LIVE UPDATES: Operation Protective Edge, Day 12

Israeli troops foil abduction attempt, two Palestinian militants killed ● Palestinians: 100 killed in first two days of Israeli ground incursion ● Israeli civilian killed, 4 wounded by Gaza rocket near Dimona ● Four soldiers wounded by Gaza militants who breached border ● Rockets target southern Israel.

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An IDF tank on Gaza border.
An IDF tank on Gaza border. Credit: Eliyahu Hershkovitz

Two Israeli soldiers were killed and four wounded when Palestinian militants who breached the Israeli border from central Gaza opened fire on a military jeep. Earlier, an Israeli civilian was killed by a rocket that struck near Dimona in southern Israel on the 12th day of Operation Protective Edge.

Also on Saturday morning, Israel Defense Forces soldiers and Hamas exchanged fire in the Gaza Strip's center, and three soldiers were rushed to Be'er Sheva's Soroka hospital. Two were moderately wounded and one was lightly hurt.

Three other soldiers were wounded in a gun battle with armed Palestinians in the northern Gaza Strip Friday night.

Palestinian sources said the Palestinian death toll since the operation began had passed 280 by Friday night.

On Friday, the United Nations' Security Council held an emergency meeting to discuss the ongoing operation Israel is holding in Gaza. During this meeting it was announced that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon will be visiting Israel on Saturday.

A contingent of Israeli ground forces entered the Gaza Strip Thursday night on the orders of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu - the first such incursion since Operation Protective Edge began on July 8. By daybreak Friday, the IDF had sustained its first fatality: Eitan Barak, a 20-year-old IDF soldier from Herzliya. An initial IDF probe into his death found that he was most likely killed by friendly fire. Netanyahu told reporters that the main goal of the ground operation is to deal with the threat posed by the tunnels Hamas has dug along the Gaza-Israel border.

For Friday's live updates, click here


Latest updates:

2:52 A.M. Rocket alarm sirens heard in Hof Ashkelon Regional and Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council. (Haaretz)

2:23 A.M. Rocket alert sirens sound in Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council (Haaretz)

1:17 A.M. Qatar will host a meeting between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Sunday in attempt to reach a cease-fire agreement with Israel to bring an end to the conflict in Gaza, a senior Qatari source told Reuters.

Due to take place in Doha, the meeting will be headed by the Gulf state's emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, who has been acting as a "channel of communication" between Hamas and the international community, said the senior source familiar with the matter.

"Qatar has presented Hamas's requests to the international community, the list has been presented to France and to the UN, the talks tomorrow will be to further negotiate these conditions."

The senior Qatari source added that Abbas is also due to meet with Meshaal following his meeting with the United Nations chief.

"Qatar will not put any pressure on Hamas to bring reduce or change their demands, Qatar is only acting as a communication channel," the source said. (Reuters)

1:01 A.M. Rocket falls in open area in Hof Ashkelon Regional Council; no injuries. (Shirly Seidler)

12:54 A.M. Rocket explodes in an open area in Sdot Negev Regional Council; no casualties or damages. (Shirly Seidler)

11:49 P.M. Clashes continue between left-wing and right-wing activits in Haifa.

Rioters throw stones and bottles at the left-wing protesters, forcing police to use water cannons and stun grenades in an attempt to extract the left-wing demonstrators from the clashes.

Earlier, MK Mohammad Baraka of the Arab Hadash party, who was present at the demonstrations, said the protests were against fascism in Israel.

In a separate demonstration in Tel Aviv, police arrested four right-wing protesters. (Jack Khoury, Roy "Chicky" Arad, Yaniv Kubovich)

11:22 P.M. France Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius met today with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and said that his calls for a cease-fire were denied.

