Operation Pillar of Defense: Israel under fire || LIVE BLOG: Day 2 of Israel-Gaza conflict 2012
Rockets strike Tel Aviv area, Holon, Rishon Letzion; three Israelis killed in attack on south; IDF: Expect a night without calm in central Israel' three soldiers wounded in attack on Eshkol region; Military sources: more than 250 rockets fired by Gaza militants explode in Israel since beginning of operation, Iron Dome intercepts 105; IDF strikes over 250 targets in Gaza.
In another day of escalating violence with Gaza, three Israelis were killed in a rocket strike on Kiryat Malakhi on Thursday, and Hamas rockets hit the Tel Aviv area for the first time. The IDF renewed aerial strikes on Gaza on Thursday night.
Meanwhile, Israeli forces prepared for a possible ground invasion of Gaza. Government spokesmen said Israel was not interested in a cease-fire now but rather in continuing the offensive in the words of one spokesman, "until Hamas begs for a cease-fire."
Altogether, military sources said, Palestinians have fired more than 275 rockets at Israel since Israel's assassination of Ahmad Jabari, the head of Hamas' military wing, on Wednesday. Some of Thursday's launches landed in Holon and Rishon Letzion, but the two rockets that were apparently aimed at Tel Aviv landed in the sea.
The Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepted 105 of the rockets launched from Gaza on Wednesday and Thursday.
11:15 P.M. The United States has asked countries that have contact with Hamas to urge the group to stop its recent rocket attacks from Gaza, a White House adviser said on Thursday. "We've ... urged those that have a degree of influence with Hamas such as Turkey, and Egypt and some of our European partners to use that influence to urge Hamas to de-escalate," said Ben Rhodes, deputy national security advisor, in a conference call with reporters.
Asked whether the United States was concerned that Israeli ground forces would enter Gaza, Rhodes said: "Ultimately it's up to the Israeli government to make determinations about how they're going to carry out their military objectives." (Reuters)
11:00 P.M. According to Hamas figures, 16 Palestinians have been killed and 151 wounded in Gaza since the start of Operation Pillar of Defense. Hamas says it has fired 527 rockets at Israel, while Islamic Jihad has fired 138. (Avi Issacharoff)
10:41 P.M. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon notifies Israeli government of an upcoming visit to Jerusalem, Cairo, and Ramallah, to take place on Tuesday, following the escalation of the situation in the Gaza Strip.
The Foreign Ministry adds that at this stage, the UN Secretary General is not expected to visit Gaza. In addition, it is still unclear if Ban will arrive equipped with a plan for a cease-fire. (Barak Ravid)
10:15 P.M. Israeli aircraft attacked targets throughout the Gaza Strip, according to eyewitnesses. Residents said the military assault destroyed an electricity generator that fed the house of Hamas's prime minister in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh. It was unclear whether he was at home at the time.
Israeli aircraft also bombed a police station in central Gaza and tunnels on Gaza's border with Egypt through which basic civilian goods and arms destined for militant groups pass into the Strip, which is under a tight blockade by Israel and Egypt. (Reuters)
9:50 P.M. IDF has attacked 70 targets during the most recent comprehensive aerial attack. Palestinians report some 20 wounded. (Gili Cohen, Jack Khoury)
9:21 P.M. The group of hackers "Anonymous" attacked numerous Israeli websites on Thursday, including IDF and bank sites, as a response to the attack on Gaza, according to a New York Times report.
9:11 P.M. Israel's Broadcasting Authority preparing emergency broadcasts ahead of Sabbath. Educational channels to broadcast only calming programs for children.
8:53 P.M. IDF resumes widespread aerial strikes on Gaza (Gili Cohen)
8:39 P.M. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hold talks with Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman; IDF ordered to renew assault on Gaza.
8:38 P.M. Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh eulogizes Jabari in a televised speech: "What a martyrdom and what a glorious day," he says. "Congratulations. Rest in peace. Feel blessed."
8:35 P.M. Rocket hits near IDF truck in western Negev, light damaged caused to truck. (Gili Cohen)
8:20 P.M. Be'er Sheva home hit by rocket. The house was damaged, one person is being treated for shock. (Yanir Yagna)
8:18 P.M. IDF Spokesperson says army will ask to call up 30,000 reservists to participate in operation in Gaza.
8:02 P.M. IDF source says air assault on Gaza will be renewed over the coming hours, adding that the IDF has approved plans for the next stage of the operation.
