LIVE UPDATES: Operation Protective Edge, Day 5
Rockets fired at Galilee from Lebanon ● 3 rockets intercepted over Tel Aviv ● International pressure mounts to reach cease-fire.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge entered its fifth day on Saturday, with rockets continuing to target Israeli towns and cities and the IDF continuing to carry out massive airstrikes across the Gaza Strip.
Palestinian sources in Gaza describe Friday night as the most lethal yet since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge, with 14 people killed in the Strip, raising the number of Gaza deaths in to 121.
On Friday, ten Israelis were wounded, one of them seriously, by rockets that struck in Be'er Sheva and Ashdod. An elderly woman died after suffering a heart attack while seeking shelter in Haifa, which was targeted for the first time during the current round of fire.
Israeli jets have bombed over 1,100 targets across the Gaza Strip since the operation began. Reports from Gaza indicated widespread damage to houses, infrastructure and public buildings, with large numbers of civilian casualties.
On Friday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that international pressure will not halt Israeli strikes in Gaza - which will end only when "quiet is restored to Israel." Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas criticized Netanyahu for the Gaza offensive, and said that he does not have a partner for a two-state solution.
Speaking with paratroopers preparing for a possible ground offensive into Gaza, IDF chief Benny Gantz said the military "remembers there are citizens there," and accused Hamas of "turning them into hostages."
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For Friday's live updates, click here.
3:50 A.M. Israeli army special forces raided a target in the Gaza Strip, the IDF Spokesperson's Unit reported. According to the IDF, the target was a compound from which long-range rockets were fired. Four soldiers were lightly wounded in the raid, and taken to hospitals for treatment. (Haaretz)
2:21 A.M. The death toll of the airstrike on the house of Gaza's police chief rises to 18, the Palestinian news agency Ma'an reports. According to the spokesperson of the Gaza's emergency services, this is the highest number of victims from a single strike since hostilities began. 35 people were wounded in the attack, among them the police chief, Tayseer Al-Batsh. According to the report, in another attack on the town of Rafah three were killed, and five wounded. (Jack Khoury)
1:20 A.M. Dozens of right-wingers attack leftist demonstrators with clubs in central Tel Aviv after a rocket siren sounds Saturday evening. Click for full story. (Yarden Skop)
00:30 A.M. Iron Dome intercepts two rockets above Ashdod in southern Israel. Two rockets explode in open areas in Be'er Sheva, and two other landings were located in Netivot. (Gili Cohen)
00:17 A.M. Palestinian news agency Ma'an reports one man killed and five wounded in last hour after Israel Air Force strikes Rafah, Gaza Strip, raising death count since the operation started to 151.
11:41 P.M. Riots erupt in East Jerusalem. In Issawiya, youths throw stones and firebombs at police forces. A fire breaks out in the area, not far from Hadassah Hospital, Mount Scopus. Firefighters are unable to arrive at the scene due to the continued clashes. In A-Tur and in Qalandiyah several dozens of youths are clashing with police, and throwing stones and firebombs.
A firebomb was thrown at an Egged 962 bus, en route from Tiberias to Jerusalem on Route 6, south of Eyal Junction. One of the bus' windows was shuttered. Medics treated several passengers for shock. (Yaniv Kubovich)(Nir Hasson)
11:11 P.M. 2 rockets fired from Lebanon explode in western Galilee, none wounded; IDF fires artillery at Lebanon. (Haaretz)
11:05 P.M. 15 Palestinian are killed in an IDF strike on the home of Gaza's police chief Tayseer Al-Batsh, among them women and children, the Gaza Heatlh Ministry reports. According to medical sources, 35 wounded arrived at the Strip's hospitals. According to eyewitnesses, Israeli aircraft fired at least two rockets at the house, which was completely destroyed. It is suspected people are trapped under the rubble. (Jack Khoury)
10:45 P.M. Five rockets explode over the course of an hour in open areas in the Eshkol Regional Council, in Israel's south. No Damage reported. (Shirley Seidler)
10:42 P.M. Rocket siren sounds across Western Galilee.
10:05 P.M. Two rockets explode in open areas near Be'er Sheva.
