Israeli tank said to strike ‘resistance site’ in central Gaza
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IDF chief cautions Gaza violence may not be over

Aviv Kohavi says unclear if current round of fighting in Strip is coming to an end or will escalate further; Islamic Jihad: Ceasefire depends on Israel ‘halting its aggression’

An explosion is seen following an Israeli airstrike on Gaza City in response to the firing of rockets by Palestinian terrorists in the coastal enclave toward Israel, February 24, 2020. (Mahmud Hams/AFP)
Illustrative: The High Court of Justice convenes for a hearing at the Supreme Court in Jerusalem on June 3, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

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

After morning lull, rocket sirens sound in south as violence enters 2nd day

Incoming rocket sirens sound in southern Israel, shattering a tense calm following an intense battle between Israel and terror groups in the Gaza Strip and Syria the night before.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

The sirens are heard in the city of Sderot and surrounding communities in the Sha’ar Hanegev region, sending thousands of residents rushing to bomb shelters.

— Judah Ari Gross

Video appears to show multiple Iron Dome launches over Sderot

Videos shared on social media appear to show multiple launches of the Iron Dome missile defense system over Sderot.

The Magen David Adom and the municipality of Sderot both say nobody has been confirmed to be injured.

6 rockets launched from Gaza, 5 intercepted — IDF

Six rockets were fired at southern Israel from the Gaza Strip, five of which were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

The sixth rocket appears to have landed in an open field outside the community of Nir Am, a spokesperson for the Sha’ar Hanegev region says.

There are no injuries caused by the rocket attack.

Shrapnel from one of the Iron Dome interceptions shatters a car windshield in the community of Nir Am in the Sha’ar Hanegev region, a spokesperson for the local government says.

No damage is reported in Sderot, though some pieces of shrapnel fell in the town, a municipal spokesperson says.

— Judah Ari Gross

Fresh rocket sirens sound in Sderot, surrounding area

Fresh rocket sirens sound in the town of Sderot and the surrounding area, following an earlier barrage of six rockets fired at the region from the Gaza Strip.

— Judah Ari Gross

Egypt said to tell PIJ not to react if Israel launches retaliatory strikes

Channel 13 quotes Palestinian media as saying Egypt has told Palestinian Islamic Jihad not to react to Israel’s likely coming response to the latest rocket barrages.

Egyptian negotiators are in talks with PIJ commanders in an attempt to prevent a wide-scale escalation, the report says.

Rocket sirens sound in Netiv Ha’asara

Incoming rocket sirens sound in the community of Netiv Ha’asara, north of the Gaza Strip.

The military says it is looking into the matter.

— Judah Ari Gross

Playground in Sderot damaged after rocket barrage

A rocket attack damages a playground in the town of Sderot.

It is not immediately clear if the park was directly struck by a rocket or if it was hit by shrapnel from an interception.

Photographs of the playground show damage to a slide.

— Judah Ari Gross

Islamic Jihad claims responsibility for rocket fire

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group claims responsibility for the latest rounds of rockets fired toward Israel.

— with AFP

Playground damage apparently caused by direct rocket hit

The damage to a playground in Sderot appears to have been caused by a direct strike from a rocket.

Photographs from the scene show what appears to be the impact site of the projectile, surrounded by signs of damage caused by shrapnel from the blast.

Damage caused to a playground in the town of Sderot by a rocket attack from the Gaza Strip on February 24, 2020. (Uriel Kahane)

— Judsah Ari Gross

Minister says Israel ‘closer than ever’ to large-scale Gaza operation

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan tells the Kan public broadcaster that he believes the government is “closer than ever to a decision to launch a large-scale operation” in the Gaza Strip, following fresh barrages of rockets.

“It isn’t ideal to make such a decision on election week, but it needs to be made as early as possible by the prime minister and the cabinet,” Erdan says.

He adds that the situation regarding the Gaza Strip has become “unbearable.”

