IDF strikes PIJ rocket launchpads, underground sites in Gaza
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Nov. 13 updates (closed)

Rocket barrage, IDF airstrikes and ceasefire reports cap day of Gaza fighting

Israeli source says ‘quiet will be met with quiet’ after terror group lays out demands; death toll in Gaza up to 26; at least 360 rockets fired out of Strip in two days of violence

Rockets are fired from the Gaza Strip toward Israel on November 13, 2019. (Anas Baba/AFP)
Rockets are fired from the Gaza Strip toward Israel on November 13, 2019. (Anas Baba/AFP)

The Times of Israel is liveblogging the events of Wednesday, November 13, a day after Israel was hit by 200 rockets following the killing of Islamic Jihad terror chief Baha Abu al-Ata in Gaza.

(This liveblog is closed. Read the November 14 liveblog here.)

Home Front Command says schools can reopen Wednesday in Tel Aviv area

The IDF Home Front Command says schools may reopen in the Tel Aviv metropolitan area and in the nearby Yarkon and Shfela regions on Wednesday, following 200 rockets fired at Israel Tuesday after the IAF eliminated Islamic Jihad terror chief Baha Abu al-Ata in Gaza. (Tuesday’s liveblog is here.)

The military says classes should not be held in trailers and other light buildings, which offer little protection to students.

Schools and non-essential businesses will remain closed in the Gaza periphery and southern Israel, the military says.

The Home Front Command maintains a restriction on large gatherings of more than 300 people in the Tel Aviv metropolitan and the Yarkon and Shfela regions.

Gatherings of more than 100 people are also still forbidden in southern Israel.

— Judah Ari Gross

Pence condemns Gaza rocket fire, ‘strongly affirms Israel’s right to defend itself’

US Vice President Mike Pence condemns the rocket fire by Palestinian terror groups on Israel and says the United States strongly backs the Jewish state’s right to defend itself.

Biden condemns Gaza rocket fire, touts Obama administration support for Iron Dome

2020 Democratic presidential hopeful and former US vice president Joe Biden condemns rocket fire at Israel from the Gaza Strip and touts the Obama administration’s financial support for the Iron Dome missile defense system.

IDF strikes PIJ rocket launchpads, underground sites in Gaza

The IDF says its latest airstrikes in the Gaza Strip targeted Palestinian Islamic Jihad launchpads — both above- and below-ground — as well as military command centers and other underground infrastructure.

This was the IDF’s fourth round of airstrikes in Gaza against PIJ sites in response to over 200 rocket attacks throughout the day.

First death reported in nationwide protests wracking Lebanon

A local official for a Lebanese political party is shot dead by soldiers trying to open a road closed by protesters in southern Beirut late Tuesday, the army reports, marking the first death in 27 days of nationwide protests.

An army statement says the man was shot in the Khaldeh neighborhood after an altercation during which a soldier opened fire to disperse the crowd, hitting one person. It says the army command had opened an investigation into the killing after arresting the soldier.

The incident is sure to inflame tensions already running high in the country, which has been engulfed by nationwide protests against the country’s entire political class since Oct. 17.

AP

Venice underwater as exceptional tide sweeps through canal city

Venice is  hit by the highest tide in more than 50 years late Tuesday, with tourists wading through flooded streets to seek shelter as a fierce wind whipped up waves in St. Mark’s Square.

The exceptionally intense “acqua alta,” or high waters, peaked at 1.87 metres (six feet) as the flood alarm sound across the Italian city of canals, the tide monitoring center says.

“We’re currently facing an exceptionally high tide. Everyone has been mobilised to cope with the emergency,” Venice’s mayor Luigi Brugnaro tweets.

Gondolas stranded on a square are pictured after being washed away during an exceptional “Alta Acqua” high tide water level late on November 12, 2019 in Venice.(Photo by Marco Bertorello / AFP)

Only once since records began in 1923 has the water crept even higher, reaching 1.94 meters in 1966.

AFP

Australian wildfires injure firefighters and destroy homes

More than 50 homes are damaged or destroyed and 13 firefighters injured overnight by catastrophic wildfires across Australia’s most populous state before the emergency subsided on Wednesday, officials say.

At point on Tuesday, 16 fires raged out of control at emergency level simultaneously across New South Wales, a near record number.

There were no fires burning at emergency level early Wednesday, but rain that would quench the fire danger is not forecast for months. Friday experienced similarly intense fires which killed three residents and destroyed more than 150 homes.

State Premier Gladys Berejiklian says she was relieved that the destruction on Tuesday had not been worse. A weeklong state of emergency for New South Wales was declared on Monday because of the fire danger, with Tuesday forecast to be the most dangerous day.

Sydney Opera House is backdropped by haze from wildfires near the city, in Sydney, Australia, Tuesday Nov. 12, 2019. A (Mette Estep / NTB scanpix via AP)

“I have to confess to being hugely relieved this morning that yesterday our amazing volunteers and emergency service personnel withstood the catastrophic conditions and did manage to save life and property,” Berejiklian tells reporters in Sydney.

Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said none of the injured firefighters had been seriously hurt.

AP

Opposition lawmaker claims presidency in crisis-torn Bolivia

A women’s rights activist and former television presenter who became an opposition leader in the Senate declares herself Bolivia’s interim president late Tuesday, promising to guide the country out of a deep crisis.

Jeanine Añez, 52, was a second-tier opposition figure until the resignation Sunday of President Evo Morales after nearly 14 years in power.

But as the Senate’s second vice president, she moved Tuesday to take temporary control of the body even though she lacked a quorum to appoint her. The Senate leader is next in line to the presidency, and she then proclaimed herself interim president to guide the Andean nation before new elections.

AP

US warns citizens against travel to Bolivia due to ‘civil unrest’

The US State Department is warning American citizens not to travel to Bolivia and limited its diplomatic presence in the country due to unrest that followed recent disputed elections.

“Do not travel to Bolivia due to civil unrest,” the State Department says in a travel advisory, adding that it has ordered diplomats’ family members to leave and authorized “the departure of non-emergency US government employees due to ongoing political instability in Bolivia.”

“There are recurring demonstrations, strikes, roadblocks, and marches in major cities in Bolivia,” it said. “Some protests have resulted in violent confrontations, and local authorities have used crowd control measures to discourage protests.”

AFP

Rocket sirens sound in Kerem Shalom

Rocket warning sirens are wailing in the southern community of Kerem Shalom.

The IDF says it is investigating the incident.

The sirens come after a night of relative quiet, with no rockets fired and no IDF airstrikes.

Suspected suicide bomber targets police station in Indonesia

A suspected suicide bombing outside a police station in Indonesia has left at least one attacker dead, authorities say.

The explosion happened around 8:45 am local time (0145 GMT) at a police compound in Medan on Sumatra island.

“We suspect this is a suicide bombing with one attacker killed,” national police spokesman Dedi Prasetyo tells reporters in Jakarta.

An AFP reporter at the scene saw a body lying on the ground outside the station.

A police source who did not want to be named tells AFP that the attack was perpetrated by at least two suicide bombers, but that was not officially confirmed.

