LIVE BLOG: Day 6 of Israel-Gaza conflict 2012
Forum of nine senior Israeli ministers to convene to discuss future of Gaza operation; UN chief Ban Ki-moon arrives in Cairo to discuss cease-fire efforts; Hamas-run Health Ministry says number of Palestinians killed in Gaza reaches 100; IDF kills top Islamic Jihad leader.
Operation Pillar of Defense entered its sixth day on Monday with relative quiet on the Israeli side and a night of attacks in the Gaza Strip. The IDF said it struck 80 targets in the coastal territory overnight, and that at least 14 Palestinians were killed.
According to the IDF, the death toll in the coastal territory since the operation began has reached 95 people, one-third of them uninvolved in the conflict.
Rocket fire against Israeli territory resumed Monday morning, after a night of calm, and turned into a full-blown barrage by early afternoon.
Meanwhile, Egyptian intelligence officials were continuing with their efforts to reach a cease-fire between Hamas and Israel.
10:59 P.M. Netanyahu rejects French-Qatari cease-fire initiatives. PM tells French foreign minister that Israel is not interested in French or Qatari mediation and prefers to avoid any moves that might interfere with the Egyptian mediation.
10:48 P.M. Christians United for Israel, the United States’ largest pro-Israel organization, has launched a campaign to ban Hamas from Twitter. In a letter to Twitter, the group writes: "By allowing Hamas to have a Twitter account, you are providing it with an important 'service' and extremely effective 'communications equipment' which are central to its primary mission of terrorizing the Israeli people and using civilian deaths to score political points."
10:12 P.M. Lebanese Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah says Israel has failed to achieve its objectives in its Gaza campaign. "The shelling is clearly and deliberately targeting civilians and killing women and children," he tells supporters via a video screen in a speech to mark the Shi'ite Muslim holy day of Ashura. "The military operation has failed to achieve its targets. The killing is aimed at putting pressure on the leadership of the resistance in the Gaza Strip to drop its conditions (for a truce)." (Reuters)
10:04 P.M. Four rockets explode in open land in Be'er Sheva.
10:00 P.M. Israel's forum of nine senior ministers meets to discuss Operation Pillar of Defense; Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee to meet Tuesday morning to vote on whether or not to approve the defense minister's request to expand IDF reserve call-up.
9:57 P.M. Sirens sound in Be'er Sheva, indicating rocket fire.
9:38 P.M. Since Operation Pillar of Defense began, more than 10 shoulder missiles have been launched from Gaza at Israeli aircrafts. Until recently, fire toward military aircrafts was regarded as exceptionally out of the ordinary, but according to a senior IAF officer, "our pilots are familiar with the threats in Gaza, and there are no few antiaircraft threats. We shape our flight policies to those threats."
9:31 P.M. U.S. President Barack Obama calls Egyptian President Mohammad Morsi and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss the ongoing violence; Obama and Morsi discuss ways to de-deescalate the situation in Gaza, and Obama underscores the need for Hamas to stop firing rockets into Israel; Obama expresses regret for the deaths of Israeli and Palestinian civilians in his calls with both leaders, White House statement says (AP)
8:41 P.M. Ma'an news agency reports two Palestinians killed in an IAF attack on Nuseirat refugee camp.
7:48 P.M. Forum of nine senior Israeli ministers to convene within the hour, discuss options for continuing Gaza operation (Barak Ravid)
7:47 P.M. A CNN/ORC International poll found that 57% of the public says Israel is justified in taking military action in Gaza against Hamas; one in four saying the attacks are unjustified.7:47 P.M. A CNN/ORC International poll that 57% of the public says Israel is justified in taking military action in Gaza against Hamas; one in four saying the attacks are unjustified.
7:29 P.M. United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon arrived late Monday in Cairo to discuss ceasefire efforts in Gaza led by Egypt. "I strongly urge the parties to cooperate with all efforts led by Egypt to reach an immediate ceasefire," Ban had said before leaving New York for Cairo. He is expected to meet later Monday with Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Amr. Ban is due to meet with Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi on Tuesday before heading to Israel (DPA)
7:12: Israeli woman lightly wounded from shrapnel in Eshkol regional council (Yanir Yagna)
6:42: Ma'an news agency report two killed in Israeli airstrike on Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza.
