Israel entered day 28 of Operation Protective Edge in Gaza on Monday, after scaling back its offensive over the weeeknd.
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- Israel, Palestinians Agree to 72-hour Cease-fire
The IDF unilaterally declared a 7-hour humanitarian cease-fire late Sunday, which went into effect at 10 A.M.
This follows the Israeli security cabinet's decision to no longer attempt to reach a truce agreement through negotiations with Hamas and the Palestinian factions in Gaza.
The Palestinian death toll in the Israeli operation has passed 1,800. More than 9,000 have been wounded, the Gaza health ministry said. Rights groups have estimated that more than 10,000 houses have been destroyed in the Israeli offensive. Sixty-four IDF soldiers have been killed in action.
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Live updates [Monday]:
1:02 A.M. The United Nations General Assembly will hold an informal meeting to hear briefings by senior UN officials on the war in Gaza. The office of Assembly President John Ashe announced Monday that the 193-member world body will meet in response to a request from Arab nations at 10 A.M. EDT on Wednesday.
UN members will be briefed by human rights chief Navi Pillay, the head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees Pierre Krahenbuhl, deputy humanitarian chief Kyung-wha Kang, and Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Robert Serry.
The Arab group has not said whether it plans to circulate a resolution for adoption by the assembly. The more powerful Security Council has called for an immediate and unconditional humanitarian cease-fire in Gaza, but not in a legally binding resolution. (AP)
12:53 A.M. Iron Dome intercepts two rockets over the Ashkelon area. (Haaretz)
12:48 A.M. Rocket sirens sound in the Ashkelon area. (Haaretz)
11:51 P.M. Spain temporarily freezes arms exports to Israel over Gaza war. Spain is the second country to announce sanctions over arms sale to Israel in the past 24 hours, after Britain said it was reviewing all arms export licenses to Israel. Read full article here. (Barak Ravid)
11:20 P.M. Israeli cabinet ministers accepted the Egyptian proposal for a 72-hour cease-fire without preconditions, a senior Israeli official says. The unconditional cease-fire will last for 72 hours, with a possibility for extension. During the coming days, an Israeli delegation will set out for Cairo for talks on a more permanent cease-fire agreement.
The senior official stated, “if the cease-fire lasts, there will not be a need for a continued IDF presence within the Gaza Strip,” meaning that the IDF forces that have remained in Gaza will likely return to Israeli territory a few hours after the cease-fire goes into effect. (Barak Ravid)
10:58 P.M. The Egyptian Foreign Ministry said that "following reports of a temporary cease-fire, negotiations for the implementation of the Egyptian initiative will begin. We call on the Israeli side and the Palestinian side to come to Cairo for open discussions on a permanent cease-fire and we hope to see stability in the region soon." [Jack Khoury]
10:38 P.M. Egypt has strong indications from Israel and the Palestinian factions that they will accept a 72-hour ceasefire in Gaza starting at 8 A.M. on Tuesday, Egyptian diplomatic sources said according to foreign media reports.
"Egypt's contacts with relevant parties have achieved a commitment for a 72-hour truce in Gaza starting from 0500 GMT tomorrow morning, and an agreement for the rest of the relevant delegations to come to Cairo to conduct further negotiations," an Egyptian official told AFP.
10:14 P.M. Sources in the Palestinian delegation in Cairo say Israel has agreed to the cease-fire proposal drafted by Egypt, following contacts between Jerusalem and Cairo over the course of the evening.
A senior source in Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' office said: "The ball is in Israel's court. The plan now is to preserve a ceasefire and then bring the other issues to the table." (Jack Khoury)
9:30 P.M. 63 mortar shells and rockets landed in Israel today, three of them in built-up areas, the IDF says. In all, nine additional rockets were intercepted by Iron Dome batteries. (Gili Cohen)
9:24 P.M. Palestinian factions accept the new cease-fire draft presented by Israel, and will lay down their weapons at 8 A.M. on Tuesday morning. (Jack Khoury)
8:53 P.M. Palestinian officials in Cairo say Egypt has been holding intensive efforts consolidate a draft for a 72-hour cease-fire agreement. During that truce period, Egyptian mediators would oversee indirect talks between the Palestinian and Israeli delegations.
