LIVE UPDATES: Operation Protective Edge, Day 21

Rocket barrage fired at Tel Aviv and central Israel; Israeli envoy: Criticism of Kerry's good faith efforts unwarranted; Netanyahu: Gaza operation won't end until tunnels destroyed; Palestinians: Three killed in IDF strike on Gaza hospital.

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Israeli soldiers evacuate wounded comrades along the Israeli border with the Gaza Strip on July 28, 2014.
Israeli soldiers evacuate wounded comrades along the Israeli border with the Gaza Strip on July 28, 2014.Credit: AFP

Operation Protective Edge entered its 21st day on Monday, as Israeli ground forces continued their incursion into Gaza following the goverrnment rejection of a cease-fire draft proposed by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry a day early.

The UN Security Council called on Monday morning (Israel time) for "an immediate and unconditional humanitarian cease-fire" in the Gaza war between Israel and Hamas, joining a similar call by U.S. President Barack Obama on Sunday evening.

According to statements by the Palestinian Health Ministry, since the operation began 1,065 Palestinians were killed and over 6,200 were wounded. Since the start of the operation, three Israeli civilians and 48 IDF soldiers have been killed.


For Sunday's live updates, click here

Latest updates (Monday):

11:52 P.M. The IDF releases the names of the four soldiers killed by mortar fire on the Gaza border earlier Monday: Staff Sgt. Eliav Eliyahu Haim Kahlon, 22, of Safed; Corporal Meidan Maymon Biton, 20, of Netivot; Corporal Niran Cohen, 20, of Tiberias; and Sgt. First Class Adi Briga, 23, of Beit Shikma.

11:41 P.M. Five killed and 20 wounded by shelling near the Islamic University in Khan Yunis, according to Palestinian reports. Earlier, three people were reportedly killed by shelling east of Khan Younis. (Jack Khoury)

11:33 P.M. 51 rockets and mortar shells fired at Israel on Monday. 40 rockets and mortar shells exploded in Israel, Iron Dome intercepted six rockets. (Gili Cohen)

11:11 P.M. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri responded to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's remarks Monday, calling for the demilitarization of the Gaza Strip and the complete demolition of tunnels, stating "Netanyahu's threats do not scare Hamas and the Palestinian people."

"Israel will pay for the crimes it commits against Palestinian civilians and children in Gaza," Zuhri added. (Jack Khoury)

10:47 P.M. Israel Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer said that criticism of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry for "his good faith efforts to achieve cease fire is unwarranted."

Dermer's remarks were made to the National Jewish Leadership Assembly for Israel in Washington. (Chemi Shalev)

10:11 P.M. IDF confirms soldier was seriously wounded during clashes in Khan Yunis in which comrade was killed earlier Monday.

Four mortar shells explode in open areas in the Eshkol Regional Council. (Shirly Seidler)

9:50 P.M. Route 232, blocked for traffic earlier due to militant breach of border near Nahal Oz, is reopened. (Shirly Seidler)

9:44 P.M. The Israel Defense Forces announces that five Israeli soldiers were killed over the course of Monday: four of them in mortar shell fire near the Gaza border and a fifth in clashes with Hamas militants in the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Yunis. The IDF released the name of the soldier killed inside Gaza as Staff Sergeant Moshe Davino, 20, from Jerusalem. The IDF death toll has risen to 48.

The defense establishment believes another week is necessary to finish destroying the tunnels leading from the Gaza Strip to Israel. However, the IDF is preparing for the possibility the ground operation in the Strip will be halted before, so that only part of the tunnels will be destroyed. (Gili Cohen)

9:24 P.M. U.S. President Barack Obama tells German, British, French and Italian leaders that Israel has a right to defend itself. The leaders agreed there's a need for an immediate, unconditional humanitarian cease-fire, and said they are concern with further escalation and civilian casualties. (Haaretz)

9:03 P.M. Israeli troops killed one Palestinian militant in the breach incident near Nahal Oz on the Gaza border, the IDF reports. According to the IDF, the militants retreated to the tunnel shaft from which they came, but an Israeli aircraft in the area did not manage to target them. Troops are combing the area for additional Palestinian militants. (Gili Cohen)

8:54 P.M. Rocket sirens sound on Lebanon border. Subsequent verifications find the sirens to be false alarms. (Haaretz)

8:40 P.M. IDF resumes artillery and tank fire at the Gaza Strip (Gili Cohen)

8:28 P.M. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that Israel is prepared for a prolonged operation in Gaza, with striking its tunnels as the first and necessary toward demilitarizing the coastal territories.

"There is no war more just than the heroic one our sons in fighting in," Netanyahu told the press at the Defense Ministry compound in Tel Aviv, adding that it had been a difficult day, following reports of fatalities.