10:00 P.M. The IDF is preparing to warn residents of the Gaza Strip's north to evacuate their homes in order to expand the scope of the airstrikes in the area. A senior Israeli officer says residents will be prompted to leave via telephone, pamphlets and the media. Once the population is cleared from the region the military intends to lift some of the restrictions placed on the air force units, allowing them to bolster their attacks. According to the officer, most of the rockets fired on Israel were launched from Gaza's north.
The officer adds that he believes the population will heed the military's call, as it has been previously seen in Lebanon.
"This is a highly moral measure," the officer says. "… the evacuation allows greater freedom of operation in the area. We, as an orderly country, issue warnings before striking those who want to kill our citizens." (Gili Cohen)
9:55 P.M. Hamas hacks popular Israeli Facebook pages and posts anti-Israel messages.
9:44 P.M. Israeli emergency services treat several people suffering from shock in Tel Aviv and other central Israeli cities. No injuries reported in the latest rocket barrage.
9:25 P.M. Three rockets were intercepted over Tel Aviv while another hit an open area in Rishon Letzhion, the IDF says. (Gili Cohen)
9:14 P.M. Another rocket siren sounds in central Israel.
9:06 P.M. Rocket siren sounds in Tel Aviv, Herzliya and the Sharon Plain.
8:30 P.M. An Israeli airstrike in Gaza's north targets four militants, two from Hamas and two from the Islamic Jihad. According to the IDF, the four fired rockets toward Israel. Another airstrike targets a Hamas militant's home where rocket launchers were stored. The IDF has also struck the home of Radwan Tapash, a senior Islamic Jihad operative. (Gili Cohen)
8:20 P.M. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu-Zuhri says that the group has yet to receive a "concrete offer" with regard to a cease-fire.
"We aren't begging for a truce," he said. "… If we receive a serious proposal, we will study it and issue a response. Meanwhile, the resistance forces continue to fight the occupation." (Jack Khoury)
8:18 P.M. Hamas' military wing says in a television broadcast in Hebrew that it intends to fire a barrage of J-80 missiles on Tel Aviv at 9 P.M. (Jack Khoury)
7:50 P.M. IDF says 65 rockets were fired from Gaza toward Israel so far on Saturday. Five were intercepted by the Iron Dome. According to the military, 686 rockets have been fired since Israel launched Operation Protective Edge; 142 were intercepted. The IDF has struck 1,236 times in Gaza since the operation's start.
7:30 P.M. The UN Security Council releases a press statement calling "for de-escalation of the situation, restoration of calm, and reinstitution of the November 2012 ceasefire" between Israel and Gaza.
The Rwandan envoy, who holds the council's rotating presidency this month, read out the statement, which condemned neither Israel nor Hamas.
The message, approved by all 15 members of the council, expresses "serious concern regarding the crisis related to Gaza and the protection and welfare of civilians on both." The council further urges Israel and the Palestinians to renew direct talks. (Barak Ravid)
7:18 P.M. Three rockets explode within territory under the Palestinian Authority's control. Two hit open areas in Hebron, and the third hits urban area in Bethlehem. Hamas claims responsibility for the rocket fire. (Chaim Levinson and Gili Cohen)
7:06 P.M. Senior Hamas official Osama Hamdan says that several parties are involved in mediating a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, including Egypt, Qatar and other regional and international elements.
"Israel has yet to respond to ideas that have been brought up," he said.
"There's tension between Hamas and Israel, but when it comes to Palestinian interests, this tension can be overcome," he added.
A spokesman for Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi confirmed that efforts to reach a cease-fire are ongoing, adding that escalation in violence between Gaza and Israel "serves no one, and will result in additional civilian casualties." (Jack Khoury)
6:58 P.M. Rocket siren sounds in Jerusalem region.
6:47 P.M. Three rockets explode near a town in the Eshkol Regional Council.
6:22 P.M. Two rockets intercepted near Yavneh.
6:10 P.M. Rocket alert sounds in the central Israeli towns of Rehovot, Rishon Letzion, Gan Yavneh and Lod.
6:02 P.M. U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague spoke with Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and called for the renewal of the cease-fire between Israel and Gaza, as per the agreement reached at the conclusion of Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012.
