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Nov. 12 liveblog (closed)

Over 200 rockets launched at Israel since killing of Islamic Jihad commander

Sporadic fire from Strip continues as IDF hits rocket launching cells; 10 Gazans said killed in strikes; schools can reopen Wednesday in Tel Aviv area, will be closed in south

People take cover during a rocket warning siren in Sderot, southern Israel November 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)
People take cover during a rocket warning siren in Sderot, southern Israel November 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)

The Times of Israel liveblogged the events of November 12, as Israel is pounded by rockets following the pre-dawn elimination of Islamic Jihad terror chief Baha Abu al-Ata in Gaza.

Rocket sirens wail after Israeli kills Islamic Jihad commander

Rocket warning sounded in Israeli communities near the Gaza Strip early Tuesday after Israel killed a senior Islamic Jihad commander in Gaza.

The IDF said sirens went off in Ashdod and in the  Gadera region in southern Israel. The IDF was investigating.

IDF urges residents of southern Israel to stay close to bomb shelters

The IDF urged residents of southern Israel to stay close to bomb shelters on Tuesday as the region went on high alert after Israel killed a senior Islamic Jiahd commander.

School was canceled in cities and communities near the Gaza Strip and the railways cancelled routes in southern Israel.

All public events in the area were ordered cancelled.

Iron Dome said to intercept rockets fired from Gaza

The Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepted several rockets over southern Israel early Tuesday, media reports said.

Israel radio said that several rockets were intercepted over the southern city of Ashdod.

There was no immediate confirmation from the IDF, but warning sirens wailed in several cities in the south, including Ashdod and Ashkelon

Army says they targeted the specific room where Islamic Jihad leader slept

Senior military officials says they managed to target the specific room where Baha Abu al-Ata, a senior Islamic Jihad leader was sleeping, and did not destroy the entire building, Israel radio reports.

Palestinians say that Al-ata and his wife were killed in the strike on the building in the Shejaiya area of Gaza City.

The official tells Israel Radio that they had specific information on his location and managed to avoid casualties to bystanders.

The official says this was a one-time operation to get al-Ata, who was responsible for firing dozens of rockets at Israel in recent weeks, and not a return to Israel’s policy of targeted killings.

Palestinians inspect the damaged house of Islamic Jihad leader Baha Abu Al-Ata afther an Israeli attack in Gaza city, on November 12, 2019.(Photo by MAHMUD HAMS / AFP)

IDF spokesman: Not returning to policy of targeted assassinations

IDF spokesperson Brig. Gen. Hidai Zilberman says the killing of a senior Islamic Jihad commander does not represent a return the the policy of targeted killings that saw Israel kill dozens of terror leaders in the last decade.

Zilberman said air force targeted Baha Abu al-Ata because he was “a ticking bomb” and was planning imminent attacks against Israel.

Israeli blames  for the recent salvo of rockets fired into Israel.

Islamic Jihad leader Baha Abu al-Ata (IDF Spokesperson)

Security cabinet to meet over Gaza escalation

The security cabinet was set to meet Tuesday morning to discuss the escalation in southern Israel and the Gaza Strip after the IAF kills a senior Islamic Jihad leader and the terror group responded with rockets fired at Israel.

The meeting set for 09.00 a.m. comes the same day as Naftali Bennett is set to take over as Defense Minister.

Israel Radio says that senior Israeli officials have been barred form talking to the media.

PM says decision to kill al-Ata taken by cabinet

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu say the decision to kill a senior Islamic Jihad officer was taken Sunday by the cabinet.

“Senior Islamic Jihad commander Baha Abu al-Ata was targeted overnight in Gaza. He was responsible for many terrorist attacks and the firing of rockets at Israel in recent months and had intended to carry out imminent attacks,” Netanyahu’s office tweets.

“The IDF action was recommended by the IDF Chief-of-Staff and ISA Director and was approved by the Prime Minister and Defense Minister after it had been presented to – and approved by – the Security Cabinet.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem, on November 10, 2019. (Photo by Abir SULTAN / POOL / AFP)

 

 

IDF preparing for several days of battle

The IDF says it expects terror groups in the Gaza Strip to retaliate for the assassination of Palestinian Islamic Jihad senior leader Baha abu al-Ata with rocket attacks throughout the country over the coming days.

“We are prepared for several days of battle, with an aerial defense shield, including in the center of the country,” the IDF spokesman says.

— Judah Ari Gross

IDF says timing not linked to politics, but al-Ata’s location

The IDF responds to the conspicuous timing of the attack, saying it had been planning to conduct the attack for the past week and was waiting for a time when al-Ata was as isolated as possible to avoid civilian casualties.

“Over the last week, we have been waiting for the opportune moment to conduct the surgical strike,” IDF spokesman Jonathan Conricus says.

Earlier, former general and current Democratic Camp politician Yair Golan said the timing of the strike was suspicious, and may have been meant to force Benny Gantz into compromise unity government.

— Judah Ari Gross

Knesset speaker says Gaza assassination is ‘a message to all terrorists’

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein says in a statement that “eliminating al-Atta sends a clear message to all terrorists — no one is immune.”

“I congratulate the security forces and the prime minister on the important action to eliminate the terrorist,” Edelstein says. “During this time, our hearts are with the residents of the South. All the people of Israel are behind you.”

Raoul Wootliff

School called off in Holon and Rishon

School is called off in Rishon Lezion and Holon, just south of Tel Aviv, which were just targeted with rockets from Gaza.

Gantz: IDF made the right decision in hitting terrorist

Blue and White Chairman Benny Gantz writes on Twitter that “the political echelon and the IDF made the right decision tonight for the security of Israeli citizens and residents of the south.”

He says that “the fight against terrorism is ongoing and requires moments of difficult decision making.”

“Blue and white will back up any proper activity for the security of Israel and put the residents’ security above politics,” he adds.

— Raoul Wootliff

Joint List MK says Netanyahu ordered strike ‘to save his skin’

Amid mixed political reactions to the escalation in Gaza, Joint List MK Ofer Kassif says on twitter that “to save his skin, Netanyahu is reverting the only thing he can do: kill, destroy and incite war.

“The bloodshed is on his head,” he says.

School, work called off in all areas between Gaza and Tel Aviv

In an unprecedented move since the 2014 Gaza war, the IDF Home Front Command says all school is canceled in all of the Dan region, including Tel Aviv, as well as the south.

House in Sderot suffers direct hit; none injured

A house in the southern town of Sderot suffers a direct hit by a rocket fired from Gaza.

Despite the heavy damage, there are no casualties.

The Israel Police says officers, among them sappers, have been alerted to two sites where rockets fell in Sderot.

Police call on the public to obey the instructions of the IDF Home Front Command.