Egypt, the officials say, has urged the Israeli delegation to expedite a visit to Cairo in the event that such a cease-fire is agreed upon. Egyptian officials estimate that Israel will convey its position on the matter within the coming hours. (Jack Khoury)
8:46 P.M. An Israeli official says that Israel is in daily contact with Egypt regarding the efforts to reach a cease-fire. "If a cease-fire is reached on the basis of the Egyptian initiative – meaning, without preconditions – we will consider it," the official said. He responded cautiously to the reports emanating from Egypt and said that there have been many proposals for a cease-fire that did not come into fruition, as well as those that began and failed. (Barak Ravid)
8:21 P.M. Military police have decided to open an investigation against an IDF infantry soldier who is suspected of stealing cash from a house in the Gaza Strip, during the fighting. The soldier, who was arrested, has offered his confession. (Gili Cohen)
7:40 P.M. Two rockets intercepted over Ashkelon area, two over Sderot. Several mortar shells land in open areas within Eshkol Regional Council. (Shirley Seidler)
7:24 P.M. Major highway exits in Tel Aviv backed up due to police search in wake of alleged terrorist's call to police hotline saying he had planned to carry out attack and changed his mind. (Yaniv Kubovich)
7:22 P.M. Egyptian officials calling on all Palestinians factions to announce 3-day unilateral cease-fire in the Gaza Strip, according to reports from Cairo (Jack Khoury)
7:08 P.M. Three rockets intercepted, three land in open areas near Gaza border (Shirley Seidler)
6:57 P.M. Rocket sirens sound in at least nine Gaza border towns.
6:23 P.M. Police forces sweeping area of Tel Aviv Port, in attempt to locate a man who called the city's police hotline and said he had intended to carry out a bombing.
The caller, who did not identify himself, said he was on his way to carry out a bombing but decided not to follow through with it, and sought to return home to Hebron. (Yaniv Kubovich)
6:00 P.M. Rocket sirens sound in Ashkelon, Gaza border regions (Haaretz)
5:55 P.M. Police beefing up presence on Jerusalem's seam zone: contingents of police from outside capital annexed to Jerusalem forces, positioned at friction points between Jewish, Arab portions of city. (Jonathan Lis)
5:09 P.M. Two IDF soldiers lightly wounded after mortar shell fired from Gaza hits military staging area near border (Gili Cohen)
5:07 P.M. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday following security deliberations with the Southern Comman that the "operation in Gaza is continuing." The IDF is nearly finished in its operation against the tunnels, he said, but the attacks would not stop until long-term security and quiet were returned to Israeli citizens. "We've struck Hamas and the terror organizations with a harsh blow. We have no intention of harming the residents of Gaza, it is Hamas that is harming them and also trying to prevent them from receiving humanitarian aid," he said. (Barak Ravid)
4:10 P.M. Gunman on motorcycle opens fire at bus stop by Jerusalem's Hebrew University in Mt. Scopus. One man seriously wounded. Security forces attempting to apprehend attacker. Read full article here (Jonathan Lis)
3:46 P.M. Five rockets explode in open areas near a kibbutz in Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council. Another struck a field in Sdot Negev, causing a blaze, which has now been contained. Rocket sirens were sounded. (Shirley Seidler)
3:25 P.M. Sirens sound in several towns near Gaza border. (Haaretz)
3:22 P.M. Mortar shells fired towards IDF troops near Beit Hanoun. The force responded with artillery fire. No injuries were reported. (Gili Cohen)
3:12 P.M. Rocket alerts sound in Gaza border region. (Haaretz)
2:37 P.M. Mortar shell hits hothouse in Eshkol Regional Council. No rocket alert was sounded. No injuries were reported but property was damaged. A few minutes earlier a rocket was intercepted over Ashdod. (Shirley Seidler and Yaniv Kubovich)
2:19 P.M. A pedestrian who was hit by a digger that later slammed into a bus in Jerusalem has died. Five people were lightly wounded in the terror attack: the bus driver, three passengers and a police officer. (Jonathan Lis)
1:46 P.M. A man has rammed a digger into a bus in the Shmuel Hanavi neighborhood in Jerusalem. The digger driver was shot dead by the police.
Magen David Adom said that at 1:35 P.M. it received reports of a digger running over a pedestrian and then hitting a bus, causing it to overturn. Paramedics on the scene are attempting to resuscitate a man in his 20s. The bus driver, a man in his 40s, was lightly wounded. (Jonathan Lis)
13:32 P.M. War damage in Gaza exceeds $5 billion, a Palestinian minister says. (Jack Khoury)
12:34 P.M. A rocket explodes in a kibbutz in Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council. No damage was reported. (Shirely Seidler)
12:15 P.M. A mortar shell hits the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council, near the border fence. (Shirely Seidler)
Earlier the Palestinian news agencies Wafa and Ma'an reported that the IAF has struck targets in the Shati and Nuseirat refugee camps. According to the Palestinian health ministry, an 8-year-old girl was killed in an attack on a home in Shati. Thirty others were wounded. Hamas accused Israel of violating the cease-fire it had unilaterally declared. (Jack Khoury)
10:40 A.M. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Monday that Israel and the Palestinian Authority should consider transferring control of Gaza to the UN.