"Bravery and determination are needed to fight a terror group which seeks our destruction," he says, adding that the operation would not end before the tunnels from the Gaza Strip are neutralized. "We must be prepared for a prolonged campaign," Netanyahu says.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, speaking after Netanyahu, reiterated that Israel will not hesitate to expand the operation in Gaza, and that it will not compromise on its security.

8:18 P.M. Projectile lands outside in an open area in Eshkol Regional Council. (Shirly Seidler)

7:44 P.M. Five Gaza militants breach Israeli border and open fire at IDF troops. The troops returned fire, and it is possible some of the militants escaped back into the Strip. Troops are combing the area. IDF Spokesperson Peter Lerner said in a tweet that the militants infiltrated Israel through a tunnel.

Residents of a community in the Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council and of another community in the Sdot Negev Regional Council near the Gaza border have been instructed to remain in their homes. Route 232 has been blocked for traffic from the Saad Junction. (Shirly Seidler, Gili Cohen)

#Breaking: Infiltration reported from the northern Gaza through tunnel into #Israel. Militants opened fire at #IDF forces. Will update ASAP

7:41 P.M. Dozens of masked men are throwing stones and firebombs at police forces in Isawiyah, Jerusalem, the police spokesperson reported. (Nir Hasson)

7:27 P.M. The IDF reports that no rocket landing sites were spotted after the rocket sirens were sounded in northern Israel earlier. (Gili Cohen)

7:10 P.M. Rocket sirens sounded in northern Israel, including in Hadera, Zikhron Ya'akov, Caesaria, Jisr A-Zarka, and in Hof Hacarmel.

IDF warns the residents of the Gaza neighborhoods of Shujaiyeh, Zeitun, and east Jabalya via phone calls and text messages to evacuate immediately to the center of Gaza City. (Gili Cohen)

6:52 P.M. A number of IDF soldiers were wounded in different incidents over the course of the morning and afternoon: A Nahal Brigade soldier was wounded in the shoulder by sniper fire, following which the Israel Air Force hit three targets in the Strip – two underground rocket launchers and a weapons-production site.

At around 1:30 P.M., Palestinians fired five mortar rounds were fired, four of them in the direction of IDF forces.

In another confrontation that occurred at 2 P.M., two soldiers were wounded when an RPG rocket was fired at a military D-9 bulldozer operating in the area of Khirbet Hazeah. Between eight and 10 armed men approached the force and tried to set off explosive charges in addition to the RPG. A firefight ensued in which several of the gunmen were killed, while two surrendered and were taken prisoner by a Givati Brigade force.

An hour later, another antitank missile was fired in the area of Al-Bureij at a force from the Seventh Armored Brigade. In response, the IAF attacked a number of targets in the Strip.

Simultaneously, there were several hours of clashes with Palestinian gunmen in Jabaliya. According to the military, the skirmishes began when mortars were fired at a force of the 401st Brigade, accompanied by light weapons fire from inside the neighborhood. The IDF responded with tank shelling and Tammuz guided-missile fire. Afterward, an intelligence report pointed to the location of one of the main operatives responsible for the firefights. A shell was fired at him and he was killed. The IDF said that the dead man was a senior commander in Hamas’ ground commandos. Four other Palestinian gunmen were killed in these clashes.

6:39 P.M. Iron Dome intercepts a rocket in the Ofakim area in southern Israel. Two other rockets explode in open areas. Earlier, rocket sirens were sounded in the area, and in the Merhavim, Eshkol and Hof Ashkelon regional councils. (Shirly Seidler)

6:24 P.M. Three rockets intercepted over Ashdod.

6:20 P.M. Update on Eshkol Regional Council incident: Five Israelis killed by mortar shells fired from Gaza, at least three wounded. (Gili Cohen)

6:19 P.M. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to make a statement from the Defense Ministry compound in Tel Aviv at 8 P.M. (Barak Ravid)

6:14 P.M. Ten Palestinians killed, most of them children from the Abu Shafka and AlMaqdad families, in an Israeli aerial strike in the Shati Camp west of Gaza City, Palestinian media reports.

IDF denies the attack, says casualties caused by errant rocket launches by militants. Government Coordinator in the Territories Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai says Islamic Jihad was behind the rocket launches, the Palestinian news agency Ma'an reported.(Jack Khoury)

5:55 P.M. Eight reported wounded, three of them critically, by fire from Gaza in Eshkol Regional Council. (Gili Cohen, Shirly Seidler)

5:40 P.M. Palestinians report four were killed in an IDF attack on a civilian vehicle near the Shati Camp, west of Gaza City. In addition, three were reported killed and several wounded by a drone strike in the Shifa Hospital's external clinics in Gaza. According to eyewitnesses, an unmanned aircraft fired a rocket at the clinic. The Palestinians noted that the hospital compound is used as a shelter by thousands of Palestinians who fled their homes due to the fighting. (Jack Khoury)

The IDF said that a preliminary investigation has found the Israeli army did not fire at the Shifa Hospital, and the fire is believed to have been Hamas'. (Gili Cohen)

5:20 P.M. Iron Dome intercepts two rockets above Hof Ashkelon Regional Council. Earlier, rocket sirens were sounded in the area. (Shirly Seidler)

5:18 P.M. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says that the obstacle to ending the Gaza fighting is "political will."