School and work called off in multiple regions; large assemblies forbidden

The IDF Home Front Command orders all schools and non-essential businesses closed in the following areas: the Gaza periphery; the Lachish region; the western Negev; the central Negev; the Shfela region; the Dan region, including Tel Aviv; and the Yarkon region.

In the Dan and Yarkon regions, the military forbids all public gatherings of more than 300 people.

In the other regions, the IDF forbids gatherings of more than 100 people.

Judah Ari Gross

No injuries reported in rocket attacks

The Magen David Adom ambulance service says there have so far been no injuries directly caused by rocket fire from the Gaza Strip, though medics have treated three people for light wounds caused by falls while running to bomb shelters.

A 93-year-old man in the city of Ashkelon, a 24-year-old woman in the city of Gedera and an 18-year-old woman in Ashdod sustained light injuries while rushing to bomb shelters, MDA says.

In addition, three people were taken to the hospital after they suffered panic attacks caused by the rocket attacks, the ambulance service says.

“Magen David Adom teams are on alert and are in contact with security officials,” the service says.

Judah Ari Gross

Ben Gurion Airport operating as usual

Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport says it will continue to operate as usual despite the ongoing rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip.

“Ben Gurion Airport is working as usual with no changes to the flight schedule,” a spokesman for the Israeli Airports Authority says.

Earlier, the IDF Home Front Command ordered closed all schools and non-essential businesses in the Tel Aviv Metropolitan area, where the airport is located.

Judah Ari Gross

Rocket alerts sound in Tel Aviv

Incoming rocket alert sirens sound in Tel Aviv and suburbs south of the city.

Tel Aviv residents report two Iron Dome missiles fired at the incoming projectiles.

There are reports of explosions, indicating at least one rocket was intercepted.

Video shows rocket interception in Tel Aviv area

The Iron Dome missile defense system is activated near Tel Aviv, following rocket sirens in the city.

A video from the scene shows the distinctive puff of smoke caused by the detonation of an Iron Dome Tamir interceptor missile.

It is not immediately clear if the missile successfully shot down an incoming rocket or if it self-detonated after Iron Dome operators saw that the rocket was heading toward an unpopulated area.

Likud MK Sa’ar calls for political unity amid rocket fire from Gaza

Likud MK Gideon Sa’ar calls for political unity amid rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.

“The people of Israel are united in these moments, and this unity should also be reflected in the political system and will add strength to Israel,” Sa’ar says on Twitter.

“The target should be dismantling Hamas’s military infrastructure and Islamic Jihad in Gaza,” he says.

Raoul Wootliff

Palestinian media: IDF hits targets in Gaza in response to rocket fire

Palestinian media reports that the Israel Defense Forces has hit a number of targets in the Gaza Strip in response to rocket fire from the enclave.

There is no immediate confirmation from the IDF.

Blue and White MK rejects allegations strike timed for political benefit

Blue and White MK Ram Ben Barak says he “rejects the allegations about the timing of the attack,” after suggestions the targeting of a senior member of Palestinian Islamic Jihad was linked to political considerations.

“There is no better time for the elimination of Abu al-Ata, regardless of the political situation. We are still working for a unity government,” Ben Baak says.

Rivlin calls for end to political squabbling with message of support to citizens

President Reuven Rivlin sends a plea for political unity as Israel comes under sustained rocket fire, sending a message of support to the country’s citizens.

“We stand behind the security forces, who have been working for the success of this morning’s operations for a long time. I know that they and the Israeli government that approved the operation, have Israel’s security, and only that, in their minds,” the president says.

“This is no time for political squabbles, and those who do so bring no credit to themselves. It is the time to stop such statements immediately. Israeli citizens – please listen to the life-saving instructions of the IDF Home Front Command and take good care of yourselves.”

– Raphael Ahren

Sirens sound in cities of Ashdod and Ashkelon; no injuries reported

Fresh rocket sirens sound in the cities of Ashdod and Ashkelon and their surrounding suburbs.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

– Judah Ari Gross

Joint List’s Odeh accuses Netanyahu of escalating situation for political gain

Joint List chair Ayman Odeh accuses Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of escalating the situation in Gaza for his own political gain.

“A cynical man who lost two consecutive elections will leave only scorched earth in a desperate attempt to remain in office,” Odeh says on Twitter.

“For a decade he rose every morning to deepen the occupation and keep the prospect of peace – and so he did so today too.”

– Raoul Wootliff

Islamic Jihad’s military wing vows major response to strike on commander

The Al-Quds Brigades, Islamic Jihad’s military wing, vows a major response to the assassination of Baha Abu al-Ata, a senior commander in the terror group.

“We announce the general mobilization of our fighters and units and we affirm that the response to this crime will have no limits and will be tantamount to the size of the crime that the criminal enemy perpetrated,” the Al-Quds Brigades says in a statement.

According to the Islamic Jihad military wing, Abu al-Ata, 42, was “one of the most prominent members of its military council and the commander of the northern part of the [Gaza Strip].”

– Adam Rasgon

Jordanian media reports 2 arrested for planning attacks on Israeli, US embassies

Jordanian media reports that intelligence services in the country recently thwarted terrorist attacks targeting workers at the Israeli and US embassies in Amman, as well as American troops stationed in the Hashemite Kingdom.

Two suspects were arrested on suspicion of planning the attack, the Kan public broadcaster reports.

Islamic Jihad head: ‘We are going to war. Netanyahu crossed all red lines’

Ziad al-Nakhala, the secretary-general of Islamic Jihad, says Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has crossed “all the red lines” in the assassination of Baha Abu al-Ata, a senior commander in the terror group.

“We are going to war. Netanyahu has crossed all the red lines in the assassination of Al-Quds Brigades Commander Baha Abu al-Ata. We we will respond forcefully,” he tells Dar al-Hayat, an Arabic-language news site.

Tel Aviv stock market trades as normal despite security situation

The Tel Aviv stock market is trading as normal, a spokeswoman says.

“We are considered an essential operation, therefore we are working as usual.”

– Shoshanna Solomon

Eshkol regional council: All rockets, incendiary balloons land in open areas

The Eshkol region of southern Israel says the rocket and mortar attacks launched from the Gaza Strip have so far all landed in agricultural fields and other open areas, not within communities.

“There are no impacts within communities, and no damage has been caused,” an Eshkol spokesperson says.

Balloons suspected of carrying explosives have touched down in several fields in the region.

“They are being taken care of by police sappers,” the Eshkol spokesperson says.

– Judah Ari Gross

IDF denies Palestinian reports of IDF strikes on Gaza

A senior IDF official denies Palestinian media reports of Israeli strikes in the northern Gaza Strip.

The Israeli military refuses to comment on the matter, but has reportedly denied carrying out at least some of the strikes attributed to it.

“When we have something to say, we’ll let you know,” an army spokesperson says.

