Live updates, July 4: East Jerusalem clashes
Palestinians, police clash in East Jerusalem; 14 rockets and mortars fired into Israel in 24 hours.
Rockets and mortar shells fired from within the Gaza Strip continued to batter Israel's south on Friday, hours after the BBC reported that an Egypt-mediated ceasefire between Israel and the Hamas was to be announced shortly.
Some 18 Palestinians were wounded Friday in clashes with Israeli forces following the funeral of Muhammed Abu-Khdeir, the 16-year-old Palestinian whose body was found early Tuesday in a West Jerusalem forest. According to Palestinian officials, one was seriously hurt.
Thousands of Palestinians took part in the funeral procession. Israeli security forces blocked the crossings between East Jerusalem and the rest of the city ahead of the event. Palestinian officials claimed that the road blocks prevented tens of thousands from attending the funeral.
The violence between hundreds of masked youths and the security forces broke out shortly before the funeral, which began at the mosque in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Shoafat.
Clashes also broke out in Ramallah. Palestinian rioters threw stones and Molotov cocktails toward Israeli troops in three different sites. The troops responded with live fire, rubber bullets and tear gas. According to the Israel Defense Forces, eight Palestinians were wounded.
The suspicion that Abu-Khdeir was killed by Israeli extremists in a revenge attack for the murder of the three Jewish teens has been a major cause of the violence in Jerusalem over the past two days.
11:47 P.M. Rocket fired from Gaza explodes in an open field outside Sderot, no damage or casualties reported. (Shirley Seidler)
11:28 P.M. Riots are breaking out the Palestinian neighborhoods of East Jerusalem. (Nir Haason)
11:17 P.M. Palestinians are throwing stones and fire bombs near Ma'ale Adumim, outside Jerusalem (Nir Hasson)
11:01 P.M. Mortar shell explodes in open area in Eshkol Regional Council; no damage done. (Shirley Seidler)
9:57 P.M. Palestinian sources report that clashes in Shoafat have not stopped after Abu-Khdeir's funeral. Residents say security forces are using tear gas in an attempt to disperse the riots, which gained momentum after the Ramadan fast was broken at sundown.
Photos emerge showing Palestinians attempting to cut down posts that support Light Rail infrastructure in Jerusalem. The damage is estimated at tens of millions of shekels. (Nir Hasson)
9:54 P.M. Six mortar shells explode in open areas in Eshkol Regional Council. (Shirley Seidler).
9:42 P.M. Rocket strikes open area in Eshkol Regional Council in southern Israel. (Shirley Seidler)
8:44 P.M. The IDF says 14 rockets and mortar shells have been fired toward Israel over the past 24 hours. Three were intercepted. (Gili Cohen)
8:21 P.M. The IDF carried out several air strikes in the Gaza Strip. The IDF Spokesperson said the Israel Air Force struck three "terror targets" in southern Gaza. "The IDF is prepared and ready to protect Israeli citizens against any threat and will continue to work as long as necessary to restore quiet. The terror group Hamas is the address and it is held accountable," an official statement read.
Residents of Gaza vicinity communities are instructed to remain close to shelters.
8:16 P.M. Egypt has stepped up efforts over the past day to mediate between Israel and Hamas in order to renew the cease-fire. Cairo increased pressure on the Hamas leadership in Gaza to halt mortar fire by Hamas militants and rocket fire by the smaller Palestinian factions in Gaza. (Amos Harel)
7:10 P.M. 13 police officers were lightly wounded in the clashes in Jerusalem. Six were evacuated to the hospital to receive medical care. (Nir Hasson)
7:03 P.M. IDF soldiers open fire on two Palestinians who approached the Gaza fence. The two sustained wounds to their upper body. IDF officials say the Palestinians were moving something on the ground that appeared to be an explosive device. (Gili Cohen)
6:40 P.M. Mortar shell explodes in open area in Eshkol Regional Council. (Shirley Seidler)
6:14 P.M. MK Ahmed Tibi (United Arab List) spoke at the funeral of Muhammed Abu-Khdeir and said, "We don't demand revenge - we demand freedom."
