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

Driver in crash that wiped out family of 8 to be charged with manslaughter, driving under influence

The State Attorney’s Office announces that it will be indicting the driver suspected of killing eight members of the same family in a head-on collision between his SUV and their minivan.

Laurent Ankri, 52, from Giv’on Hahadasha will be charged with manslaughter and driving under the influence of marijuana.

The entire Atar family — Yariv Atar, 45, and his wife Shoshi, 47, and their children Yaakov Yisrael, 12, Ateret, 11, Ayelet, 9, Moriah, 7, Yedid, 5, and Avigail, 3 — was killed in the crash last month on Route 90.

Bennett visits IDF officer wounded in Gaza firefight

Education Minister Naftali Bennett visits the IDF officer who was moderately injured last night during an operation in the Gaza Strip that sparked hours of deadly clashes.

“Last night, IDF soldiers acted bravely in order to fulfill their overarching mission — protecting the security of the residents of the State of Israel,” Bennett says in a statement following the visit.

“Unfortunately, we lost Lt. Col. Mem, one of the best sons of the State of Israel. Both he and the commander I have just visited are national heroes.”

“With their determination, their courage, their deep-rooted love for the place where we live, they defended the lives of many others,” he adds,

Australian PM says no decision has been made regarding Jerusalem embassy move

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison says no decision has been made regarding moving the country’s embassy to Jerusalem.

He also downplays speculation the issue would damage efforts to forge a bilateral free trade deal with Indonesia.

Relations between Australia and the Muslim-majority Indonesia have been strained since Morrison announced last month that his government was considering following the US in recognizing Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, in what would be a sharp break in longstanding Australian policy.

When asked by Sky news in a interview that aired on Monday what he would tell Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo about the embassy move issue at upcoming regional summit, Morrison says, “I’ll update him that we are still working through the issue as a government, and the appropriate place to do that is internally, and we will continue to work through that respectfully.”

Morrison says he intended to re-state Australia’s “100% commitment” to the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to Widodo.

He urges Jakarta not to conflate issues of politics and trade, and said there was widespread support for the trade deal in Canberra.

“Australia is always going to look at these issues on their merits. We [do] not conflate other areas of non-related policy when it comes to these agreements,” he says.

Opposition leader calls for diplomatic solution to prevent ‘unplanned military operation’

Opposition leader Tzipi Livni says that yesterday’s deadly Gaza clashes highlight the need for a diplomatic solution to prevent “an unplanned military operation.”

Opening the Zionist Union Knesset faction meeting (with party chairman Avi Gabbay not present), Livni slams the government for failing to pursue long-term diplomatic solutions to prevent further escalation.

“The choice is not between submission to Hamas or unnecessary war,” she says.

“Instead of paying terrorists, we need to strengthen the moderates who are working with us against terrorism,” she says of the funds that Israel allowed to be transferred to the terrorist group from Qatar. “The carrots must be given to those who work with us for security reasons, not to Hamas.”

Livni calls for “joint regional cooperation with the common goal of demilitarizing Gaza and creating an immediate political options to work with the moderates.”

— Raoul Wootliff

Suicide bomber in Kabul targets anti-Taliban rally, kills 4

A suicide bomber struck near an anti-Taliban rally in Kabul, killing at least four people, officials say, as a lawmaker reported that insurgents killed at least 20 Afghan policemen over the past 24 hours in eastern Ghazni province.

According to Basir Mujahid, spokesman for the Kabul police chief, the bomber was on foot and detonated his vest full of explosive after he was spotted by police.

Hours later, the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack, which took place about 500 meters (yards) from where hundreds of minority Shiites had gathered to denounce the latest Taliban attacks in Ghazni districts of Jaghuri and Malistan.

Wahid Mujroh, spokesman for the Health Ministry, says so far at least four were confirmed dead while 22 people were wounded. The casualties were taken to hospitals, he added.

In a statement posted on its media arm, the Aamaq news agency, IS says it targeted a gathering of Shiites. Both the Taliban, who now control nearly half of Afghanistan and stage near-daily attacks on Afghan forces, and the Islamic State group’s affiliate in the region have been behind many recent Kabul attacks and bombings.

— AP

Lapid: None of Hamas’s commanders are safe from assassination

Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid declares during his faction meeting that none of Hamas’s senior commanders are safe from Israeli assassination.

While he clarifies that the intention of last night’s IDF operation in Gaza was not to kill Qassam Brigades commander Nour Baraka, Lapid asserts that he was a “legitimate target.”

“Hamas must know that none of them are safe, including their most senior commanders,” he says.

Lapid adds that his opposition party fully supports the government regarding such operations, “even in cases where not everything goes according to plan.”

Meretz leader slams fellow opposition parties for baiting PM into war

Meretz chairwoman Tamar Zandberg says Yesh Atid and Zionist Union chairmen have “joined the war-mongers” by criticizing Netanyahu from the right for allowing Qatari transfer of millions to Hamas.

“It is tempting to attack Bibi’s hypocrisy regarding Hamas… and indeed (Yair) Lapid and (Avi) Gabbay did not resist the temptation, joining the warmongers and tried to attack him from the right,” she tells reporters ahead of her faction meeting.

Netanyahu and the government must do everything in their power to avoid war, and it is good that at the end of last week they did so (by allowing the transfer).”