Netanyahu holds security consultation with defense chiefs

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is holding security consultations on the phone with defense chiefs, his office says.

Netanyahu called the mayors of Ashkelon and Sderot, “praised the residents’ strong standing and updated the mayor on the security situation,” the office says.

14 rockets fired from Gaza, 12 intercepted — IDF

The Israeli military says in total 14 rockets were fired at southern Israel from the Gaza Strip over the last hour, with 12 of them intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.

— Judah Ari Gross

Video shows rocket shard next to health clinic in Sderot

A video appears to show a piece of a rocket launched from Gaza that landed next to a health clinic in the city of Sderot.

Israel strikes Islamic Jihad sites in Gaza

The IDF confirms that it has begun conducting airstrikes against Palestinian Islamic Jihad sites in the Gaza Strip.

The Hamas-linked Shehab reports that Israeli aircraft carried out a strike in the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis, without providing details on what specifically was hit.

— Judah Ari Gross and Adam Rasgon

Video shows apparent Israeli strike in Khan Younis

The Hamas-linked Shehab publishes footage of what appears to be the Israeli strike on Khan Younis.

— Adam Rasgon

PLO official presents resignation to Abbas after blowback over ‘normalization meetings’

Mohammed al-Madani, the head of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Committee for Interaction with Israeli Society, has presented Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas his resignation, a member of the PLO body says.

Gatherings between Israelis and Palestinians organized by the committee earlier in February recently came under fire, mainly on social media platforms, with activists denigrating them as “normalization meetings.”

Muhammad Al-Madani (Elhanan Miller/Times of Israel)

“Madani was disappointed that senior Fatah and PLO officials did not defend him when our work was being attacked,” the member of the committee, who spoke on condition of anonymity, tells The Times of Israel.

Abbas will meet today with Madani as well as members of the committee at 6:30 p.m. at the PA presidential headquarters, he also says, noting that the PA president can decide to accept or reject the committee chairman’s resignation.

In the past couple of days, several Fatah officials have asked Madani to remain in his post, he adds.

Yesterday, senior Fatah official Tawfiq al-Tirawi came out in support of Madani and criticized the Fatah Central Committee for “refraining from defending him.”
The Kan public broadcaster first published that Madani had offered his resignation to Abbas.

— Adam Rasgon

Netanyahu says currently no reason to postpone elections over virus fears

Prime Minister Netanyahu says he doesn’t currently see a reason to postpone the elections due to fears over the spread of the coronavirus.

Speaking with Jerusalem Radio, the premier also touts his role in Israel’s response to the virus.

“The corona[virus] is a big challenge. From the first moment I decided [on] abundant preparedness that is the most stringent of all countries in the world. I don’t see a reason at the moment to delay the elections,” he says.

Two Israelis who were on a cruise ship quarantined off Japan have tested positive for the virus since returning to the country. Hundreds of others are in self-quarantine due to concerns they may have been exposed to the virus overseas or because they were in proximity due to South Korean tourists who were found to have the virus after returning to South Korea.

Netanyahu: Israel has ‘surprises’ ready if Gaza rocket fire continues

Prime Minister Netanyahu is warning Hamas and Islamic Jihad that Israel has some fresh “surprises” in store for the terror groups if rocket fire from the Gaza Strip continues.

“Hamas and Islamic Jihad need to understand, this can’t continue,” Netanyahu tells reports in the West Bank settlement of Ariel. “If they don’t stop the [rocket] fire completely, not in a day or today — but at all, we’ll be forced to activate the plan for the wide-scale campaign we prepared.”

He adds: “There are new, surprising things in it.”

Islamic Jihad warns it can continue Gaza fighting until Israel is ‘deterred’

The al-Quds Brigades, Islamic Jihad’s military wing, “can direct the battle to the point at which the enemy will become deterred,” Musab al-Breim, a spokesman for the terror group, tells the Hamas-linked Palestinian Information Cneter.