– Judah Ari Gross

Hamas says strike on Palestinian Jihad commander ‘won’t go without punishment’

The Hamas terror group says the assassination of Baha Abu al-Ata, a senior commander in Islamic Jihad’s military wing will not pass without a “punishment.”

“Our Palestinian people bid farewell today to a commander and fighter who followed the path of martyred leaders. We in Hamas affirm that the Zionist enemy will bear responsibility for all the consequences and ramifications of this escalation and dangerous attack,” Hamas says in a statement.

“The path of fighting and resistance is on the rise and the the crime of assassinating the commander Abu Salim will not pass without a punishment,” the terror group says, referring to Abu al-Ata’s nickname.

– Adam Rasgon

Rocket damages car in Ashdod; no injuries reported

A rocket strikes the city of Ashdod, causing no injuries but damaging a car, police say.

“Sappers from the Israel Police are responding to an impact site in the city of Ashdod,” police say.

Several rockets have also struck the town of Sderot, northeast of the Gaza Strip.

“There have been no reports of damage, and there were no injuries,” police say.

– Judah Ari Gross

PM and IDF chief to give televised address at 10:30 a.m.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi will give a televised address to the nation from IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv at 10:30 a.m.

The announcement was made after Israel came under sustained rocket fire in the wake of the targeted assassination of a senior commander of the Islamic Jihad terror group.

Rocket sirens sound in Holon, Rishon Lezion; no immediate reports of injuries

Fresh rocket sirens sound in the Israeli cities of Holon and Rishon Lezion, outside of Tel Aviv.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

– Judah Ari Gross

Funeral begins in Gaza of Islamic Jihad commander killed in IDF strike

Palestinians in the Gaza Strip participate in a funeral procession for Baha Abu al-Ata, a senior Islamic Jihad commander assassinated by Israel Tuesday morning.

Abu al-Ata’s body will be brought from the Shifa Hospital to his family’s home in Shuja’iyya and then to the Omari Mosque in Gaza City, the Islamic Jihad-linked Palestine Today reports.

— Adam Rasgon

8-year-old in serious condition after collapsing during Holon rocket siren

Medics resuscitate an 8-year-old girl who lost consciousness during a rocket attack from the Gaza Strip on the city of Holon.

At approximately 8 a.m., a rocket was fired toward south Tel Aviv, triggering sirens in the city and nearby suburbs, sending hundreds of thousands of people to bomb shelters.

The girl lost consciousness after her family reached the internal stairwell in their building, medics say.

“When we reached the location, we saw an 8-year-old girl in the stairwell of a building who was unconscious, with no pulse, and who wasn’t breathing,” one of the medics says.

“We gave her life-saving treatment, including advanced CPR, chest massages, artificial respiration, defibrillation and treatment with medication until her pulse came back and we stabilized her condition. We took her to the hospital in serious but stable condition. She was unconscious and connected to a respirator,” the medic says.

It is not immediately clear if the girl’s collapse was caused by the rocket attack.

— Judah Ari Gross

Sirens sound in Gaza border communities; no immediate reports of injuries

Fresh rocket sirens are heard in Israeli towns outside the Gaza Strip.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

The sirens are heard in the town of Netivot and in the Sha’ar Hanegev and Sdot Negev regions.

– Judah Ari Gross

1 lightly injured by shrapnel in rocket strike near Gan Yavne

One person is lightly injured by shrapnel after a rocket strikes a highway outside of Gan Yavne, Magen David Adom emergency services spokesman Zaki Heller says.

The man was treated on the scene by paramedics, the spokesman says.

The rocket causes significant damage to the Route 4 highway near the Gan Yavne Junction. Police sappers are called to the scene to remove the projectile.

Several cars were damaged in the blast, police say.

IDF says 50 rockets fired at Israel; 20 intercepted by Iron Dome defense system

The Israel Defense Forces says some 50 rockets have been fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip on Tuesday morning.

The IDF adds that 20 projectiles were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.

IDF says central Israel residents can now go to work if there’s a bomb shelter

The IDF changes its safety instructions for central Israel, including the city of Tel Aviv, telling residents they can now go to work, provided there is a bomb shelter nearby.

“In light of a new situational assessment, in the Shfela, Dan and Yarkon regions it is now permitted to go to work so long as there is a proper bomb shelter that can be reached,” the military says.

Schools remain closed in those areas.

— Judah Ari Gross

Erekat: Israel bears full responsibility for ‘crime’ of strike on terror chief

Saeb Erekat, the secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Executive Committee, condemns Israel’s assassination of Baha Abu al-Ata, a senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group commander, the official Palestinian Authority news site Wafa reports.

Erekat says Israel’s government “bears full responsibility for the consequences of this crime,” the Wafa report says.

— Adam Rasgon

Rocket strikes Rishon Lezion causing light damage, no injuries

A rocket struck a residential neighborhood in the city of Rishon Lezion, causing light damage. No injuries have been reported.

The rocket landed in a street in the Neve Dekalim neighborhood of the city.

— Judah Ari Gross

Fresh round of rocket sirens heard in Gaza border communities

Fresh rounds of rocket sirens sound in the communities surrounding the Gaza Strip.

No injuries or damage are reported.

— Judah Ari Gross

Mortar fired from Gaza sparks fire in field close to border

A mortar shell fired from the Gaza Strip lands in an open field in the Sha’ar Hanegev region of southern Israel, sparking a fire, a regional spokesperson says.

Firefighters were called to the scene to put out the blaze.

— Judah Ari Gross

UK updates travel warning for Israel and Gaza after violence escalation

The UK issues an updated travel warning to nationals in light of the military escalation in Israel and the Gaza Strip.

“You should keep up to date with the news and this travel advice while traveling,” the Foreign Office says.

— Raphael Ahren

EU envoy to Israel says ‘extremely concerned’ about evolving security situation

The European Union’s ambassador to Israel, Emanuele Giaufret, says he’s “extremely concerned” about the evolving security situation.

“A rapid desecalation [sic] is needed, indiscriminate rocket fire is unacceptable. Need to protect all civilians,” he tweets.

— Raphael Ahren

Blue and White: Gantz-Liberman meeting canceled due to security situation

Blue and White says that “due to the security situation” the meeting between party chairman Benny Gantz and Yisrael Beytenu head Avigdor Liberman set for today to discuss ongoing coalition negotiations has been postponed until tomorrow.

— Raoul Wootliff

Rocket sirens sound in central city of Modiin

Rocket sirens sound in the central Israeli town of Modiin, as well as the southern city of Ashdod.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

— Judah Ari Gross

Video shows rocket slamming into southern highway

Traffic camera footage emerges showing the moment a rocket hits a highway in the Be’er Tuvia area, northeast of the Gaza Strip.

A 35-year-old man is lightly injured by shrapnel in the strike.