“War is more dead soldiers, more children in shelters. It is a last resort. The alternative to war is only a political solution,” she adds.

Thousands gather for funeral of special forces officer killed in Gaza raid

Thousands of Israelis gather for the funeral of the senior special forces officer who was killed overnight during an operation in the Gaza Strip.

President Reuven Rivlin and Communication Minister Ayoub Kara represent the government as Lt. Col. Mem is laid to rest, leaving behind a wife and two children.

Additional details regarding Mem’s identity have been gagged by the military sensor.

The funeral has been closed to the press.

Thousands join funeral procession for Gazans killed in exchange of fire with Israeli special forces

Chanting “revenge” and flanked by masked gunmen in camouflage, thousands of mourners in the Gaza Strip bury seven Gazan fighters killed when an Israeli intelligence-gathering operation was spotted, leading to a firefight, as the ruling Hamas terror group launched a feverish security sweep across the territory.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh leads the funeral for four terrorists as masked gunmen in uniforms carried the coffins, wrapped in the flag of Hamas’s armed wing, and mourners chanted “revenge.”

Death toll in Jordan flood up to 13 after girl’s body found

Jordanian search teams have found the body of a five-year-old girl, bringing the death toll from last week’s flash floods in the kingdom to 13.

The state news agency Petra says the girl was found a day after her father and four of her sisters — also flood victims — were buried.

Petra says the girl was discovered by searchers in a valley in the Madaba district, south of the capital, Amman.

On Friday, flash floods unleashed by heavy rains struck several areas of Jordan, including the kingdom’s main tourist attraction, the ancient city of Petra. All visitors were evacuated safely from Petra, but the flooding claimed lives elsewhere.

Two weeks earlier, 21 people, most of them children, were killed in flash floods near the Dead Sea.

— AP

IDF said to fire artillery at an observation post in northern Gaza

Israel shoots off artillery fire at an observation post in the northern Gaza Strip, according to the Hamas-linked al-Aqsa Voice.

— Adam Rasgon

German far-right party leader under pressure over donations

The co-leader of the far-right Alternative for Germany party is under fire for receiving dubious campaign donations from abroad.

Alice Weidel has rejected calls by other parties’ lawmakers to step down, after German media reported that a Swiss-based company had sent her more than 130,000 euros ($146,500) before the September 2017 general election.

The money was reportedly transferred to the local party chapter in her southern constituency, and marked as “campaign donation Alice Weidel.” The party later returned the money.

German law only allows for party donations from outside the European Union if they’re made by German citizens. Every campaign donation above 50,000 euros needs to be immediately reported to parliament’s president.

The party came third in last year’s election, receiving 12.6 percent of the vote.

— AP

UN atomic watchdog to issue report on Iran’s nuclear program

The UN atomic watchdog is preparing to release its latest report on whether Iran continues to comply with the 2015 deal aimed at keeping Tehran from building nuclear weapons in exchange for incentives.

The issue has grown more complicated since the US withdrew unilaterally in May from the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and then re-imposed sanctions. Iran’s economy has been struggling ever since and its currency has plummeted in value.

The other signatories to the deal — Germany, Britain, France, Russia and China — are continuing to try and make it work.

The International Atomic Energy Agency will issue its latest quarterly assessment today. In its last quarterly report, it concluded Iran had stayed within key limitations set by the JCPOA.


Field of WWII mines discovered near St Petersburg

Russian emergency services are defusing a field of WWII anti-tank mines that were discovered off a motorway leading to Saint Petersburg, police and a military-historical group say.

The wartime devices have been found some 50 kilometers (30 miles) out of Russia’s second city.

“It’s extremely dangerous. These old mines are aggressive, if one of them explodes, the others will go straight away and the blast will be serious,” says Andrei Sizov, head of a local historical society.

Police confirm they had been informed over the weekend that mines were discovered in the area but declined to give any further details.

Sizov says a local inhabitant had made the discovery and informed his group.

He says the mines were put in place by Soviet forces in 1941, when a German advance was threatening Leningrad, now Saint Petersburg.

The mines were spread over a distance of 120 meters (130 yards) along the side of the road, Sizov said.

Around 15 mines had already been discovered and were being defused, he adds.

Leningrad and the surrounding region were the sites of vicious battles between the Red Army and the Nazis from 1941 to 1944, and a number of mines from the period are believed to remain undiscovered.


1 Israeli said seriously injured after mortar from Gaza strikes bus near coastal enclave

One person has reportedly been seriously injured from a mortar attack from the Gaza Strip that struck an Israeli bus outside the coastal enclave.

In addition, incoming rocket alert sirens sound in communities throughout southern Israel.

Man injured from Gaza mortar yet to be evacuated due to persistent mortar fire

The 25-year-old who was standing next to the bus that was hit by mortar fire from Gaza has yet to be evacuated to the hospital because the mortar fire has not subsided, Hadashot news reports.

Rocket said to hit home in southern town of Netivot

A rocket from Gaza has hit a home in the southern city of Netivot, Hadashot news reports.

Nobody was injured in the incident.

Rocket sirens continue to wail throughout southern Israeli communities.

1 said lightly injured from rocket shrapnel in Gaza border community

One Israeli is said to have suffered light injuries from shrapnel of a rocket that hit a town on the Gaza border.

Rocket sirens continue to wail throughout southern Israel.

