prepared to strike anywhere in the Gaza Strip that is used by terrorist groups as a launching pad for attacks against the Jewish state.

“Every place from which terror groups fire at Israeli territory is a legitimate target for the air force, with everything that implies,” he says, in a tweet.

“I want to ask the entire people of Israel to praise the soldiers and commanders of the IDF for their dedication and determination, and the residents of the Gaza periphery for standing strong. We will work in every way to ensure security and calm for the citizens of Israel,” Liberman writes.

— Judah Ari Gross

Soldier injured by rocket shrapnel undergoing surgery

The soldier who was moderately injured in one of the mortar attacks earlier in the day has been brought into an operating room, where he is expected to undergo a number of treatments, according to a spokesperson for Beersheba’s Soroka Medical Center.

“He will be treated by a multidisciplinary team: Orthopedics, cardiology, and ear-nose-throat,” the hospital says.

The other two soldiers injured by the shrapnel were released from the hospital earlier today.

Hamas says rocket barrage a response to ‘Israeli aggression’

The Hamas terrorist group says the barrage of rockets and mortar shells fired at Israel were an act of self defense against the Jewish state.

Rocket sirens blaring in Gaza periphery communities

Sirens sound again in the Eshkol region, sending residents into bomb shelters, after two hours of relative calm.

The alarms could be heard in Kissufim, Nirim, and Ein Hashlosha, three of the most targeted communities in the Gaza periphery.

— Judah Ari Gross

IDF brass meet Negev officials amid Gaza rocket bombardment

The head of the IDF and other senior officers met with the heads of local governments in the Gaza border region, amid repeated rocket and mortar attacks by terrorist groups from the coastal enclave.

IDF chief Gadi Eisenkot, the head of the IDF Southern Command Maj. Gen. Eyal Zamir, and the head of the Gaza Division Brig. Gen. Yehuda Fuchs met with the heads of the Eshkol, Sdot Negev, Sha’ar Hanegev, and Hof Ashkelon regions, the army says.

“During the meeting, the commanders updated the local government officials about the army’s assessments of the situation and they spoke about the preparedness of the communities and the civilian home front,” the army says in a statement.

“The chief of staff expressed his great appreciation for their leadership and the civil resilience being shown by the leaders and the citizens of the Gaza region,” the army says.

— Judah Ari Gross

IDF spokesman says Gaza strikes will ‘intensify as needed’

IDF spokesman Ronen Manelis says that Israel “will not allow” the continued firing of rockets from in Gaza toward Israel, and says the strikes on terrorist positions in the Strip “will intensify as needed.”

“We won’t allow the fire to continue, we are prepared for every scenario,” he tells reporters outside the IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv. “What we saw today is a severe terror attack, that’s how we are treating it. Hamas fired dozens of missiles and we have no intention of allowing it to continue.”

Manelis says Israel struck training camps, weapons storehouses, and one attack tunnel belonging to Hamas or the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

The Israeli strikes, Manelis says, “will continue to intensify if this continues.”

“The terrorists know what assets they lost today,” he adds. “Senior officials are hiding because they know our capabilities.”

Hamas, Islamic Jihad jointly claim barrage of rockets fired at Israel

The Palestinian terrorist groups Hamas and the Islamic Jihad take joint responsibility for today’s barrage of rockets and mortar shells fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip.

In a rare joint statement, the military wings of both groups announce their “joint responsibility for the striking of military positions and Zionist settlements surrounding the Gaza Strip,” saying it was in response to Israeli attacks targeting their positions in recent days.

— with AFP

Rocket sirens again blaring in Eshkol region communities

Sirens sound again in the Eshkol region, sending residents of Gaza-adjacent communities into bomb shelters, after two hours of relative calm.

The alarms could be heard in Moshav Ein HaBeso, Kibbutz Nir Oz, and Kibbutz Magen.

EU says Gaza rocket bombardment ‘must stop immediately’

The European Union says the ongoing rocket and mortar shells being fired at Israeli civilian targets “must stop immediately.”

“The rocket and mortar fire by Palestinian militants from Gaza towards Israel must stop immediately,” the EU says in a statement. “Indiscriminate attacks against civilians are completely unacceptable under any circumstances.”