8:00 P.M. IDF says it has hit 250 sites in Gaza since the beginning of the current operation, while 274 rockets have hit Israel.
7:35 P.M. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney says President Obama condemns the rockets fired at Israel; "there is no justification for these cowardly acts."
7:30 P.M. Israel Police confirm that two missiles fired at Tel Aviv area landed in open areas.
7:23 P.M. Five more rockets intercepted by Iron Dome systems over Be'er Sheva. In total, there have been 274 rockets fired and 105 intercepted. The IDF has attacked 250 targets in Gaza.
7:05 P.M. IDF spokesman says no missiles landed on ground in Tel Aviv, adds that residents of central Israel should prepare for a night that "won't be calm".
6:57 P.M. Rocket warning siren goes off in Be'er Sheva. (Yanir Yagna)
6:55 P.M. Islamic Jihad claims responsibility for rocket fired at Tel Aviv. (Reuters)
6:44 P.M. Rocket lands in Holon, just south of Tel Aviv.
6:40 P.M. Names of casualties in Kiryat Malakhi rocket attack released: Mira Sharf, 29-years-old, and Aharon Samadja, 46-years old. (Yaniv Kubovich)
6:38 P.M. Rocket warning sirens sound in Tel Aviv and Bnei Brak, for first time since Gulf War in 1991.
6:38 P.M. Four rockets fall in open areas in western Negev. No wounded or damage. (Yanir Yagna)
6:30 P.M. Egyptian prime minister and security officials to make one-day visit to Gaza, according to Egyptian cabinet minister. (Reuters)
6:22 P.M. Classes canceled again on Friday for all kids living within 40 km of Gaza.
6:08 P.M. Iron Dome intercepts two rockets over Be'er Sheva. (Yanir Yagna)
5:00 P.M. Iron Dome shoots down rocket headed toward Ashdod. Warning sirens go off in Sderot.
4:48 P.M. Two rockets fall near Rishon Letzion, some 12 km south of Tel Aviv. No casualties reported.
4:52 P.M. Number of civilian casualties in Gaza rises to 15, according to Palestinian news agency Ma'an.
4:45 P.M. Rocket alert warning siren goes off in Rishon Letzion, south of Tel Aviv. Eyewitnesses report two blasts.
4:40 P.M. Five rockets fired from Gaza land in northwestern Negev, damaging buildings. Iron Dome missile defense system shoots down 5 rockets over Sderot. (Gili Cohen, Yanir Yagna)
3:53 P.M. IDF: Since beginning of Operation Pillar of Defense, Iron Dome systems intercepted 87 rockets, with 138 projectiles exploding in Israeli territory. IDF attacked 227 Gaza targets.
3:09 P.M. A barrage of 5 rockets fired at Eskhol Regional Council. All five exploded in open areas, no damage or casualties reported. (Haaretz)
3:00 P.M. Two soldiers lightly wounded, one moderately wounded, in rocket attack on Eshkol Regional Council (Gili Cohen and Yanir Yagna)
2:30 P.M. Meretz to hold protest against continued fighting and for a long-term resolution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict in Tel Aviv on Thursday (Haaretz)
2:10 P.M. Funeral of assassinated Hamas leader Ahmed Jabari ends in Gaza City (Haaretz)
2:00 P.M. Six-rocket volley fired at Eshkol Regional Council, explodes in open fields (Yanir Yagna)
1:24 P.M. Hamas political bureau head Khaled Meshal speaks of Jabari's assassination at an Islamic conference in Sudan, saying, "Jabari and those who, together with him and Allah, devoted their lives to the (Palestinian) homeland are heroes… They lived as heroes and fell as heroes. They are the ones who waged the war." Meshal promises: "We will continue the ways of jihad and the resistance."