"There's a risk of more civilian casualties that worries us" Fabius said. The foreign minister came to Israel after visiting Egypt and Jordan. (Reuters)

10:21 P.M. Funeral of Sergeant Adar Bersano, killed by Hamas militants earlier on Saturday, will be held on Sunday at 4:30 P.M. at the military cemetery in Nahariya. (Yaniv Kubovich)

10:09 P.M. Right-wingers attempt to charge at leftists demonstrating against the Gaza operation in Tel Aviv, but are blocked by police officers. Earlier, police officers rescued a demonstrator after she was beaten by right-wingers. Four right-wingers were arrested. (Zafrir Rinat, Yaniv Kubovich)

9:52 P.M. Paratroopers shoot and kill militant who emerged from tunnel inside Gaza Strip and fired at forces. (Gili Cohen)

9:34 P.M. Hundreds of Jews and Arabs are demonstrating in Haifa against the Gaza operation, hoisting banners and Palestinian flags. Hundreds of right-wingers have staged a counter-protest, and are hoisting Israeli flags and chanting "death to Arabs" and "death to leftists." Large police forces are at the scene. In Tel Aviv, dozens of right-wingers stage counter-protest opposite the leftist demonstration against the Gaza operation. The right-wingers are shouting at the demonstrators "traitors" and "go to Gaza." (Jack Khoury, Zafrir Rinat)

9:30 P.M. Abduction attempt foiled: Two militants shot and killed by Israeli soldiers inside Israeli territory, near the Gaza Strip. The militants emerged from a tunnel inside Israel, and sedatives and handcuffs were found on their bodies. (Gili Cohen)

9:07 P.M. Iron Dome intercepts two rocket above Kiryat Gat and another rocket above Be'er Sheva. Six other rockets explode in open areas. Earlier, rocket alerts were sounded in these areas, as well as in the Hof Ashkelon, Lachish and Eshkol regional councils. (Gili Cohen)

8:58 P.M. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan accuses Israel of "barbarism that surpasses Hitler," in a campaign speech in Ordu, Turkey. Erdogan says Israel is using disproportionate force in Gaza, and adds the operation there has derailed efforts to normalize Turkish-Israeli ties. (AP)

8:10 P.M. Hundreds gather in central Tel Aviv to protest Gaza operation. Police forces are at the scene. (Zafrir Rinat)

8:00 P.M. Erez Crossing to Gaza Strip was opened to transfer medical equipment and medicine on Saturday. Five trucks hauled 100 tons of medical aid, donated by foreign organizations and the Palestinian Authority. The transfer was approved "due to the severe shortage in medical equipment," Israel's Government Coordinator in the Territories (COGAT) stated.

According to a high-ranking officer in the IDF, the Strip mainly suffers from shortages in medical equipment and in fresh foodstuffs, like dairy. The officer estimated that the Strip's residents can subsist on the local produce and existing reserves for a week or two. According to COGAT, 2.8 million liters diesel fuel for the Strip's power plant. (Gili Cohen)

7:49 P.M.Since the ground incursion into the Gaza Strip, 34 tunnel shafts have been uncovered, including five shafts of tunnels which reach from Gaza to Israeli territory, the IDF Spokesperson's Unit said. According to the IDF statement, 70 militants were killed, 20 of which in the last 24 hours. Israeli forces apprehended 13 militants and sent them for interrogation in Israel, the IDF said. Over 450 targets were bombed. (Haaretz)

Weapons seized after Hamas militants breach into Israeli territory, Saturday morning. (Photo by IDF Spokesperson's Unit)

7:11 P.M. Gag order lifted: Two Israeli soldiers were killed this morning in gunfight with Palestinian militants who breached border on Saturday noon. The killed soldiers are Sergeant Adar Bersano, 20, from Nahariya, and Major Amotz Greenberg (res.), 45, from Hod HaSharon. Four other soldiers sustained light to moderate wounds. Click here for full story. (Gili Cohen)

6:58 P.M. Rocket sirens sounded across southern and central Israel (Haaretz)

Fire sparked by shrapnel from rocket interception over Nes Tziona

6:30 P.M. Rocket sirens sounded in northern Negev, in the Bnei Shimon and Merhavim regional councils. The Israeli army is bombarding the Strip with artillery fire. (Gili Cohen)

