LIVE UPDATES: Operation Protective Edge, Day 34
Rocket fire toward Israeli communities and IDF strikes in Gaza persist until moments before 72-hour truce is to commence.
The 72-hour truce agreed upon by Israel and Hamas is to take effect at midnight on Monday. If it is upheld, an Israeli delegation will leave for Cairo.
The head of the Palestinian delegation, Azzam Ahmed, said that unless Israel agrees to return to Egyptian-mediated negotiations to end the war in Gaza without pre-conditions, the delegation will leave Cairo.
Israel struck more than 25 targets in the Gaza Strip on Sunday and some 60 the day before. Rocket fire from Gaza toward Israeli communities persisted up until minutes before the cease-fire period began.
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Latest updates [Sunday]:
11:48 P.M. Rocket sirens sound in Ashdod, Kiryat Malakhi, Be'er Sheva regions. (Haaretz)
11:26 P.M. Rocket alerts sound across Gaza-bordering regions. (Haaretz)
10:55 P.M. Rocket sirens sound in towns near Gaza border. (Haaretz)
10:26 P.M. Sources close to Economy Minister Naftali Bennett said on Sunday the he opposes the cease-fire with Hamas. "The cease-fire is a green light for Hamas to start shooting at us in 72 hours," they said, adding that "you don't need to negotiate with a terror organization like Hamas. You need to treat Hamas like an organization firing rockets at us." (Barak Ravid)
10:06 P.M. One rocket explodes in an open area in Ashdod, another rocket intercepted above the city..
10:00 P.M. Rocket alarm sirens sound in Ashdod and nearby towns.
9:54 P.M. Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon confirmed Hamas was holding the body of Oron Shaul, the Golani fighter whose place of burial is not known, during a visit to the family's home.
Ya'alon said that the defense establishment is dedicated to properly burying Shaul, "and will not rest and will not be silent until that happens. It's clear to us that Oron's body is in Hamas hands, and we are making every effort to get it returned." (Gili Cohen and Barak Ravid)
9:31 P.M. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that he had stressed from the start of the Gaza operation that Israel would not negotiate under fire. "We have proved that we stand behind that statement," Netanyahu said at a meeting with President Reuven Rivlin. "Since Hamas violated the cease-fire on Friday, the IDF struck it very hard. We are determined to achieve the objectives of Operation Protective Edge – restoring long-term quiet to the residents of Israel, while significantly damaging the terrorist organizations." Netanyahu added: "I said from the start of the operation: Either we achieve this militarily, achieve it politically, or achieve this using a combination of the two." (Barak Ravid)
8:51 P.M. 35 rockets and mortar shells launched at Israel since midnight. Eight rockets intercepted.
Israeli Air Force struck 41 targets in Gaza since midnight. (Gili Cohen)
8:29 P.M. Rocket explodes in open area in Sdot Negev Regional Council. A rocket exploded a few minutes earlier near a community in Hof Ashkelon Regional Council and caused a fire. Firefighting teams are on their way to the scene. In addition, a rocket exploded in an open area in Sdot Negev Regional Council; no damages. (Shirly Seidler)
8:18 P.M. IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz said on Sunday that "Hamas has been hit badly, alongside the other terror organizations." Speaking during a visit to towns around the Gaza border, Gantz added that "what is needed at this stage is resilience, good defensive capabilities and a continuation of the attack mission." (Gili Cohen)
8:12 P.M. Hamas official confirms Palestinian factions accept 72-hour cease-fire, will resume negotiations. (Reuters)
7:55 P.M. Senior Israeli officials say Israel has accepted Egypt's proposal a new 72-hour cease-fire in Gaza, beginning at midnight Sunday. In accordance to Israel's statement that it would not negotiate under fire, officials said that the Israeli delegation will travel to Cairo if the cease-fire is fully observed. (Barak Ravid)
7:32 P.M. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi left for Saudi Arabia on Sunday for talks with King Abdullah on regional developments, including Gaza, Iraq, Syria and Libya. (DPA)
7:21 P.M. IDF strikes rocket launcher in Gaza that fired rockets towards Israel early Sunday. Air Force also struck two militants about to launch in the southern Gaza Strip. IDF also targeted fighters in north Gaza. (Gili Cohen)
7:14 P.M. Egypt calls on Israel and the Palestinians to accept a new 72-hour truce in Gaza starting at midnight to allow peace talks to resume, the foreign ministry said in a statement. (Reuters)
7:05 P.M. Rocket barrage fired at southern Israel.