"I stressed … our deep concern about the number of civilian casualties and the need for all sides to avoid further civilian injuries and the loss of innocent life," Hague said.
“I told Minister Lieberman that continuing rocket attacks from Gaza are completely unacceptable. Israel has a right to defend itself against such attacks, but the whole world wanted to see de-escalation."
The British foreign secretary had a similar conversation with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. He lauded the latter's call for truce and asked him to "do all he could to help bring this about."
“It is clear that we need urgent, concerted international action to secure a ceasefire, as was the case in 2012," Hague added. (Barak Ravid)
5:47 P.M. A rocket fired from Gaza is intercepted over Ashkelon.
5:34 P.M. An airstrike carried out by the IDF and the Shin Bet hits three terror operatives in Gaza's north. According to defense officials, the three were involved in rocket fire. (Gili Cohen)
5:15 P.M. Gaza's health ministry reports that the number of Palestinians killed since Israel's launch of Operation Protective Edge has reached 127.
The latest strike, which targeted the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood in Gaza City on Saturday afternoon, killed six, according to the medical officials. Among the dead are two nephews of Ismail Haniyeh, vice chairman of Hamas' political bureau. (Jack Khoury)
4:11 P.M. Three rockets explode in open territories in the Merhavim Regional Council. Another rocket hits near Sderot. No damage reported. (Shirley Seidler)
3:45 P.M. The U.S. State Department relocates embassy personnel stationed in Be'er Sheva to Herzliya, in central Israel, due to the rocket fire from Gaza. The embassy and its annexes continue to operate at minimal staffing.
3:30 P.M. According to the IDF, 36 rockets have been fired from Gaza toward Israel so far on Saturday. Two were intercepted. Nineteen exploded in the Eshkol Regional Council. (Haaretz)
3:26 P.M. Two rockets explode in open territories in the Eshkol Regional Council. Three others hit the Shaar Hanegev Regional Council. No damage reported. (Shirley Seidler)
3:15 P.M. The Palestinian news agency Maan reports that six people were killed and several others were wounded in an IAF strike in Gaza City.
2:50 P.M. Two rockets land in open areas near Dimona, and three in the Eshkol Regional Council (Haaretz)
2:11 P.M. Rocket hits house in Netivot; several people treated for shock (Haaretz)
2:07 P.M. Four rockets land in open areas near Be'er Sheva (Haaretz)
1:50 P.M. Rocket alert in Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council (Haaretz)
1:39 P.M. Meretz head Zahava Galon urged Netanyahu to include Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in mediation efforts vis-a-vis Hamas. "Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is acting against the Gaza missile attacks with military means, must urgently engage with Abbas, in order that he serve as a mediating agent in diplomatic efforts to bring about a ceasefire agreement with the Haniya government. Israel has a vested interest in a strong and stable government in the Gaza Strip, because if Hamas collapses, rather than a vacuum, the space might be filled by more extremist organizations such as Islamic Jihad, and others."
Since Abbas has the ability to talk with Hamas, Galon said, "his inclusion in mediation efforts – backed by Egypt- will strengthen the standing of Abbas and Fatah in the West Bank and the Strip, and will bring about a cessation of the missile attack Israel finds itself under." (Barak Ravid)
1:36 P.M. Rocket alerts sound in Dimona, Yeruham, Bnei Shimon and Eshkol Regional Councils, areas near Netivot and Be'er Sheva (Haaretz)
1:24 P.M. Iron Dome system intercepted rocket aimed at Rehovot earlier today. Four others landed in open areas near the city.
1:22 P.M. Rocket hits greenhouse near town in Sdot Negev Regional Council. None wounded. (Shirley Seidler)
1:06 P.M. Rocket alert in Eshkol Regional Council (Haaretz)
12:41 P.M. Arab foreign ministers to hold emergency meeting in Cairo Monday, to discuss Israel's military offensive on the Gaza Strip, says Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi. The meeting was requested by Kuwait, according to al-Arabi. (DPA)
12:14 P.M. Rocket explodes in Eshkol Regional Council, starting a small fire. No injuries reported. (Shirley Seidler).