6:18 P.M. Iron Dome intercepts three rockets above Be'er Sheva, and five other rockets exploded in open areas. Earlier,rocket sirens were sounded in Be'er Sheva and its vicinity. (Gili Cohen, Chaim Levinson)

6:02 P.M. At least 100 Palestinians were killed and over 2,000 were wounded since the ground incursion into the Gaza Strip started on Thursday, Palestinian sources reported, raising the death toll since the start of Operation Protective Edge to 330, including 76 children and 36 women. Long blackouts hinder the work of hospitals in the Strip, endangering the lives of many wounded. Among the fatalities in last two days are several families, mainly from the Beit Hanoun and Khan Yunis areas. (Amira Hass)

5:29 P.M. Thousands protest Israeli military action in Gaza Strip across France and in London. (Reuters)

5:21 P.M. Two rockets explode in open areas in Netivot and in Sdot Negev Regional Council in southern Israel. No one was harmed and no damage caused. Earlier, a rocket siren was sounded in the Netivot area. (Haaretz)

5:19 P.M. Interior Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich accuses members of Knesset of "riling up" residents in Haifa, after demonstrators and police clashed in the city on Friday during a protest against the operation. "During a war, they're starting wars, and now's not the time," says Aharonovich, and adds he will take action to remove Arab MK Haneen Zoabi's immunity. (Yaniv Kubovich)

4:25 P.M. Rocket explodes in Eshkol Regional Council (Yaniv Kubovich)

4:10 P.M. Dozens of youths are protesting against the IDF actions in the Gaza Strip, in a junction near Ma'alot in northern Israel. Protestors are hoisting Palestinian flags, and chanting slogans calling IDF soldiers war criminals. Opposite the protest, a counter-demonstration is been staged by youths hoisting Israeli flags, and singing the Israeli anthem. Police forces are at the scene. (Eli Ashkenazi)

4:04 P.M. Korean Air airline announced it has stopped flying to and from Israel due to the security situation. Haaretz has found out the company has canceled its three weekly flights to and from Israel. This is the first foreign airline to cancel its regular flight schedule to Israel due to Operation Protective Edge. (Zohar Blumenkrantz)

4:00 P.M. Israeli army forces find shafts of three tunnels leading to Israel inside Gaza Strip, IDF Spokesperson's Unit reports.

Israeli soldiers shoot and kill two militants who attempt to fire an anti-tank rocket at Israeli army bulldozer in central Gaza Strip. (Haaretz, Gili Cohen)

3:47 P.M. Senior Hamas leader Musa Abu Marzouk says Hamas does not reject any mediator, but that the most significant mediator is still Egypt. "The cease-fire depends on compliance with Hamas' conditions. We don't want to return to the pre-operation situation," Abu Marzouk says. (Jack Khoury)

3:38 P.M. The four family members wounded in rocket strike near Dimona, among them a seriously wounded three-months-old girl, were evacuated to Soroka Medical Center, Be'er Sheva. The wounded include a four-year-old boy, lightly wounded by shrapnel, and two women, also lightly wounded. (Ido Efrati)

3:21 P.M. An Israeli army officer was seriously wounded in accidental discharge of firearm inside Gaza Strip. (Gili Cohen)

2:30 P.M. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas leaves Turkey for an unplanned visit to Qatar, to meet with the Qatari emir and with Hamas' Khaled Meshal. Abbas says he has convinced the Qataris to go along with the Egyptian cease-fire proposal. (Jack Khoury)

1:50 P.M. Two rockets hit open areas near Kiryat Malachi; another hits a town in the Be'er Tuvia Regional Council. No injuries or damage reported. (Yaniv Kubovich)

The Islamic Movement holds a march against the Gaza operation in Kafr Kanna. (Jack Khoury)

1:00 P.M. A Bedouin man, 32, was killed by a rocket that exploded near Dimona. Four of his relatives were wounded in the attack: two boys, aged 1 and 4, and two women, aged 35. All sustained light to moderate wounds. (Chaim Levinson)

12:40 P.M. Palestinian gunmen breach Israeli border in the western Negev. Israeli troops hurt; militant killed.

