Israel and Hamas agreed to an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire on Thursday, following exensive international efforts to end the heaviest flare-up since the 2014 Gaza War.
The truce went into effect on Friday at 2 A.M.
Fighting between Israel and Hamas escalated over the past week and a half, killing at least 248 people in the Gaza Strip and 12 in Israel, in one of the deadliest exchanges in years.
Israel carried out hundreds of air and several ground strikes in Gaza, while Palestinian militants have fired more than 4,000 rockets at central and southern Israel since last Monday.
1:30 A.M. Biden says Democrats still support Israel, no shift in his commitment to its security
U.S. President Joe Biden forcefully reiterated his commitment to Israel's security on Friday, a day after a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas went into effect.
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“There’s no shift in my commitment to the security of Israel. Period. Not at all,” Biden said, adding that members of the Democratic Party remain supportive of Israel.
"My party still supports Israel. Until the region says unequivocally that they acknowledge the right of Israel to exist as an independent Jewish state, there will be no peace," he continued, calling the two-state solution "the only answer." (Ben Samuels)
10:40 P.M. Death toll from Israeli strikes rises to 248, Gaza Health Ministry says
The death toll in Gaza has risen to 248, the Gaza Health Ministry said Friday. According to reports in Gaza, the body of an infant was retrieved from beneath rubble in Gaza City and the bodies of nine members of Hamas' military wing were retrieved after being buried under a tunnel that was bombarded. Sixty-six of the dead are children, and the number of wounded stands at 1,948, according to Gaza's health ministry. (Jack Khoury)
5:30 P.M. IDF hit 1,500 targets in Gaza, 4,360 rockets were launched at Israel
The Israeli army says it attacked some 1,500 targets in Gaza during Operation Guardian of the Walls.
Meanwhile some 4,360 rockets were fired from Gaza at Israel, of which about 3,400 made it into Israeli territory. Some 680 fell inside the Gaza Strip and 280 fell into the Sea. (Haaretz)
4:13 P.M. Jerusalem’s Grand Mufti slammed for failing to mention Gaza in sermon
Palestinian worshipers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque came out against Jerusalem’s Grand Mufti Muhammad Hussein after Friday’s prayer, criticizing him for failing to mention the Gaza conflict in his sermon. “Go to Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas)” some shouted at him. (Jack Khoury)
4:02 P.M. Hamas leader says fight against Israel will continue ‘until Al-Aqsa is liberated’
Hamas’ political leader Ismail Haniyeh says the fight against Israel will continue until the Al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem is “liberated.”
“Israel’s defeat in the Gaza war will have major consequences for its future,” he said, adding that Jerusalem remains at the core of the conflict. (Jack Khoury)
2:08 P.M. Egyptian delegation to hold talks with Hamas
A delegation from Egypt is due to arrive in Gaza in the coming hours to hold talks with senior Hamas officials and other organizations as part of the ongoing cease-fire with Israel, Palestinain media reported Friday. (Jack Khoury)
2:05 P.M. Virgin Atlantic to resume UK-Israel flights after truce
Virgin Atlantic said on Friday it expected to resume flights from Britain to Israel on Monday following the ceasefire in the region, but said it would keep the route under constant review.
Airlines including Virgin, British Airways and others had cancelled flights to Israel following the outbreak of violence this month. (Reuters)
1:57 P.M. Turkey hopes Gaza truce holds, wants Israel to account for 'crimes'
Turkey welcomed a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas and hopes it will last, but Israel must be held to account for crimes it committed in Gaza the last two weeks, the foreign ministry said on Friday.
The truce took hold on Friday after the worst violence in years.
"In order to prevent a repeat of the pain and tears seen in Palestine, Israel must be held accountable in the international arena for the crimes it committed. A lifting of the inhumane siege it imposed on Gaza must be ensured," the ministry said, calling on the United Nations Security Council to take action. (Reuters)
1:19 P.M. Netanyahu says Israel has changed the equation with Hamas
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel's latest operation with in Gaza has succeeded in severely harming Hamas.
Speaking at a press conference in Tel Aviv, hours after the cease-fire went into effect, Netanyahu said Israel has changed the equation with Hamas, adding that not all is yet known to the public.
Netanyahu went on to say that Israel would respond forcefully in the event of any attack on Israeli communities bordering the Gaza Strip.
“If Hamas thinks that we will tolerate a trickle of rockets, it is mistaken. We will respond with a different kind of force to any firing on Gaza border commutes. What was is not what will be,” he said in a statement released by the Prime Minister’s Office.
"We changed the equation not only during the days of the campaign but also in the future."
According to Netanyahu, the Gaza campaign achieved it goals of inflicting a severe blow on Hamas. “The public and Hamas don’t know everything, but the totality of our achievement will be revealed over time,” he said. “When we together launched the operation, I defined its central goal – to inflict a hard blow on the terror organizations and restore quiet on the basis of deterrence.