— Adam Rasgon

Israeli tank said to strike ‘resistance site’ in central Gaza

An Israeli tank targeted a “resistance site” near the Breij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip, the Hamas-linked Palestinian Information Center reports.

— Adam Rasgon

IDF confirms strike on Islamic Jihad base used for training, weapons storage

The Israeli military confirms striking a Palestinian Islamic Jihad military base in the Gazan city of Khan Younis, along with other facilities controlled by the terror group.

The IDF says the Khan Younis base, which featured underground infrastructure, was used by the Islamic Jihad as both a training center and a storage depot for weaponry.

The military says the retaliatory strikes were conducted by fighter jets and attack helicopters in response to rocket fire from the Gaza Strip aimed at southern Israel earlier in the day.

Video footage of the Israeli counterattack showed massive fireballs rising into the air following the strikes, likely indicating secondary blasts from explosives being stored on the base.

— Judah Ari Gross

US anti-Semitism czar hails Trump administration as ‘most philo-Semitic’ in US history

PARIS — The State Department’s anti-Semitism czar Elon Carr claims that the Trump White House is “the most philo-Semitic” administration in US history.

While recognizing a recent rise of anti-Semitism in the US, Carr tells attendees at the European Jewish Association’s annual conference that the US is still the “most philo-Semitic country, outside of Israel, in the entire world.”

Carr blasts anti-Zionism as a modern form of anti-Semitism and claims that criticism of Israel regarding a “building project there or a military operation here” is often not based on political differences but racism.

Carr calls on countries to combat anti-Semitism by infusing school curriculums with “philo-Semitic material” so students can learn about the contributions of Jewish communities in their respective countries.

— Jacob Magid

Elan Carr, the US State Department’s special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism, addresses the European Jewish Association’s annual conference in Paris on February 24, 2020. (Courtesy)

Bennett cautions that guaranteeing long-term calm in Gaza area will take time

Defense Minister Naftali Bennett says he is committed to ensuring long-term calm in the Gaza border area but cautions that achieving this will take time.

“I know that for 20 years this didn’t happen,” Bennett tells the Walla news site. “This won’t happen in the four or five days until the elections, this is a process beyond a one-time operation.”

“However, we will bring security and quiet to residents of the [Gaza] periphery,” he adds.

He addresses Israel’s decision to strike a Palestinian Islamic Jihad site in Damascus in response to the terror group firing rockets at Israeli territory from the Gaza Strip.

“Last night we brought the battlefield from the [Gaza] periphery to deep in Syria… and as far as it’s up to me, we’ll go even further to the source and the source is Iran,” Bennett says.

The defense chief also asserts “no one is tying my hands” in regards to Gaza and says he’s ultimately responsible for the security situation in the south.

Rocket warning sirens sound in Ashkelon industrial area

Fresh incoming rocket sirens sound in the Ashkelon industrial zone, just north of the Gaza Strip.

The military says it is looking into the matter.

— Judah Ari Gross

US-Israel mapping committee for West Bank annexation meets

A joint US-Israeli committee meets to begin work on mapping areas of the West Bank that will be annexed by Israel as part of the Trump administration’s peace plan.

“In Israel rain is a blessing, and I hope that our efforts should be blessed as much as the rain is coming down right now. We’re looking forward to going from here to sit down someplace quiet, we can pull out some papers and start getting to work,” US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman says in the Ariel settlement, according to a statement from the American embassy.

Accompanying Friedman to the meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu and the Israeli members of the committee are the US envoy’s senior adviser Aryeh Lightstone and Scott Leith, the National Security Council’s pointman for Israeli-Palestinian affairs.

“We have our team here, and we’re going to get to work right away. We hope to complete it as soon as possible, and complete it the right way for the State of Israel,” Friedman says.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman (2nd-L) at the northern West Bank settlement of Ariel on February 24, 2020. (David Azagury/US Embassy Jerusalem)

IDF confirms Gaza rocket fire toward Ashkelon; no reports of injuries

The IDF confirms that one rocket was fired toward Ashkelon, triggering sirens in the city.