Unconfirmed local media reports said at least one police officer had been rushed to hospital after the bombing but that their condition was not immediately known.

Police stations have been frequent targets for radicals in the world’s biggest Muslim majority nation, which has long struggled with Islamist militancy.

In August, Indonesian authorities shot and arrested a suspected militant who attacked police officers at a station in the country’s second-biggest city Surabaya.

AFP

Iron Dome intercepts rockets fired from Gaza

The Iron Dome system intercepts several rockets fired at Israeli communities near the Gaza border just after dawn.

The rocket fire comes after several hours of quiet overnight.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

Warning sirens wails in Latrun in central Israel

Warning sirens wailed in the Latrun area in central Israel and residents report hearing loud explosions.

Latrun, on the main highway between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, is near the city of Modiin.

Residents report hearing explosions, apparently from Iron Dome interceptors being fired.

The IDF says it is investigating the report.

Palestinians say 1 killed, 2 injured in Israeli airstrike in Gaza

One Palestinian was killed and two were injured in an Israeli airstrike in the central Gaza Strip, medical sources there say.

The Palestinian death toll since the killing of Islamic Jihad terror leader Baha Abu al-Ata early Tuesday morning is now 11.

IDF confirms it targeted rocket launching squad

The Israel Defense Forces confirms one of its aircraft targeted and hit a squad of terrorists that were firing rockets into Israel.

The incident is presumably the same one in which the Palestinians reported that one person was killed and two were injured.

Rocket sirens sound in Kibbutz Nahal Oz

Rocket warning sirens are wailing in the southern community of Nahal Oz.

The IDF says it is investigating.

Islamic Jihad identifies fighter killed in Israeli airstrike as one of their own

Palestinian Islamic Jihad identifies the fighter killed in an Israeli airstrike earlier this morning as 38-year-old Khaled Faraj, a commander in the PIJ’s central division.

Less than an hour ago, the IDF confirmed one of its aircraft targeted and hit a squad of terrorists that were firing rockets into Israel.

Palestinian media reported that one person was killed and two others were injured in the incident.

IDF targeting PIJ posts as rocket sirens blare in several Gaza border communities

The IDF says it is currently striking Palestinian Islamic Jihad targets throughout the Gaza Strip, in response to the salvo of rocket fire directed at Israel earlier this morning after six hours of quiet.

Simultaneously, additional red alert sirens blare in the kibbutzim of Kissufim and Ein Hashlosha as well as the Shfela region, further away from the Gaza Strip.

IDF: 220 rockets have been fired into Israel since killing of Abu al-Ata

The IDF says that approximately 220 rockets have been fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel since its targeted killing of senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad commander Baha Abu al-Ata early yesterday morning.

The army says that the Iron Dome’s success rate during this time period stands at roughly 90 percent.

Magen David Adom: 48 Israelis treated since start of Gaza rocket fire

The Magen David Adom ambulance service says it has treated 48 Israelis since rocket fire from Gaza began yesterday morning after Israel killed a senior Islamic Jihad military commander.

Twenty-three of the victims suffered from anxiety, while 23 people were treated for injuries sustained after falling while running to bomb shelters during red alert sirens, according to MDA. Two victims, aged 30 and 55, were lightly injured by rocket shrapnel.

A MDA spokesman says doctors were still not sure if the heart attack suffered by an 8-year-old in a bomb shelter yesterday morning was related to the rocket fire or siren. She remains in serious condition.

Gaza health ministry says another Palestinian killed in Israeli strike

A spokesman for the Gaza health ministry says that an additional dead body has arrived at a hospital in the Strip, raising the number of Palestinians killed in Israeli airstrikes this morning to at least two.

The identity of the deceased is not immediately known.

IDF confirms it targeted Islamic Jihad rocket launching squad

The Israel Defense Forces confirms one of its aircraft targeted and hit a second squad of Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists that were firing rockets into Israel.

The incident is presumably the same one in which one Palestinian was killed, according to the Gaza health ministry.

Gaza crossings remain closed amid PIJ rocket fire

Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) Maj. Gen. Kamil Abu Rukun updates that the Erez pedestrian crossing and the Kerem Shalom goods crossing will remain closed for the second consecutive day amid the ongoing violence from the Gaza Strip.

Yesterday, COGAT also announced that it was scaling back the fishing zone in the Gaza Strip until further notice.

Palestinian media circulating footage of house blown to pieces by Israeli airstrike

Palestinian media is circulating footage of a house in Gaza struck by what appears to be an Israeli airstrike.

The IDF says it is currently carrying out strikes against Palestinian Islamic Jihad targets throughout the strip.

Red alert sirens triggered in Sderot, Gaza border towns

Fresh incoming rocket sirens sound in the town of Sderot and surrounding communities northeast of the Gaza Strip.

There are no immediate reports of injuries.

Rocket sirens wail in Ashkelon

Fresh rocket sirens sound in the city of Ashkelon, north of Gaza.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

— Judah Ari Gross 

Gaza health ministry updates Palestinian death toll in coastal enclave to 12, with 50 injured

The Gaza health ministry says that 12 Palestinians have been killed in the latest round of violence that started with Israel’s assassination of senior PIJ commander Baha Abu al-Ata early yesterday morning.

Fifty Gazans have also been injured in Israeli retaliatory strikes.

Bennett issues warning to Israel’s enemies in first public comments as defense minister

Naftali Bennett issues a warning to Israel’s enemies in his first public remarks as Israel’s defense minister.

“Yesterday morning, the IDF and security forces took vital action necessary for Israel’s security. Baha Abu al-Ata was a terrorist architect of Islamic Jihad who worked to terrorize Israeli citizens. He was eliminated,” Bennett says.

“We did it yesterday, and will not hesitate to act in the future.”

“This morning we send a clear message to all our enemies, wherever they may be: Whoever plans to hurt us during the day can never be sure that he will make it through the night,” he continues.

“You were and will remain in our crosshairs.”

Young Gazan said moderately wounded in Israeli strike

A young Palestinian man was moderately wounded in Gaza City by Israeli fire, the Hamas-linked Shehab reports.

Shehab does not provide details on his identity.

— Adam Rasgon 

Palestinian death count in Gaza rises to 15

The bodies of three Palestinians arrived at the Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, the Hamas-run Health Ministry reports.

Fifteen Palestinians in Gaza have been killed by Israeli fire since early Tuesday when Israel killed Baha Abu al-Ata, a senior Islamic Jihad commander in Gaza, in a targeted strike, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry.

At least 10 of those killed were members of terror groups.

— Adam Rasgon

Rocket sirens in Sha’ar Hanegev, Eshkol regions following brief lull

Rocket alarms sound in the Sha’ar Hanegev and Eshkol region of southern Israel, following a brief lull.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

The sirens are heard in the communities of Nahal Oz and Kissufim.

— Judah Ari Gross

IDF confirms airstrike on Islamic Jihad rocket firing squad, which Palestinians say killed 4

The Israel Defense Forces confirms conducting an airstrike on a group of Palestinian Islamic Jihad operatives in the northern Gaza Strip.

The military says the men were preparing to fire rockets at Israel.