Rocket strikes home in Netivot causing damage but no injuries

A rocket strikes a home in the southern town of Netivot, causing damage but no injuries, police say.

Police officers, medics and other emergency response officials have arrived at the scene.

Police officers inspect the damage caused by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip that struck a home in the Israeli town of Netivot on November 12, 2019. (Israel Police)

— Judah Ari Gross

Rocket sirens sound in communities north of Gaza Strip

Rocket sirens sound in Israeli communities north of the Gaza Strip.

The alarms are heard in Netiv Ha’asara and Yad Mordechai.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

— Judah Ari Gross

Blue and White says Gantz told in advance of IDF strike on terror commander

Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz was aware of the IDF’s plans to assassinate Palestinian Islamic Jihad senior commander Baha Abu al-Ata ahead of time, his party says in a statement.

— Jacob Magid

Senior Islamic Jihad official says terror group’s military wing has support

Senior Gaza-based Islamic Jihad official Khaled al-Batsh says that the Al-Quds Brigades “are not on their own,” referring to the military wing of the organization.

He makes the comment at the Omari Mosque in Gaza City during the funeral of PIJ senior commander Baha Abu al-Ata.

— Adam Rasgon

Palestinian media: 1 killed, others wounded in IDF strike on Gaza rocket cell

An Israeli drone strikes a team of Palestinian terrorists preparing to fire rockets from the northern Gaza Strip, Palestinian media reports.

According to initial reports from the Strip, at least one person was killed and others wounded in the Israeli strike west of Beit Lahia in northern Gaza.

The Israeli military does not immediately comment on the reports.

— Judah Ari Gross

Rocket sirens sound in Gaza border communities

Fresh rocket sirens sound in the Sha’ar Hanegev region of southern Israel.

There are no injuries or damage reported.

— Judah Ari Gross

IDF confirms strike on terror cell preparing to fire rockets from Gaza

The Israel Defense Forces confirms conducting a strike on two Palestinian Islamic Jihad operatives who were preparing to fire rockets at Israel from the northern Gaza Strip.

“The attack was carried out in order to remove the immediate threat. A strike was confirmed,” the military says.

The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry says one person was killed and several injured in the “Israeli escalation.”

— Judah Ari Gross and Adam Rasgon

Haifa waives museum entrance fees for southern Israel residents

Haifa Mayor Einat Kalish announces that the city’s museums and zoo will be free of charge for residents of Gaza border communities and the south in light of the military escalation.

Rocket sirens sound in Gaza border communities of Kissufim, Ein Hashlosha, Nirim

Rocket sirens again sound in the Eshkol region of southern Israel.

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

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

— Judah Ari Gross

Coffee shops start to fill up in Tel Aviv after IDF eases restrictions

Streets in Tel Aviv are much quieter than on a normal Tuesday, though coffee shops are starting to fill up as people working from home venture outside.

“We’re used to this,” said 32 year old Shir, who works for a credit card company. “We’re not going to let that keep us cooped up at home.”

Habimah Square, where the largest public bomb shelter in Tel Aviv is located, is completely empty.

— Melanie Lidman

Tel Aviv’s Ha’Bimah Square almost empty of visitors after the IDF closes schools and temporarily stops non-essential work in the city (Melanie Lidman/Times of Israel)

Eshkol regional spokesperson says all mortars landed in open fields

None of the mortar shells fired at the Eshkol region have landed inside communities, a regional spokesperson says.

The projectiles struck open fields in the region.

“There are no injuries or damage,” the Eshkol spokesperson says.

— Judah Ari Gross

PIJ official at terror chief’s funeral: Netanyahu escalating for political ends

Senior Gaza-based Islamic Jihad official Khaled al-Batsh, speaking at the funeral of a senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad commander killed in an Israeli strike, says Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is escalating the violence for his own political needs.

“This return to assassinations by way of a major address — that of Baha Abu al-Ata, Abu Salim — is a message that we are carefully reading. By taking [this action],.. the criminal Netanyahu would like to put his government back together and enjoy the backing of the majority there, once again at the expense of our blood,” he tells a crowd at Gaza’s Omari Mosque.

— Adam Rasgon

Rocket sirens sound in Gaza border communities; no immediate reports of injuries

Rocket sirens again blare in the Sha’ar Hanegev region.

The alarms can be heard in the communities of Alumim and Nahal Oz.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

— Judah Ari Gross

Video emerges of bus driver witnessing the moment rocket strikes highway

Video footage emerges from the internal and external cameras on a public bus at the moment a rocket slammed into a highway in the Be’er Tuvia area, northeast of the Gaza Strip.

Daniel Hazan, a driver on the 340 bus line, says that he had just dropped his last passenger and was hoping to relax a little when the rocket hit the road ahead of him.

“I have been shaking until now,” Hazan tells Channel 12 news. “I picked up my coffee to drink a little while waiting for the traffic light to turn green, when suddenly the rocket hit.

“There was no siren. I didn’t hear anything. The rocket just fell. I am shaking,” he says.

Hamas official: ‘Our military wing stands alongside that of Islamic Jihad’

Hamas official Ismail Radwan tells the crowd at funeral of Palestinian Islamic Jihad commander killed in IDF strike that the military wing of his organization will act alongside the military wing of PIJ.

“We say to the occupation: If you want to single out the Al-Quds Brigades, we say today that the Qassam Brigades and the Al-Quds Brigades are twin brothers standing together. Your blood is our blood. Your blood is our blood. O you commander, your blood is our blood,” Radwan says.

— Adam Rasgon

EU says targeting of Israeli civilians with rockets is ‘unacceptable’

The European Union issues a statement calling for an immediate end to the firing of rockets from Gaza toward Israeli civilians, and offering full support to Egypt in the country’s efforts to bring an end to the current cycle of violence.

“The firing of rockets on civilian populations is totally unacceptable and must immediately stop. A rapid and complete de-escalation is now necessary to safeguard the lives and security of Palestinian and Israeli civilians,” the statement reads. “The European Union fully supports the efforts of Egypt in this regard. As the EU has consistently reiterated, only a political solution can put an end to these continuing cycles of violence.”

Rocket sirens triggered in southern town of Sderot

Incoming rocket sirens are triggered in the town of Sderot and surrounding Sha’ar Hanegev region.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

— Judah Ari Gross

Hamas-run Gaza health ministry names 3 dead, says 18 wounded

The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry releases the names of the three Palestinians killed in the Gaza Strip since Tuesday morning.

The three are named as Palestinian Islamic Jihad commander Baha Abu al-Ata, 42, his wife Asma Abu al-Ata, 39, and Mohammed Hamouda, 20. Hamouda was killed in an Israeli strike on a cell preparing to launch rockets toward Israel.

In addition, the ministry says, 18 people have been wounded.