Man injured from Gaza mortar at Israeli bus evacuated to hospital

The 19-year-old that was standing near a bus on the Gaza border that was hit by Palestinian mortar fire has been evacuated to Beersheba’s Soroka Medical Center.

He has sustained serious injuries.

IDF launches air raids in Gaza in response to massive rocket fire

In response to the heavy barrage from the Gaza Strip, Israeli fighter jets launched a series of air raids against targets in the coastal enclave, the military says.

Home in Sderot hit by Gaza rocket fire; no injuries reported

A home in the southern town of Sderot has been hit by rocket fire from Gaza, but no injuries have been reported.

A home in Sderot hit by rocket fire from Gaza on November 12, 2018. (Screen capture/Hadashot news)

Police sappers dispatched to Sderot and Ofakim where Gaza rockets land

Police units are responding to rocket fire throughout southern Israel.

Sappers have been deployed to Sderot, Ofakim and several other open areas bordering the coastal enclave.

Three lightly injured from rocket strike in Sderot

Three people are lightly injured from a rocket strike in the southern town of Sderot.

According to medics, the three appear to have been hit by pieces of glass when the projectile exploded near them.

The victims, all in their 30s, are taken to Ashkelon’s Barzilai Hospital for treatment, the Magen David Adom ambulance service says.

— Judah Ari Gross

IDF identifies 80 rocket launches from Gaza

More than 80 projectiles have been fired at southern Israel from the Gaza Strip in the past 40 minutes, the army says.

A number of them have been intercepted by the Iron Dome air defense system, according to the military.

At least four Israelis have been reported injured in the barrage, including one man who was seriously wounded when a mortar shell struck a bus, medics say.

— Judah Ari Gross

Sirens wail in Dead Sea area as rockets continue to rain down on Israeli communities

Red Alert sirens wail in communities near the Dead Sea and Hebron. There have been no reports of damages or injuries.

If a rocket were fired at the Dead Sea, it would represent one of the longest-range attacks launched at Israel from the Gaza Strip since the 2014 Gaza war.

Islamic Jihad calls rocket fire ‘natural response’ to killing of Hamas commander

The Islamic Jihad terror group issues a statement calling its rocket fire on Israeli communities a “natural response in the name of the Palestinian people” to the killing yesterday of Hamas commander Nour Barakeh during an Israeli raid in the Gaza Strip.

Firefighters working to extinguish blaze caused by gas explosion following rocket fire

Firefighters are working to extinguish a blaze in the southern town of Sderot that was caused by a gas leak ignited after a rocket from Gaza struck the southern town.

A spokesman for the fire service says that the leak could result in an explosion if not extinguished properly.

Hamas claims responsibility for rocket barrage on Israel

Hamas has claimed responsibility for at least 80 rockets fired from Gaza.

Three Palestinians said wounded in Israeli strike in northern Gaza

Three Palestinians have been wounded in an Israeli strike on the northern Gaza Strip, the Shehab news site reports.

IDF orders residents of Gaza border communities to remain in shelters

The Israeli military orders residents of communities near the Gaza Strip to remain inside bomb shelters until further notice in light of an ongoing barrage that has been pummeling the area for nearly an hour.

Residents of the city of Beersheba and other parts of the northern Negev are told to stay within a close distance of their bomb shelter or other protected spaces.

No large gatherings are permitted in southern Israel, the army says.

“Please adhere to the Home Front Command’s instructions. These are lifesaving instructions. We will update people as necessary,” the army says.

— Judah Ari Gross

Russia ‘concerned’ over Gaza border flareup, calls on sides to show restraint

Russia says it is very concerned about the flareup on the Gaza border.

“We call upon the Palestinians and Israelis to immediately return to a sustainable ceasefire, to show restraint, to take measures in order to avoid confrontation with unpredictable consequences,” the Foreign Ministry in Moscow says in a statement.

— Raphael Ahren

PM arrives at Defense Ministry HQ for Gaza situational assessment

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has arrived at Defense Ministry headquarters in Tel Aviv for a situational assessment with Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot regarding the recent rocket fire from Gaza.

Gaza terror groups threaten to expand range of rocket attacks if Israeli air raids persist

Armed groups in the Gaza Strip threaten to expand their rocket attacks on Israel in terms of distance and number.

“The resistance factions’ joint command center warns the Zionist enemy that if it continues its aggression in response to the resistance’s bombardment of the Gaza envelope, which is in response to its deceitful crime, the resistance will increase the distance, depth and intensity of its bombardment of its positions and usurped lands,” an update posted on the website of Hamas’s military wing says.

— Adam Rasgon

Number of injured from rocket fire at Sderot climbs to 7

The number of injured Israelis from rocket fire at Sderot as climbed to seven.

None of the injuries are believed to be serious and all seven residents have been taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.

Sirens wail in Ashkelon, scrambling Israelis into bomb shelters

Rocket sirens sound in the coastal city of Ashkelon, sending tens of thousands of its residents to bomb shelters, as over 100 projectiles are fired at southern Israel from the Gaza Strip.

— Judah Ari Gross

Doctors working to stabilize 19-year-old seriously injured by anti-tank missile that struck bus

The 19-year-old man who was seriously injured after a projectile from the Gaza Strip struck a bus next to him has arrived at Beersheba’s Soroka Medical Center, where doctors are working to stabilize his condition.

Once his condition improves, he will be moved into surgery for further treatment, the hospital says.

