Israel's Operation Protective Edge entered its 16th day on Wednesday, marking the 6th day of the IDF's ground incursion into the Gaza Strip.

Three IDF soldiers were killed on Wednesday, raising the number of Israeli military fatalities since the operation commenced to 32.

At least 350 Palestinians have been killed since Israel began its ground operation, raising the recent escalation's death toll in Gaza to 655, with some 4,220 wounded.

International efforts to stop the fighting between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip have resumed Tuesday, following Monday’s arrival in the region of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the expected arrival of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

On Tuesday, following a rocket attack on Yehud, near Ben-Gurion International Airport, the Federal Aviation Administration placed a 24-hour ban on all U.S. flights to and from Israel. Many European airlines also suspended their Israel flights.

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Latest updates:

11:14 P.M. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry left Israel on Wednesday evening after a quick visit aimed at advancing a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip, but after meetings with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, there was no sign of a breakthrough that might enable an end to the war in the near future. Kerry returned to Cairo following the day of meetings, where he will resume talks with the Egyptian leadership.

The security cabinet met Wednesday following Netanyahu's meeting to discuss the possibility of expanding the ground operation in the Gaza Strip. Senior Israeli officials said that at this point, the conditions are not ripe for a cease-fire – particularly considering the terms lay out by Hamas.

Senior officials in Kerry’s entourage said after his meetings in Israel that a cease-fire is not around the corner. “We are not there yet,” they said. One of the U.S. officials added that Kerry's focus now is to get to a ceasefire as quick as possible and find a formula that both sides can agree to.

The cabinet will hold an unusual session in Knesset on Thursday to deliberate on the operation in the Gaza Strip. Netanyahu will meet with Britain's new foreign secretary, Philip Hammond, prior to the cabinet meeting. The prime minister is expected to open the meeting with a statement on the progress made by the Israel Defense Forces in its operation in Gaza. (Barak Ravid)

11:00 P.M. Over the past 24 hours, 81 rockets were fired into Israeli territory, 12 of which were intercepted by the Iron Dome system. Israel attacked 100 targets in the Gaza Strip.

Secondary explosions in Gaza's al-Wafa Hospital after it was bombed from the air "indicated clearly that large amounts of munitions were stored there," the IDF said on Wednesday. There was also an observation post in the hospital and multiple tunnel openings in the compound.

A Palestinian militant wearing an IDF uniform was captured on Wednesday somewhere in the Gaza Strip, the army reported. An additional 150 people suspected of anti-Israeli activity were detained and transferred for interrogation.

Twelve militants were identified in an ambulance that arrived at a building in the south of the strip. Both the building and the area surrounding it were targeted by Israeli aircraft and direct hits were confirmed. (Gili Cohen)

10:33 P.M. Palestinian medical officials say 31 people killed in Khan Yunis, south Gaza over course of Wednesday, putting total death toll in the Strip since beginning of the operation at 695. (Haaretz)

10:12 P.M. Iron Dome intercepts four rockets over wider Tel Aviv metro region; fire erupts near Yavneh due to rocket strike. (Gili Cohen)

9:47 P.M. A foreign worker was lightly wounded from rocket shrapnel in the Yavneh area in central Israel. He has been hospitalized at Kaplan Hospital in Kfar Sava. (Yaniv Kubovich)

9:32 P.M. Hamas leader Khaled Meshal said he was ready to accept a humanitarian truce in Gaza where the Islamist group is fighting an Israeli military offensive, but would not agree to a full ceasefire until the terms had been negotiated.

"Everyone wanted us to accept a cease-fire and then negotiate for our rights, we reject this and we reject it again today," he said at a news conference in Qatar.
But he said Hamas "will not close the door" to a humanitarian truce if Israel ended its siege of Gaza.

"No one will disarm the resistance," he said. "We are the victim, despite our victory." (Reuters, Jack Khoury)

9:28 P.M. 150 Palestinians suspected of participating in terror arrested by IDF forces in Gaza (Haaretz)

9:15 P.M. Russian President Valdmir Putin has offered himself as a mediator between Israel and Hamas  ceasefire, in a telephone conversation with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Kremlin announced on Wednesday.