“A hit was confirmed,” the army says.

The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry says four Palestinians were killed in the strike, bringing the death toll in the Strip to 16.

— Judah Ari Gross

Rocket sirens sound in Eshkol region of southern Israel

Rocket sirens sound in the Eshkol region of southern Israel.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

The alarms are heard in the communities of Mivtahim, Amioz, Yesha, Tzohar, Ohad, Talmei Eliyahu and Sde Nitzan.

— Judah Ari Gross

Islamic Jihad and another terror group take credit for 20 rockets fired at Israel this morning

In a joint statement, the Al-Quds Brigades, Islamic Jihad’s military wing, and the Mujahedeen Brigades, another armed group in Gaza, take credit for firing 20 Grad rockets at Sderot and Ashkelon.

 Adam Rasgon

Rockets missed populated areas in Eshkol

The Eshkol region of southern Israel says that none of the rockets fired in a recent barrage from the Gaza Strip landed inside populated areas.

“There are no impacts inside communities. There are no injuries and no damage,” the regional spokeswoman says.

— Judah Ari Gross

Netanyahu: Islamic Jihad starting to understand who they’re messing with

“We are continuing to hit Islamic Jihad after eliminating its senior commander in the Strip,” Netanyahu says during a special cabinet meeting. “He was responsible for most of the terror attacks emanating from the Gaza Strip in the last year and he was planning to carry out more attacks in the very next days.”

“It would be better for Islamic Jihad to understand that now, I believe the message is starting to get through,” the premier adds. “They understand we will continue hitting them with no mercy. We are determined to fight and protect ourselves. If they thought the barrages or hits would weaken us they are wrong. They have one option.

“It could take time,” he cautions, calling on Israelis to remain vigilant. “We see that those who obey the Home Front commands have a very high chance of not being harmed. The orders are clear. I ask that you continue heeding them.”

Sirens sound in Sderot and nearby towns as rocket fire from Gaza persists

Incoming rocket sirens sound in the town of Sderot and nearby communities outside the Gaza Strip.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

No injuries caused directly by rocket barrage from Gaza, MDA says

The Magen David Adom ambulance service says no injuries caused directly by rocket attacks have been reported from the recent barrages fired at southern Israel from the Gaza Strip.

However, one woman is lightly injured after she fell while running to a bomb shelter in the Eshkol region of southern Israel, MDA says.

Gaza health ministry: Death toll climbs to 18 after 2 more Palestinians killed in IDF strike

Two more Palestinians were killed in an Israeli strike on Gaza City, says an official in the Hamas-run Health Ministry.

Eighteen  Palestinians in Gaza have been killed by Israeli fire since early Tuesday when Israel killed Baha Abu al-Ata, a senior Islamic Jihad commander in Gaza, in a targeted strike, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry.

— Adam Rasgon

 

Fresh rocket sirens sound in the southern town of Nirim

Fresh rocket sirens sound in the southern Israeli community of Nirim.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

— Judah Ari Gross

Iron Dome intercepts several incoming rockets during latest barrage at south

The Iron Dome missile defense system reportedly shoots down several of the incoming rockets fired from the Gaza Strip at southern Israel over the past hour.

Residents report seeing indications of interceptions over Ashkelon and Sderot.

In the Eshkol region of southern Israel, the incoming projectiles all appear to have landed outside populated areas and therefore did not need to be shot down by the Iron Dome.

Fresh rocket sirens sound in Israeli towns south of Gaza

Fresh rocket alert sirens sound in Israeli communities south of the Gaza Strip.

The alarms are heard in Kerem Shalom, Holit, Yated, Sufa and Sde Avraham.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

— Judah Ari Gross

‘I hear the sound of the air conditioning and assume it’s a plane’

Army Radio interviews a young resident of a Gaza border town, who has refused to leave her house since the rocket fire started yesterday morning.

“I’m constantly scared. I hear the sound of the air conditioning and assume that it’s a plane,” says Renana Butzer-Suisse.

Islamic Jihad spokesman: Now’s not the time to talk ceasefire

Palestinian Islamic Jihad spokesman Musab al-Breim says that it is not “appropriate” to discuss efforts to broker an end to the ongoing escalation of tensions between Israel and terror groups in Gaza.

“There is no talk about mediation. It is not appropriate to talk about that with all due respect to any Arab efforts [to restore calm],” Breim tells the Hamas-linked Shehab. “When we complete the response, it is possible to discuss calm.”

— Adam Rasgon

None of rockets from latest barrage land inside populated areas

None of the rockets and mortar shells fired at the Eshkol and Sha’ar Hanegev regions of southern Israel in recent hours have landed inside populated areas, spokespeople for the regions say, crediting successful interceptions by the Iron Dome air defense system.

In one case, an Iron Dome interceptor missile did land on an empty chicken coop in the Eshkol region, damaging the building and the solar panels on the roof.

— Judah Ari Gross

An Iron Dome interceptor missile strikes the roof of an empty chicken coop in the Eshkol region of southern Israel on November 13, 2019. (Eshkol Security)

Two Palestinians killed in Israeli strike on a motorcycle in Shejaiya

Two Palestinians were killed in an Israeli strike on a motorcycle in the Shejaiya neighborhood in Gaza City, the Hamas-linked Shehab reports.

The strike would bring the death toll in Gaza to 20 people, but the health ministry there has yet to update its figures.

— Adam Rasgon

Gantz, Liberman to meet tomorrow with 1 week left for Blue and White to form coalition

A coalition negotiation meeting between Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz and Yisrael Beytnu chairman Avigdor Liberman will take place tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. in Kfar Maccabiah.

The session had been supposed to take place yesterday but had been canceled due to the security situation.

IDF says it hit major Islamic Jihad weapon manufacturing facility in latest round of strikes

The Israeli military says it completed an additional round of airstrikes against Palestinian Islamic Jihad targets in Gaza, including a major weapons manufacturing facility, as the terror group continued firing regular barrages at southern Israel in response to the targeted killing of one of its senior commanders the day before.

“In the latest round of strikes, the IDF stepped up the frequency of its attacks and the type of targets. During the strike, a central factory for the production of rocket warheads was attacked in the southern Gaza Strip. This is a site for the production of rockets and of the specialized raw materials for the manufacturing of long-range rockets,” the military says.

The Israel Defense Forces says its fighter jets and aircraft also bombed the headquarters of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s regional brigade in the city of Khan Younis, a cache of weaponry located inside the house of a PIJ operative, and a number of sites associated with the terror group’s naval commando unit.

Judah Ari Gross

Israel’s chief prisoner negotiator said currently meeting with PM

Israel’s chief prisoner negotiator Yaron Blum is currently meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Haaretz political correspondent Chaim Levinson reports.

Further details are not immediately available.

Last week, Blum said on Saturday that Hamas refuses to adopt a realistic stance that would allow for real progress in talks for a possible prisoner swap.

The Palestinian terror group is believed to be holding the remains of Israeli soldiers Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, whose bodies were captured by the terror group when they were killed in the Strip during the 2014 Operation Protective Edge. The terror group also holds captive two Israeli citizens — Avraham Abera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed — who are all said to have entered the Gaza Strip of their own accord in 2014-2015.