The EU says the “de-escalation of this dangerous situation is urgently needed to ensure that civilians’ lives are protected. Israelis and Palestinians both have the right to live in peace, security, and dignity: The cycle of violence and despair has to be broken with a genuine political process.”

Czech Republic joins international condemnation of Gaza rocket attacks

The Czech Republic joins the international condemnation of Palestinian terrorist groups for targeting Israeli civilians with dozens of rocket and mortar attacks

In a statement, the Czech foreign ministry says it “strongly condemns indiscriminate attacks from Gaza on Israeli civilians including children and fully supports the Israeli right for security.”

Negev schools to open tomorrow despite barrage of rockets from Gaza

Schools are set to open as normal on tomorrow, though with increased security protection, in southern Israel’s Eshkol region, which was hit by dozens of mortar shells throughout the day, the local council tells residents in an announcement, following a discussion with the local IDF brigade commander.

Residents are instructed to remain within close distance of a bomb shelter, in accordance with a directive from the IDF.

School buses will operate as normal, “but with an increased presence of security forces,” the local council says in a statement.

Farmers will be allowed in their fields as usual.

The Eshkol council says another situational assessment will be held tomorrow at 6:30 a.m. and that following it residents will be updated about any additional instructions.

— Judah Ari Gross

Rocket sirens again sound in Eshkol region

After nearly an hour of relative quiet, sirens sound again in the Eshkol region, sending residents into bomb shelters.

The army says it is looking into what set off the system.

In some cases throughout the day, the alarm appears to have been triggered by machine gun fire, not by incoming mortar shells or rockets.

Residents of the region report hearing loud explosions.

— Judah Ari Gross

PA calls on international community to intervene in Gaza

Palestinian Authority government spokesman Yousef al-Mahmoud calls on the international community to intervene in Gaza and stop “the serious Israeli aggression against out people.”

Mahmoud says Israel is responsible for the “grave deterioration” in Gaza, and urges foreign governments to protect Palestinian civilians in Gaza.

No signs of rocket impact in Eshkol communities

No signs of impact are found inside the communities of the Eshkol region. Security forces are now searching the nearby fields, the Eshkol regional council says.

— Judah Ari Gross

Israeli envoy urges UN to ‘hold Hamas accountable’ for rocket attacks

Israel’s UN Ambassador Danny Danon calls on Secretary General Antonio Guterres and the Security Council to condemn Hamas for launching dozens of rocket and mortar shells at Israeli civilian targets throughout today.

“Since the early morning, dozens of rockets and mortar shells were fired from the Gaza Strip at Israeli population centers as a continuation of Hamas and Islamic Jihad’s terror activities,” Danon wrote to the Secretary General and members of the Security Council.

“In the interest of restoring calm and protecting civilians on both sides of the fence, I request that you strongly condemn Hamas and hold the terrorist organization accountable for these latest attacks,” he writes.

Austria: Gaza rockets targeting Israeli civilians ‘must stop immediately’

The Austrian government calls on Palestinian terrorist groups to immediately stop firing rockets and mortar shells at Israeli civilian targets over the border.

In a statement, government spokesperson Peter Launsky says the targeting civilian “is certainly not the way to solve any of Gaza’s problems and must stop immediately.

The statement also says that Austria is “fully committed to Israel’s security.”

After an hour of calm, sirens again sound in southern Israel

Incoming rocket sirens blare in southern Israel’s Sha’ar Hanegev and Sdot Hanegev regions, following an hour of relative calm in the area, the army says.

The military says it is investigating what triggered the system, which sent residents rushing to bomb shelters.

Throughout the day, over 70 mortar shells and rockets were fired at southern Israel by terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip in both large salvoes and individual launches, the army says.

“Iranian-made rockets were among the munitions fired at Israel,” the army says in a statement.

— Judah Ari Gross

US calls emergency Security Council meeting over Gaza fire

The US is calling for an emergency UN Security Council meeting on the Gazan rocket and mortar fire on Israel.

