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Israel-Gaza Fighting: Top Hamas Official Expects Cease-fire 'Within a Day or Two'

Five rockets hit southern Israeli town ■ Biden calls for 'significant de-escalation' ■ At least 227 Palestinians killed in Gaza, 12 killed in Israel ■ Four rockets fired from Lebanon at northern Israel

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Haaretz
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Israeli soldiers direct tanks to firing positions during shelling towards the Gaza Strip, along the border with the Palestinian enclave, on Wednesday.
Israeli soldiers direct tanks to firing positions during shelling towards the Gaza Strip, along the border with the Palestinian enclave, on Wednesday.Credit: JACK GUEZ / AFP
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Haaretz

Fighting between Israel and Hamas escalated in what has become the heaviest flare-up since the 2014 Gaza War. At least 227 people were killed in the Gaza Strip, and 12 in Israel in one of the most deadly exchanges in years.

Israel carried out hundreds of air and several ground strikes in Gaza while Gazan militants have fired some 3,000 rockets at central and southern Israel since last Monday.

How Israel can win and Hamas can’t lose: LISTEN to Amos Harel and Muhammed Shehada

International efforts continue to broker a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, and Israel has reportedly denied a cease-fire several times.

LIVE UPDATES

8:13 A.M. Blinken spoke with Ashkenazi about ceasefire

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken tweeted that he spoke with Israel's Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi. Blinken said that they discussed "efforts to end the violence in Israel and the West Bank and Gaza, which has claimed the lives of Israeli and Palestinian civilians including children."

He added that "The U.S. expects to see de-escalation on the path to a ceasefire."

Emergency teams inspect a site in the southern city of Ashdod where a rocket fired from Gaza hit, today.Credit: Ilan Assayag

7:37 A.M. IDF: 70 rockets launched overnight; most intercepted

An IDF spokesperson announced that 70 rockets were launched from Gaza towards Israel overnight from Wednesday at 7:00 P.M.

About 90 percent of the rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome.

At least ten of the rockets fell within the Gaza Strip.

(Yaniv Kubovitch)

7:22 A.M. IDF attacked several underground targets in Gaza

The IDF attacked Hamas underground facilities in the Gaza Strip last night, an IDF spokesman said.

In addition, they attacked the home of a Hamas commander, weapons production sites, and several rocket launching stations.

(Haaretz)

Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system intercept rocket launched from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, today.Credit: AMMAR AWAD/Reuters

3:44 A.M. Cease-fire 'imminent,' Hamas officials tell CNN

A cease-fire to the intensified exchanges between Israel and Hamas could be "imminent, possibly within 24 hours," Hamas officials told CNN Wednesday, though Israel has yet to comment.

Earlier in the day, Moussa Abu Marzouk, deputy chairman of Hamas’ political bureau, told Al Mayadeen he expects a cease-fire in Gaza “within a day or two.” (Haaretz)

1:03 A.M. Further sirens sound in Israeli towns north of Gaza

12:55 A.M. Rockets fired toward Be'er Sheva, Ofakim in southern Israel

WEDNESDAY

11:48 P.M. Israel lifts order sending border town residents from protected areas

The IDF removed the directive for residents of the Gaza Strip to stay in protected areas. The order applies to those residing in localities up to four kilometers from the border. (Almog Ben Zikri)

A Palestinian man views the damage to the health ministry headquarters in the aftermath of Israeli air strikes, Gaza, May, 2021. Credit: REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

10:48 P.M. Top Hamas official expects cease-fire ‘within a day or two’

Moussa Abu Marzouk, deputy chairman of Hamas’ political bureau, told Al Mayadeen he expects a cease-fire in Gaza “within a day or two” as international mediation efforts continue.

Abu Marzouk claimed “Hamas’ resistance is for Al-Aqsa, Jerusalem and the liberation of all of Palestine,” but said the cease-fire will only apply to the Gaza Strip, and any agreement will not touch on issues concerning the West Bank, Jerusalem or areas in Israel. (Fadi Amun)

9:55 P.M. Bahrain voices support immediate ceasefire

Bahrain's foreign minister Abdullatif Al-Zayani on Wednesday confirmed his country's support for the Egyptian initiative calling for a truce between the Palestinian and Israeli sides and an immediate ceasefire, Bahrain's state news agency (BNA) reported.