— Adam Rasgon

Rocket sirens sound in Ashkelon and surrounding area

Fresh rocket sirens are heard in the city of Ashkelon and surrounding area.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

— Judah Ari Gross

IDF says carrying out retaliatory strikes after over 70 rockets fired from Gaza

The IDF has begun conducting retaliatory strikes against the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group in the Gaza Strip in response to the ongoing rocket attacks by the organization from the coastal enclave.

The decision was announced following a meeting of the security cabinet.

“At this time, the IDf has begun to attack terror targets belonging to the PIJ terror group in the Gaza Strip. More details soon,” the army says.

Until now, the IDF has largely refrained from conducting strikes in the Gaza Strip in response to over 70 rockets and mortar shells fired from the Strip, according to an unofficial tally, with the exception of an attack on a rocket-launching squad in northern Gaza this morning.

The current round of violence began after Israel carried out a targeted killing of Baha Abu al-Ata.

— Judah Ari Gross

Netanyahu: Islamic Jihad commander killed in strike was ‘ticking time bomb’

In a televised address to the nation, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Baha Abu al-Ata, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad commander killed in a morning strike, was a “ticking time bomb” and that the operation was approved unanimously by the cabinet 10 days ago.

“This terrorist fired hundreds of rockets and planned more attacks,” the prime minister says. “He was a ticking time bomb.”

“Whoever hurts us, we will hurt them. Whoever thinks they can avoid the reach of our long arm is mistaken,” he adds. “We are not interested in escalation but will respond when necessary.”

The prime minister says the operation was discussed by the cabinet for several months, approved 10 days ago and the IDF told to carry out the operation at the time it thought best.

IDF chief: We are preparing for Gaza escalation from ground, air and sea

In televised address, IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi says the Israeli military is preparing for an escalation in violence after the targeted killing of an Islamic Jihad commander Baha Abu al-Ata in a strike in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday morning.

“He is the man who acted in every way to sabotage attempts for calm with Hamas. He was a live ticking bomb, and even now he worked and planned attacks. He was responsible for the majority of attacks that took place over past year. We are preparing for escalation from the ground, air and sea,” Kohavi says.

Kohavi adds that Abu al-Ata was effectively the head of Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza and is the “man who undermined the quiet in southern Israel.”

Rocket sirens sound in communities north of Gaza Strip

Fresh rocket sirens are triggered in Israeli communities north of the Gaza Strip.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

The alarms can be heard in the communities of Erez, Yad Mordechai and Netiv Ha’asara.

— Judah Ari Gross

Fire services battle large blaze at Sderot warehouse caused by rocket strike

Fire services work to control a large blaze at a factory in the southern town of Sderot that was sparked by a rocket strike.

According to a statement from fire services, the warehouse was used to store mattresses and is in danger of collapse.

Additional fire crews from the area are on the scene.

Firefighters respond to a blaze at a factory in the town of Sderot that was caused by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip on November 12, 2019. (Fire and Rescue Services)

Liberman: PM prevented assassination of Islamic Jihad commander last year

Yisrael Beytenu head Avigdor Liberman says that last year Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “prevented” the assassination of Palestinian Islamic Jihad commander Baha Abu al-Ata, killed in a Tuesday strike by the IDF.

“A year ago, Netanyahu resisted his targeted killing and sat back. I thought even a year ago that his time had come, but the prime minister forcibly prevented it,” Liberman tells the Walla news site.

Rocket sirens sound in Ashdod, Nitzan

Incoming rocket sirens sound in the city of Ashdod and nearby community of Nitzan.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

— Judah Ari Gross

IDF strikes Islamic Jihad rocket launching cell in Gaza

IDF aircraft bombed a number of Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists in the northern Gaza Strip as they prepared to fire rockets at Israel, the military says.

— Judah Ari Gross

Knesset speaker slams Joint List for reaction to strike on Islamic Jihad commander

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein criticizes members of the Joint List for their responses to the escalation in Gaza, saying they prove how “irresponsible” it would be to form a coalition based on the party’s support.

“The only voices we heard this morning that didn’t express support for the IDF came from here, from the Knesset. The Joint List were the only ones who came out with a political statement explaining that this was a political decision,” Edelstein tells a US delegation from the Council for a Secure America.

“It’s very disappointing and I think it just makes it more clear how irresponsible all this talk of having a coalition or a government based on the support of the Arab List was, and is,” Edelstein says.

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein presides over a Knesset plenum session, on June 12, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

MK Ayman Odeh, who leads the Joint List alliance of predominantly Arab parties, slammed Prime Minister Netanyahu this morning, accusing him of ordering the killing of Islamic Jihad commander Bahu Abu al-Ata for political gain at a time when his grasp on the premiership is the most tenuous in a decade.

Edelstein says the messages heard from the Joint List “make it clear that [our opposition to them] has nothing to do with the ethnic origin of this or that member of Knesset but has all to do with the very basic approach to the security of our citizens.”

— Raoul Wootliff

Gantz: Gaza fighting will have no impact on efforts to form government

Blue and White chair Benny Gantz says the escalation in Gaza will not affect his ongoing negotiations to form a coalition.

“This action will have no effect on the political processes taking place,” Gantz says in a statement supporting the Israel’s early-morning airstrike killing a senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad commander in the Gaza Strip.

“The terrorist Abu Al-Ata who was killed tonight was destined for death. Just like Hamas chief of staff Ahmed Jabari, just like any terrorist who commits murderous acts against Israeli citizens,” Gantz says. “For the sake of Israel’s security, the political and security echelons often have to make tough decisions, while assessing their price. Such was the decision on the night’s operation on which I was updated in advance. This is an operational and policy decision.”

He adds: “I would like to emphasize: Blue and White, headed by me, will always put citizens’ safety before anything else.”

— Raoul Wootliff

Blue and White party chairman MK Benny Gantz speaks at faction meeting at the Knesset, in Jerusalem, on November 11, 2019. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

After hour-long lull, rocket sirens again heard in south

After an hour-long lull, rocket sirens sound in communities in southern Israel outside the Gaza Strip.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

The alarms could be heard in the town of Netivot, and in the Sdot Negev, Sha’ar Hanegev and Eshkol regions.

— Judah Ari Gross

Minister suggests that EU judges who issued settlement label ruling are supporters of Gaza rocket launchers

Transportation Ministry Bezalel Smotrich denounces the European Union’s top court for ruling that settlement goods need to be labeled as such, suggesting that the judges in Luxembourg are supporting the Gaza terrorists who have been shooting hundreds of rockets at Israel.

“On the same day that Israel’s enemies remind of us their aspiration to destroy us, and of the results of escaping from terrorism and relinquishing control over territory, the European court is positioning itself by their side,” he says in a statement.