It does not appear to have been intercepted. There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage, likely indicating the rocket struck an open field.

Ashkelon’s Barzilai Medical Center moves its neonatal ward into a bomb shelter, in light of ongoing rocket fire from Gaza, the hospital says.

— Judah Ari Gross

Islamic Jihad says Gaza rocket fire a response to Israeli strike in Damascus

Islamic Jihad’s military wing claims responsibility for the recent rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.

“We, in the al-Quds Brigades, declare that we are responsible for the bombardment of the usurped lands with rocket barrages this afternoon in response to the crime of targeting Damascus and assassinating the two martyrs, Ziad Mansour and Salim Salim,” it says in a statement.

It adds: “We, in the al-Quds Brigades, are ready to confront any aggression. The enemy should know that if it continues [to carry out aggression], we will respond with force and efficiency.”

— Adam Rasgon

Abbas meets in Ramallah with Qatari envoy to Gaza

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas received Qatari envoy Mohammed al-Emadi, the official PA news site Wafa reports, without providing any details regarding what they discussed.

Emadi, the head of Qatar’s Gaza Reconstruction Committee, has recently overseen the flow of hundreds of millions of dollars to projects in Gaza.

The Ramallah-based Palestinian leadership has at times accused Qatar of strengthening Hamas’s “illegitimate” governance over Gaza by providing funding for projects in the coastal enclave.

— Adam Rasgon

Rocket warning sirens heard in south near Gaza; explosions reported

Rocket warning sirens are heard in Gaza border communities.

The IDF says it’s looking into the matter.

The Eshkol Regional Council says sirens were activated in several communities and that explosions were heard in the area.

Netanyahu orders Gaza operation to continue — PM’s office

Prime Minister Netanyahu holds consultations on the fighting in Gaza at an unspecified security facility in central Israel, his office says.

Netanyahu is accompanied by National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat and Shin Bet chief Nadav Argaman. Defense Minister Naftali Bennett and IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi are consulted by phone.

“The prime minister ordered the continuation of the operation against terror organizations in Gaza,” a statement from Netanyahu’s office says.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Shin Bet chief Nadav Argaman (2nd-R) and National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat hold consultations on fighting in the Gaza Strip at an unspecified security facility in central Israel, February 24, 2020. (Government Press Office)

Warning sirens ring out in south as Gaza terrorists launch fresh rocket barrage

Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip launched a fresh barrage of rocket fire toward cities and towns throughout southern Israel, the Israeli military says.

The attack triggered sirens in the city of Ashkelon and in the regions north and east of the Gaza Strip, sending tens of thousands of people to bomb shelters.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

— Judah Ari Gross

Funeral held in Damascus for Islamic Jihad fighters killed in Israeli strike

A funeral is held in Damascus for two Palestinian Islamic Jihad operatives killed yesterday by an Israeli airstrike in Syria.

Four other Iran-linked fighters were reportedly killed in the airstrikes, which Israel said was in response to Islamic Jihad rocket fire from Gaza.

UN peace envoy calls for ‘IMMEDIATE’ halt of Gaza rocket fire

The UN envoy for Middle East peace calls for an immediate halt to rocket fire from the Gaza Strip toward Israel.

Nickolay Mladenov tweets: “I call for an IMMEDIATE stop to the firing of rockets that only risks dragging Gaza into another destructive round of hostilities with no end in sight!”

Mladenov says he will brief the UN Security Council later this evening on the violence in Gaza.

Rocket sirens again heard in Gaza border communities

Fresh rocket sirens sound in the town of Sderot and the nearby community of Ibim, as well as Kibbutz Erez.

The military says it is looking into the matter.

— Judah Ari Gross

Several injured as car rams into Carnival procession in Germany

BERLIN — Several people were injured today when a car drove into a Carnival procession in the central German town of Volksmarsen, police say.

“According to first reports, several people have been injured,” police say in a statement, adding that the driver of the vehicle had been arrested.