Zayani and Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry discussed developments in the region, with the Bahraini minister expressing his wishes for the success of efforts Egypt is exerting in this regard. (Reuters)

9:54 P.M. Gaza rocket lands in backyard of house in Israeli town

A rocket landed in the backyard of a house in the Israeli town of Netivot near the Gaza border, police said. No people were injured. (Almog Ben Zikri)

9:01 P.M. U.S. says no to French push for UN action on Gaza

The U.S. mission to the United Nations said it "will not support actions that we believe undermine efforts to de-escalate" violence between Israel and Palestinian militants when asked on Wednesday about a French push for a Security Council resolution.

"We've been clear and consistent that we are focused on intensive diplomatic efforts underway to bring an end to the violence and that we will not support actions that we believe undermine efforts to de-escalate," a spokesperson for the mission said. (Reuters)

8:36 P.M. IDF hits three rocket launchers in Gaza

Israeli fighter jets attacked three rocket launchers throughout the Gaza Strip, the army said. (Haaretz)

7:27 P.M. Five Gaza rockets hit house in city of Sderot; man wounded

A rocket fired from the Gaza Strip hit a house in the southern Israeli city of Sderot, the municipality said. Emergency medical teams treated a 72-year-old man who suffered injuries from the shock wave, and he is said to be in mild-to-moderate condition.

Four other rockets fired at the same time also hit the city. Two of them caused damage to buildings, while the other two caused no significant damange. (Almog Ben Zikri)

7:06 P.M. Some 200 rockets fired from Gaza at Israel in past 12 hours

Some 200 rockets have been fired from Gaza at Israel in the past 12 hours, the army said. About 30 of those landed inside the Gaza Strip, while the Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted about 90 percent. (Almog Ben Zikri)

6:31 P.M. Netanyahu 'determined to carry on'

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was "determined to carry on with this operation" until "calm and security are restored to Israeli citizens."

In a statement issued after a meeting with the military's top brass, Netanyahu added he "really appreciates" the international support Israel was getting from foreign governments. "I particularly appreciate the support given by the president of our friend, the United States, Joe Biden, for the State of Israel's right to self defense." (Almog Ben Zikri)

6:22 P.M. Gaza death toll rises to 227

Gaza's Health Ministry says 227 Palestinians were killed in Israeli attacks in the past 10 days. 64 of those were children, 38 were women and 17 were older men. 1620 were wounded. (Haaretz)

6:00 P.M. IDF: about 150 Gaza militants killed in Israeli strikes

The Israeli military said Wednesday that as of Wednesday afternoon, about 150 Hamas and Islamic Jihad militants have been killed in Israeli strikes. The military is focusing its efforts on striking rocket, mortar and anti-aircraft launching cells. In addition, they said, they foiled three attempts by Hamas militants to attack IDF soldiers on the border.

Despite the heavy barrages being fired at Israel, Hamas – responsible for long-range fire – and Islamic Jihad – responsible for short-range rockets and mortars – still have a significant rocket arsenal. (Yaniv Kubovich)

5:22 P.M. IDF kills three Hamas operatives

Israeli fighter jets struck a bulding with three Hamas operatives overnight, killing all of them, IDF said in a statement. (Yaniv Kubovich)

5:06 P.M. Bomb shelters open in northern Israeli cities after rockets from Lebanon

The northern Israeli cities of Acre, Nahariya and Haifa opened public bomb shelter after rockets were fired from Lebanon.

The Israeli army however is saying procedures in the north are back to routine. (Noa Shpigel)

>> Click here to read the full report

4:49 P.M. Biden tells Netanyahu he expects 'significant de-escalation today'

U.S. President Joe Biden told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a phone call that he "expected a significant de-escalation today on the path to a ceasefire," the White House said in a statement.