Mortal shell lands in Kibbutz Kerem Shalom; no injuries

A mortar shell lands inside Kibbutz Kerem Shalom in the Eshkol region of southern Israel, causing no injuries, a regional spokesperson says.

“There was one impact near the dining hall in a kibbutz [in Eshkol]. No damage was caused, and there are no injuries,” the spokeswoman says.

The mortar shell made a large hole in the lawn outside the dining hall.

— Judah Ari Gross

A mortar shell fired from Gaza strikes the lawn outside the dining hall on Kibbutz Kerem Shalom, southeast of the Strip, on November 13, 2019. (Eshkol Security)

PM: We took out Abu al-Ata without seeking any escalation

Updating the Knesset in the escalation with Gaza, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that the government is “not prepared to tolerate attacks on our civilians,” claiming that it has”endured many such attacks in the past year.”

Referring to the targeted killing of Palestinian Islamic Jihad commander Baha Abu al-Ata, which sparked the escalation, Netanyahu says “the man was about to launch more and more terrorist attacks in the coming days.”

“We thwarted him even without seeking an escalation, but we will do everything necessary to protect our citizens.”

— Raoul Wootliff

Islamic Jihad military wing says a video of its strikes is on its way

The Al-Quds Brigades announces on its website that it will release a video soon of rockets targeting Israeli cities and towns.

— Adam Rasgon

Rocket sirens wail in Sufa and Holit near Gaza border

A fresh round of rocket sirens sounds in the communities of Sufa and Holit, southeast of the Gaza Strip.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

— Judah Ari Gross

Fresh sirens in Eshkol region communities southeast of Gaza

Fresh rocket sirens sound in Israeli communities in the Eshkol region, southeast of the Gaza Strip.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

The alarms can be heard in the communities of Tzohar, Ohad, Sde Nitzan, Mivtahim, Amioz and Yesha.

— Judah Ari Gross

Gaza health ministry updates death toll to 22, with 69 injured in Israeli retaliatory strikes

A total of 22 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have been killed since early Tuesday morning, says the Hamas-run health ministry.

Sixty-nine Palestinians in the coastal enclave have been wounded during that time frame as well, the ministry reports.

— Adam Rasgon

Liberman meeting Rivlin as political deadlock persists amid Gaza violence

Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman is currently meeting with President Reuven Rivlin as the latter does his part to break the political deadlock that has persisted amid the Gaza violence.

Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz has one week left to form a coalition before he is required to return the mandate back to Rivlin.

Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman (L) and President Reuven Rivlin meet at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem on November 13, 2019. (Mark Neiman/GPO)

Heavy barrage of mortar shells fired from Gaza at Israeli border towns

A heavy barrage of mortar shells is fired toward the Israeli communities of Kissufim and Ein Hashlosha, triggering multiple rounds of sirens.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

Kissufim and Ein Hashlosha are two of the places that have been most targeted by mortar fire from the Strip over the past two days.

Terror groups claim 10 of 22 Gazans killed as their members; IDF indicates number higher

Palestinian Islamic Jihad has identified seven of the 22 Gazans killed in Israeli airstrikes as their own. Another terror group identified three more killed as their members.

The IDF has indicated that the number of enemy combatants it has killed is higher than 10 out of 22, given that just about all of its strikes have been at rocket launching squads.

Residents of south report hearing loud explosions following massive rocket barrage

Residents of southern Israel report hearing the telltale sounds of Iron Dome interceptor missiles exploding following a massive barrage from the Gaza Strip, apparently indicating that some of the projectiles were shot down.

There no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

Gaza health ministry says it spoke too soon when it upped death count from 21 to 22

The Hamas-run Health Ministry says that medical staff at the Shifa Hospital in Gaza City is attempting to revive one of the 22 Palestinians it had said was killed by Israeli fire.

“We ask God that his condition will stabilize,” the ministry says in a statement, adding that his name is Raed al-Sarsari.

— Adam Rasgon

Rocket hits factory in Sderot during latest barrage from Gaza

A rocket strikes a factory in the town of Sderot, following a massive barrage from the Gaza Strip aimed at southern Israel.

There are no immediate reports of injuries in Sderot.

Two mortar shells have also landed inside populated areas in the Sha’ar Hanegev region, causing damage but no injuries, a regional spokesperson says.

The other projectiles fired from the Strip appear to have been shot down or landed in open fields.

— Judah Ari Gross

Bennett to foreign press: Islamic Jihad killing its own people in Gaza

The Palestinian terrorists shooting rockets at Israel are also targeting ordinary Gazans, Defense Minister Naftali Bennett says in a video addressed to foreign media.

“Over the past 24 hours the Jihad Islamic terrorists shot over 250 rockets and missiles on Israelis.

“On our families. On our children. But these terrorists are not only out to kill Israelis,” he says, speaking in English. “In fact, they’re killing their own people in Gaza.”

For the cost of every rocket shot, a classroom could have been built in Gaza, he adds.

“Israeli security forces will hunt down every terrorist, until our children are secure and safe.

“The world must stand together and unite against radical Islamic terror, otherwise the world will feel its wrath,” he adds.

— Raphael Ahren

Gaza health ministry says 3 of 21 Palestinians killed in Israeli strikes were children

The Gaza health ministry says that three of the 21 Palestinians killed in retaliatory Israeli airstrikes were children.

The ministry has not been able to immediately provide their ages.

Ten of those killed have been identified as members of terror groups.

IDF says it bombed Islamic Jihad fighters armed with anti-tank missile

The IDF says it bombed a pair of Palestinian Islamic Jihad members preparing to fire an anti-tank guided missile from the northern Gaza Strip.

“An IDF aircraft struck two terrorist operatives of the PIJ terror group in the northern Gaza Strip as they were getting ready to launch anti-tank missiles. The operatives were part of the organization’s sniper and anti-tank operations,” the military says.

— Judah Ari Gross

Rocket sirens blare in Sderot and surrounding Gaza border towns

Fresh rocket sirens sound in the southern Israeli town of Sderot and surrounding communities.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

— Judah Ari Gross

Islamic Jihad identifies 2 more members among the 21 killed in Israeli strikes

The Al-Quds Brigades, Islamic Jihad’s military wing, says two more of its members were killed in separate Israeli strikes in Gaza City.

The terror group identifies them as 28-year-old Suheil Qaneita and 26-year-old Momen Qadoum.

At least 12 the Palestinian killed in Gaza since Tuesday morning were members of the terror groups. Nine of the 12 were Islamic Jihad members, according to the group.

— Adam Rasgon

Pro-Hezbollah channel to air interview of Islamic Jihad head this evening

The pro-Hezbollah Al-Mayadeen TV station says it will air an interview with Islamic Jihad Secretary-General Ziad al-Nakhala at 10 p.m.

— Adam Rasgon

Rejecting reports to contrary, Hamas spokesman says its members fighting alongside Islamic Jihad

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum says that the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s military wing, is fighting alongside the Al-Quds Brigades, Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s armed wing.