The medical center says it is prepared for “any scenario,” as a massive barrage of rocket and mortar fire from Gaza rains down on southern Israel.

— Judah Ari Gross

Two Palestinians said killed in Israeli air raids following Hamas rocket fire

Two Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire in the northern Gaza Strip and three  were wounded, the Hamas-run Health Ministry says in a message to reporters.

— Adam Rasgon

Foreign Ministry: Hamas responsible for escalation on Gaza border

The Foreign Ministry releases a statement blaming Hamas for the ongoing escalation on the Gaza border.

“Hamas is responsible for the deliberate and targeted rocket barrage targeting Israeli civilians,” the ministry says.


Gaza health ministry identifies 2 Palestinians killed in Israeli air raids

The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza identifies the two Palestinians killed by Israeli fire in the northern Gaza Strip as 27-year-old Muhammed al-Tatri and 22-year-old Muhammed Oudeh.

— Adam Rasgon

Firefighters work to extinguish blaze after rocket hits building in Ashkelon

A rocket directly hits a home in the coastal city of Ashkelon, causing damage but apparently no injuries, local government officials say.

A spokesperson for the city says emergency response officials are en route to the site, along with Ashkelon Mayor Tomer Glam.

Firefighters are currently working to extinguish the blaze that ensued after the building was hit.

— with Judah Ari Gross

16-year-old taken to hospital after bomb shelter door closes on her hand

A 16-year-old girl is taken to Ashkelon’s Barzilai Hospital after a metal bomb shelter door closed on her hand, lightly injuring her, medics says.

Judah Ari Gross

UN peace envoy said in talks with Israeli and Hamas officials to restore calm

UN peace envoy Nikolay Mledenov is said to be in contact with Israeli and Hamas officials in an effort to restore calm on the Gaza border, the Kan public broadcaster reports.

Red Alert sirens blast in Ashkelon as rocket fire persists

Red Alert sirens wail in the southern coastal city of Ashkelon as rocket fire from Gaza persists.

There are no reports yet of injuries or damage.

Mortar shells strike kibbutz in southern Israel causing damage but no injuries

A number of mortar shells strike a kibbutz in the Sha’ar Hanegev region of southern Israel, causing damage but not injuries, local government officials say.

For security reasons, the name of the community cannot be published, as it could help terrorists refine their aim for future mortar attacks.

— Judah Ari Gross

Dozens of armored IDF vehicles said making their way to Gaza border

Dozens of armored IDF vehicles are currently making their way to the Gaza border, the Ynet news site reports.

Army orders residents of Gaza border communities to remain in bomb shelters

The army orders residents of communities near the Gaza Strip to remain in their bomb shelters and other protected spaces, in light of the massive barrage of rocket and mortar fire from the coastal enclave.

This includes residents of the towns of Netivot and Ofakim, which are not normally as affected by Gaza rockets as communities closer to the border.

The military also preemptively cancels school for Tuesday in the Gaza border region. In addition, businesses are ordered closed, along with government offices, unless they are considered essential, the army says.

Residents of the cities of Beersheba, Ashkelon and Ashdod are told to stay within close proximity of bomb shelters and protected spaces.

No large gatherings are allowed in southern Israel, the army says.

— Judah Ari Gross

PFLP says 2 fighters killed by Israeli air raid were its members

The Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, the PFLP’s armed wing, says that the Palestinians who were killed in the Gaza Strip were its members.

— Adam Rasgon

3rd Palestinian said killed as result of Israeli strikes following Gazan rocket fire

A Palestinian was killed by Israeli fire in the southern Gaza Strip and another was wounded, the Hamas-run Health Ministry says in a text message to reporters.

The ministry identifies the Palestinian who was killed as 23-year-old Hamad al-Nahal.

IDF says it bombed 20 terror sites in response to Gaza rocket fire

The Israeli military says it targeted 20 sites connected to terrorist groups throughout the Gaza Strip in a series of ground and air strikes in response to a massive barrage of rocket and mortar fire from the enclave.

At least three Palestinians were reportedly killed in the strikes, two of which were later identified as members of a terrorist group.

The army says helicopters, tanks and other aircraft bombed sites connected to the Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror groups — the two largest organizations in the Gaza Strip.

According to the military, approximately half of the targets were located in the northern Gaza Strip, including military facilities and observation posts.

The other half were located in the southern Strip, the army says.

“In addition, a number of rocket-launching cells were attacked,” the IDF says in a statement.

“The IDF is continuing at this time to attack terror cites throughout the Strip,” the army adds.

— Judah Ari Gross

IDF: Strikes on Gaza will intensify into night

IDF spokesman Ronen Manelis says that Israeli strikes on Gaza will “intensify” as the night progresses.

He adds that the strikes will be on targets throughout the coastal enclave.

Firefighters prepare to work into night to extinguish gas blaze

A spokesman for the Israeli Fire and Rescue Services says firefighters are preparing to work until the morning in order to cool the underground gas tanks that were ignited after they were hit by rocket fire in Sderot.

The fire spread to a nearby bakery, but the firefighters have gained control of the blaze there.

IDF confirms anti-tank missile fired at bus that seriously injured 19-year-old

The IDF confirms that an anti-tank missile was fired at the bus in the Sha’ar Hanegev region, seriously injuring a 19-year-old Israeli man.