6:34 P.M. Iron Dome intercepts two rockets headed for Ashkelon Regional Council; a third rocket lands in an open space next to a school that was struck this morning; no casualties reported.
6:32 P.M. A senior Egyptian official tells Haaretz: "We are very close to a cease-fire. What is needed is more flexibility on the Israeli side, tomorrow will be a critical day in the talks."
6:25 P.M. Hamas-run Health Ministry says number of Palestinians killed in Gaza reached 100 on Monday. According to the ministry, the dead include 24 children and 10 women. (Reuters)
5:37 P.M. One Israeli injured from shrapnel, apparently due to a rocket interception. He was taken to Soroka Medical Center.
4:55 P.M. The IAF killed senior Islamic Jihad member Ramez Hamez, who was involved in launching long-range missiles toward Israel. The IDF reports it hit three more Jihad operatives: Baha Abu al-Alta, a member of the organization's supreme military council, who was also involved in launching long-range missiles; Tayasir Jabari, also a member of the military council in charge of its operations portfolio; and Khalil Bahatini, also involved in long-range launches. According to the report, the four were hit at the Gaza media center. Antennae and other broadcasting equipment stationed on the roof of the building were also damaged (Gili Cohen)
5:40 P.M. Since the start of Operation Pillar of Defense, the IDF has attacked more than 1,350 targets in the Gaza Strip, 80 of them on Monday. The Iron Dome system intercepted 324 rockets, 19 on Monday. 1,128 rockets were fired at Israel, with 37 landing in populated areas. 42 rockets were fired Monday at Israel, compared with 230 rockets on Saturday and 156 on Sunday (Gili Cohen)
5:17 P.M. IDF reports that it wounded three other Islamic Jihad militants in the strike that killed the top leader.
4:59 P.M. At least two rockets that were ready to be fired at Israel have been found in southern Lebanon, a security source said Monday. "The two-soviet made Grad rockets were found in the Lebanese border village of Hilta," the Lebanese source told DPA.
4:47 P.M. Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad says an Israeli strike on a Gaza media center has killed one of its top militant leaders. It's the second strike on the building in two days. The Hamas TV station, Al Aqsa, is located on the top floor.
Islamic Jihad has sent a text message to reporters saying that Ramez Harb was killed in the strike Monday. Harb is a leading figure in their militant wing, the Al Quds Brigades. (AP)
4:33 P.M. Egyptian Prime Minister Hesham Qandil says a cease-fire agreement may be signed soon between Israel and Hamas. "The negotiations continue, and I hope that soon we will reach something that will put a stop to the mutual violence. I think we are close, but this kind of negotiations is very difficult, and it is hard to make predictions. President Morsi is committed to fulfill his role as a major player in the area and help with the resolution." (Reuters)
4:20 P.M. Code Red missile alert in Eshkol Regional Council (Haaretz)
3:52 p.m. Hamas politburo chief Khaled Meshal holds a press conference in Cairo after meeting with Egyptian intelligence officials.
"Whoever started the war must end it," Khaled Meshal tells a news conference in Cairo.
Meshal says Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had requested a ceasefire, Israel denies the statement.
"This is a difficult, but magnificent moment in the history of the Palestinian problem, in our brave journey of resistance and combat, nobility, so deeply rooted in the Palestinian land," Meshal said. "Whoever attacks Palestine will be buried by it. Anyone who invades our Arab nations will be defeated for generations."
"Netanyahu wanted to achieve several targets but has not succeeded. He succeeded in killing commander Ahmed Jabari but also wanted to damage the military wing's infrastructure, especially the long-range missiles."
"This enemy," Meshal added, "is trying its weapons and its Iron Dome in anticipation of other wars, and yet the limited weapons in Gaza embarrassed it and its army. How will it succeed in other wars? It has an army, true, but no patience or legitimacy."
"Today," he went on, "Netanyahu is concentrating on military calculations. He's making calculations in the run-up to the elections. He's killing children. And when he saw that Gaza is standing on its own two feet, he tried to break its willpower, and attacked civilians. He is a war criminal."