“We say to the occupation: You cannot single out Islamic Jihad, and the Qassam Brigades and the Al-Quds Brigades are [standing] side by side in the fighting,” Barhoum tells the Hamas-linked Shehab.

Both Hebrew and Arabic media have widely reported that Hamas has not joined the fighting against Israel.

with Adam Rasgon

IDF aircraft takes out Islamic Jihad fighters preparing to launch rockets at Israel

An IDF aircraft bombs a group of Palestinian Islamic Jihad operatives as they were preparing to fire rockets at Israel from the southern Gaza Strip, the military says.

“A hit was confirmed,” the IDF says.

— Judah Ari Gross

Gaza rocket hits water pipe in Eshkol region, causing large leak

A rocket fired from the Gaza Strip strikes a water pipe in the Eshkol region of southern Israel, causing a large leak.

“It is being handled by [the national water company] Mekorot,” an Eshkol regional spokesperson says.

— Judah Ari Gross

Palestinian death toll rises to 23

The bodies of two Palestinians killed by Israeli fire in the southern Gaza Strip arrived at a hospital in Khan Younis, the Hamas-run Health Ministry says.

A total of 23 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have been killed since early Tuesday morning, according to the ministry.

At least 12 of the 23 killed were members of terror groups.

The IDF earlier said it had taken out two Islamic Jihad members who were preparing to fire rockets at Israel.

— Adam Rasgon

Mortar shell from Gaza strikes empty greenhouse in Eshkol region

A mortar shell fired from the Gaza Strip strikes an empty greenhouse in the Eshkol region of southern Israel, causing damage but no injuries, an Eshkol spokesperson says.

— Judah Ari Gross

Hamas official tells Fox news group will join fighting if IDF strikes continue, contradicting spokesman

Fox News quotes a Hamas official who says, “If [Israeli] airstrikes and aggression continue, Hamas and the resistance groups will have to morally respond to and protect the Palestinian people.”

The comments contradict the remarks by the terror group’s spokesman who said Hamas is already involved in the fighting.

It has been widely reported that Hamas has not been directly involved in firing rockets at Israel during the latest round of violence.

 

Rocket sirens wail in Kibbutz Sa’ad east of Gaza Strip

Rocket sirens sound in the Israeli community of Sa’ad, east of the Gaza Strip.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

Joint List head: PM working hard to profit politically from fear

Joint List chairman Ayman Odeh lambastes Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, after the latter accused the lawmakers of his party of supporting terrorism.

“Never has their been a prime minister who has worked harder to profit politically from fear, hatred and schism,” Odeh says in a statement.

“The more he can leave the citizens of the state frightened between each rocket barrage, the more confident he will be,” he adds.

The premier made the accusation against the Joint List MKs at the Knesset plenum earlier today, when he blasted the party for its opposition to the targeted killing of Palestinian Islamic Jihad senior commander Baha Abu al-Ata as well as subsequently Israeli retaliatory strikes.

Rocket sirens heard in Kfar Azza, east of northern Gaza Strip

Rocket sirens sound in the Israeli community of Kfar Azza, east of the northern Gaza Strip.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

— Judah Ari Gross

US State Department condemns EU court decision to require labeling of settlement products

The US State Department condemns the European Court of Justice’s ruling yesterday that determined that settlement products need to be labeled as such.

“The circumstances surrounding the labeling requirement in the specific facts presented to the Court are suggestive of anti-Israel bias,” spokesperson Morgan Ortagus says in a statement.

“This requirement serves only to encourage, facilitate, and promote boycotts, divestments, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel. The United States unequivocally opposes any effort to engage in BDS, or to otherwise economically pressure, isolate, or otherwise delegitimize Israel.”

The only way toward solving the Israel-Palestinian conflict is “direct negotiations,” Ortagus adds. “America stands with Israel against efforts to economically pressure, isolate, or delegitimize it.”

— Raphael Ahren

Police: Rocket falls near school in Netivot, but no injuries reported

Police say they are responding to reports of a rocket that fell in an open area near a school in the southern town of Sderot.

There are no immediate reports of damage or injuries caused.

Separately, incoming rocket sirens sound in the city of Ashkelon, north of the Gaza Strip, as well as Kibbutz Sa’ad, along the border. There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

Rocket said to hit home in Ashkelon, no immediate reports of injuries

A rocket has struck a home in Ashkelon, according to Channel 12.

There are not any immediate reports of injuries.

Israel said to warn Hamas that if it joins fighting, IDF will start blowing up entire buildings

Israel has sent a message to Hamas through intermediaries, warning the terror group that if it joins the fighting against the Jewish state, the IDF will begin flattening high-rise buildings, as it did during the 2014 Gaza war, the Kan public broadcaster reports.

The broadcaster cites a Palestinian official, who says that Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad are working together, and are being careful to avoid dragging Gaza into an all-out war with Israel. Hamas is not believed to be directly involved in firing rockets at Israel.

Separately, UN Middle East envoy Nikolay Mladenov is currently in Cairo, meeting with Egyptian intelligence officials in an effort to achieve a ceasefire agreement. Thus far, no breakthroughs have been reached.

65-year-old woman lightly injured by glass shards after rocket strikes Ashkelon home

Magen David Adom reports that a 65-year-old woman was lightly injured by glass shards after her house in the southern town of Ashkelon was struck by a rocket from Gaza.

She has been taken to the town’s Barzilai Medical Center for further treatment.

Rocket sirens sound in Gaza border towns

The IDF says rocket sirens have been triggered in Kibbutz Sufa and other Gaza border towns.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

Islamic Jihad leader to meet this evening with Egyptian mediators in Cairo

Palestinian Islamic Jihad secretary-general Ziad al-Nakhala will meet in Cairo this evening with Egyptian mediators seeking to draft a ceasefire between Israel and the terror group.

Already in Egypt is UN Middle East envoy Nikolay Mladenov, who has been responsible for achieving ceasefires that have ended previous Gaza conflicts.

Al-Nakhala is believed to direct the PIJ from Syria.

Gaza education ministry announces classes in Strip to be canceled tomorrow

The Education Ministry and the Gaza Strip has decided to cancel studies tomorrow, Deputy Education Minister Ziyad Thabet tells the Hamas-lined al-Rai new site.

Tomorrow will be the third straight day with classes canceled in Gaza.

— Adam Rasgon

Mladenov calls on sides to act with restraint, condemns rocket fire at Israel

UN Middle East envoy Nikolay Mladenov condemns rocket fire at Israeli civilians and calls on all sides to act with restraint.

“I am very concerned about the ongoing and serious escalation between Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Israel, following the targeted killing of one of the group’s leaders inside Gaza yesterday,” he says in a statement.

“The indiscriminate launching of rockets and mortars against population centers is absolutely unacceptable and must stop immediately.There can be no justification for any attacks against civilians.”

“The continuing escalation is very dangerous. It is yet another attempt to undermine the efforts to improve the dire socioeconomic conditions in Gaza and prevent another devastating conflict.The UN is working to urgently deescalate the situation,” he concludes.

Mladenov is currently in Egypt working to mediate a ceasefire between Israel and Gaza terror groups.