7:02 P.M. Palestinian factions agreed on Sunday to a new 72-hour Gaza cease-fire, Egyptian state television reported, quoting a Palestinian source. The cease-fire could begin as early as midnight local time.
Egypt is trying to keep indirect Israeli-Palestinian talks alive after a three-day truce expired on Friday and fighting resumed.
There was no immediate announcement from Israel. (Reuters)
6:43 P.M. Rocket alarm sirens sound in Hof Ashkelon Regional Council.
6:39 P.M. Rocket alarm sirens sound in Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council.
6:01 P.M. Rocket explodes in open area in Sdot Negev Regional Council. (Shirly Seidler)
5:34 P.M. Fourmortar shells explode in Eshkol Regional Council, causing damage to a community's border fence. (Shirly Seidler)
4:21 P.M. Three rockets explode in open areas in Hof Ashkelon Regional Council. No damages. (Shirly Seidler)
4:07 P.M. The Iron Dome defense system intercepts two rockets over Sdot Negev Regional Council and another rocket over Ashkelon. Two other rockets exploded in open areas.
The IDF spokesperson confirms that the air force struck two militants in the north and south of Gaza, adding that direct hit had been identified. The defense establishment has decided to close the Kerem Shalom border crossing, due to rocket fire in the area.
The borders authority in the defense ministry said after the decision was announced that the rocket had nearly hit trucks carried flammable materials to Gaza. (Gili Cohen)
3:32 P.M. Rocket alarm sirens sound in southern towns near Gaza border.
3:30 P.M. The IDF releases a statement expressing regret over the death of a Palestinian boy during clashes in the Al-Fawar refugee camp near Hebron. "In a confrontation that developed during an operation in Al-Fawar, IDF forces opened fire that killed a young Palestinian," The IDF said, adding that the circumstances of the incident were being checked and that a case would be opened by the military’s criminal investigation division. (Gili Cohen)
3:20 P.M. Rocket alarm sirens sound in towns on Gaza border.
3:13 P.M. Rocket sirens sound in Ashkelon and surrounding areas.
3:11 P.M. Palestinian negotiators in Cairo say they have accepted an Egyptian proposal for a new, three-day cease-fire with Israel.
The decision aims to clear the way for renewed negotiations with Israel on a long-term truce arrangement in the Gaza Strip.
The officials, representing various Palestinian factions, spoke on condition of anonymity because they were discussing sensitive negotiations. (AP)
2:55 P.M. At least one rocket intercepted over Sderot. (Shirly Seidler)
2:23 P.M. Three rockets hit Israeli towns on Gaza border, two in open areas - causing fire to erupt - and one on main road. (Shirly Seidler)
2:18 P.M. The government has approved the establishment of a new student village in Sderot, the Prime Minister's Office says in a statement. Construction is to cost 50 million shekels.
According to the statement, the village is to consist of 150 apartments for 300 students attending Sapir College and other post-secondary institutions in the region. The housing project is expected to be put into use within a few months due to an expedient construction method.
2:20 P.M. Two rockets explode in an open area near a kibbutz in Sha'ar Hanegev, causing a fire. Another hits a road, causing damage. No casualties reported. (Gili Cohen and Shirly Seidler)
2:03 P.M. Rocket alerts sound twice within minutes in Sha'ar Hanegev, on Gaza border.
1:26 P.M. Palestinian negotiators will remain in Cairo for an urgent meeting with the Arab League on Monday to discuss the Gaza crisis, Egypt's state MENA news agency said, despite Hamas' threats to leave if the Israeli delegation does not arrive by later Sunday. (Reuters) Read full article
12:50 P.M. A rocket explodes in Eshkol Regional Council; no casualties or damage reported. (Shirly Seidler)
12:24 P.M. The Palestinian delegation to the truce talks in Cairo rejects the Israeli demand that a cease-fire be instated before the talks can resume.
"We reject this precondition," the head of the delegation, Azzam Ahmed, says. Unlike in past instances, Egypt expressed support for the Palestinian stance by agreeing to mediate the talks while the fighting continues.
Ahmed reiterated that unless Israel responds to the Palestinian demands on Sunday, his delegation will "return to Palestine for consultations." (Zvi Bar'el)
12:04 P.M. A teen was killed by IDF gunfire in the Al-Fawar refugee camp near Hebron, Reuters and the Palestinian news agency Ma'an report.