11:56 A.M. Israel is preparing for additional "long days of fighting," said Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon during a security briefing. "We are working to push forward our next objectives. Achievements are accumulating, and we are continuing to destroy significant targets belonging to Hamas and other terrorist organization. (Gili Cohen)
11:43 A.M. Wave of rocket fire targets wide swaths of Israel's south: Alerts sound across Rehovot, Kiryat Gat, Yavne, and Gedera regions, as well as Gaza-bordering regional councils. Loud explosions heard in Nes Ziona. (Haaretz)
11:29 A.M. Rocket alert sounds across Bnei Shimon Regional Council (Haaretz)
11:07 A.M. Two rockets land in open areas in Eshkol Regional Council. No injuries, or damage, reported. Rocket alert sounded (Haaretz)
10:45 A.M. Foreign citizens residing within the Gaza Strip are requesting to leave the Strip in rising numbers, Israeli authorities say, after receiving some 800 such requests in the last days, made by citizens of the U.S., Romania, Sweden, Norway, Turkey, and Australia, among others.
The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai has approved the requests, and the foreignen subjects will commence leaving the Strip via Erez crossing on Sunday. (Gili Cohen)
10:12 A.M. Gaza eyewitnesses said several people were killed when a psychiatric institution for women in Beit Lahia was hit by a missile shot by an Israeli jet. According to the reports, a number of institutionalized girls died in the attack.
Among the buildings bombed overnight are several which house Hamas institutions, as well as the residences of top Hamas operatives; among them the house of Issam Ad'alis, who served as a diplomatic advisor to Hamas's former prime minister Ismail Haniya, and that of the top commander of Al-qassam brigades, Yihia Asnouar. (Jack Khouri)
9:50 A.M. Rocket alert sounds in Eshkol Regional Council (Haaretz)
8:45 A.M. IAF struck over 60 targets overnight, killing 10 militants, six of whom were actively involved in firing rockets toward Israel, the IDF spokesperson said in a statement to the press.
IDF forces also bombed the houses of Attia Abu-Nakira, a Hamas official, and of Jihad A'nam, an officer in the military wind of Islamic Jihad. (Gili Cohen)
6:20 A.M. The Palestinians and their international supporters are discussing the text of a UN resolution proposal that would condemn all violence against civilians in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and call for "an immediate, durable and fully respected cease-fire."
An initial draft of the proposed Security Council resolution, obtained by The Associated Press, expresses "grave concern" at the escalating violence and deteriorating situation in the Palestinian territories due to Israeli military operations, particularly against the Gaza Strip, and at the heavy civilian casualties including children.
The council is deeply divided and often paralyzed over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with the United States defending close ally Israel and the majority of other council members firmly backing the Palestinians.
The draft doesn't mention Hamas' firing of rockets into Israel, which is likely unacceptable to the U.S. (AP)
5:48 A.M. The U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv orders embassy personnel assigned to Be’er Sheva to relocate north to Herzliya.
5:10 A.M. Alarm sounds in the Eshkol Regional Council. (Haaretz)
4:20 A.M. Three rockets explode in open areas in the Be'er Sheva area. (Shirly Seidler)
3:57 A.M. Sirens sound in Be'er Sheva and towns throughout the Northern Negev.
3:14 A.M. Palestinian sources report that five Gaza residents including one aged 17 were killed in Israeli air raids on Jabalia and Gaza city, late Friday night.
1:40 A.M. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon spoke by phone on Friday, a U.S. State Department press release said.
Hagel "reaffirmed Israel's right to defend itself against these attacks, "the statement said. “He also expressed concern about the risk of further escalation and emphasized the need for all sides to do everything they can to protect the lives of civilians and restore calm.”
12:17 A.M. Sirens sound in two Eshkol Regional Council kibbutzim.
11:27 P.M. Hamas's armed wing has warned airlines that it intends to target Israel's Ben Gurion International Airport with its rockets from Gaza and has told them not to fly there, a statement by the group said on Friday.
"In the light of Israel's ... attacks on the residents of Gaza Strip ... The armed wing of Hamas movement has decided to respond to the Israeli aggression and we warn you against carrying out flights to Ben Gurion airport, which will be one of our targets today because it also hosts a military air base," the statement said. (Reuters)
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