12:30 P.M. Residents of the al-Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza received recorded phone messages from the IDF on Saturday morning, instructing them to evacuate to Deir al-Balah, west of Salah al-Din Road, the main north-south artery of the Strip.

At the al-Bureij camp, UNRWA schools are already filled with people who have left their homes in the eastern neighborhood of the camp and in the agricultural areas near the border. A resident of the camp told Haaretz that most people are not inclined to leave. "In Deir al-Balah they bombed a civilian car and its passengers were killed," he said. "There is no place that is safe. I we're forced to choose whether to die as we flee or die at home – we prefer to die at home." (Amira Hass)

12:20 P.M. Three IDF soldiers are rushed to Be'er Sheva's Soroka hospital. Two were moderately injured and one was lightly hurt. (Chaim Levinson)

IDF soldiers and Hamas exchange fire in the Gaza Strip's center. (Gili Cohen)

11:14 A.M. Roads in Israel's south closed to traffic. (Yaniv Kubovich)

11:10 A.M. Two rockets fired from Gaza toward Dimona hit open areas; no injuries or damage reported. (Chaim Levinson)

10:59 A.M. An Israeli soldier sustains moderate gun wounds and is hospitalized at the Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer. (Ido Efrati)

10:51 A.M. Gunmen, evidently snipers, fire at IDF soldiers in Gaza's north. (Gili Cohen)

10:40 A.M. Hamas' military wing says that its operatives have managed to breach "enemy lines," and that gun battles are taking place. (Jack Khoury)

10:20 A.M. A senior IDF officer says that forces have located 13 tunnels so far in the ground operation, all of them extending across the border between Gaza and Israel, and that they will all be demolished.

In the 35 hours since the launch of the ground operation, the IDF says, 310 targets have been attacked in Gaza. From midnight last night, 37 targets have been bombed.

The IDF says 70 Palestinians have been killed since Thursday, but did not specify as to how many of those were militants or civilians.

"In the day and a half of the maneuver, there is significant damage to Hamas' tunnel array," the senior officer said.

Some of the tunnels, said the officer, "branch out extensively and all of them extend beyond the [border] fence. We are now exposing the path of the tunnels, ahead of their demolition."

"These tunnels are an underground offensive network," added the officer. "Hamas has taken a serious hit, both in terms of its rocket capabilities and in terms of the tunnels. We can't promise to eliminate the entire tunnel threat, though we aim to maximize our achievements." (Gili Cohen)

10:11 A.M. Hamas political bureau chief Khaled Meshal says the group will not agree to a cease-fire until Israel lifts the economic siege imposed on the Gaza Strip and frees detainees who were rearrested after being released in the Shalit prisoner swap. Hamas also wants Egypt to show flexibility in opening the Rafah Crossing. Meshal says he is willing to discuss any deal based on these demands, adding that Qatar and Turkey are also taking part in the mediation efforts alongside Egypt. (Jack Khoury)

10:00 A.M. According to reports in Gaza, Friday was the deadliest day since Operation Protective Edge was launched; 52 people were killed, many of them children.

According to figures from the Palestinian health ministry, the death toll in the operation has reached 296, including 71 children. Ninety-seven are members of 24 families. Some 2,030 were wounded, including 640 children. (Jack Khoury)

9:15 A.M. The IDF intends to warn residents of the Bureij and Al- Ma'azi refugee camps in the Gaza Strip's center to evacuate their homes ahead of Israeli strikes. According to UNRWA, more than 47,000 Gaza residents have fled their homes and are seeking shelter in 43 UN buildings, most of them schools, since the operation was launched. (Jack Khoury)

9:10 A.M. The incident that wounded three IDF troops overnight occurred in Beit Lahiya, in the Gaza Strip's north, when a Palestinian militant opened fire toward the Israeli unit. The militant was killed in the gun battle. (Gili Cohen)

9:00 A.M. The Foreign Ministry issues a travel warning for Turkey, cautioning Israelis to avoid nonessential trips due to the "public sentiment" on the backdrop of Operation Defense Edge.