Further fighting in Gaza will lead to a dramatic deterioration of the humanitarian situation and to more casualties and suffering among the civilian population, Putin said, stressing that "there is no alternative to ceasefire and a political settlement.” 

9:02 P.M. Rocket alerts sound across wide swaths of Israel's south and center, including cities just south of Tel Aviv: Holon, Bat Yam, Rehovot, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Kiryat Malakhi, Yavne, Lod regions targeted. Some 12 rockets were fired in this round, Channel Two reports. (Haaretz)

8:55 P.M. Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni waves off UN Human Rights Council decision, says the government will "continue to make decisions for the benefit of Israeli citizens." (Haaretz)

8:49 P.M. 42 IDF soldiers currently hospitalized in Soroka Medical Center in Be'er Sheva, four of them in severe condition. (Shirley Seidler)

IDF soldiers sit on their 155mm artillery cannon at an army deployment area near Israel's border with the Gaza Strip. July 23, 2014 (AFP)

8:16 P.M. IDF spokesperson says IDF forces ''have taken control of many positions within the Gaza Strip, in an interview with Channel 2. (Haaretz)

7:55 P.M. A number of Twitter and Facebook posts Wednesday described the supposed assassination of Mohammed al-Sinwar, one of the heads of the Hamas military wing and believed to be the commander of the Khan Yunis region in southern Gaza.

The veracity of the posts cannot be determined. There have been several such reports about other senior Hamas leaders during the course of the current Gaza conflict, all of which proved to be untrue.

One of the Twitter posts included a photograph of a body, purportedly that of Sinwar. Others said he met his death in an explosion in Khan Yunis.

Sinwar played a leading role in the abduction of Gilad Shalit and was even Shalit's jailor during part of his imprisonment. His brother, Yihye, is regarded as one of Hamas' political leaders and served a lengthy period imprisoned in Israel. (Amos Harel)

The Shin Bet security service says that working with the IDF, it has hit several central Islamic Jihad militants in Gaza. 

Among the militants killed in recent days, the Shin Bet said, are Akram Shakhar, a central operative on the Khan Yunis area, who was in charge of rocket launchings; Sha'aban Dahduh, thought to be commander of a battalion in Gaza City; Mahmoud Ziada, a resident of Jabalia who was thought to be commander of a regiment in the Strip's north; and Said Abu Ma'amar, thought to command a regiment in Islamic Jihad's Rafah division. (Gili Cohen)

7:54 P.M. Rocket alerts sound in Gaza border regions (Haaretz)

7:46 P.M. The U.S. FAA has decided to extend its flight ban to and from Israel for another 24 hours. (Haaretz)

Ben Gurion International Airport, July 27, 2014. (Avishag Shaar Yashuv)

7:34 P.M. UN human rights council in Geneva decides to form international commission of inquiry for alleged Israeli war crimes in Gaza. Twenty-nine nations voted in favor of the commissions' creation, one member-state voted against it, and 17 abstained.

Netanyahu condemns the decision as 'a travesty that should be condemned by decent people everywhere.' To read the full article, click here (Barak Ravid)

7:07 P.M. Netanyahu's meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry now starting in Tel Aviv. (Barak Ravid)

7 P.M. Three more IDF soldiers killed in Gaza, army confirms: Second Lt. Paz Eliyahu,  22 of Avrun; Master Sgt. Li Mat, 19 of Eilat; and Master Sgt. Shahar Dauber, 20 of Ginegar. 

The three paratroopers were killed and three other soldiers wounded when an explosive device exploded next to them in a building they were searching in the Khan Yunis region in the southern Gaza Strip on Wednesday. The troops were looking for tunnel openings when they came across the building. The device was detonated while they were inside the building.

Thirty-two Israeli soldiers and officers have been killed since the ground operation began. Three civilians - two of them Israeli citizens and the third, a Thai worker - have died in rocket attacks in Israel. (Haaretz)

6:45 P.M. Rocket alerts sound in Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gaza border regions (Haaretz)

Italian carrier 'Neos' says it will operate a flight from Italy to the airport in Ovda on Thursday. (Zohar Blumenkrantz)

6:15 P.M. Rocket alerts sound in Be'er Sheva region; four missiles land in open areas. (Shirley Seidler, Haaretz)

6:14 P.M. Rocket alerts sound in Be'er Sheva, Ashkelon, and Ashdod regions; Iron Dome intercepts two missiles over Ashdod. (Shirley Seidler, Haaretz)

6:00 P.M. Rocket alerts sound in Ashdod region and areas south of Tel Aviv (Haaretz)

5:52 P.M. IDF Spokesman, on Twitter account, says Hamas using Al Wafa hospital and its immediate surroundings "as a command center, rocket launching site & position from which to fire at us." (Gili Cohen)

5:50 P.M. U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel says Israel has asked the U.S. for $225 million, to compensate for missing parts necessary for operation of Iron Dome batteries.