— AFP

IDF strikes Islamic Jihad rocket launchpad in Gaza

The Israel Defense Forces confirms conducting an airstrike on a Palestinian Islamic Jihad rocket launchpad in the northern Gaza Strip.

The military says the launchpad was used to fire rockets at Israel earlier in the day.

“A hit was confirmed,” the IDF says.

Palestinian media reports that no one was injured in the strike.

— Judah Ari Gross

Eshkol region asks residents to stay near bomb shelters

The Eshkol region of southern Israel calls on residents to remain near bomb shelters in light of the ongoing rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.

“As a result of the recent barrages and our experience in the past, [residents] must remain near protected areas or the most protected areas available, in accordance with the warning time for each community,” a regional spokesperson says.

— Judah Ari Gross

Bennett says Israel not seeking major military confrontation in Gaza

Defense Minister Naftali Bennett wraps up a meeting with local leaders and residents of Gaza border communities amid the ongoing fighting between Israel and Palestinian terror groups in the coastal enclave.

“Over the last day we’ve landed blows on Islamic Jihad bases and eliminated Islamic Jihad terrorists in Gaza and also in the Damascus area. We’re hitting them where they are and not only who is shooting at us,” Bennett says in a video statement filmed at a gas station parking lot in southern Israel.

He continues: “We don’t want a wide-scale campaign [in Gaza] but we’re preparing a plan and if there’s no choice we’ll initiate a tough campaign. We won’t notify the enemy when and won’t inform it of where.”

Defense Minister Naftali Bennett gives a video statement on fighting in the Gaza Strip, at a gas station in southern Israel, February 24, 2020. (Screen capture: Twitter)

Fresh rocket sirens sound in Gaza border communities

Fresh rocket sirens again sound in the communities of Nirim and Ein Hashlosha in the Eshkol region of southern Israel.

The sirens ring out shortly after rocket warning systems are heard in the city of Ashkelon and surrounding areas north of the Gaza Strip.

— Judah Ari Gross

WHO chief warns coronavirus a ‘potential pandemic’ if not contained

GENEVA — The World Health Organization chief says the world should be working harder to contain the spread of the deadly new coronavirus and should be preparing for a “potential pandemic.”

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says that so far, the WHO does not consider the outbreak that has killed more than 2,600 people a pandemic, but says countries should be “doing everything we can to prepare for a potential pandemic.”

— AFP

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus gives a press conference on the situation regarding the COVID-19 at Geneva’s WHO headquarters on February 24, 2020. (Fabrice Coffrini/AFP)

Military hits 7 Islamic Jihad posts along Gaza border

Israeli tanks and aircraft targeted seven Palestinian Islamic Jihad positions along the Gaza border, the military says.

The IDF says the strikes on the border posts were in response to rocket fire by the terror group from the Gaza Strip.

— Judah Ari Gross

Israel imposes strictures on Gaza over rocket fire

The Defense Ministry unit responsible for liaising with the Palestinians announces strictures on the Gaza Strip due to the continued rocket fire from the coastal enclave.

The Coordinator for the Government Activities in the Territories says the Erez border crossing will be shuttered until further notice and that Gazans with “merchant” permits won’t be allowed into Israel.

“Additionally, the fishing area in the Gaza Strip will be reduced to six nautical miles,” a COGAT statement says.

Netanyahu, Gantz scrap campaign events due to Gaza fighting

Prime Minister Netanyahu and his centrist rival Benny Gantz scrap election campaign events scheduled for this evening due to the ongoing fighting in the Gaza Strip.

A statement from the Blue and White party says Gantz and MKs Moshe Ya’alon and Gabi Ashkenazi will speak about the security situation later this evening. All three of them are former IDF chiefs of staff.

Rocket sirens wail in Gaza border community

Fresh rocket sirens sound in Netiv Ha’asara, north of the Gaza Strip.

— Judah Ari Gross

Israel to issue travel warning for Italy amid rising coronavirus deaths

The Health Ministry says a travel advisory will be issued for Italy due to a surge of coronavirus cases there.