““The recent attacks out of Gaza are the largest we have seen since 2014. Mortars fired by Palestinian militants hit civilian infrastructure, including a kindergarten. The Security Council should be outraged and respond to this latest bout of violence directed at innocent Israeli civilians, and the Palestinian leadership needs to be held accountable for what they’re allowing to happen in Gaza,” ambssador Nikki Haley says in a statement.

The meeting is slated for Wednesday.

Sirens sound throughout southern Israel, including city of Ashkelon

Incoming rocket sirens are heard throughout southern Israel, in what appears to be one of the farthest reaching rocket attacks of the day.

The alarms are blaring in the city of Ashkelon and in towns and communities across southern Israel, including Netivot, Hulit, Nir Yitzhak, and Shlomit.

The army says it is investigating what triggered the system.

Residents of southern Israel say they hear loud explosions, but there are no immediate reports of impacts.

— Judah Ari Gross

Egypt said to broker Gaza ceasefire

Several Israeli news outlets are reporting that Egypt has mediated a return to calm between Israel and Gazan terror groups, citing a Hamas official speaking to Al-Jazeera.

The reports indicate that the sides agreed to cease fighting and return to understandings reached at the end of the 2014 Gaza war.

Mortar shells from Gaza hit open field; Ashkelon siren appears to be false alarm

Multiple mortar shells reportedly strike an open field in the Eshkol region, after sirens blare throughout southern Israel, including the city of Ashkelon.

There are no reports of injuries or damage.

According to the Ashkelon municipality, the sirens in the city appear to have been a false alarm.

“There have been no reports of impacts and according to the assessment of security services, no rockets were fired at the city,” a spokesperson says.

Israeli official denies Gaza ceasefire reports

A senior Israeli official denies reports of a ceasefire in Gaza to begin at midnight.

“The reports of a ceasefire agreement in Gaza are incorrect,” the official tells reporters on condition of anonymity.

Report: Israeli jets strike targets in northern Gaza

Israel renewed its airstrikes on positions belonging to terror groups in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian media reports.

Israeli jets are said to be targeting a facility in northern Gaza.

The military refuses to comment on the reported strikes.

Sirens sound south of Ashkelon, ahead of reported ceasefire

Sirens blare in the Hof Ashkelon region of southern Israel, just north of the Gaza Strip, the army says.

The military says it is investigating what triggered the system.

There are no immediate reports of impacts.

Earlier, the Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad claimed that an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire agreement was reached with Israel, due to begin at midnight. A senior Israeli official denied the report.

The latest alarm comes less than an hour after sirens sounded in the city of Ashkelon and in the central Negev in what the army later determined to have been a false alarm.

However, a number of mortar shells were found to have been fired at the Eshkol region, east of the Gaza Strip.

For second time in minutes, sirens sound in Gaza periphery

Sirens are heard in Israeli communties outside the Gaza Strip, moments after alarms were triggered nearby.

The alarms are sounding in the Sha’ar Hanegev and Sdot Negev regions, the army says.

The military says it is investigating what triggered the sirens.

IDF confirms it is conducting renewed airstrikes in Gaza

The Israeli military confirms that it is carrying out additional strikes in the Gaza Strip, after targeting more than 35 Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad positions earlier in the day.

“At this time, the IDF is operating in the Gaza Strip. The explosions being heard are coming from this activity,” the army says in a statement.

Palestinian media reports that the Israeli Air Force is conducting strikes in the northern Gaza Strip, including in the Zeitoun neighborhood of Gaza City.

The IDF says it will release more information about its strikes shortly.

Sirens blare in Gaza periphery, minutes before reported ceasefire due to start

Incoming rocket sirens are sounding in Israeli communities northeast of the Gaza Strip, the army says.

The alarms are heard in the Hof Ashkelon and Sha’ar Hanegev regions, according to the IDF.

A Sha’ar Hanegev spokesperson says there are no immediate reports of impacts or injuries, but the issue is still being investigated by the military.

The Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, who have taken responsibility for the mortar and rocket fire, claimed that Egyptian had helped broker a ceasefire agreement to begin at midnight. A senior Israeli official denied that such a deal had been reached.

Rocket sirens triggered after ceasefire said to begin

Sirens blare in the Eshkol region of southern Israel, minutes after a reported midnight ceasefire was due to take effect.