Israeli defense officials have in recent weeks claimed Israel has sufficient supply of 'Tamir' missiles (used by the Iron Dome batteries). But Hagel says Israel is currently suffering from an acute shortage of 'parts,' (which he declined to name) and cannot wait for a fresh supply from the U.S. manufacturer, which is planned for over two years from today. (Amir Oren)

5:48 P.M. Fighting between Israeli troops and Hamas militants was briefly suspended in several flashpoint areas of Gaza on Wednesday to allow convoys of ambulances to retrieve the wounded, an ICRC spokeswoman said.

Palestinians rest on the side of a destroyed house during a two hour temporary ceasefire in Gaza City's Shujaiyeh neighborhood, Wednesday, July 23, 2014. (AP)

"A convoy of seven ambulances and two Red Cross cars went inside Shujaiyeh to evacuate the wounded," ICRC spokeswoman Cecilia Goin said, saying the move had been coordinated with both Israel and Hamas. A second convoy of nine ambulances and two Red Cross vehicles went into Khuzaa near the southern city of Khan Yunis, an area which also came under very heavy Israeli fire overnight, she said.

A third team went into the northern town of Beit Hanun, the agency said. (Agencies)

5:16 P.M. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry now meeting with President Shimon Peres in the president's residence in Jerusalem. The meeting, held on Peres' last full day in office, was not scheduled ahead of time, and was set up on short notice. (Barak Ravid)

5:13 P.M. Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon tells Golani Brigade troops on the Gaza border to prepare for the next mission ahead as the Israel Defense Forces reaches the end of this stage of locating and destroying tunnels.

"We are preparing the next stages of the fighting after dealing with the tunnels and you need to be ready for any mission," Y'alon says. "You need to be ready for more important steps in Gaza and the units that are now on standby need to prepare to go in."

Ya'alon added that militants had targeted IDF troops from the Al-Wafa Hospital in Gaza in recent days, prior to the army's attack on Wednesday. "Hamas uses its civilians as human shield," Ya'alon said. "After we ascertained that it was deserted, the Air Force attacked the building and there were large secondary explosions inside it, testimony to the amount of armaments it contained." (Gili Cohen)

5:01 P.M. Rocket alerts sound in Ashdod, Ashkelon regions (Haaretz)

4:51 P.M. Iron Dome battery intercepts two rockets fired at Israel's south in last salvo; two rockets hit open areas (Haaretz)

4:45 P.M. Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat says that Israel and the Palestinians are "currently discussing serious ideas and proposals."

"We do not have an agreement in hand yet, but we are making every effort to move forward," he said.

Israel is fighting the entire Palestinian people, not just Hamas, Erekat said. "This isn't a war with Hamas; it's belligerence toward the Palestinian people," he said. "What is needed now is a balance between a cease-fire and the lifting of the blockade on the Gaza Strip, along with opening the crossings and releasing the prisoners freed in the Shalit deal." Erekat was referring to the 1,027 Palestinian prisoners Israel freed to secure Hamas' release of Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier whom Gaza militants abducted in 2006 and held captive for five years. Israel has since re-arrested some of the freed prisoners.

Erekat said the Palestinians consider the demands to be those of "the entire Palestinian people," not just those of Hamas. "We are also talking about international guarantees and a supervisory mechanism for all these processes, which is why we are holding talks with world leaders and the UN secretary-general." UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in the region Monday night in an effort to bring an end to the fighting. (Jack Khoury)

4:43 P.M. Authorities cancel instruction issued to residents of Hof Ashkelon Regional Council to stay home due to 'searches' in area.