Meshal adds that he called Hamas leaders in Gaza, and says their "morale is high." Meshal speaks of Egypt's role in the current battle: "Israel is trying to test Egypt and other Arab states post-Arab Spring. I expect Egypt to adopt a new policy. The Egypt of today is not the Egypt of the past. Arab states need to change their direction; enough with defeatism… New initiatives are needed in the battle for Palestine." (Jack Khoury)
1:11 P.M. Defense Minister Ehud Barak: "We're in the midst of a struggle. It isn't certain that it'll be short, but we're determined to regain deterrence" (Haaretz)
12:56 P.M. Two rockets explode in open land in Shaar Hanegev Regional Council (Yanir Yagna)
12:50 P.M. Egypt's Morsi says working with U.S., UN, EU, and Arab League to prevent expansion of Israel's military operation in Gaza Strip (Jacky Khoury)
12:43 P.M. IDF: Israeli forces strike 100 targets in Gaza Strip since beginning of Operation Pillar of Defense (Gili Cohen)
12:40 P.M. IDF: Since Wednesday at 4 P.M., 198 rockets fired by Gaza militants, Iron Dome intercepts 48 (Gili Cohen)
12:37 P.M. Barrage of rockets fired from Gaza toward Be'er Sheva and Ashkelon (Yanir Yagna)
12:15 P.M. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas cuts short European visit over escalation in Gaza Strip (AP)
12:07 P.M. GOC Southern Command Maj. Gen. Tal Russo: We are slowly climbing the scale of responses. The Fajr array suffered a fatal blow (Gili Cohen)
12:05 P.M. Rocket launched by Gaza militates strike house in Sderot (Yanir Yagna)
12:02 P.M. Four-year-old boy, who was moderately wounded by the rocket that hit Kiryat Malakhi, is hospitalized at Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer; the boy was taken to hospital by a passerby (Haaretz)
11:04 A.M. Iron Dome battery intercepts rocket over Ashkelon; 4 rockets explode in Eshkol Regional Council (Yanir Yagna)
10: 41 A.M. Thousands attend Ahmed Jabari funeral in Gaza (Avi Issacharoff)
10:37 Iron Dome intercepts volley of rockets fired at Kiryat Malakhi and Ashdod (Yanir Yagna)
10:32 A.M. Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee to convene at 1 P.M. to vote on Defense Minister Ehud Barak's request to summon army reserves (Jonathan Lis)
10:15 A.M. Israel's envoy to UN: We will not play Russian roulette with the lives of Israeli citizens (Natasha Mozgovaya )
10:10 A.M. Rocket launched by Gaza militants hits factory in the Eshkol Regional Council (Yanir Yagna)
9:55 A.M. Rocket volley explodes in open fields at Eshkol Regional Council; none wounded, no damages reported (Yanir Yagna)
9:48 A.M. Since midnight, 45 rockets were launched from the Gaza Strip toward southern Israel, of which Iron Dome intercepted 13 (Gili Cohen)
9:43 A.M. Iron Dome intercepts four rockets fired toward Ashdod; shrapnel lands in the city (Yanir Yagna)
9:40 A,M. Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch visits site where rocket made direct hit in Kiryat Malakhi (Yaniv Kubovich)
9:32 A.M. Labor Chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich suspends campaign over Operation Pillar of Defense (Haaretz)
9:28 A.M. Baby girl moderately wounded in Kiryat Malakhi (Yanir Yagna)
9:13 A.M. Three killed in Kiryat Malakhi after succumbing to their wounds from direct rocket fire on family home (Yanir Yagna)
8:49 A.M. Three seriously wounded as rocket hits private house in Kiryat Malakhi; Magen David Adom at site, attempting to resuscitate victims; more rockets fired toward Eshkol Regional Council; car and chicken coups damaged (Yanir Yagna)
8:33 A.M. One seriously wounded and one lightly wounded from direct hit by rocket fire on private house in Kiryat Malakhi (Haaretz)
8:24 A.M. Overnight, rocket hits school in Ofakim, causing damage to a building; none wounded.
8:23 A.M. Heavy rocket fire on southern communities; 10 rockets fired toward Eshkol Regional Council, which explode on open land; rocket explodes in open land in a community, none wounded, no damage reported.
7:54 A.M. Iron Dome intercepts give rockets above Be'er Sheva; sirens sound in Ashkelon and Ashdod (Haaretz)
7:45 A.M. Two rockets explode in Eshkol Regional Council. Two additional rockets fired toward Ashdod; Iron Dome intercepts one of them, and the other explodes in open land; none wounded and no damage reported; overnight, a rocket struck a factory in the Ashkelon area, none wounded but damage done; roads in areas surrounding Gaza closed to traffic; only military vehicles permitted access (Haaretz)
7:32 A.M. Home Front Defense Minister Avi Dichter tells Haaretz, "The operation is going according to plan." According to a military source, overnight strikes in Gaza damage a substantial portion of Hamas' long-range missile infrastructure. However, it is as yet unclear as to whether this refers to all rocket stockpiles of organizations in the Strip. According to Dichter, it will now be much more difficult for the Palestinians to strike long-range targets, but "there is no difference between a strike on Tel Aviv, to a strike on Ashdod or Be'er Sheva."