“We decided there will be travel advisory for Italy,” ministry director-general Moshe Bar Siman-Tov says at a press conference. “We’ll consider in the coming days if those returning from Italy will be in [home] quarantine for 14 days.”

Italy today reported the death of a fifth person in the country from the virus.

Netanyahu warns Gaza terror chiefs they’re ‘next’ if rocket fire continues

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appears to threaten to kill the heads of Gaza’s terror groups if rocket fire from the Strip continues.

“We will continue to strike until the calm returns. If there won’t be quiet, you’ll be next,” Netanyahu says, during a visit to the city of Ashdod.

— Judah Ari Gross

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at an Iron Dome missile defense battery in the southern city of Ashdod on February 24, 2020. (Screen capture: Twitter)

IDF publishes video of strike on Islamic Jihad rocket launchpad

The Israel Defense Forces released footage of its strike on a Palestinian Islamic Jihad rocket launcher.

In the video, several rockets can be seen being fired from the launchpad. The footage then shows the IDF aircraft bombing the site, causing a small explosion.

— Judah Ari Gross

Military says some 80 rockets fired from Gaza since Sunday

The Israel Defense Forces says approximately 50 rockets and mortar shells were fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip as of 6 p.m., in addition to the approximately 30 projectiles fired from the enclave the day before.

According to the military, approximately 90 percent of the incoming rockets heading toward populated areas were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.

— Judah Ari Gross

Islamic Jihad signals end to Gaza rocket fire

Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s military wing releases a statement indicating it will stop firing rockets at Israel from the Gaza Strip.

“The al-Quds Brigades announces that it has finished its military response to the assassination crimes in Khan Younis and Damascus. It promises our people and nation that it will continue its struggle and that it will respond to any continued [aggression] by the occupation against our people and land,” it says.

— Adam Rasgon

Weinstein convicted of rape, sexual assault; cleared of most serious charges

NEW YORK — Disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein is convicted of sexual assault and rape, but cleared of the most serious predatory sexual assault charges.

The jury of seven men and five women find the producer guilty of criminal sexual acts in the first degree and rape in the third degree, a partial victory for the #MeToo movement that considered the case a watershed moment.

The 67-year-old is found not guilty however of first-degree rape and predatory sexual assault charges that could have seen him jailed for life.

— AFP

Harvey Weinstein enters a Manhattan court house as on February 24, 2020, in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP)

Mortar fired from Gaza lands in southern Israeli community

A mortar shell fired from the Gaza Strip landed inside a community in the Eshkol region of southern Israel, causing no injuries but a small amount of damage, a regional spokesperson says.

The projectile struck next to the fence surrounding the community, causing light damage to a concrete sidewalk.

— Judah Ari Gross

Israel said to launch fresh round of strikes in Gaza

Palestinian media reports that the Israeli military has launched another round of retaliatory strikes in the Gaza Strip.

According to news sites in the Strip, the IDF is targeting a site near the city of Deir al-Balah in central Gaza.

— Judah Ari Gross

IDF confirms fresh round of strikes on Islamic Jihad in Gaza

The IDF confirms it is carrying out additional strikes against the Islamic Jihad in Gaza.

— Judah Ari Gross

High Court freezes work of committee probing internal police investigations

The High Court of Justice issues an injunction that halts the work of a committee to probe the police internal investigations unit, whose establishment by the government was opposed by Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit.

The High Court gives the government 60 days to respond as to why the committee should not be scrapped altogether.

Hailing guilty verdict, Manhattan prosecutor calls Weinstein a ‘vicious’ predator

NEW YORK — Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance praises the women who came forward and “changed the course of history” by sharing their allegations that led to the conviction of Harvey Weinstein.

He commends the women who testified against Weinstein at his New York City trial that “pulled our criminal justice system into the 21st century by declaring rape is rape and sexual assault is sexual assault no matter what.”