"The two leaders had a detailed discussion on the state of events in Gaza, Israel’s progress in degrading the capabilities of Hamas and other terrorist elements, and ongoing diplomatic efforts by regional governments," according to the White House. (Reuters)

4:33 P.M. Israeli military strikes Lebanon targets after rocket fire

The Israeli military said in a statement its artillery forces were striking "several" targets in Lebanon, after four rockets were fired at northern Israel.

According to the military, one of the rockets was intercepted, two fell in the sea and the fourth landed in an open area.

The mayor of Shfaram, in the Haifa area, said a rocket fell in an open area near his town, causing no damage or injuries. (Jack Khoury and Haaretz)

>> Click here to read the full report

4:23 P.M. Northern barrage fired from Lebanon
Some of the rockets apparently fired from southern Lebanon, according to police officials, were intercepted by Israel's air defense systems.

A security official told Reuters four rockets were fired at northern Israel.

There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries, and it remains unclear who is behind the barrage. (Amos Harel, Josh Breiner and Reuters)

>> Click here to read the full report

4:22 P.M. Rocket hits backyard of house in Sderot
A rocket landed in the backyard of a house in Sderot in the latest barrage from Gaza. No casaulties reported. (Almog Ben Zikri)

4:12 P.M. Rocket sirens go off in Israel's north

Rocket sirens sound in northern Israel, including Shfaram, Acre and the Karyot region. (Haaretz)

>> Click here to read the full report

4:05 P.M. Gantz says Israel has backing of Int'l community, destroyed Hamas' 'metro system'

Defense Minister Benny Gantz says Israel currently has the backing of the international community to defend its citizens. Gantz also said that the army destroyed most of Hamas' underground tunnels, referred to as the "metro system," leaving it "without its most important tool' to attack Israel.

Gantz added that the assassination of senior Hamas commanders proves that "no terrorist" should feel safe. (Yaniv Kubovich)

3:55 P.M. Israel closes Gaza border crossing again after rockets fired during delivering of humanitarian aid

While Israel was letting in humanitarian aid from Jordan into Gaza through the Kerem Shalom crossing, three mortar shells were fired across the border. As a result, Israel closed the border crossing again until further notice. (Yaniv Kubovich)

3:53 P.M. Israel, Hamas deny reports of imminent cease-fire

Israel and Hamas deny that an imminent cease-fire is in the works as pressure mounts on the sides to end their fighting, now in its 10th day.

Izzat al-Rishak, a high-ranking member of Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, said Wednesday there had been no agreement on a ceasefire with Israel yet.

Israeli television had earlier reported on the potential for an internationally-mediated ceasefire to go into effect from Thursday 6 A.M. (0300 GMT).

According to media reports, Israeli officials have also now denied the prospect of a cessation of hostilities on Thursday morning. (DPA)

3:52 P.M. IDF attacks rocket launchers in Gaza

Israeli fighter jets attacked three rocket launchers in Gaza, including one that was used to fire rockets at Be’er Sheva in the latest barrage. (Haaretz)

3:31 P.M. 13 Gaza rockets fired at Be’er Sheva

Thirteen rockets were fired at the southern city of Be’er Sheva in the latest barrage; eight of those were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system. (Yaniv Kubovich)

3:07 P.M. Third barrage of rockets fired at central, south Israel

Sirens sound in Ashdod and Ashkelon in the latest round of rocketfire launched from Gaza in recent minutes. (Haaretz)

2:57 P.M. Heavy rocket barrages launched at central, south Israel

Massive rocket barrage sets off sirens in the central city of Rehovot as well as well as the southern city of Be'er Sheva. (Haaretz)

2:32 P.M. Russia tells Israel more civilian casualties in Gaza are unacceptable

A senior Russian official warned Israel's ambassador on Wednesday that actions that led to a further increase in civilian casualties in Gaza were unacceptable, Russia's foreign ministry said.