The military says it is not yet known the exact type of missile that was used in the attack, which kicked off a massive barrage of rocket and mortar fire at southern Israel.

— Judah Ari Gross

IDF spokesman: Hamas will feel army’s power in coming hours

IDF Spokesperson Ronen Manelis threatens that the Hamas terror group will “feel the power of the IDF’s response in the coming hours,” in reaction to an ongoing barrage of over 100 rockets and mortar shells fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip in the past two hours.

The spokesperson says that Hamas is leading the Gaza Strip to “destruction.”

“The attempt to harm civilians is not acceptable to us and we will continue to respond forcefully,” Manelis writes in a tweet.

Dog killed from Gaza rocket that struck house in Netivot

The dog of the Yifrach family has been killed after a rocket from Gaza struck their home in the southern town of Netivot.

IDF: 200 rockets fired from Gaza thus far; 60 shot down by Iron Dome

The IDF says more than 200 rockets and mortar shells have been fired at southern Israel from the Gaza Strip over the past two hours, making it one of the largest attacks from the Palestinian enclave since the 2014 Gaza war.

According to the military, approximately 60 of the incoming rockets and mortar shells were shot down by the Iron Dome missile defense system.

Most of the remaining projectiles landed in open fields, but a number of them struck homes and buildings in cities and towns throughout southern Israel.

— Judah Ari Gross

UN deputy chief calls sides to avoid escalation in Gaza

UN Secretary General Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq says at a press conference that he “hopes that the recent incidents will be contained and that this escalation will not happen because we would have a new war in Gaza, which would be an incredible tragedy. We need to avoid it at all costs.”

Five projectiles strike open fields near Gaza border communities

Five projectiles strike open fields outside the Eshkol region of southern Israel as a massive rocket barrage from the Gaza Strip enters its fourth hour.

The attack causes no injuries, local government officials say.

It is not immediately known if the projectiles damaged agricultural equipment in the area.

The barrage triggers sirens in the Sha’ar Hanegev, Eshkol, and Sdot Negev regions.

— Judah Ari Gross

IDF releases footage of its airstrikes in Gaza

The Israel Defense Forces releases footage of its airstrikes against terror targets in the Gaza Strip.

The videos appear to show strikes on Palestinian rocket-launching teams, military facilities, and other sites in the coastal enclave.

The IDF says it has targeted upwards of 20 sites operated by the Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror groups throughout the Strip.

US envoy Greenblatt blames Hamas for Gaza escalation

US peace envoy Jason Greenblatt places blame squarely on Hamas for the ongoing escalation of violence in and around the Gaza Strip.

“Hamas’ activities continue to prove they don’t really care about the Palestinians of Gaza & their only interest is to use them for political purposes. Even Palestinian lives seem not to matter to Hamas,” he tweets.

“The world has grown tired of Hamas’ violence and the violence of other bad actors in Gaza. This violence prevents any real help for the people of Gaza,” he concludes.

19-year-old seriously injured from anti-tank missile fired at bus identified as soldier

The 19-year-old man who was seriously injured from the anti-tank missile from Gaza that hit a bus along the border of the coastal enclave has been identified by the IDF as a soldier.

Dozens of soldiers said to have exited bus moments before it was hit by anti-tank missile

Roughly 50 IDF soldiers had departed the bus moments before it was hit by an anti-tank missile from Gaza, Hadashot news reports.

A 19-year-old soldier who remained on the bus suffered serious injuries.

IDF strikes 70 Hamas and Islamic Jihad targets throughout Gaza in response to rocket fire

The Israeli military says it has conducted strikes against some 70 targets connected to the Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror groups in the Gaza Strip, including three attack tunnels.

In addition, a number of military facilities, weapons production factories and observation posts were bombed, as were several sites from which rockets and mortar shells were fired at Israel, the army says.

— Judah Ari Gross

Islamic Jihad says 3rd Palestinian killed in Israeli air raid was one of its fighters

The al-Quds Brigades, Islamic Jihad’s armed wing, says a Palestinian killed by Israeli fire on Monday in the southern Gaza Strip was one of its members, the Islamic Jihad-linked Palestine Today reports.

“Saraya al-Quds announces the death of its martyr Hamad Muhmmed Musa al-Nahal,” the Palestine Today report says, adding that he was killed while “performing his duty in fighting against the occupation’s aggression.”

Earlier on Monday, the Hamas-run Health Ministry said Nahal was 23.

In the past two hours, armed groups in Gaza fired more than 200 rockets and projectiles at southern Israel, according to the IDF.

Meanwhile, the army has targeted upwards of 20 sites operated by the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror groups, the IDF says.

— Adam Rasgon

First cabinet minister responds to Gaza escalation

In the first response to today’s Gaza escalation from a cabinet member, Social Equality Minister Gila Gamliel says she “understands the frustration” of Israel’s southern residents, many of whom have called for tougher retaliation to the rocket fire, but supports the IDF’s response.

“I stand with the residents of the south that are bravely facing a barbaric attack that aims to indiscriminately kill innocent citizens,” Gamliel tweets.

“I understand the frustration but I trust the prime minister and the IDF to know what to do,” she says.

Gamliel’s tweet comes after a day of near silence from ministers who have been instructed by the prime minister not to make public statements on the security situation.