— Raphael Ahren

Transportation Minister Bezalel Smotrich speaks at a conference organized by the Makor Rishon newspaper in Jerusalem, November 11, 2019. (Noam Rivkin Fenton/Flash90)

1 Gazan killed, 3 wounded in Israeli strike — Gaza health ministry

One Palestinian was killed and three others were wounded in an Israeli strike in the northern Gaza Strip, the Hamas-run Health Ministry reports.

The Palestinian who was killed was named as 25-year-old Zaki Ghanama, the ministry says.

— Adam Rasgon

IDF launches new round of strikes on Islamic Jihad targets in Gaza

The IDF says it has launched fresh airstrikes against Palestinian Islamic Jihad facilities as the terror group continues to fire rockets and mortar shells at southern Israel.

This was the IDF’s second round of airstrikes in Gaza. The military has yet to identify the targets of these strikes.

— Judah Ari Gross

IDF says strikes targeting Islamic Jihad underground facilities, training camps

The Israeli military says its airstrikes in the Gaza Strip have targeted Palestinian Islamic Jihad underground facilities and training camps.

The IDF says these underground facilities are used “for storage and manufacturing of weapons.”

These sites are seen as critical facilities for the terror group, which PIJ has invested large sums of money to construct.

“The IDF sees the rocket fire at Israeli territory and citizens with the utmost severity, and it is prepared to continued to defend citizens of the country and for any operation that is needed,” the military says in a statement.

— Judah Ari Gross

Hamas chief says Israeli ‘crimes’ in Gaza meant to block Palestinian unity

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh weighs in on the fighting in the Gaza Strip after Israel’s targeted killing of Islamic Jihad commander Baha Abu al-Ata, condemning the Israeli “aggression” against Palestinians in the coastal enclave, which he says will “fortify the alliance of the resistance factions.”

“These crimes of the occupation come at a time in which our people’s factions and forces have made advances toward restoring our national unity in order to stand together in the battle of Jerusalem, Al-Aqsa, settlements and prisoners,” Haniyeh says in a statement.

“The occupation’s leaders are trying to cause confusion as a part of a desperate effort to block the path to restoring our national unity, especially in light of the positive atmosphere in our Palestinian arena in recent days,” adds Haniyeh, in apparent reference to progress in efforts to hold Palestinian elections.

Haniyeh says targeted killings by Israel “will not succeed in changing the fighting creed of the resistance factions and forces.”

Haniyeh also says that Hamas’s leadership offers its condolences to Islamic Jihad secretary-general Ziad al-Nakhala regarding the “martyrdom” of Abu al-Ata and the son of Akram al-Ajouri, a member of the terror group’s politburo, who was killed in an airstrike in Damascus.

— with Adam Rasgon

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh attends a meeting with foreign reporters at al-Mat’haf hotel in Gaza City, June 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

No injuries as Gaza rocket strikes home in south

A mortar shell fired from the Gaza Strip strikes a home in the Eshkol region, causing damage to the building, but no injuries, a regional spokesperson says.

The family was inside in the house at the time of the attack, but had taken cover in the bomb shelter, the Eshkol spokesperson said.

The mortar shell struck the roof of the home, damaging it.

— Judah Ari Gross

Israeli envoy to UN calls for Security Council to condemn Gaza rocket fire

The Israeli envoy to the UN calls on the United Nations Security Council to condemn the rocket fire from the Gaza Strip toward Israel.

“Nine million citizens are facing an insufferable terror attack by terror groups. I expect a clear and unequivocal condemnation of the side responsible for this and not a statement calling for both sides to act with restraint. The time has come for the international community to understand that silence is a prize for terror,” Ambassador Danny Danon says in a statement.

Danon adds: “Israel is not interested in an escalation but will lead the campaign against terror with determination and strength.”

Bennett takes over as defense minister amid Gaza fighting

New Right MK Naftali Bennett takes over as defense minister with the “passing of the baton” from Prime Minister Netanyahu, who had also held the defense portfolio.

The Defense Ministry publishes photos of Bennett and Netanyahu meeting with IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi, National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat, and the military secretaries to the prime and defense minister.

Bennett’s assumption of the Defense Ministry helm comes amid fighting between Israel and Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip after the Israeli military killed Islamic Jihad commander Baha Abu al-Ata.

New Defense Minister Naftali Bennett meets with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L), IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi (R) and Brig. Gen. Ofer Winter, the military secretary to the defense minister, on November 12, 2019. (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)

Mortal shell lands inside Gaza-area community causing damage, no injuries

A mortar shell struck inside a community in the Sha’ar Hanegev region, causing damage to some property, a regional spokesperson says.

No injuries are reported.

The specific location of the impact site is not reported as this information could be used by terrorists to better direct their fire.

— Judah Ari Gross

IDF tanks strike 3 Islamic Jihad posts in Gaza

IDF tanks strike three Islamic Jihad military positions in the Gaza Strip, the army says.

— Jacob Magid

Gantz meets with Netanyahu for security update

Blue and White party chairman Benny Gantz is currently receiving a security update amid fighting in the Gaza Strip from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the premier’s military secretary Brig. Gen. Avi Blot, both the party leaders’ offices announce.

— Jacob Magid

Rocket sirens sound in southern Israeli community

Rocket sirens sound in the community of Mavkiim in southern Israel, the IDF reports.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

— Jacob Magid

IDF launches new series of strikes on Islamic Jihad targets

The IDF is currently launching a new series of airstrikes on Palestinian Islamic Jihad targets throughout the Gaza Strip, the army says.

— Jacob Magid

Defense minister declares ‘special situation’ in in Gaza-area communities

Defense Minister Naftali Bennett declares a “special situation” in areas near the Gaza Strip amid rocket fire from the Palestinian enclave.

A Defense Ministry statement doesn’t specify what the special situation entails, but says it applies to communities within 80 kilometers (50 miles) of Gaza. It will be effective for 48 hours, barring a decision to cancel it early or extend it.

Palestinian injured in Israeli strike said to die of wounds

A Palestinian man in the Gaza Strip succumbed to wounds he sustained earlier today in an Israeli strike, the Hamas-run Health Ministry reports.

The ministry identifies him as 26-year-old Ibrahim al-Dabous.

A total of five Palestinians in Gaza, including senior Islamic Jihad commander Baha Abu al-Ata, have been killed today by Israeli fire.

— Adam Rasgon

IDF strikes Islamic Jihad naval training compound, tunnel digging site

The IDF provides details on its ongoing airstrikes against Palestinian Islamic Jihad targets in the Gaza Strip.

It says the strikes have targeted “training compounds, including one used by PIJ’s naval commando unit, the shaft of an offensive terror tunnel in the northern Gaza Strip and a tunnel digging site in the central Gaza Strip.”

— Jacob Magid

US Embassy advises Americans to ‘remain vigilant’ amid Gaza rocket fire

The US Embassy in Jerusalem calls on American citizens in Israel to exercise vigilance amid rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.