"It's a matter of their political will. They have to show their humanity as leaders, both Israeli and Palestinian," Ban tells reporters. "Why these leaders are making their people to be killed by others? It's not responsible, (it's) morally wrong." (Reuters)

5:13 P.M.Rocket sirens sounded in Ashkelon, Hof Ashkelon Regional Council. (Haaretz)

5:07 P.M. Iron Dome intercepts rocket over Hof Ashkelon Regional Council. Earlier, rocket sirens were sounded in the area. (Shirly Seidler)

4:51 P.M. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davugtolu says Ankara is prepared to transfer 17 tons of medical aid to the Gaza Strip. "If we have to we will establish an air bridge to Gaza," he says, according to the Daily Sabah. (Jack Khoury)

4:38 P.M. Medical teams in the Gaza Strip recovered 12 bodies since this morning, including seven members of the Kadih family from Khan Yunis in the southern Strip, and five others from the village of Khozaa, east of Khan Yunis. The teams, aided by the Red Cross, are still working to recover more bodies. (Jack Khoury)

4:30 P.M. Rocket explodes in an open area in Hof Ashkelon Regional Council. Earlier, rocket sirens were sounded in the area. (Shirly Seidler)

4:10 P.M. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu talks with UN chief Ban Ki-moon and protested the statement issued by the UN Security Council this morning. The decision to issue statement, however, is the UNSC's, and the UN secretary-general has no influence in the matter. Netanyahu told Ban that the UNSC's statement does not address Israel's security needs, among them the demilitarization of the Gaza Strip. Earlier, the UNSC called for "an immediate and unconditional humanitarian cease-fire" in the Gaza fighting.

The UNSC's statement "relates to the needs of a murderous terrorist group that attacks Israeli civilians and has no answer for Israel's security needs," Netanyahu told Ban, according to a press release by Netanyahu's office. (Barak Ravid)

3:50 P.M. Opposition Leader MK Isaac Herzog says that "we're all closely following the situation in the south, it's very fragile and highly volatile. Israel has the right to respond and decide when it stops the fire and when it acts to neutralize sources of fire."

According to him, "the conflicts between Israel and the U.S., made public in the last two days, reveal a prolonged malfunction in the ties between the Netanyahu cabinet and the Obama administration, a malfunction that damages Israeli interests. It's good that the public understands we're entering the next stage, the diplomatic stage of leaving the fray, where our credit is limited." (Jonathan Lis)

3:35 P.M. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says both parties to the conflict in Gaza have "expressed serious interest" in his request for a further 24 hour humanitarian ceasefire, but "have not yet agreed on the timing of its implementation."

"The Secretary-General calls on the parties to renew a humanitarian pause in Gaza and reiterates his demand for a durable ceasefire that could set the ground for the start of comprehensive negotiations," his spokesman says in a statement. (Reuters)

3:25 P.M. Israel Air Force strikes in Gaza Strip. (Gili Cohen)

3:07 P.M. Rocket explodes in open area in Hof Ashkelon Regional Council, causing no casualties or damage. Earlier, a rocket siren was sounded in the area. (Shirly Seidler)

2:59 P.M. Khaled Meshal, chief of Hamas' political bureau, refused to say in a CBS interview if Hamas would one day recognize Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state. "When we have a Palestinian state then the Palestinian state will decide on its policies. You cannot actually ask me about the future," Meshal told interviewer Charlie Rose on "CBS This Morning." Earlier, Meshal said he is "ready to co-exist" with Jews and Christians, but that he does not want to live with "a state of occupiers."

"We are not fanatics; we are not fundamentalists. We do not actually fight the Jews because they are Jews per se. We do not fight any other races. We fight the occupiers," Meshal told CBS.

2:48 P.M. Rocket sirens sound in a town in the Eshkol Regional Council. (Shirly Seidler)

2:40 P.M. Mortar shells explode in open field in the Eshkol Regional Council. Do damage or casualties reported. (Shirly Seidler)

2:35 P.M. IDF and Hamas militants clash in Khan Yunis, in the southern Gaza Strip. (Gili Cohen)

1:51 P.M. Rocket explodes in a open field in the Sdot Negev Regional Council. No damage or casualties. (Shirly Seidler)

1:45 P.M. Rocket explodes in an open field in the Sdot Negev Regional Council. (Gili Cohen)

1:30 P.M. Rocket sirens sound in a number of Israeli communities near the Gaza Strip.