Vance speaks outside the courthouse today shortly after a jury convicted Weinstein of rape and sexual assault. The jury found him not guilty of the most serious charge, predatory sexual assault, which could have resulted in a life sentence.

Weinstein was immediately handcuffed and transported to jail following his conviction.

Vance calls Weinstein a “vicious, serial sexual predator.”

— AP

After Islamic Jihad declares ceasefire, official says actions will determine Israeli response

An Israeli security official says Israel has received “messages from various ranks within the Palestinian Islamic Jihad organization regarding a desire for an immediate ceasefire.”

The official, who speaks anonymously, says Israel is “skeptical” of these claims by the Islamic Jihad and will only believe actions, not words.

“The IDF will continue to act until quiet is restored to the south,” the official says.

— Judah Ari Gross

Despite Islamic Jihad ceasefire announcement, sirens wail in Gaza border communities

An incoming rocket alert siren sounds in the community of Kissufim in the Eshkol region of southern Israel.

— Judah Ari Gross

More rocket sirens ring out in south despite ceasefire reports

Fresh rocket sirens sound in communities in the Eshkol and Sdot Negev regions of southern Israel, despite reports of a ceasefire.

— Judah Ari Gross

Islamic Jihad claims latest rocket barrage from Gaza

A spokesman for the al-Quds Brigades, Islamic Jihad’s military wing, says it was behind the most recent rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.

“We had announced the conclusion of our military response to the assassination crimes in Khan Younis and Damascus, but the enemy did not abide and bombarded our sites and fighters. Therefore, we announce that we retaliated in order to affirm the bombardment for bombardment model,” Abu Hamza tweets.

He adds: “We tell the enemy not to test us…. your threats will not frighten us.”

— Adam Rasgon

Gaza terror groups said to agree to ceasefire beginning at 10 p.m.

The Palestinian factions have agreed to a ceasefire starting at 10 p.m., the Gaza-based Dunya al-Watan news site reports, citing “well-placed sources.”

— Adam Rasgon

Home Front Command to issue new safety instructions for south amid ceasefire reports

The IDF’s Home Front Command says it is holding a situational assessment on today’s violence in the Gaza Strip and will issue updated instructions for residents of southern Israel afterwards.

The meeting comes as reports in Gaza indicate that a ceasefire will take effect at 10 p.m.

German man to face attempted homicide charges for driving his car into crowd

FRANKFURT, Germany — German prosecutors say the man who drove his car into a crowd of carnival revelers in the town of Volkmarsen today is a 29-year-old German who now faces charges of attempted homicide.

The investigation is continuing “in all directions,” Frankfurt prosecutors say in a statement, after police stopped short of calling the incident an attack.

The rampage injured some 30 people including children, the prosecutors adds.

— AFP

IDF chief cautions Gaza fighting may not be over

IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi comments on the fighting in the Gaza Strip.

“It’s unclear if the incident is at its end or its peak, if it will escalate or die down,” Kohavi says at an event for military reservists.

His comments came as Palestinian reports say a ceasefire between terror groups in Gaza and Israel will take effect at 10 p.m.

Islamic Jihad sources say reports of 10 p.m. ceasefire ‘not correct’

Source in Islamic Jihad tell the Islamic Jihad-linked Palestine Today: “The talk about setting specific times for a ceasefire is not correct. The matter is related to the occupation halting its aggression.”

Ihsan Ataya, the Islamic Jihad representative in Lebanon, also tells the outlet that “the resistance is ready and the Zionist enemy is the one turning to the mediators for a ceasefire”

— Adam Rasgon

Rocket sirens sound in Gaza border kibbutz

Rocket warning sirens are heard in Ein Hashlosha, a kibbutz near the Gaza Strip.

The army says it is looking into the matter.

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Israeli tank said to strike ‘resistance site’ in central Gaza

An Israeli tank targeted a “resistance site” near the Breij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip, the Hamas-linked Palestinian Information Center reports.

— Adam Rasgon