Rocket sirens sound in Nahal Oz

Incoming rocket sirens sound in the town of Nahal Oz near the Gaza border, the IDF reports.

More rocket sirens as fresh barrage launched

Rocket sirens are heard in several towns near Gaza, including Nahal Oz, Kfar Maimon, Zimrat and elsewhere.

There are no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

And now for something completely different: Impeachment hearings

While Israel is focused on rocket attacks and fighting with Islamic Jihad in Gaza, the US is awaiting the start of the televised portion of impeachment hearings against US President Donald Trump.

The hearings are set to kick off at 10 a.m. (5 p.m. Israel time) and promise to provide plenty of drama for those looking for a break from rocket sirens and the like.

Bill Taylor, the acting US ambassador to Ukraine, has arrived on Capitol Hill to testify.

Netanyahu, Bennett visit south, threaten terror leaders

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has visited IDF command headquarters in southern Israel for security consultations, leveling threats to resume assassination operations against Gaza terrorists.

“The terrorists know we can put a target on them and we will put a target on anyone who tries to harm us. They know we can get to them in their hiding places with surgical precision,” Netanyahu says, according to a statement from his office.

Netanyahu, who is no longer defense minister, adds that the defense leaders agreed on next steps forward.

New Defense Minister Naftali Bennett releases a statement with similar threats.

“Every terrorist and terror initiator know they have on their back a timer for the end of their life,” he says, according to a statement.

Bennett blames Islamic Jihad, says it will decide way forward

In his remarks, Naftali Bennett appears to take pains to avoid implicating Hamas in the fighting in Gaza, placing the blame directly on Islamic Jihad’s doorstep.

“We see Islamic Jihad wants to drag the residents of Gaza into much greater harm. This is their decision if they will drag Gaza [residents] into something like this. We hope they won’t, but they will be responsible for any decisions in the coming hours.”

Rockets continue to rain as dusk sets in

Rocket sirens sound in several Gaza communities, including Sderot and Netiv Ha’asara.

No immediate reports of injuries of damage.

Video shows damage to Ashkelon apartment hit by missile

Video released by the police shows the damage to an old-age home in Ashkelon that suffered a direct hit from a rocket, lightly injuring one person.

Meanwhile, rocket sirens continue to sound in several Israeli communities near the border, with no reports of damage or injuries.

IDF strikes Islamic Jihad member, death toll up to 24

The IDF says it carried out an airstrike against an Islamic Jihad member in the northern Gaza Strip who was readying to launch a rocket.

“A hit was identified,” the army says, but there is no confirmation from Gaza.

Meanwhile, the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry says the body of a Palestinian killed by Israeli fire in the southern Gaza Strip arrived at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.

The death brings the tally of Palestinians killed in the Gaza Strip since Tuesday to 24, at least half of whom were members of terror groups.

Trump impeachment hearing kicks off

The US House has begun public hearings of Donald Trump’s impeachment investigation.

Kicking things off, Rep. Adam Schiff, the Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, immediately outlines the question at the core of the impeachment inquiry — whether the president used his office to pressure Ukraine officials for personal political gain.

“The matter is as simple and as terrible as that,” Schiff said. “Our answer to these questions will affect not only the future of this presidency but the future of the presidency itself, and what kind of conduct or misconduct the American people may come to expect from their commander in chief.”

The hearing is the first chance for America, and the rest of the world, to see and hear for themselves about Trump’s actions toward Ukraine and consider whether they are, in fact, impeachable offenses.

California Rep. Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, says Democrats’ impeachment inquiry is “a carefully orchestrated media smear campaign.”

— AP

Day’s rocket tally reported over 200, with more expected

Hebrew media sites are reporting that the day’s tally of rockets has surpassed 200, bringing the total amount in this round of fighting to over 400.

There is no official count from the Israeli military.

Channel 13 news reports that rocket fire is expected to ramp up in the evening.

Residents of the Gaza area are being told to stay in their bomb shelters, Channel 12 news reports.

Rockets are launched from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019.(AP/ Hatem Moussa)

Islamic Jihad armed wing takes responsibility for rocket fire

In a joint statement, the Al-Quds Brigades, Islamic Jihad’s military wing, and three other armed groups in Gaza take credit for firing dozens of rockets at Sderot and Ashkelon.

“We announce that we are responsible for this heroic mission,” the joint statement reads.

Rocket fire catches TV crew during live shot

Sirens sound in a couple of spots near the Gaza border, breaking a short lull.

One of the areas is an IDF staging area, where a pair of Channel 12 correspondents are doing a live standup. One correspondent briefly takes cover, while the other continues to broadcast, pointing out the missile being intercepted offscreen.

The area is targeted a second time about a minute later and that time both take cover, while continuing to broadcast.

Palestinians say man killed in northern Gaza

A Palestinian was killed by Israeli fire in the northern Gaza Strip, the Hamas-linked Shehab news site reports.

Shehab identifies the Palestinian as Yousef Abu Kamil.

The IDF earlier reported that an airstrike in the same area hit an Islamic Jihad member preparing to launch rockets.

Meanwhile, Israeli aircraft targeted a home in the al-Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip, Shehab also reports.

Palestinian groups have named their military operation “Cry of the Dawn.”

— Adam Rasgon

Mayor Pete condemns rocket fire on Israel

The mayor of South Bend, Indiana has taken to Twitter to condemn rocket fire on Israel.

“I strongly condemn the rocket attacks on the citizens of southern and central Israel. Israel has a right to defend itself against acts of terror that set back any progress towards peace and will only serve to inflame the humanitarian situation in Gaza,” Pete Buttigieg writes.

Buttigieg is running for the Democratic presidential nomination.

RBG MIA with stomach bug

The Supreme Court says Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is missing arguments at the court because she’s home sick with a stomach bug.

The 86-year-old Ginsburg was absent when her colleagues took the bench just after 10 a.m. Chief Justice John Roberts announced she was indisposed, but would take part in the decision of the two cases being argued.

Court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg says a stomach bug kept Ginsburg at home.

Ginsburg has had two separate bouts with cancer in the past year. Her recovery from lung cancer surgery caused her to miss court sessions in January. They were her first absences from arguments in a quarter-century as a justice.

She had radiation treatment for a tumor on her pancreas in August.

— AP

Rockets keep raining on the south

More rocket sirens sound in Zikim and Netiv Ha’asara, according to initial reports.

The IDF promises details will follow soon.

Gantz goes down south, calls for return to deterrence

Blue and White chief Benny Gantz paid a visit down south, where he backed Israel’s military operation, according to a statement released by his office.

“There is consensus regarding the operational needs and I totally back the actions of the state of Israel … The goal is to reach a return to deterrence — the end of this battle needs to be very strong deterrence. When we need to fight, we’ll fight, and when we need to get to good neighbor relations, well do that as well. But don’t be mistaken — on the other side are terrorists, not Mother Theresa. They are shooting at areas where civilians are living on purpose.”

Benny Gantz, center, meeting residents of southern Israel on November 13, 2019. (Elad Malka/Blue and White)

Gantz: Unity bigger than Gaza fighting

Speaking from southern Israel Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz says that he will not let the recent security events dictate the political decisions facing him in the ongoing coalition negotiations.