3:43 P.M. Hamas political leaders holds press conference after truce talks held in Egypt
3:15 P.M. Palestinian media reports that an elderly woman was killed in an Israel Air Force strike on Beit Hanoun, in north Gaza; Iron Dome intercepts 3 rockets above Ashdod.
3:05 P.M. Iron Dome intercepts three missiles above Ashkelon (Haaretz)
2:50 P.M. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman agree to give international efforts to bring about a cease-fire more time.
2:35 Woman lightly wounded in Ashkelon from rocket that exploded while trying to seek shelter
2:29 P.M. Rockets explode in Ashdod, Ashkelon, and Gan Yavne
2:25 P.M. Rocket alerts sounded in dozens of towns, including Ashkelon, Ashdod, Sha'ar Hanegev, Hof Ashkelon, Be'er Tuvia, and Gadera.
2:16 P.M. Another rocket intercepted by Iron Dome over Be'er Sheva
2:07 P.M. Rocket explodes in open area near Be'er Sheva
2:02 P.M. Iron Dome intercepts rocket in Be'er Sheva, alarm sounded within moments
2:00 P.M. Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan says Israel carrying out "terrorist attacks" in Gaza. (Reuters)
1:34 P.M. Pakistani hackers take credit for taking down website of Groupon Israel.
1:23 P.M. Two rockets strike Ashkelon building, causing damage but no casualties. Another rocket strikes Ofakim, and two more are intercepted by Iron Dome.
1:10 P.M. Rocket warning siren goes off in Ashkelon.
1:00 P.M. Palestinian news agency Ma'an reports that Hamas chief Khaled Meshal, Islamic Jihad leader Ramadan Shallah and Egyptian intelligence officials are meeting in Cairo in an effort to reach an agreement on a cease-fire in Gaza.
According to Egyptian media reports, Egyptian intelligence chief Raafat Shehata presented Israel's response to Hamas' demands for a cease-fire.
12:52 Rocket warning sirens go off in Sderot and western Negev.
12:45 P.M. NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen urges Israel to show "restraint" in its defense against attacks from Gaza. "Of course Israel has the right to self-defense, and attacks against Israel must end. But the international community would also expect Israel to show restraint," Rasmussen says. (DPA)
12:42 P.M. Rocket falls in open area in western Negev.
12:36 P.M. Iron Dome intercepts four rockets above Ashdod.
12:34 P.M. Rocket warning sirens go off in Ashdod and Hof Ashkelon.
11:57 A.M. Rocket strikes open area in Sderot.
11:31 A.M. Rocket barrage strikes Eshkol Regional Council and Ofakim area. Another rocket fired at Gan Yavneh. Iron Dome intercepts rocket above Be'er Sheva. No injuries or damages are reported in any of the incidents.
11:15 A.M. Rocket alert warning sounds in Ofakim.
11:00 A.M. Two Palestinians killed in IAF bombing in Khan Younis. Palestinian sources report that the victims were civilians. The intended target was apparently two men riding a motorcycle nearby. Another man was killed in Gaza while riding in his car.
10:41 A.M. Four rockets are fired at Ashkelon, bringing total rocket fire against Israel so far on Monday to 17. Three of them are intercepted by Iron Dome, while the other explodes in the city and damages a building. No casualties are reported.
10:30 A.M. Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz tells Army Radio: If truce not reached, IDF will expand operation within hours, not days.
10:25 A.M. IDF says more than 90 Palestinians, one-third of them uninvolved in conflict, have been killed since beginning of Operation Pillar of Defense.
9:50 A.M. Vandals set fire to the entrance of a mosque in the northern West Bank in a suspected "price-tag" attack. According to Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian activist who monitors settlers' activities in the area, a group apparently from the nearby settlement of Yitzhar entered the village of Ureef in the early morning, poured flammable liquid over the entrance of Ribat mosque and set it alight. Daghlas says residents were awakened by the noise and the fire and rushed to put it out, but the vandals had already left when they arrived. The damage did not spread beyond the mosque door. (DPA)
9:48 A.M. Thirteen rockets recorded so far on Monday: 11 rockets have struck the Eshkol Regional Council, one has hit Sdot Negev, and another has landed in Sha'ar Hanegev.