1:19 P.M. Rocket explodes in Eshkol Regional Council on Israel's Gaza border. (Gili Cohen)

1:03 P.M. The rockets fired from Gaza apparently exploded within the Gaza Strip. (Gili Cohen)

12:58 P.M. Palestinians report that a child was killed in an IDF bombing of the Jabalia, in the northern Gaza Strip. (Gili Cohen)

12:52 P.M. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to a Saudi newspaper: "I refused to attend the Paris summit because Cairo wasn't invited." According to Abbas, the Egyptian proposal is the only cease-fire proposal on the table and thus Egypt needed to attend. Abbas, who is currently visiting Saudi Arabia, met with King Abdullah, and said that the king agreed to transfer $500 million to the Gaza Strip.

Abbas said that the Egyptian proposal addresses all the Palestinian demands, adding that the rejection of it led to the escalation of violence in Gaza. Abbas also said that Israel acted monstrously and in breach of all international laws. He said that the Saudis are bankrolling the UN investigative team looking into war crimes in Gaza. (Jack Khoury)

12:40 P.M. Rocket sirens sound in a couple of Israeli communities near the Gaza Strip, ending a five-hour lull in rocket fire.

12:23 P.M. Knesset members from Likud and Habayit Hayehudi issued a warning against U.S. President Barack Obama's demand for an immediate cease-fire. (Jonathan Lis)

11:28 A.M. Today is Eid al-Fitr marking the end of the month Ramadan, though in Gaza and in the West Bank one would be hard pressed to find a holiday atmosphere due to the events of the last few weeks. Traffic on Gaza's roads and foot traffic in its markets was sparse. "Those that weren't hit and still left their homes only looked for basic needs, perhaps for their children, all we did tonight was pray for a lull in the fighting and pray for better days," a Gaza resident told Haaretz. (Jack Khoury)

11:28 A.M. An IDF solider sustains a light injury in the northern Gaza strip (Gili Cohen)

9:30 A.M. IDF fires artillery barrage at Beit Lahia, in the northern Gaza Strip, where earlier this morning a rocket was fired at Ashkelon. (Gili Cohen)

9:26 A.M. Early morning, Palestinians reported hearing shooting and explosions in the eastern Gaza Strip. A 65-year-old man from Khan Yunis was reportedly killed in an explosion overnight. Earlier a Gaza resident injured over the weekend died in a hospital from his wounds. (Jack Khoury)

9:04 A.M. Senior Hamas official Moussa Abu Marzouk, who lives in Egypt, said he believed that Egypt will present a new proposal or amend the original cease-fire proposal in regards to the demands put forth by Hamas and the other Palestinian factions. (Jack Khoury)

8:52 A.M. Gazan Ministry of Interior: The current lull in fighting is tactical and isn't part of any agreement. We call on civilians to be careful when traveling throughout the Gaza Strip. (Jack Khoury)

7:30 A.M. Rocket explodes in an open field in the Ashkelon area. No damage or casualties reported. (Shirly Seidler)

7:18 A.M. The UN Security Council has called for "an immediate and unconditional humanitarian cease-fire" in the Gaza war between Israel and Hamas.

The council adopted the presidential statement at an emergency meeting as Muslims started celebrating the Eid al-Fitr holiday marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.

The call for a cease-fire follows new attacks launched by Israel and Hamas despite going back and forth over proposals for another temporary halt to nearly three weeks of fighting.

The statement agreed to by all 15 council members urges Israel and Hamas "to accept and fully implement the humanitarian cease-fire into the Eid period and beyond." (AP)

7:15 A.M. Rocket sirens sound in the Ashkelon area.

6:42 A.M. The IDF has ceased striking targets within the Gaza Strip. According to a senior officer, "the situation now is being defined as an unlimited halt of fire. The central effort is attacking the tunnels. We need a few more days… But we are also considering other possibilities, in the operative sense, as well - in case we are called to keep fighting." (Gili Cohen)

5:20 A.M. The UN Security Council agreed on a statement Sunday calling for "an immediate and unconditional humanitarian cease-fire" in the Gaza war between Israel and Hamas and scheduled a meeting at midnight to adopt it.

The statement also calls on the parties "to engage in efforts to achieve a durable and fully respected cease-fire, based on the Egyptian initiative."

Presidential statements become part of the council's official record and must be approved at a council meeting, where they are almost always read. The statements are a step below Security Council resolutions and require approval of all 15 members. For the full article, click here (AP)

United States UN Ambassador Samantha Power, center, reaches out to shake hands with Palestinian UN Ambassador Riyad Mansour, center right, following a meeting of the UN Security Council, July 28, 2014Credit: AP
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