"The murder is an outcome of incitement that took advantage of the kidnapping of the three Israeli teens," Tibi said. (Jack Khoury, Jonathan Lis)
5:51 P.M. Rocket explodes in Eshkol Regional Council, causes damage to a house. (Shirley Seidler)
5:02 P.M. Hundreds of Israeli Arabs rally in Sakhnin in support of the Palestinian struggle. They are waving Palestinian and Syrian flags. (Jack Khoury)
5:07 P.M. Palestinian youths burn tires at Ramat Rachel Forest, setting fires in several areas. (Nir Hasson)
4:35 P.M. Some 18 Palestinians are wounded in clashes with Israeli forces following Muhammed Abu-Khdeir's funeral. According to Palestinian officials, one was seriously hurt. (Nir Hasson, Jack Khoury and Gili Cohen)
4:18 P.M. A mortar shell explodes near a town in the Eshkol Regional Council (Shirely Seidler)
4:10 P.M. The Iron Dome missile defense system intercepts two rockets fired toward the towns of Ofakim and Netivot. (Gili Cohen and Shirley Seidler)
4:00 P.M. A mortar shell explodes in an open area in the Eshkol Regional Council (Shirley Seidler)
2:49 P.M. Thousands of Palestinians taking part in Muhammed Abu-Khdeir's funeral processsion in Shoafat.
2:10 P.M. Messages being sent to Hamas about a cease-fire are a mistake, says Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, speaking on the issue during a visit to Sderot. "The attitude that 'quiet will be answered with quiet' is a grave mistake, and we in Yisrael Beiteinu reject out of hand this attitude."
It could not be that after "they kidnapped and murdered three of our boys and after two straight weeks of falling rockets" Israel's approach is to postpone dealing with the problem, he added.
Lieberman called on destroying the "terror infrastructure" and "factories for producing rockets that by now reach Netanya." The foreign minister stressed that it is impossible to destroy this infrastructure solely from the air.
"Most of those rocket factories are located under schools, clinics and mosques," he said. "We need to catch all those who carried out and supported kidnapping and murdering the children, including Ismail Haniyeh and Khaled Mashal," added Lieberman, referring to the two leaders of Hamas. (Jonathan Lis)
1:20 P.M. Palestinians clash with IDF troops in several locations in Ramallah area: Stones, firebombs hurled at IDF troops, who respond with fire, injuring eight: One Palestinian injured by live fire, five from non-lethal fire, and two from inhaling tear gas.
1:02 P.M. Dozens of young Palestinian men attempting to break through police's blockade of Jerusalem Old City are pushed back with crowd-control measures.
Police and stone-throwers clashed in the nearby neighborhood of Ras al-Amud, meanwhile. (Nir Hasson)
12:35 P.M. Teenager lightly injured when rock-throwers attack bus traveling through Wadi Ara (Eli Ashkenazi)
12:01 P.M. Two mortar shells strike in Eshkol Regional Council. No injuries reorted, and no damage incurred. (Shirley Seidler)
11:53 A.M. Gush Etzion Council announces establishment of two new settlements "of significant character," says eight caravans have been set up near Tekoa and Bat Ayin, and that the council plans to add hundreds of housing units to outposts in near future. (Haaretz)
11:16 A.M. Israel's security establishment has of yet issued no response to reports on a forthcoming ceasefire with Hamas, but an official has said any such decision hinges on a complete stop to rockets being fired from within the Strip. If Hamas stops firing towards Israeli territory, the source said, Israel will cease its jet strikes in the Strip. He added that Israel passed a "very clear" message to Hamas that "quiet will be met with quiet," and said that at this time, "the ball rests in Hamas' court. If they accept a unilateral ceasefire, quiet will resume." (Jack Khouri)
9:12 A.M. An Egyptian-mediated ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas is to be announced shortly, the BBC reports, citing a Hamas source.
The source said "intensive contacts" between Hamas and Egyptian officials "succeeded in reaching a new truce between Hamas and Israel, and that the ceasefire agreement was to be announced within hours," according to the BBC. (Haaretz)
06:02 A.M. Sirens sound in Sderot, the Eshkol region, Sdot Negev and Shaar Hanegev Regional Council. No reports of rockets landing.
23:40 P.M. Rocket falls close to a village in the Shaar Hanegev regional council. No injuries reported. (Shirley Siedler)
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