4:30 P.M. Delta Air Lines will extend its suspension of flights to Israel for another 24 hours, its chief executive tells CNBC. (Reuters)

3:35 P.M. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said following his meeting in Ramallah with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that certain progress has been made in efforts to reach a ceasefire. 

Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat says that Israel and the Palestinians are "currently discussing serious ideas and proposals."

"We do not have an agreement in hand yet, but we are making every effort to move forward," he said.

Israel is fighting the entire Palestinian people, not just Hamas, Erekat said. "This isn't a war with Hamas; it's belligerence toward the Palestinian people," he said. "What is needed now is a balance between a cease-fire and the lifting of the blockade on the Gaza Strip, along with opening the crossings and releasing the prisoners freed in the Shalit deal." Erekat was referring to the 1,027 Palestinian prisoners Israel freed to secure Hamas' release of Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier whom Gaza militants abducted in 2006 and held captive for five years. Israel has since re-arrested some of the freed prisoners.

Erekat said the Palestinians consider the demands to be those of "the entire Palestinian people," not just those of Hamas. "We are also talking about international guarantees and a supervisory mechanism for all these processes, which is why we are holding talks with world leaders and the UN secretary-general." UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in the region Monday night in an effort to bring an end to the fighting. (Jack Khoury)

Palestinians mourn over the body of Adnan Habib, killed on the sixteenth day of the war in Gaza, during his funeral at a mosque in Gaza City, Wednesday, July 23, 2014. (AP)

3:22 P.M. Palestinian media reporting that a large number of people have died and dozens were wounded by heavy IDF artillery fire in the village of Hazaa, in the southern Gaza Strip near Khan Yunis, which is being described as 'under siege.' A resident of the village who is located in Gaza said his family contacted him from within the village and said that 'everything is burning.'

Several wounded area residents who were evacuated to a hospital in Gaza City described a large number of casualties in the village. They described bodies strewn in the village's streets and difficulties faced by medical teams trying to reach the wounded. Eyewitnesses also described fighter helicopters circling above the village, and snipers stationed in several different locations.

Earlier today, the military arm of Islamic Jihad took responsibility for the shooting of a missile towards an Israeli armored carrier east of Khan Yunis. At this hour, the IDF is continuing its operations in Shujaiyeh, and along the Strip's eastern border. (Jack Khoury)

2:34 P.M. Rocket barrage fired at southern and central Israel, including Rishon Letzion, Rehovot, Ashdod, and Ashkelon.

1:32 P.M. Rockets fired at Ashkelon and Ashdod areas in southern Israel.

1:27 P.M. IDF spokesman issued a statement saying that the IDF attacked targets in the Al-Wafa Hospital compound in Gaza after Hamas militants repeatedly fired at Israeli forces from within the compound. According to the statement, Israel had repeatedly warned the Palestinians of its intentions to attack the compound. The director of the hospital told Haaretz that the hospital has been empty since July 17.

A banner depicting the names of Gaza Palestinians killed in Israel's Operation Protective Edge on the landmark Pigeon Rock in Beirut's Rawshe seafront on July 23, 2014. (AFP)

1:18 P.M. New British Foreign Minister Philip Hammond will arrive in Israel Wednesday. He will meet with President Abbas in Ramallah on Wednesday night. He will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Thursday. (Barak Ravid)

1:14 P.M. Iron Dome intercepts four rockets over Be'er Sheva. (Shirly Seidler)

1:04 P.M. John Kerry at start of meeting with UN chief: There have been "some steps forward" toward Gaza cease-fire but more work needed. (Barak Ravid)

1:03 P.M. Foreign agricultural worker dies when a rocket fired from Gaza exploded in a greenhouse in a town just north of Gaza. (Shirly Seidler)

12:58 P.M. Rocket sirens sound in the greater Be'er Sheva metropolitan area.

12:36 P.M. Rocket sirens sound in Ashkelon and the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council.

12:26 P.M. Speaking at the emergency meeting in Geneva, Israel's envoy to the UNHRC, Eviatar Manor, charged that the UN Human Rights Council "failed to protect the human rights of Israelis." He went on to say that the residents of Gaza were not Israel's enemies and that Israel was committed to international law. He charged the council of "pouring oil on the fire." (Barak Ravid)

12:18 P.M. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman met with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon in Jerusalem Wednesday morning and told him that Israel was very concerned over the discovery of rockets hidden in an UNRWA-run school in Gaza. He also attacked the emergency UN meeting in Geneva on the conflict, saying it was "a part of the hypocrisy play of the international community."