Israel said on Wednesday it was not setting a timeframe for an end to hostilities with Gaza as its military pounded the Palestinian enclave with air strikes and Hamas militants unleashed new cross-border rocket attacks. (Reuters)

2:31 P.M. Israeli military attacks Hamas outpost

The Israeli military said on Wednesday that it attacked a Hamas outpost, which had been used as a passageway into one of its tunnels. (Haaretz)

1:59 P.M. Heavy rocket barrages toward south-central Israel

Rocket sirens went off in the Israeli cities of Ashdod and Yavne as well as other south-central towns. (Haaretz)

1:57 P.M. IDF attacks Islamist Jihad operatives

An Israeli aircraft attacked Wednesday three Islamist Jihad operatives in the Gaza Strip, the military said in a statement.

According to the statement, the three attempted to launch rockets toward Israel. (Haaretz)

1:37 P.M. Netanyahu to foreign diplomats: 'We didn't expect quite a conflagration'

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held Wednesday a 30 minute briefing with foreign diplomats on the recent fighting between Israel and Hamas. "I have to say that we didn't expect quite a conflagration," Netanyahu said.

"But we knew what they were doing and therefore we did was everything in our power to deescalate the potential conflict around Jerusalem and the temple mount," Netanyahu added.

"What we are trying to do is exactly that, degrade their capabilities, their terror capabilities, and degrade their will." (Samuel Sokol)

1:20 P.M. Gaza rocket barrage toward the southern city of Ashkelon

Rocket sirens went off in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon. (Haaretz)

12:42 P.M. Since violence in Gaza erupted, 333 wounded received medical treatment, Magen David Adom emergency service reports

Since the recent round of hostilities began, Magen David Adom has treated at least 333 wounded in Israel, the emergency service said in a statement Wednesday.

Some 114 of the wounded suffered injuries by rocket shrapnel, including seven in serious and 12 in moderate condition. (Haaretz)

12:20 P.M. Rocket sirens sound in Gaza border communities, rocket explodes in public area

Rocket sirens blare in the Eshkol Regional Council in southern Israel.

One rocket exploded in an educational institution, no casualties reported, the council said in a statement. (Haaretz)

12:11 P.M. Rocket sirens sound in Gaza border communities

11:57 A.M. Rocket sirens blare in Gaza border communities

11:50 A.M. Israeli military strikes Hamas technological compound

Israeli jets attacked a Hamas technological department compound in Gaza, the IDF said in a statement on Wednesday. (Haaretz)

11:28 A.M. Israeli military strikes Hamas underground rocket launching site

Israeli aircraft attacked a Hamas underground rocket launching site in Gaza city, the army said in a statement. (Haaretz)

11:11 A.M. Sirens blare in one of the Gaza border communities

10:42 A.M. Seven rockets land in Gaza border community, no casualties reported

Seven rockets, which have fired from the Gaza Strip, landed in one of the Israeli communities around the Gaza border, the local council said on Wednesday.

Some properties suffered damage, however no casualties were reported.(Almog Ben Zikri)

10:18 A.M. Israeli airstrikes kill Palestinian journalist

Israeli strikes on the Gaza Strip Overnight Tuesday killed a Palestinian journalist, Palestinian news reported.

Yusef Abu Hussein was a journalist at the radio station, al-Aqsa Voice, according to the Wafa news agency. (Jack Khoury)

9:57 A.M. Sirens blare in Gaza border communities

9:50 A.M. At least 219 killed in Gaza since the fighting erupted including 63 children, Palestinians report

The Palestinian Health Ministry said Wednesday that at least 219 Gazans, including 63 children, were killed since the recent round of hostilities began.

In addition, 1530 wounded were reported. (Fadi Amun, Yaniv Kubovich)

9:41 A.M. Sirens blare in Gaza border communities

9:18 A.M. Top Israeli Official: Barring Surprise Turn of Events, Gaza Cease-fire Expected on Thursday

A senior Israeli political official said Tuesday night that "if there is no surprising turn of events," a cease-fire with Gaza is expected on Thursday.

In Jerusalem, it is estimated that the military operation in Gaza will end within a few days, because the IDF and Hamas have reached their respective goals.