“At this stage I can say that we undertook daring and innovative acts without engaging in needless adventures,” he said. “If I thought that we needed to carry out a ground incursion, I would have done it, but I thought that we could achieve results in better ways.” (Haaretz)
12:37 P.M. IDF lifts all emergency restrictions across Israel
The Israeli military decided to lift all of emergency restrictions that were imposed during the recent Gaza flare-up.
Restrictions on gatherings and workplaces were lifted and the education system will fully reopen on Sunday. (Yaniv Kobuvich, Almog Ben Zikri)
12:27 P.M. Death toll in Gaza climbs to 243, Palestinian Health Ministry says
Death toll in Gaza rises to 243, including 66 children, the Palestinian Health Ministry reported Friday.
Moreover, 1910 wounded were reported. (Jack Khoury)
12:07 P.M. Palestinian Authority will file complaint against Israel at ICC, Palestinian PM says
Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said that the Palestinain Authority plans to file a complaint against Israel with the International Criminal Court in The Hague, claiming it had committed war crimes in Gaza in its recent operation in the enclave, including against women and children.
The PA said in a statement that 20 Palestinain families have been almost completely wiped out in Gaza, in addition to the mass destruction that was caused by Israeli airstrikes in the Strip. (Jack Khoury)
12:05 P.M. Netanyahu, Gantz to deliver a statement at 1 P.M.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Benny Gantz, Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, and Shin Bet head Nadav Argaman will issue statements 1:00 P.M. Friday. (Haaretz)
11:46 A.M. French Foreign Minister Le Drian welcomes Israel-Hamas cease-fire
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian welcomed on Friday a cease-fire deal between Israel and Hamas, and said France was determined to play a key role in trying to secure a political solution to the crisis.
The Egyptian-mediated truce took effect on Friday. (Reuters)
10:51 A.M. Jews arrested on suspicion of stabbing Israeli Arab in Jerusalem last week
The police and Shin Bet security service said they had arrested several Jewish men suspected of stabbing and seriously wounding an Israeli Arab man in Jerusalem last week.
The Shin Bet said the suspects are currently being interrogated and that a gag order has been placed on their identities.
As violence erupted in mixed Jewish-Arab cities last week, a 25-year-old Arab man was reportedly stabbed in Jerusalem's Mahaneh Yehuda.
The police and Shin Bet suspect the man, who works in the area, was stabbed by Jews. He was taken to the hospital in serious condition. (Josh Breiner)
10:48 A.M. Chevron says Israel instructs it to restart Tamar gas field
Israel's ministry of energy has instructed Chevron to restart operations at the Tamar gas platform offshore Israel, the company said on Friday.
Chevron said its top priority was the safety of personnel, the environment and facilities. It did not say when it would restart the field. (Reuters)
10:47 A.M. Israel reopens Kerem Shalom crossing for humanitarian aid
Israel reopened the Kerem Shalom crossing in southern Gaza to allow humanitarian aid and goods into the Gaza Strip.
These goods were planned to arrive in the Strip last Tuesday, but were turned away due to mortar fire at the crossing. (Almog Ben Zikri)
10:32 A.M. IDF says it killed 200 Hamas, Islamic Jihad operatives
The Israeli military has assassinated some 200 Hamas and Islamic Jihad operatives and destroyed more than 60 miles of attack tunnels, the IDF Spokesperson's Unit said. (Yaniv Kobuvich)
9:09 A.M. Yesh Atid's Lapid slams Netanyahu for futile Gaza operation
Yesh Atid's Chairman Yair Lapid criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the ineffectiveness of Israel's recent operation in Gaza.
”Israeli citizens and mainly Gaza border communities suffered heavy [rocket] fire, and didn't get an accomplishment," Lapid tweeted.
"Netanyahu's failures stretch from Meron to Gaza, from Temple Mount to Lod. It's time for him to go," he added. (Haaretz)
9:08 A.M. EU's Von der Leyen: Israel and Hamas must build on cease-fire deal
Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, on Friday welcomed a cease-fire deal between Israel and Hamas and urged both sides to build on it.
"I urge both sides to consolidate it and stabilise the situation in the long term. Only a political solution will bring lasting peace and security to all," Von der Leyen tweeted.
The Egyptian-mediated truce between Israel and Hamas took hold on Friday. (Reuters)
8:58 A.M. Israel's Home Front Command lifts restrictions
Israeli Home Front Command eases restrictions on gatherings and workplaces in southern Israel. The decision will come into effect in 6 P.M. Friday.
While most restrictions were lifted, a decision regarding the reopening of the education system is slated for Saturday. (Almog Ben Zikri)
8:46 A.M. Blinken to meet with Israeli, Palestinian officials in the Middle East
U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has announced overnight into Friday of his intention to visit the Middle East and meet with Israeli and Palestinian officials.
"I will be traveling to the region in the coming days and look forward to meeting the [Israeli] Foreign Minister and other Israeli, Palestinian, and regional leaders," Blinken tweeted.
8:37 A.M. Israel removes roadblocks around Gaza border communities
Israel Police eased Friday restrictions on the Gaza border comminutes, police said in a statement.