“Since entering politics there is no speech that I do not mention unity. I’m going to stick to that. If there is a way to promote unity in the State of Israel, I will be the first to do so. I call for unity all the time and make every effort to form a unity government,” the former IDF chief says.

“But there are many important things in the State of Israel: there are principles and values, there is law and there are democratic norms. I do not propose taking a specific event and wrapping the political question in it. Unity should serve more than a specific event, however serious and difficult it may be,” he adds, suggesting that he will not agree to a unity government on the basis of the Gaza escalation only.

Friday Gaza border protest canceled

The High Commission for the March of Return and Breaking the Siege, the body responsible for organizing protests on Fridays in the border region between Israel and the Gaza Strip, announces that this week’s demonstration has been canceled.

— Adam Rasgon

Al-Quds Brigade claims Israel covering up scope of damage

On Twitter, Al-Quds Brigades Spokesman Abu Hamza claims Islamic Jihad’s rockets have hit sensitive Israeli military sites, but it is being censored from the public.

“Our strikes have reached the heart of the entity. If the enemy reveals [what they have done], it will turn Netanyahu into laughingstock on the Zionist street,” he tweets.

“The Al-Quds Brigades challenge the Zionist military censor to reveal the pictures and videos that show the size of the damage done to the factories, headquarters, settlers’ homes in the ‘Gaza Envelope’ and the occupied cities,” he adds.

Israel has released plenty of pictures of damage to homes and elsewhere, though according to the military, most rockets have been shot down or landed in open areas.

Burnt cars sit after a Tuesday’s rocket firing from Gaza, in Sderot, southern Israel on November 13, 2019. (AP/Ariel Schalit)

IDF: 360 rockets fired at Israel

Over 360 rockets and mortar shells have been fired at southern Israel since Tuesday morning, with 60% of them striking open fields where they caused neither injury nor damage, the army says.

Soldiers operating the Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted 90% of the incoming projectiles that were heading toward populated areas, the military says.

A ball of fire from an Iron Dome interceptor missile is seen in the sky above the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon on November 13, 2019, as it intercepts an incoming rocket launched from the Gaza Strip. (Gil Cohen-Magen/AFP)

“Continue listening to the instructions of the Home Front Command,” the IDF says.

— Judah Ari Gross

IDF striking Islamic Jihad in Gaza

The IDF says it is carrying out airstrikes in Gaza right now.

According to Channel 12 news, the strikes are targeting Islamic Jihad rocket caches.

Schools are being canceled in some areas near Gaza, a sign that authorities expect the fighting to continue for a third day.

Rocket sirens follow air strikes

More rocket sirens sound in several communities near Gaza in the wake of Israeli air strikes across the Strip.

IDF says it’s killed 20 terrorists preparing to launch rockets at Israel

The IDF says it has killed approximately 20 terrorist operatives as they were preparing to launch rockets and missiles at Israel over the past two days, most of them members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

The military provides names and pictures of nine of those killed.

“These operations were conducted in a collaboration between the Southern Command, the Air Force and the Military Intelligence Directorate as part of an effort to prevent rocket launches at the Israeli home front,” the army says.

In total, 24 Palestinians have been killed over the past two days, including PIJ commander Baha Abu al-Ata and his wife. Abu al-Ata’s assassination on Tuesday morning sparked the current bout of fighting between the IDF and the PIJ.

Schools within 40 kilometers of Gaza shuttered Thursday

The Education Ministry has announced schools in towns within 40 kilometers of the Gaza Strip will be closed Thursday.

The range covers some 309,000 students from Beersheba to Ashdod and more, according to Walla news.

Egypt and UN-led ceasefire talks stutter as fighting persists

Channel 12 news reports that Islamic Jihad leader Ziyad Al-Nakhaleh may be headed to Cairo as part of ceasefire efforts being pushed by Egypt and the UN.

There is no confirmation of the report. Nakhaleh is scheduled to air an address later tonight.

An Israeli source tells the Ynet news outlet that the sides are engaged in ceasefire talks while the fighting is continuing.

“It could end tonight, or tomorrow, or could continue to spiral and get worse,” the source says.

Netanyahu can’t believe EU is labeling settlement goods

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slams the European Union for its controversial policy to require labels on settlement goods, saying that Brussels lacked “moral clarity.”

On Tuesday, the EU’s top court ruled that products manufactured in settlements must be labelled as such.

“Europe the other day decided to act against Israel, and to put labels on products that are made here,” he tells an AIPAC delegation visiting his Jerusalem office.

“They don’t join exactly the sanctions against Iran, they join sanctions against Israel. Unbelievable!” Netanyahu adds.

By contrast, he praises the US State Department for having denounced the EU ruling earlier today.

— Raphael Ahren

Islamic Jihad leader in Cairo for talks — report

Sky News Arabic reports that Islamic Jihad head Ziad al-Nakhala has arrived in Cairo to meet with Egyptian officials to discuss ceasefire efforts.

A Hamas source tells the Israeli Kan broadcaster that while there has not been a breakthrough in talks, the fighting should end soon.

The source also says Islamic Jihad never asked it to join the fighting, and it is able to withstand internal criticism over its decision to remain on the sidelines.

Army says it hit Islamic Jihad camp, training base

The latest round of Israeli airstrikes against the Islamic Jihad in Gaza targeted one of the terror group’s military camps and a training base in Gaza City, the army says.

According to the IDF, the training base was also home to a factory used to manufacture launch tubes and other rocket parts.

“The IDF sees with the utmost severity the rocket attacks on Israel. It is on high alert and will continue to act as needed against efforts to harm Israeli citizens,” the military says in a statement.

— Judah Ari Gross

IDF eases restrictions for Tel Aviv, other areas

The IDF Home Front Command releases updated safety instructions for residents of central and southern Israel, easing some of the restrictions that had been in place on areas farther from the Gaza Strip.

Under the new instructions, people living in the central Negev and Lachish regions will be permitted to return to work, provided there is a bomb shelter close to the building. However, schools will remain closed in those areas for the third day in a row.

Studies will resume in the Shfela region tomorrow, and the IDF has also removed all restrictions on the number of people permitted to gather in closed areas in the Tel Aviv metropolitan area and in the Yarkon and Shfela regions. Outdoor gatherings in those areas will remain limited to 300 people.

All restrictions will remain in place for the regions closes to the Gaza Strip: Schools will remain shut tomorrow; non-essential businesses will be closed; and all gatherings must be kept to fewer than 100 people.

— Judah Ari Gross

Rocket downed over Ashdod

The rocket fire has mostly tapered off, but at least one was just fired at Ashdod.

The rocket was downed by Iron Dome, according to reports.

A video shows at least three interceptors exploding in mid-air as they apparently shoot down the incoming rocket or rockets.

Most of the rocket fire Wednesday has stayed close to the Strip, with few missiles reaching Ashdod, some 25 kilometers from the Strip, or further.

Sirens in Ashkelon, other areas

Sirens sound in Ashkelon and surrounding areas as a fresh barrage is shot out of Gaza, marking a return to fighting after a brief lull.