“As security incidents, including rocket fire, often take place without warning, US citizens are strongly encouraged to remain vigilant and take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness,” it says in a statement on its website.

“In the event of mortar and/or rocket fire, a Red Alert siren may be activated. Treat all such alerts as real; follow the instructions from local authorities and seek shelter immediately,” the embassy adds.

Rocket sirens sound in Gaza-area communities

Incoming rocket sirens sound in the communities of Netiv Ha’asara and Nahal Oz near the Gaza border, the IDF reports.

— Jacob Magid

Blue and White cancels meeting on ‘growing violence in Israeli society’ amid Gaza violence

The Blue and White party says it has canceled a special Knesset session tomorrow on “growing violence in Israeli society” due to ongoing fighting in the Gaza Strip.

The party says the session will be held at another date.

IDF calls up some reservists from Military Intelligence, missile defense units

The IDF has called up a few hundred reservists due to fighting in the Gaza Strip.

The call-up includes members of Iron Dome missile defense units, Military Intelligence and the Home Front Command.

Magen David Adom: 39 Israelis treated since start of Gaza rocket fire

The Magen David Adom ambulance service says it has treated 39 Israelis since rocket fire from Gaza began this morning after Israel killed a senior Islamic Jihad military commander.

Most of the victims suffered from anxiety, while 17 people were treated for injuries sustained after falling while running to bomb shelters during red alert sirens, according to MDA. Two victims 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 earlier today was related to the rocket fire or siren. She remains in serious condition.

— Jacob Magid

Rocket sirens sound in kibbutzim near Gaza

Incoming rocket sirens sound in Kibbutz Nirim near the Gaza border, the IDF reports.

Shortly before, sirens were also heard in Kibbutz Nir Am.

— Jacob Magid

Egypt working to calm Gaza tensions, has ‘opened channels’ with US and EU

Egyptian officials say Cairo is attempting to de-escalate tensions between Israel and Palestinian terrorists in Gaza amid the worst bout of fighting there in recent months.

The officials say Egypt’s general intelligence agency has stepped up communications and has “opened channels” with the US and the European Union. The officials speak on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to brief the media.

Egypt often acts as a mediator between Israel and Gaza terrorists, and brokered a cease-fire deal in May.

That deal appeared threatened after a pre-dawn Israeli airstrike in Gaza killed a senior Islamic Jihad commander.

Terrorists in Gaza have responded with rockets fired into Israel, and the Israeli military has carried out a number of airstrikes in Gaza.

— Agencies

US envoy condemns ‘barbaric’ Gaza rocket fire, says America stands by Israel

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman condemns the “barbaric” rocket fire by Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip and says the United States stands by the Jewish state.

Deputy education minister in Gaza says schools to be closed Wednesday

Ziyad al-Thabet, deputy minister of the Education Ministry in the Gaza Strip, tells the Hamas-linked al-Rai news site that it was decided schools in the Palestinian enclave will be closed tomorrow.

— Adam Rasgon

Jordan condemns Israeli strike on Islamic Jihad commander

Jordan’s foreign ministry is condemning an Israeli strike in the Gaza Strip that killed a top Islamic Jihad commander.

The Israeli strike triggered a barrage of rocket fire from Gaza and set off the fiercest fighting between Israel and Gaza terrorists in months.

In a statement, Daifallah al-Fayez, a spokesman for the Jordanian Foreign Ministry, blames Israel for the ensuing escalation in violence.

He says the fighting “will only increase tension and violence, deepen the environment of despair and promote extremist agendas in the region.”

He calls for Israel and the Palestinians to return to negotiations, saying that talks, along with an end to the Israeli-Egyptian blockade on the territory, could bring a solution to Gaza’s woes.

— Agencies

Israeli aircraft strike Islamic Jihad rocket launching cell

Israeli aircraft target two Palestinian Islamic Jihad fighters preparing to launch rockets at Israel from the northern Gaza Strip, the IDF says.

A “hit” was identified, according to the army.

— Jacob Magid

Rocket sirens set off in Sderot, Gaza-area communities

Fresh rocket sirens are triggered in Israeli communities adjacent to the northern Gaza Strip.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

The alarms can be heard in the city of Sderot and the surrounding area.

— Jacob Magid

46 Israelis receive medical treatment since start of Gaza rocket fire

A Magen David Adom spokesman says the emergency service has treated 46 Israelis since rocket fire from the Gaza Strip began this morning.

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

— Jacob Magid

190 rockets fired at Israel since Gaza strike on Islamic Jihad commander

Some 190 rockets have been fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip since the targeted killing of senior Islamic Jihad commander Baha Abu al-Ata, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

The Iron Dome missile defense system managed to intercept dozens of rockets, the army says.

It adds that the Iron Dome’s success rate during this time period stands at roughly 90 percent, with about 50% of the launches landing in open areas, thus not requiring Iron Dome interception.

— Jacob Magid

2 more Gazans said killed in Israeli strikes

Another two Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have been killed by Israeli fire, the Hamas-run Health Ministry says.

— Adam Rasgon

Ashkelon cancels school Wednesday due to Gaza violence

Ashkelon Mayor Tomer Glam says school will be canceled tomorrow in the southern coastal city amid ongoing fighting between Israel and Palestinian terror groups in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas says response to killing of Islamic Jihad commander will continue

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum says that terror groups in the Gaza Strip will continue to retaliate to Israel’s targeted killing of Baha Abu al-Ata, who was a senior commander in Islamic Jihad’s military wing, but with “wisdom.”

“The response to the assassination will continue, but with wisdom and understanding and comprehension of the resistance’s ability to manage this battle,” Barhoum tells the Hamas-linked Al-Aqsa TV.

— Adam Rasgon

Ashdod, Yavne cancel school Wednesday amid Gaza violence

Following Ashkelon, the southern cities of Ashdod and Yavne also cancel school tomorrow amid fighting in the Gaza Strip.

IDF strikes Islamic Jihad observation posts, underground facilities

Israeli fighter jets bomb a number of underground facilities and observation posts controlled by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad as part of the IDF’s latest round of airstrikes on the terror group as rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip continue into their 12th hour, the army says.

According to the army, the underground facilities were used by PIJ to manufacture weapons and for other military purposes.

The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry says five Palestinians — all apparent members of the PIJ terror group — have been killed in IDF strikes as they were preparing to launch rockets at Israel.

In addition, 45 people have been injured to various degrees, the health ministry says.

— Judah Ari Gross

Beersheba, Sderot, Rishon Lezion and Modiin cancel school Wednesday

The Beersheba Municipality announces school will be canceled tomorrow in the southern city.

The Gaza-area city of Sderot also cancels classes, as do the central Israel cities of Rishon Lezion and Modiin.