Despite this evaluation, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made it clear on Tuesday that he currently has no intention of halting Israel's current operation in Gaza.

Political officials made it clear Tuesday night that despite attempts by the international community to calm tensions, Israel has not yet held cease-fire talks with Hamas. (Jonathan Lis)

>> Read the full report here.

9:14 A.M. Israeli army strikes Islamist Jihad weapons production site

Israeli jets carried on an attack on Wednesday on an Islamist Jihad weapons production site in the Gaza Strip, an army statement said. (Yaniv Kubovich)

9:09 A.M. No longer silent, Gulf Arab citizens express anger at Israel

The ongoing bloodshed in the Gaza Strip has unleashed a chorus of voices across Gulf Arab states that are fiercely critical of Israel and emphatically supportive of Palestinians.

The vocal opposition to Israel, expressed in street protests, on social media and in newspaper columns, comes just months after pacts were signed to establish ties with the Jewish state — and complicates government efforts to rally Arab citizens around full-throttle acceptance of the deals.

Analysts said the conflict will also set back Israeli efforts to secure more normalization deals with other Arab states, like Saudi Arabia. (AP)

8:43 A.M. Two migrant workers, who died Tuesday, identified as Thai citizens

Two people, who have been killed at a factory in southern Israel on Tuesday during a rocket barrage fired from the Gaza Strip, were identified as Sikharin Sangamram and Weerawat Krunboorirak, both are Thai citizens.

Sikharin Sangamram has only been in Israel for a few days before the incident happened. (Almog Ben Zikri)

7:46 A.M. The Israeli army carried out airstrikes on Hamas tunnels

The Israeli army assesses that some 7.5 miles of underground Hamas tunnels have been destroyed overnight Tuesday.

Airstrikes have also attacked Hamas command and control infrastructure, rocket fire launchers and evaluates that 10 Hamas and Islamic Jihad operatives were killed. (Almog Ben Zikri, Yaniv Kubovich)

7:16 A.M Israeli army says it attempted to kill head of Hamas' military division

"Throughout the operation we have tried to assassinate Mohammed Deif," the IDF Spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Hidai Zilberman said on Wednesday.

"We've tried to kill him several times," he added.

Mohammed Deif, head of Hamas' military division, has survived repeated failed Israeli attempts on his life throughout the years. (Almog Ben Zikri)

2:25 A.M. Sirens sound in Sderot and other towns in the region

1:55 A.M. U.S. condemns Erdogan for antisemitic comments

The United States storngly condemns Turkish President Erdogan's "recent anti-semitic comments regarding the Jewish people and finds them reprehensible," the U.S. State Department said.

State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement "We urge President Erdogan and other Turkish leaders to refrain from incendiary remarks, which could incite further violence." (Reuters)

12:56 A.M. Heavy rocket barrages on south and central Israel

Heavy barrages were fired at Ashdod and other cities int he south and center. Hamas' military wing has once again announced that it is targeting Israeli Air Force bases. (Fadi Amun)

12:03 A.M. Apartments of five Hamas commanders targeted, Israeli army says

The Israeli army said that fighter jets attacked military infrastructure and research and development complexes housed in apartments of five Hamas commanders. (Yaniv Kubovitch)

TUESDAY

11:46 P.M. Heavy Gaza rocket barrages fired at southern Israel

Heavy rocket salvos were fired from Gaza at Ashkelon, Ashdod and other communities in Israel's south. (Haaretz)

11:32 P.M. France calls for ceasefire between Israel, Gaza at UNSC

France's presidency on Tuesday called for a resolution at the United Nations Security Council to stop the fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza.

"Overall, the 3 countries agreed on 3 simple elements: the shooting must stop, the time has come for a ceasefire, the U.N. Security Council must take up the subject and we have also called for a vote on a resolution on the subject," the presidency said in a statement after talks between Emmanuel Macron, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Jordan's King Abdullah.

The statement added that the three countries had also agreed to launch a humanitarian initiative for the civilian population of Gaza in conjunction with the United Nations. (Reuters)

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