7:40 A.M. An Israeli officer, one of three soldiers wounded in Gaza's north overnight, sustained serious injuries. The other two were lightly hurt. (Gili Cohen)

7:15 A.M. The Palestinian news agency Ma'an reports that 26 people were killed in Israeli the operation in Gaza overnight, including eight members of one family.

6:34 A.M. Rocket sirens sound in the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council.

3:22 A.M. The latest Israeli airstrike on the southern Gaza Strip town of Khan Younis killed six Palestinian young men and wounded 20, Gaza Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qedra says. Witnesses say a group of people were sitting near their homes in the eastern part of Khan Younis when an Israeli missile struck. (DPA)

2:57 A.M. Rocket sirens sound in the Ashdod and Ashkelon areas.

1:08 A.M. Three Israeli soldiers sustain injuries in a shooting incident with armed Palestinians in the northern Gaza Strip. They are being evacuated to hospitals for further medical treatment. (Gili Cohen)

12:14 A.M. Israel's foreign ministry issues a travel warning to Israelis to avoid travel to Turkey, saying "Considering the atmosphere in Turkey in relation to Operation Protective Edge, we are stressing the recommendation to avoid non-vital visits and to take extra safety precautions." (Barak Ravid)

11:29 P.M. EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton published a declaration on the Gaza crisis on behalf the EU, saying that the EU is "very concerned" about the escalation in the Gaza, "including the resumption of rocket fire into Israel and the Israeli ground operation.

We call on all parties to immediately agree to a ceasefire. We underline the obligation to allow full and unimpeded access for humanitarian assistance. We have already witnessed too many civilian deaths, including many children such as those killed on a beach in Gaza. We strongly deplore such incidents and we call for them to be investigated swiftly. We condemn the continued firing of rockets from Gaza into Israel by Hamas and other militant groups and the indiscriminate targeting of civilians.

The declaration added, We welcome the on-going efforts by regional partners and in particular the initiative launched by Egypt. We reiterate our call on both sides to de-escalate the situation, to end the violence and to end the suffering of the civilian populations. A lasting solution must be found which ensures peace and security for all Israelis and Palestinians.

11: 17 P.M. The Palestinians report that 13 Gazans have been killed in strikes over the past hour in the Strip, and at least another 30 wounded. Three children were among the dead - a seven, eight and thirteen year old; five members of the Abu Jrad family from Beit Hanoun, including four brothers; and three members of the Abu Snena family from Rafah. The number of dead has now passed 280, with 30 today, and 2,200 wounded, since operation began. (Jack Khoury)

11:16 P.M. United States envoy to the UN Samantha Power says her country supports Israel's right to self-defense. (Barak Ravid)

Israeli soldiers evacuate their wounded comrades at an army deployment area near Israel's border with the Gaza Strip on July 23, 2014.
Palestinian families leave their neighborhood to a safer location as Israel's army continues shelling the area of Khan Yunis, in the southern Gaza Strip, on July 23, 2014.
A departure time flight board displays various cancellations at Ben Gurion International airport, July 23, 2014.
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Israeli soldiers evacuate their wounded comrades at an army deployment area near Israel's border with the Gaza Strip on July 23, 2014.Credit: AFP
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Palestinian families leave their neighborhood to a safer location as Israel's army continues shelling the area of Khan Yunis, in the southern Gaza Strip, on July 23, 2014.Credit: AFP
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A departure time flight board displays various cancellations at Ben Gurion International airport, July 23, 2014.Credit: Avishag Sh'ar-Yashuv
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