"Everyone is asking, what happens after the operation ends? Suppose Israel defeats Hamas. There are a few options. International control of Gaza, by the UN, should certainly be considered."
Lieberman cited the British Mandate over Palestine and the UN mandates in East Timor and Kosovo as examples.
"We saw it works quite well there," he said. "… It requires an agreement between us and the Palestinian Authority. It doesn't require consent from the UN, just from the parties involved – Israel and the PA."(Jonathan Lis)
9:56 A.M. Dozens of masked Arab youths hurl rocks and firecrackers at cops at the Mugrabi Gate near the Western Wall in Jerusalem. The police chased the assailants toward the Al-Aqsa Mosque, managing to contain the violence by locking the rock-throwers in the house of worship. Five police officers were lightly wounded in the clash. (Jonathan Lis)
9:33 A.M. At least seven mortar shells hit open areas in Eshkol Regional Council. (Shirley Seidler)
8:53 A.M. An Israeli air strike targets a militant riding a motorcycle in Rafah. According to the IDF, a direct hit was identified. (Gili Cohen)
8:28 A.M. Hamas official Moussa Abu Marzouk says that a Palestinian delegation will meet with Egypt's intelligence chief on Monday for a final discussion of the Palestinian demands vis-à-vis a cease-fire in Gaza. Hamas leader Khaled Meshal told CNN that no truce will take effect as long as Israeli forces remain in the Strip. He called on the international community to press Israel to lift the blockade on the enclave. (Jack Khoury)
8:15 A.M. At least four people were killed in Gaza overnight. The Islamic Jihad's military wing confirmed that the commander of its northern sector, Danyal Mansour, was killed in an Israeli strike on a home in Jabalya early on Monday. The death toll in the current round of fighting currently stands at 1,807. (Jack Khoury)
6:51 A.M. The IDF has struck more than 20 targets in Gaza overnight. A senior officer says that two more tunnels were destroyed over the past 24 hours. According to the officer, once all the tunnels are destroyed, the military will reassess the situation to decided how to proceed.
"The [border] fence needs restoration, and our forces must remain close to the Strip," he says. (Gili Cohen)
6:25 A.M. The Shin Bet says Israeli forces have struck a building housing the commander of the Islamic Jihad's northern sector, Danyal Mansour. The top militant, who is in charge of the organization's intelligence in Gaza and was responsible for firing high-trajectory rockets toward Israel during Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012, was killed in the attack. (Gili Cohen)
6:40 A.M. Rocket sirens sound in Ashkelon.
6:09 A.M. Rocket sirens sound in Ashdod.
5:58 A.M. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon releases a statement denouncing the "recent upsurge in anti-Semitic attacks, particularly in Europe, in connection with protests concerning the escalation of violence in Gaza."
The statement emphasizes that the current conflict "must not constitute a pretext for prejudice that could affect social peace and harmony anywhere," repeating his call for an immediate cessation of violence. (Haaretz)
5:02 A.M. U.S. ambassador to the UN Samantha Power calls Sunday's strike outside an UNRWA school in Rafah "horrifying."
Power added in a statement that the United States further calls on Israel "to conduct a full and prompt investigation of this incident as well as the recent strikes that hit other UNRWA schools. Civilians, many of whom have been told to evacuate their homes by the Israel Defense Forces, must be able to find refuge in safe, UN-designated shelters."
3:25 A.M. Hamas, whose envoys are in Egypt for truce negotiations that Israel has shunned in anger after Friday's lethal ambush in Rafah, sees a possible ruse in the humanitarian truce announcement.
"The calm Israel declared is unilateral and aims to divert attention away from the Israeli massacres. We do not trust such a calm and we urge our people to exercise caution," said the group's spokesman, Sami Abu Zuhri (Reuters)
1:58 A.M. After Friday’s abduction of 2nd Lt. Hadar Goldin in the Gaza Strip , the Israel Defense Forces executed in full its “Hannibal procedure.” This protocol calls for the massive use of force in an effort to rescue a captured soldier, even at risk to his life.
After a Givati Brigade patrol came under heavy fire Friday morning, the IDF sent additional forces to the area, including aircraft and observation equipment. According to an IDF source, virtually all the firepower in the south-central region of the Gaza Strip were sent to the Rafah sector, where the incident took place, on orders from Givati Brigade commander Col. Ofer Winter. (Gili Cohen) Read full article here
1:08 A.M. Maj. Gen. Yoav (Poli) Mordechai, IDF coordinadtor of government activities in the territories, tells Palestinian media that Israel will hold fire on Monday from 10 A.M. to 5 P.M. for humanitarian purposes, except in east Rafah, where there is still fighting.
Mordechai said that the IDF would retaliate if the cease-fire is violated, and additionally called for the residents of several neighborhoods east of Khan Younis to return to their homes. (Gili Cohen)