In the meantime, the IDF is continuing to prepare for the possibility of expanding Operation Pillar of Defense and entering the Gaza Strip with ground forces. Reserve soldiers have been recruited to Special Forces, including military reconnaissance squads, emergency forces, and others. Engineering tools and tanks are being moved into Israel's south. IDF begins sealing off areas as closed military sites near some of the areas surrounding the Gaza Strip, which indicates a concentration of military forces in the region. Dichter refers to the possibility of a ground operation in the Gaza Strip, saying, "We are not sacrificing soldiers because we have nothing else to do. The task being imposed on the army is a necessary one." (Haaretz) (Haaretz)
7:25 A.M. Israeli military estimates that heavy rocket fire from the Gaza Strip will continue Thursday morning, and after Ahmed Jabari's funeral today at 11:30 A.M.
7:00 A.M. IAF distributes leaflets in Gaza calling upon citizens to distance themselves from weapons stockpiles and rockets (Haaretz)
6:50 A.M. Thursday morning Gaza summary: Three Hamas operatives killed in two separate Israel Air Forces airstrikes in the Khan Yunis region; Israel Defense Forces strikes in the Gaza Strip throughout the night leave 15 wounded (Haaretz)
6:45 A.M. Thursday morning Israel summary: Throughout the night some 25 rockets fired from Gaza toward Israel; since the beginning of Operation Pillar of Defense began Wednesday, 104 rockets have been fired toward Israel; 28 people suffer anxiety; two lightly wounded (Haaretz)
6:44 A.M. At UN Security Council emergency meeting, Israeli Ambassador to UN Ron Prosor insists on Israel's right to defend itself. Palestinian envoy Riad Mansour accusees Israel of committing war crimes against the Palestinians and calls on International community to stop Israel's "illegal" actions (Haaretz)
6:28 A.M. IDF kills motorcyclist in Khan Younis, Gaza (Ch. 10)
6:25 A.M. Sirens alarm in Be'er Sheva (Israeli Radio)
6:20 A.M. Since midnight, 25 rockets have been fired from Gaza (Israel Radio)
6:06 A.M. The UN Security Council closed emergency meeting ends, no decision reached (Israel Radio)
6:02 A.M IDF strikes two targets in Gaza, three Hamas militants killed (Israel Radio)
04:41 A.M. Tally of rockets from Gaza since operation launched reaches more than 90 (Haaretz)
04:04 A.M. One Gaza rocket hits open field in Be'er Sheva (Haaretz)
03:32 A.M. White House releases read out of President Obama's phone calls with Netanyahu and Egyptian President Morsi. Obama and Morsi agreed on the importance of working to de-escalate the situation as quickly as possible and agreed to stay in close touch in the days ahead. Netanyahu and Obama agreed that Hamas needs to stop its attacks on Israel to allow the situation to de-escalate (Natasha Mozgovaya)
03:00 A.M. Two rockets fired towards Be'er Sheva, no casualties reported (Haaretz)
02:28 A.M. The UN Security Council will hold a closed emergency meeting on Wednesday to discuss Israeli strikes against the Gaza Strip, France said, as Israel threatened a wider offensive in the Palestinian enclave to stem rocket salvoes by Hamas militants. The French UN mission announced on its Twitter feed that the meeting would be a "closed private debate" beginning at 9:00 P.M. EST (0200 GMT Thursday). Council diplomats said Israeli and Palestinian envoys would speak at the meeting. (Reuters)
2.19 A.M. Egyptian media reports that the military wing of Hamas claims it has fired a rocket toward Tel Aviv. The report also said Israel did not confirm the attack (Haaretz)
1:39 A.M. National Jewish Democratic Council says it stands with Israel against Hamas' rocket attacks (Natasha Mozgovaya)
1:19 A.M. Palestinians report 15 dead in Gaza, 118 wounded since Operation Pillar of Defense was launched (Haaretz)
1:13 A.M. 15 Rockets fired at Be'er Sheva (Haaretz)
1:09 A.M. Two sirens sounded in Be'er Sheva (Haaretz)
12:35 A.M. Two rockets fall in open areas in Be'er Sheva (Haaretz)
12:24 A.M. In total on Wednesday, 83 rockets were fired into Israeli territory (Haaretz)
1218 A.M. Alarm sounds in Be'er Sheva (Haaretz)