11:53 A.M. Officials in Gaza are reporting 19 casualties in IDF bombings in Gaza overnight. A community activist in Gaza told Haaretz this morning that Israel had been bombarding the eastern Gaza Strip all night. Among the casualties is also a 12-year-old boy killed when a wagon was bombarded in the northern Gaza Strip. According to Palestinian sources four bodies were discovered under the rubble of a home in Khan Yunis.

According the Gazan health ministry since Operation Protective Edge began 650 Palestinians out of which 161 were children, 66 were women, and 35 were elderly. Another 4,030 Palestinians were injured. (Jack Khoury)

11:52 A.M. 30,000 people attend funeral of American-Israeli soldier Max Steinberg who was killed in Gaza.

The funeral of 24-year-old California born Sgt. Max Steinberg at the Mount Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem on July 23, 2014 (AFP)

11:47 A.M. Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz announced on Wednesday that Israel would be opening the Ovda Airport as an alternative to Ben-Gurion Airport after the FAA and the European Aviation Safety Agency temporarily canceled all flights to Israel due to a Hamas rocket attack on Tuesday. (Zohar Blumenkrantz) Read the full article

11:32 A.M. John Kerry lands in Israel, will meet with Netanyahu, Abbas, and UN chief Ban Ki-moon. (Barak Ravid)

11:27 A.M. UN rights chief at start of emergency UN meeting: Strong possibility that Israel is violating the law, possibly even committing war crimes (Barak Ravid)

11:07 A.M. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has flown into Israel's main airport on a military jet despite a Federal Aviation Administration ban as he continues to push a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas. Kerry was planning to meet Wednesday with Israel's prime minster, the Palestinian Authority's president and the United Nations chief in a daylong visit to Jerusalem and Ramallah. (AP)

10:56 A.M. Rocket sirens sound in Ashkelon and the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council.

10:14 A.M. Four moderately wounded IDF soldiers evacuated to Sheba Medical Center for treatment. (Ido Efrati)

7:52 A.M. Senior Israeli officer tells Haaretz: IDF attacked 20 'terror targets' in Gaza overnight, 20 terrorists killed in the past 24 hours. (Gili Cohen)

6:53 A.M. Rocket siren sounded in Hof Ashkelon, Eshkol regional councils. (Haaretz)

5:11 A.M. Two Israeli soldiers were killed Tuesday evening in fighting in Gaza Strip, the IDF Spokesperson's Unit says. The deceased are Capt. Dmitri Levitas, 26, of Jerusalem and Geshur and Capt. Natan Cohen, 23, of Modiin. They were both officers in the IDF armored corps. They were killed by sniper fire in the Gaza Strip. Over the last 24 hours, three soldiers were seriously wounded, nine were moderately wounded, and eight sustained light wounds. Since the Gaza operation began, 29 soldiers and officers were killed. (Haaretz)

4:44 A.M. Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg urges the reversal of the U.S. ban on flights to Israel, and says he will board a flight to Tel Aviv in solidarity with Israeli people. 

4:35 A.M. Palestine Liberation Organization senior official Yasser Abed Rabbo says PLO endorses Hamas' demands for halting Gaza hostilities.

"The Gaza demands of stopping the aggression and lifting the blockade in all its forms are the demands of the entire Palestinian people and they represent the goal that the Palestinian leadership has dedicated all its power to achieve," Abd Rabbo says in Ramallah, the West Bank.

"We are confident Gaza will not be broken as long as our people are standing beside it to support it through all possible means until the invaders understand that our great people inside the homeland and outside will not leave Gaza alone." (Reuters)

3:05 A.M. For the first time since an unprecedented diplomatic rift among Gulf powerhouses, Qatar's emir flew to Saudi Arabia late Tuesday in a surprise visit and met with King Abdullah to discuss the Gaza cease-fire efforts.

A senior Saudi official told The Associated Press that Saudi Crown Prince Salman, and Deputy Crown Prince Muqrin also attended the meetings with Qatar's Sheik Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani in the coastal city of Jiddah. (AP)