— Raoul Wootliff

Ashdod announces that schools will be closed tomorrow

Schools in the southern Israeli town of Ashdod will be closed tomorrow, due to the escalation of violence in and around the Gaza Strip.

Ashdod is roughly 40 kilometers (about 25 miles) away from the Gaza border, and the furthest town from the strip to make such a decision thus far.

Armed groups in Gaza to release video of anti-tank missile hitting Israeli bus

Armed groups in the Gaza Strip say that a video documenting the targeting of an Israeli bus with a Kornet anti-tank missile will be released in the coming hours.

The armed groups that made the statement include the military wings of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other Palestinian factions.

The statement was posted on Hamas’s military wing’s website.

— Adam Rasgon

Senior official: PM, IDF brass make ‘operative decisions’ during security consultations

Israel has made “operative decisions,” after four hours of high-level security consultations in the IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv, an Israeli official says.

Tomorrow, the security cabinet will convene to further discuss the current flare-up, the official adds.

— Raphael Ahren

Sirens wail in Sderot and Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council

Sirens sound in Sderot and in the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council in southern Israel, sending thousands of residents to bomb shelters, as a massive rocket barrage from the Gaza Strip enters its fifth hour.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

Projectile lands inside Eshkol region community; no injuries reported

A projectile fired from the Gaza Strip lands inside a community in the Eshkol region of southern Israel, local government officials say.

There are no injuries reported. It is not immediately clear how much damage was caused.

— Judah Ari Gross

Security cabinet meeting won’t be held until 4 p.m. tomorrow

The security cabinet is scheduled to hold an emergency session to discuss the latest outbreak of violence in the Gaza Strip tomorrow at 4 p.m.

Israeli aircraft fires ‘warning missile’ at Hamas-linked TV station

Israeli aircraft fired “a warning missile” at the Al-Aqsa TV building in Gaza City, several Palestinian media outlets report.

This type of action is typically known as a “knock on the roof.” It is designed to let the building’s occupants know that an impending strike is incoming in order to give them time to escape.

As of 9:10 p.m., the Hamas-affiliated Al-Aqsa TV was not broadcasting video footage or programs; it was instead streaming an image of the Dome of the Rock.

— Adam Rasgon and Judah Ari Gross

Israeli aircraft destroys Hamas TV station after warning missile

An Israeli aircraft has destroyed the Hamas-affiliated Al Aqsa TV station, moments after it fired a number of warning missiles, urging inhabitants to evacuate the building.

Classes cancelled in southern town of Kiryat Gat

Classes are canceled in the southern town of Kiryat Gat, following an ongoing barrage of rockets and mortar shells from the Gaza Strip, the municipality says.

The southern town is one of several municipalities to close its schools in light of the security situation.

— Judah Ari Gross

UN Middle East envoy cautions against ‘EXTREMELY’ dangerous escalation

UN peace envoy Nikolay Mladenov says his office “is working closely with Egypt & all concerned to ensure that Gaza steps back from the brink.”

“The escalation in the past 24hrs is EXTREMELY dangerous & reckless. Rockets must STOP, restraint must b shown by all! No effort must be spared to reverse the spiral of violence,” he tweets.

Fresh massive wave of rockets launched at Israel, sending thousands to shelters

A fresh massive wave of rocket and mortar attacks is launched at southern Israel from the Gaza Strip, triggering sirens throughout the area.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

The sirens sent tens of thousands of Israelis back to bomb shelters in the city of Ashkelon and in the communities bordering the Gaza Strip.

Rocket from Gaza hits building in Ashkelon

A rocket fired from Gaza strikes a building in the coastal city of Ashkelon, according to municipal officials.

Emergency personnel are on their way to the scene in order to search for casualties.

— Judah Ari Gross

Three lightly injured after rocket hits home in Ashkelon

Three people are lightly injured and five more suffer from panic attacks after a rocket fired from Gaza directly hits a residential building in the coastal city of Ashkelon, medical officials report.

Magen David Adom says its paramedics treated and evacuated to Barzilai Medical Center a 40-year-old man injured in his back by shrapnel in his back, a 60-year-old man injured in his head by glass shrapnel, and a 70-year-old woman with blast injuries to her back.

An additional five people suffering from panic attacks are being treated and evacuated as well.

Army confirms demolition of Hamas-affiliated TV station

The Israeli military says it destroyed the multi-story headquarters of the Hamas-affiliated Al-Aqsa television station in Gaza City in the central Gaza Strip.

“This is an attack on a central government property for Hamas, which was conducted as part of additional attacks that the IDF carried out and as a response to the terror attack that the Hamas terror group is leading against Israeli citizens,” the army said.

The military said the news outlet was “used by [Hamas] for military activities, including sending messages to terrorist operatives in the West Bank, calls for terror attacks, and instructions on how to commit them.”

The outlet was recognized as a terror group by the United States in 2010.

The army said the outlet also broadcasts “incitement against the State of Israel and its citizens.”

“The IDF is determined to fulfill its mission of defending Israeli citizens, and is prepared and ready for a variety of scenarios, as necessary,” the army says.

— Jacob Magid

IDF says number of rockets fired at Israel in last 5 hours climbs to 300

The Israeli military says some 300 rockets and mortar shells have been fired by Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip at southern Israel, making today’s barrage the largest attack from the coastal enclave since the 2014 Gaza war.

The military says dozens of incoming projectiles were shot down by the Iron Dome air defense system.