According to Ma'an, Israeli forces entered the refugee camp for reasons as yet unknown. Residents began throwing rocks at the troops, and a clash ensued. Witnesses say that the teenager, who did not take part in the violence, was standing at the entrance to his home when soldiers fired at him. Medical officials told Ma'an that the boy, Khalil al-Anati, arrived at the hospital in Hebron with gunshot injuries to the stomach. He later died of his wounds.
"Khalil was standing outside and at a distance some kids were throwing stones at the Israeli army," al-Anati told Reuters. "Suddenly Khalil collapsed to the ground and we rushed to him; he was all covered in blood."
An Israeli military spokeswoman said she was checking the report.
11:28 A.M. A 14-year-old boy was killed and three were wounded in an Israeli air strike in Dir al-Balah, according to the Palestinian health ministry. Earlier three Palestinians were killed in separate attacks in the Strip. The latest incidents raise the Palestinian death toll in the Israeli operation in Gaza to 1,917. According to Palestinian officials, 9,878 have been wounded.
11:15 A.M. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tells ministers during a cabinet meeting in Jerusalem that the Gaza operation "will continue and will take time."
"Hamas won't wear us down, and we will not negotiate under fire," he adds.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman tells the cabinet: "Hamas must be defeated."
"We [must] clean up the area and leave as fast as possible. If only someone would have listened to me on day one, we would have been done already."
10:53 A.M. The Israel Air Force has struck 25 Gaza targets since midnight. (Gili Cohen)
10:49 A.M. Interior Minister Gideon Sa'ar said during the cabinet meeting in Jerusalem that Israel must "break the Hamas' military force in Gaza. This was true before and it is true now, residents of the Gaza envelope must be able to return safely to their homes." (Barak Ravid)
10:31 A.M. Prosecutors in Be'er Sheva are to press charges against six Palestinians affiliated with Hamas and the Islamic Jihad for their involvement in rocket fire on Israel and the digging of tunnels from Gaza. The six were arrested after Israel's Operation Protective Edge was launched on July 8. (Shirly Seidler)
9:39 A.M. Four mortar shells explode in Eshol Regional Council. (Shirly Seidler)
8:44 A.M. Palestinian negotiator Bassam Salhi, who represents a small PLO faction, says his team met late Saturday with Egyptian mediators.
In the meeting, the Palestinians were told that Egypt is in touch with Israeli officials and hopes to make progress, Salhi said.
"We told the Egyptians that if the Israelis are not coming and if there is no significant development, we are leaving today," he says. (AP)
6:31 A.M. Two rockets exploded in open field in Eshkol Regional Council. (Haaretz)
6:14 A.M. Rocket sirens sound in Israeli town near Gaza border. (Haaretz)
4:05 A.M. Latest rocket siren was a false alarm. (Israel Radio)
3:35 A.M. Rocket sirens sound in two Israeli towns by Gaza border. (Haaretz)
2:43 A.M. About 500 demonstrators in New York have turned out to protest Israeli actions against Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip.
They met near Columbus Circle and marched to United Nations headquarters Saturday, chanting: "Free, free Palestine! Occupation is a crime!"
Zouleikha Ban says she was born in Algeria, but protesters feel they are all Palestinians because she says "there is no justice" in Gaza.
Protest organizers called for an end to U.S. aid to Israel.
A social media movement aimed at uniting Jews and Arabs planned a silent protest and candlelight vigil in Dag Hammarskjold Plaza near UN headquarters later Saturday.
Hundreds of pro-Palestinian supporters demonstrated in front of a midtown Manhattan office building on Aug. 1 after a 72-hour humanitarian cease-fire broke down in Gaza. (AP)
12:05 A.M. Palestinian negotiators will leave Cairo on Sunday unless Israel agrees to return to Egyptian-mediated negotiations to end the war in Gaza without setting conditions, the head of the delegation Azzam Ahmed said.
"Tomorrow we have a meeting with the Egyptian leadership in the morning and on the basis of that we will decide our future plan," Ahmed told Al Arabiya television.
"We will leave Cairo tomorrow if it is confirmed to us that they will not return except with conditions."
Israel has said it will not take part in truce talks while violence is ongoing. Palestinians factions in Cairo for the negotiations refused to extend a 72-hour cease-fire that expired on Friday, saying Israel had refused to accept demands including an end to the blockade of Gaza and the opening of a seaport. (Reuters)
11:09 P.M. Israel Air Force struck a vehicle in Rafah carrying three Hamas militants. Approximately an hour earlier, the IDF targeted another Hamas member. More than 60 targets were hit in the Gaza Strip in past 24 hours. (Gili Cohen)
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