Islamic Jihad suggests Gaza rocket fire to continue

Islamic Jihad spokesman Musab al-Breim suggests terror group could continue to fire rockets at Israel in response to the Jewish state’s killing of Baha Abu al-Ata, who was a senior commander in Islamic Jihad’s military wing.

“The field is the one speaking in this round with occupation. The coming hours will speak for themselves,” he tells the Islamic Jihad-linked Palestine Today news site.

— Adam Rasgon

US peace envoy condemns Islamic Jihad rocket fire

Avi Berkowitz, the Trump administration’s new Middle East peace envoy, condemns Palestinian Islamic Jihad rocket fire at Israel and says the White House backs the Jewish state in fighting terrorists.

Tel Aviv suburbs, Rehovot cancel school Wednesday

The Tel Aviv suburbs of Ramat Gan and Givatayim cancel school Wednesday.

The city of Rehovot in central Israel also cancels classes due to the ongoing fighting in the Gaza Strip.

UK condemns Gaza rocket fire, calls on both sides to ‘rapidly de-escalate’

The British Foreign Office condemns rocket fire by Palestinian terror groups in the Gaza Strip at Israel and calls on both sides to “rapidly de-escalate” tensions.

“We are deeply concerned by the escalation of hostilities in Gaza. The UK condemns the firing of rockets at civilian populations. Any attacks targeted against civilians are unlawful and unjustifiable,” it says in a statement.

The Foreign Office adds: “We call on all sides to rapidly de-escalate the situation, and support the UN and Egyptian efforts to achieve that objective.”

Islamic Jihad: Israel started this round of fighting but won’t decide when it ends

A spokesman for the al-Quds Brigades, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s military wing, warns of further rocket fire from the Gaza Strip tonight and says Israel will not determine how the current round of fighting in the enclave ends.

“We hold the enemy fully responsible for the consequences of its stupid decision to assassinate the leadership of the resistance,” Abu Hamza says. “The coming hours will add a new headline to the record of defeats of the enemy’s rash prime minister, who has only brought the Zionists destruction and war.”

Abu Hamza continues: “We tell the enemy: Perhaps you succeeded in starting this aggression against our people and resistance, but you will not be able to determine when it ends.”

“The coming hours will record a victory for our people. While you started the battle, you will not be able know when it will end,” he says. “We send a message to the Zionist settlers to not listen to their dumb leadership. The decision is now in the hands of the Al-Quds Brigades and the Palestinian resistance.”

— with Adam Rasgon

Rocket sirens sound in Gaza-area community

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

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

— Judah Ari Gross

Israeli aircraft strike underground rocket launchpad

Israeli aircraft strike an underground launchpad in the northern Gaza Strip that the IDF says was used by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad to fire rockets at Israel.

“A hit was confirmed,” the army says.

— Judah Ari Gross

Iran condemns targeted killing of Islamic Jihad commander

Iran’s foreign ministry condemns Israel for the targeted killing of Baha Abu al-Ata, a senior military commander in the Iranian-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group.

“Unfortunately, in light of support for this ruthless and child-killing regime, the crimes against and assassinations of Palestinian people and fighters have continued inside and outside the occupied territories,” ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi says in a statement.

More rockets launched at Ashkelon, are reportedly intercepted

Incoming rocket sirens sound in the city of Ashkelon and surrounding towns.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

Channel 12 reports that two rockets were launched and that both were intercepted by the Iron Dome air defense system.

Residents of the city of Ashkelon and the surrounding area report seeing signs of multiple interceptions by the Iron Dome. There are no immediate reports of impact sites in populated areas.

— with Judah Ari Gross

UN peace envoy ‘heading urgently’ to Cairo in bid to end Gaza fighting

United Nations Special Coordinator Nickolay Mladenov “is heading urgently to Cairo,” a diplomatic source tells The Times of Israel, adding that the UN “has been involved throughout the day to de-escalate” tensions between Israel and terror groups in the Gaza Strip.

In the past year, Mladenov has taken part in efforts to broker several temporary ceasefires between Israel and the terror groups.

— Adam Rasgon

3 Gazans reported killed in Israeli strikes

Three Palestinians arrived dead at a hospital in the northern Gaza Strip amid “the Israeli escalation,” the Hamas-run health ministry reports.

— Adam Rasgon

Risk of further escalation in Gaza is ‘high,’ source says

The possibility of further escalation between Israel and terror groups in the Gaza Strip is “high,” according to a source close to discussions regarding restoring calm.

“The situation remains very complicated and the risk of escalation is high,” the source tells The Times of Israel.

“It is too early to talk of mediation yet. The goal now is to stop the escalation.”

— Adam Rasgon

Netanyahu meets with Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee head

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met this evening with Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Chairman Gabi Ashkenazi amid the ongoing fighting in the Gaza Strip, the latter’s Blue and White party says.

The meeting was held at the Israel Defense Forces headquarters in Tel Aviv and also attended by Brig. Gen. Avi Blot, the premier’s military secretary, according to Blue and White.

Netanyahu met earlier today with Blue and White MK Benny Gantz to discuss the situation in Gaza. Gantz is currently trying to form a government after Netanyahu failed to do so following elections in September.

IDF launches new round of airstrikes against Islamic Jihad

The IDF says it is carrying out a new round of airstrikes on Palestinian Islamic Jihad targets in the Gaza Strip.

— Judah Ari Gross

Rocket alarms sound in Gaza-area communities

Fresh rocket sirens sound in the Eshkol region of southern Israel, following a brief lull.

The alarms can be heard in the towns of Sufa, Holit, Pri Gan, Nir Yitzhak and Sde Nitzan.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

— Judah Ari Gross

More rocket sirens sound in Gaza-area communities

Incoming rocket alarms sound in Israeli communities east of the Gaza Strip.

Sirens are heard in the towns of Kfar Azza, Saad, Nahal Oz, Nirim and Ein Hashlosha.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

— Judah Ari Gross

Rockets fired from Gaza land in open fields

The rockets fired at southern Israel in the past hour all landed in open fields, outside communities, a spokesperson for the Eshkol region says.

“There are no injuries and no damage,” the spokesperson says.

Military sources say more than 200 rockets have been fired at Israel in the course of Tuesday.

— Judah Ari Gross

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Nov. 12 liveblog (closed)

Netanyahu meets with Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee head

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met this evening with Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Chairman Gabi Ashkenazi amid the ongoing fighting in the Gaza Strip, the latter’s Blue and White party says.

The meeting was held at the Israel Defense Forces headquarters in Tel Aviv and also attended by Brig. Gen. Avi Blot, the premier’s military secretary, according to Blue and White.

Netanyahu met earlier today with Blue and White MK Benny Gantz to discuss the situation in Gaza. Gantz is currently trying to form a government after Netanyahu failed to do so following elections in September.