A number of rockets struck homes in cities and towns throughout southern Israel, but most of the projectiles landed in open areas, the army says.

— Judah Ari Gross

Kiryat Malachi joins list of towns cancelling school tomorrow due to Gaza violence

The southern town of Kiryat Malachi announces that it will be cancelling school tomorrow, due to the escalation in and around the Gaza Strip.

PA official: We hold Israel responsible for Gaza violence

A top aide to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas says the PA holds Israel responsible for the rapidly escalating violence in and around the Gaza Strip.

“We hold Israel, the occupying power, fully responsible for the deterioration of the situation in Gaza,” Saeb Erekat tweets.

“We reiterate our demand for international protection. We call upon the Int. Community to do everything needed in order to prevent a new massacre in Gaza, Palestine,” he continues.

Erekat adds that “the Israeli government should be aware that all attacks against the Palestinian people, will be reported to the International Criminal Court.”

COGAT head to Gazans: Hamas has crossed a red line

Israel’s liaison to the Palestinians says Hamas has crossed a “red line” in its indiscriminate rocket fire at Israeli towns.

“The State of Israel will dial up its response against [Hamas],” writes COGAT head Kamil Abu Rukun.

He then addresses residents of Gaza directly. “Look carefully at the pictures from Operation Protective Edge in 2014 – a picture is worth a thousand words,” he says, appearing to warn that a similar Israeli response to what was seen in 2014 is forthcoming.

منظمة #حماس الإرهابية تجاوزت #الخط_الأحمر من خلال قيامها بالمس بسيادة دولة إسرائيل ومواطنيها في الساعات الأخيرة. ان دولة…

Posted by ‎المنسق‎ on Monday, 12 November 2018

Police sappers defuse rockets that fell in Ashkelon in latest barrage

Police sappers are working to defuse a number of rockets that fell in the southern city of Ashkelon.

Rocket sirens wail throughout southern Israel, as fighting enters 7th hour

Red Alert sirens sound across communities along the Gaza border, including Sderot and those in the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

World Jewish Congress calls on international community to demand Hamas cease rocket fire

World Jewish Congress head Ron Lauder calls on the international community to condemn Hamas rocket fire at Israel.

“These cowardly acts of terror must stop immediately. We call on the international community to unilaterally condemn these attacks and urge Hamas to halt these hostilities before more lives are claimed,” he says in a statement.

20 arrive at Ashkelon hospital for treatment after rocket hits city

A spokesman for the Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon says doctors at the hospital are currently treating 20 Israelis after a rocket hit the city earlier this evening.

Thirteen of the victims suffer from post traumatic stress and seven suffer from injuries caused by shrapnel.

Abbas working to ‘stop Israeli aggression in the Gaza Strip’

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is in contact with regional and international officials to “stop Israeli aggression in the Gaza Strip,” his office says.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas gives a speech after laying a wreath at the tomb of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in the West Bank city of Ramallah on November 11, 2018. (Abbas Momani/AFP)

Attacks from Gaza have injured 22 Israelis today — medical officials

Attacks from the Gaza Strip have injured 22 Israelis, one of them severely, according to medical officials.

An IDF soldier was seriously wounded in an anti-tank missile strike that hit the bus he was sitting in near the Gaza border.

The other 21 sustained light injuries from shrapnel caused by rockets and mortar shells or were hurt while running to bomb shelters for cover, medical officials say.

Nineteen of the injured people were sent to Ashkelon’s Barzilai Hospital. The other three were treated at Beersheba’s Soroka Medical Center, the hospitals say.

Dozens of people also received treatment after they suffered panic attacks brought on by the rocket and mortar strikes.

— Judah Ari Gross

New rocket sirens heard in communities north of Gaza

Fresh rocket sirens blare in southern Israel, as the IDF steps up strikes against targets in the Gaza Strip.

The alarms can be heard in Israeli communities north of the Gaza Strip.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

–Judah Aris Gross

Hamas says weighing expanding rocket range: ‘Ashkelon is the beginning’

Hamas’s Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades Spokesman Abu Obedia on Twitter: “The resistance factions’ joint command center is holding a serious conversation about expanding its range of fire. Ashkelon is the beginning.

“Approximately one million Zionists will be within the range of our missiles if the enemy’s decision is to continue its aggression.”

Screen capture from a speech given by Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigade’s Spokesperson Abu Obeida on April 17, 2016. (Courtesy: Facebook)

— Adam Rasgon

Extraordinary video shows rocket impact outside Ashkelon home

A video captured by an Ashkelon resident shows the moment a Gaza rocket explodes outside a home in Ashkelon.

Palestinians say Israeli aircraft hit ‘hotel’ in Gaza city used by Hamas

Israeli aircraft have fired a number of missiles at the al-Amal Hotel in Gaza City, the Hamas-linked al-Risala daily reports.

According to Hadashot news the building is used by Hamas for various administrative purposes as well as training work.

Man lightly injured as rocket strikes Ashkelon home

A rocket strikes a home in the coastal city of Ashkelon, injuring one person inside, officials say.

A 40-year-old man is lightly wounded by shards of glass from the rocket explosion.

A number of other people are treated after they suffer panic attacks brought on by the attack, medics say.

Police sappers are called to the scene to inspect the impact site.