Residents of the area say they heard explosions, but there are no immediate reports of impacts inside communities, a spokesperson for the Eshkol region says.

The army says it is investigating what triggered the sirens.

Iron Dome intercepts projectile fired from Gaza

An Iron Dome battery intercepts a projectile fired into Israel from Gaza just after midnight. There are no reports of injuries or damage.

The interception comes after sirens wail around the Gaza periphery and the IDF continues to hit sites in Gaza in response to the day-long attacks.

Sirens blare in central Negev, army says

Incoming rocket alarms are sounding in the town of Netivot and throughout the central Negev, the army says.

The sirens could be heard in the Sdot Negev and Bnei Shimon regions, according to the IDF.

The military says it is investigating what triggered the system. Earlier, rocket sirens in the town of Netivot were later found to have been a false alarm.

UN Security Council to meet on rocket, mortar fire at Israel

The UN Security Council will meet today (Wednesday) at the request of the United States to discuss Palestinian rocket and mortar attacks on Israel, diplomats say.

The United States circulated a draft statement yesterday calling on the council to condemn “in the strongest terms the indiscriminate firing of rockets by Palestinian militants in Gaza” toward Israel, according to a copy of the text seen by AFP.


Rocket fragments hit town of Netivot, causing damage

Fragments of a rocket from the Gaza Strip that had apparently been intercepted by the Iron Dome land in a sports facility in the southern town of Netivot.

The shards of the projectile cause light damage to a number of structures, but no injuries.

One woman, who was close by at the time, is said to have suffered a panic attack.

A video, shared by Channel 10 news on social media, shows a cloud of smoke coming out of the area following the impact.

Rocket from Gaza lands in Israeli town, no injuries

A rocket fired from Gaza after midnight landed in the southern Israeli town of Netivot, Israel Radio reports.

There are no reports of injuries.

Walla news says Iron Dome intercepted the rocket, but shrapnel from the projectile fell within the town, landing next to a Magen David Adom station.

Sirens go off in the Sha’ar Hanegev and Hof Ashkelon area

Rocket sirens are wailing in the Sha’ar Hanegev and Hof Ashkelon areas.

The IDF says it is investigating the circumstances.


IDF: Over 2 dozen Hamas positions bombed in second wave of reprisals

Israeli aircraft strike approximately 25 Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip, in a second bombardment following one on Tuesday afternoon, the army says.

The military says fighter jets, helicopters and other aircraft bombed a Hamas drone facility, advanced naval weaponry, rocket manufacturing plant, military compounds, training camps and weapons factories.

This is the second round of strikes carried out by the IDF in response to mortar and rocket fire from Gaza. On Tuesday, Israeli aircraft targeted approximately 40 positions in the Gaza Strip belonging to the Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror groups.

Earlier, Hamas and the Iran-backed Islamic Jihad released a joint statement claiming responsibility for the dozens of rockets and mortar shells fired at southern Israel throughout the day.

Israel holds Hamas responsible for all violence emanating from the coastal enclave, as it has ruled Gaza since 2007.

“Hamas chooses to act against the interests of the residents of the Strip and, after it failed with its violent riots along the security fence, has decided to launch and to allow the launch of numerous projectiles at Israeli citizens,” the army says in a statement.

Earlier, IDF Spokesperson Ronen Manelis said in a press conference that the army was prepared to intensify its retaliatory raids if Hamas and Islamic Jihad continued to launch projectiles at Israel, which they have.

“The IDF is prepared for a number of scenarios, is determined to act against terrorist operatives and will continue to fulfill its mission of defending the citizens of Israel,” the army says.

Fresh barrage fired toward Eshkol regions, many explosions reported

A fresh barrage of projectiles has been fired toward the Eshkol region near the Gaza border.

Sirens wailed and residents report hearing many explosions.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

New barrage launched against Gaza border communities

A new barrage of mortar and rocket launches is reported from Israeli communities near the border with Gaza.

Esplosions are heard and sirens wail in the city of Ashkelon and the town of Netivot. The also go off in the Eshkol region, Sdot Negev and the Hof Ashkelon area.

There are no immediate reports of injury or damage.

Most residents of these communities are spending the night in bomb shelters.

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