More sirens in Ashdod; rockets intercepted over Ashkelon

More rocket sirens are sounding in Ashdod, in several areas in the city.

The city was spared rocket fire for most of the day until the last half-hour.

In Ashkelon, several rockets are reportedly shot down by the Iron Dome anti-missile system.

Gaza death toll up to 26

Two bodies of Palestinians who were killed by Israeli fire arrived at a hospital in Rafah, the Hamas-run health ministry says.

The death count in Gaza over the last two days now stands at 26.

Likud attacks Gantz, Liberman for refusing to rule out minority government

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party is trying to make political hay while the rockets are falling, accusing Blue and White’s Benny Gantz and Yisrael Beytenu head Avigdor Liberman of refusing to rule out a minority government backed by the Arab-led Joint List.

“A government like this is a danger to the State of Israel and a slap in the face of soldiers whom Ayman Odeh and Ahmed Tibi want to put on trial for war crimes,” the party claims.

Rocket fragment lands on Ashdod street

Fragments of a rocket fired from Gaza that was intercepted by an Iron Dome missile landed in a street in the city of Ashdod, causing neither injuries nor significant damage, police say.

Police sappers were called to the scene to remove the rocket parts.

Rocket fire tapers off (shhhh)

Not to jinx anything, but rocket fire seems to have stopped after a barrage on Ashdod and Ashkelon.

Islamic Jihad head Zayed al-Nakhala, reportedly in Cairo for ceasefire talks, is set to give a statement in the coming minutes. It is not known if the statement was pre-recorded.

Sirens in Ashdod as rocket fire ramps back up again

Fresh rocket sirens sound in the city of Ashdod and the surrounding area, following a brief lull in attacks from the Gaza Strip.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

Rockets reportedly shot down over Ashdod

No rocket impacts are reported in Ashdod, following a fresh barrage aimed at the city.

Residents of the area report seeing signs of two interceptions by the Iron Dome air defense system, but there is no immediate confirmation.

 

Islamic Jihad leader says up to Israel to end clash

In an interview, Islamic Jihad head Ziad al-Nakhala says that the ball is in Israel’s court regarding how long the fighting lasts, indicating he is ready to end the round of violence.

“This could be an open war, a long-range war, or it could be a battle between wars as they say. The enemy is the one who began the aggression, and it was on us to respond to is, and now it depends on Israel’s stance.”

Islamic Jihad secretary-general Ziad Nakhala speaking to an Arabic TV station on December 12, 2018. (Credit: Al-Ghad TV)

He also says the group’s long-range rockets managed to send a message to Israel by shutting down large cities, even if they did not do direct damage.

“The decision to respond was made a few minutes after [the assassination of Islamic Jihad commander Baha Abu al-Ata],” Nakhala tells the pro-Hezbollah Al Mayadeen TV station. “The cities in the center of Israel and other important cities, including Hadera on the first day, were targeted. When Israel declares the halting of schools, factories and public institutions, that means the message of the Al-Quds Brigades have reached all these cities with these long-range rockets, which hit the Zionist depth.”

There were no reports of rocket fire in Hadera, south of Haifa, or any other area north of Tel Aviv.

Islamic Jihad head says group open to ceasefire if conditions met

Islamic Jihad Secretary-General Ziad al-Nakhala says the terror group has laid out conditions to Egypt, which he said Israel would have to accept to achieve a ceasefire.

“We gave specific conditions for a ceasefire,” he tell tells the pro-Hezbollah Al Mayadeen TV station. “If Israel accepts them, we will accept a ceasefire.”

“If Israel does not accept them, we are going to continue to fight for an open period of time.”

— Adam Rasgon

Islamic Jihad: End assassinations, shooting protesters and keep previous deal

Islamic Jihad leader Zaid al-Nakhala lists the ceasefire conditions, which he says are “simple and humble:”

Israel needs to halt assassinations in Gaza and the West Bank;

Stop firing on innocent civilians at Friday protests;

Abide by the understandings regarding Gaza reached in Cairo during previous ceasefire negotiations.

There is no immediate response from Israel.

Massive rocket volley targets southern Israel

Dozens of sirens ring out all across the south, as far north as Rehovot and Yavne, as a massive barrage is fired at Israel.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

The massive volley may be a sign that a ceasefire has been reached, as each side tries to get in a last punch and claim victory.

IDF begins hitting Gaza again

The IDF says it has re-started airstrikes on Islamic Jihad targets in Gaza. It does not provide details.

No injuries reported from large bombardment

The Magen David Adom ambulance service says it has received no reports of people injured by the large rocket barrage fired at central and southern Israel.

However, one man is receiving medical care after he fell while running to a bomb shelter. In addition, a number of people are being treated after suffering panic attacks brought on by the rocket fire, MDA says.

A dramatic picture shows several trails as interceptors are sent skyward to knock down the missiles.

More rocket sirens are heard in areas closer to Gaza.

Residents report seeing multiple rocket interceptions

Residents of areas southeast of Tel Aviv report seeing signs of multiple Iron Dome interceptions after a large barrage of rockets was fired at the area.

There are no immediate reports of rocket impacts.

Israeli officials seems to confirm ceasefire coming soon

An anonymous diplomatic official appears to confirm that Israel is nearing a ceasefire agreement with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group.

“Quiet will be answered with quiet, and actions in the field will be the deciding factor,” the official says.

The official says the latest rocket barrage by the terror group appears to be an effort to make it seem as though the past two days of fighting were a success.

“The Islamic Jihad wants a ceasefire and therefore it is trying to create a false presentation of achievements. The Jihad’s demands prove that Israel’s operations were a success. The IDF killed 20 terrorists and significantly harmed the Jihad’s capabilities,” the official says.

— Judah Ari Gross

Abu al-Ata was no rebel, Islamic Jihad leader says

In his al-Meyadeen interview, Islamic Jihad leader Ziad al-Nakhala disputes Israel’s portrayal of slain commander Baha Abu al-Ata as a maverick wildcard who refused to take orders and shot missiles at Israel to stir things up of his own volition.

In this photo taken on October 21, 2016, Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror leader Baha Abu al-Ata attends a rally in Gaza City. (STR/AFP)

“He was a disciplined and brave commander and very much a fighter in the field … Israel is trying to give the impression that the fighters have no leadership or discipline and that they act in the field as they want … But, I affirm once again that no rocket or bullet is fired without the permission of Islamic Jihad’s leadership and the Al-Quds Brigades’ general leadership.”

— Adam Rasgon

Rocket sirens in Nahal Oz

Fresh sirens sound in Nahal Oz.

No immediate reports of injuries or damage.

Coverage continues in new liveblog

This liveblog is closing, but round-the-clock coverage of fighting with Gaza is continuing at our new liveblog here.

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Nov. 13 updates (closed)

IDF strikes PIJ rocket launchpads, underground sites in Gaza

The IDF says its latest airstrikes in the Gaza Strip targeted Palestinian Islamic Jihad launchpads — both above- and below-ground — as well as military command centers and other underground infrastructure.

This was the IDF’s fourth round of airstrikes in Gaza against PIJ sites in response to over 200 rocket attacks throughout the day.