–Judah Ari Gross

No school in Beersheba tomorrow, city announces

Beersheba joins growing list of cities and municipalities to cancel school on Tuesday in light of the volatile security situation.

Army orders closure of classes, some businesses and government offices in south

As rocket and mortar attacks from the Gaza Strip continue, the Israeli military orders all classes in southern Israel be canceled, along with a number of other security measures.

In Israeli communities closest to Gaza, all businesses and government offices are told to close unless they are considered essential.

In the central Negev and Lachish regions, which are farther from the Strip, businesses are only ordered shut if they do not have a bomb shelter nearby.

Government services there will also be scaled back.

Firefighters near a building which was set ablaze by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip, in the southern Israeli city of Sderot on November 12, 2018 (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

In these regions, located dozens of kilometers from Gaza, only groups smaller than 300 will be allowed to gather, the army says.

–Judah Ari Gross

Hamas issues footage of anti-tank missile strike on Israeli bus

Hamas has published a video depicting its attack on a bus near the border that seriously injured a soldier earlier today.

The Hamas cell that carried out the attack appears to stock the bus and its passengers as well as a group of Israeli soldiers for some time before firing an anti-tank missile at the vehicle.

Report: Egypt implores sides to deescalate situation in Gaza Strip

Egyptian state TV says Cairo has called on Israel and Palestinians to deescalate the situation in the Gaza Strip, according to Reuters.

PA ‘hopes’ efforts to stop escalation will be fruitful

More from the PA on its efforts to deescalate: Fatah Central Central Committee Member Hussein al-Sheikh tells Palestine TV, the official PA television that Abbas has phoned all relevant regional and international parties to put a stop to “the ongoing Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people the Gaza Strip.”

The Palestinians “hope that in the coming hours these communications and efforts will be fruitful in stopping this Israeli aggression.”

— Adam Rasgon

Number of people hurt in Ashkelon rocket hit up to 7

Medics update the number of people injured in the rocket attack that struck an apartment building in the city of Ashkelon to seven, including a woman in her 60s who was found unconscious and seriously injured.

The woman was found unresponsive in one of the apartments, suffering from injuries throughout her body caused by shrapnel from the rocket, medics say.

A 40-year-old man initially said to be lightly injured is now considered to be in moderate condition, according to the Magen David Adom ambulance service.

In addition, two women in their 20s are lightly wounded by glass shards. Two men in their 40s and a women in her 90s are suffering from smoke inhalation after a fire breaks out at the scene.

Three people are also treated for panic attacks brought on by the rocket strike, medics say.

The victims are taken to Ashkelon’s Barzilai Hospital for treatment.

— Judah Ari Gross

New warning sirens go off in Gaza periphery, Ashkelon

Fresh rocket sirens sound in southern Israel as the barrages from the Gaza Strip enter their ninth hour.

The alarms can be heard in Israeli communities northeast of the Gaza Strip shortly before 1 a.m.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

— Judah Ari Gross

IDF says it hit Hamas intelligence center

The IDF says it has bombed an office housing Hamas military intelligence operations that had been used to spy on Israel.

The army calls the office “a central asset of the Hamas regime,” which had been responsible for collecting intelligence on Israel and providing information to Hamas’s military wing.

According to a statement from the military, the multi-story building was in a populated area in the northern gaza Strip, near a school.

Video published by the IDF shows the building being hit from the air and the army shares pictures culled from social media showing the building before and after the strike.

Reports in Gaza had earlier reported a “hotel” was hit by Israeli fire.

Army spokesman: ‘Hamas knows price of conflict with the IDF’

IDF Spokesman Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis publishes photos of the Hamas intel building in Gaza before and after an Israeli strike that destroyed it.

“Hamas knows well what our targets are and what the price of conflict with the IDF is,” Manelis tweets.

“We’ll continue to operate with strength.”

Rocket hits Ashkelon residential building, no reported casualties

A rocket launched from Gaza in the most recent barrage hit a residential building in Ashkelon, the Ynet news site reports.

The building’s tenants had all made their way to protected spaces when warning sirens went off, and apparently no one was hurt.

Hamas threatens to expand rocket range again as new sirens ring out

Hamas military wing spokesman Abu Obeidah issues a fresh message threatning that the terror group will expand rocket fire beyond the Gaza border region if fighting persists.

“The resistance’s message..What happened in Ashkelon…is a warning that what is coming will be greater if the aggression continues. Strikes you all did not know before,” he says on Twitter.

Several barrages on the city of Ashkelon caused damage to a number of buildings, lightly injuring several people.

Fresh rocket alarms ring out in areas bordering Gaza just after he issues the threat.

Report: Elderly lady in critical condition after earlier rocket hit in Ashkelon

Unconfirmed reports that one of the injured in an earlier hit on a building in Ashkelon is in critical condition.

The victim is said to be an elderly lady, currently being treated in hospital.

Ashkelon man reported killed in rocket attack

A man has been killed after his home in Ashkelon suffered a direct hit from a rocket attack, Israeli media report.

The man, in his 60s, is found by rescuers buried under rubble, according to reports.

He is not named in the reports.

Woman with serious injuries found in rubble of Ashkelon home

Reports indicate that a woman is being rushed to a hospital in serious condition after a home she was in suffered a direct hit from a Gazan rocket.

A man was previously reported killed in the same home, the first fatality in Israel after a day that saw massive barrages of rockets.

Both are reportedly in their 40s.

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