8:58 A.M. IDF says 40 smuggling tunnels between Gaza and Rafah bombed overnight; Gaza stadium used for launching rockets also attacked; 95 Palestinians killed since beginning of operation, nearly 1/3 of them uninvolved.
8:40 A.M. Rocket alert sounds in Sdot Negev (Haaretz)
8:09 A.M. Three Palestinians killed by IDF in Dir Balah. Eilat residents report hearing blast.
8:05 A.M. According to IDF statistics, Israel has attacked over 1,350 targets since the beginning of the current offensive. More than 540 rockets have fallen inside Israel, all but 35 of them in open areas, while Iron Dome systems have intercepted 310 rockets.
8:00 A.M. Four rockets fired from Gaza land in open spaces in the western Negev. No wounded or property damage reported.
7:40 A.M. In a statement, IDF says it attacked some 80 targets overnight in Gaza, including rocket launchers, smuggling tunnels and training camps, destroying arms caches.
6:50 A.M. Palestinians report 11 killed overnight in IDF attacks overnight on Gaza, including a 60-year-old woman, a 19-year-old woman, a child of 4 and a one-year-old baby. Some 70 reported wounded, mainly in the Zeitun neighborhood in northern Gaza.
6:30 A.M. Red alert in Sha'ar Hanegev and Hof Ashkelon Regional Council.
5:15 A.M. Palestinians report death toll has risen to five in earlier Rafah strike. Meanwhile, Palestinian news agency Ma'an has reported that three others were killed in an IDF strike in the Zeitoun neighborhood, north Gaza overnight. Ma'an reports that a Gaza police station was targeted in the strikes. According to Ma'an, a total of nine Palestinians have been killed in the Strip since midnight. (Haaretz)
03:30 A.M. PLO official Nabil Shaath tells Palestinian news agency Ma'an negotiations in Cairo have made progress, but that an Israel-Hamas cease-fire "is not likely to take effect in the coming days because Israel is trying to impose its own stipulations ignoring the demands of Hamas and other Palestinian factions." According to Ma'an, Shaath said that Israel initially requested that Hamas hand over all weapons - a request that Hamas refused. Shaath said Hamas said it would agree to stop targeting civilians if there was a truce. He also said that Turkey and Qatar are very active in Egypt-brokered negotiations. (Haaretz)
03:12 A.M. Palestinian news agency Ma'an reports that Marwan Barghouti, the jailed Fatah leader in prison in Israel, has called on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to visit the Gaza Strip to show "steadfastness and resistance." Bargouti also urged Palestinians to protest against Israeli strikes on Gaza, and denounced "brutal Israeli aggression" in a statement, according to Ma'an's report. Barghouti also reportedly said that Arab countries, particularly Egypt and Jordan, should rethink their relationships with Israel. (Haaretz)
1:00 A.M. Palestinian media report three killed in IAF air strike in Rafah's Miraj neighborhood. The three fatalities include 60-year-old Sabha Muhawish al-Hashash, 20-year-old Mahmoud Sami Shaath and a third unidentified person. (Haaretz)
12:03 A.M. Al-Arabiya reports that Morocco has announced that it will set up a field hospital in the Gaza Strip. (Haaretz)
11:27 P.M. Just 75 rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel on Sunday, compared to an average of 230 rockets per day over the weekend – a two-thirds drop in rocket fire. The IDF states that since the beginning of the escalation of the conflict, over 980 rockets have been launched from the Gaza Strip toward Israel and that approximately 100 rockets have landed in Gaza. According to the IDF, a rocket siren sounds, on average, every seven minutes somewhere in Israel.
11:24 P.M. Ramzi Hamad, one of the heads of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, says that Hamas and Israel have agreed on 90% of the terms of a cease-fire agreement, according to Al Jazeera. One of the heads of Fatah, Nabil Shaath, who is currently in Cairo, said talks on a cease-fire have entered an advanced stage.