Roadblocks in routes 4 and 34, which were set up at the beginning of the military campaign, have been removed. (Almog Ben Zikri)
4:27 A.M. Hamas to keep finger on trigger after ceasefire, says official
A Hamas official said that Israel must end its violations in Jerusalem and address damages from the bombardment of Gaza following a ceasefire that began on Friday.
"It is true the battle ends today but Netanyahu and the whole world should know that our hands are on the trigger and we will continue to grow the capabilities of this resistance," said Ezzat El-Reshiq, a member of the Hamas political bureau.
He told Reuters in Doha that the movement's demands also include protecting Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem and ending the eviction of several Palestinians from their home in East Jerusalem which Reshiq described as "a red line".
Aerial bombardment of Gaza has killed 232 Palestinians and rocket attacks have killed 12 people in Israel during the 11-day conflict. (Reuters)
4:05 A.M. Blinken will travel to the Middle East following Israel-Gaza flare-up
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he will be traveling to the region "in the coming days" and will meet with Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, as well as other Israeli, Palestinian and regional leaders. (Ben Samuels)
2:35 A.M. Egypt's Sisi thanks Biden for role in making ceasefire in Gaza a success
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi in a tweet early on Friday thanked U.S. President Joe Biden for his role in making the Egyptian initiative for a ceasefire in Gaza succeed.
Sisi said he and President Biden both saw the urgency of managing the conflict between all parties with diplomacy.
Egyptian efforts to broker a ceasefire between Israelis and Palestinians went into effect early on Friday. (Reuters)
2:00 A.M. Cease-fire between Israel and Hamas goes into effect
1:30 A.M. Sirens sound in communities in Gaza border half an hour before cease-fire due to begin
1:08 A.M. In remarks, Biden vows to replenish Iron Dome, says both Palestinians and Israelis equally deserve peace
U.S. President Joe Biden said Thursday that he commended Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for his decision to bring the violence in Gaza to a close, after confirming with both Israel and Egypt that both parties agreed to a mutual, unconditional cease-fire.
Biden reaffirmed the U.S. belief that Israel has the right to defend itself, adding that it will fully replenish the Iron Dome missile defense system.
The president also mentioned that both Palestinians and Israelis equally deserve to live in peace. (Ben Samuels)
12:41 A.M. Man lightly injured after a rocket hits a printing business in Kibbutz Be'eri
The man, 53, was injured by rocket shrapnel. After another round of rocket fire, just one and a half hours before the reported cease-fire will go into effect, a printing business in Kibbutz Be'eri was hit directly by rocket fire from Gaza. (Haaretz)
11:53 P.M. Sirens sound in Israel's south
11:43 P.M. Heavy financial damage in Israel and Gaza
With a ceasefire due to take effect on Friday, Israelis and Palestinians counted the cost of 11 days of hostilities that disabled Gaza's sanitation facilities and other infrastructure while disrupting Israel's economy. Here are some details.
Gaza’s housing ministry said on Thursday that 16,800 housing units had been damaged. Of those, 1,800 had become unfit for living and 1,000 were destroyed completely. Residents were estimated to be getting 3-4 hours of power versus 12 hours before the hostilities, said Mohammad Thabet, spokesman for the Gaza Strip’s power distribution plant.
The Hamas media office estimated the bombardments had caused $40 million in damage to factories and the strip’s industrial zone and other industrial facilities, in addition to $22 million in damage to the energy sector.Gaza's agriculture ministry estimated around $27 million in damage that included greenhouses, agricultural lands and poultry farms.
Israel's manufacturers association said on May 13 that the loss to the economy between May 11-13 reached 540 million shekels ($166 million) because the south and centre of the country came under intense rocket fire from Gaza.
That figure excluded any damage to factories."Israeli industry continues to produce under fire and with a low turnout of workers," its president Ron Tomer said last week.Israel's central bank, finance ministry and manufacturers association said they did not as of yet have up-to-date data on full economic damage caused by rockets from Gaza.Trade and shipping sources have said some tankers had to divert to other Israeli ports because of the rockets, delaying delivery of fuel.
Last week a pipeline belonging to an Israeli state-owned energy company was hit in a rocket attack.Many international airlines suspended flights to and from Israel's main Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv, while others were diverted to Ramon Airport near Eilat, several hours drive away. (Reuters)
11:15 P.M. Egyptian media: Cairo to send delegations to Israel, Gaza and the West Bank
Egypt will dispatch delegations to Israel, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank to follow up on the cease-fire agreement announced between Israel and Hamas, set to go into effect at 2 A.M., according to a statement carried by Egyptian media. (Jack Khoury)
11:05 P.M. Hamas official says received 'guarantees' Israeli 'agression' in Jerusalem stops
Osama Hamdan, a senior Hamas official, told Hezbollah-affiliated Al Mayadeen network that the Palestinian group has received "guarantees that Israeli agreession at Al-Aqsa Mosque and Sheikh Jarrah will stop."
Hamdan, a member of the Hamas political bureau, did not elaborate on what those guarantees are or how they would be implemented.
Israel says the cease-fire deal is "without any conditions," and an official called Hamdan's remarks "a complete lie." (Jack Khoury)
10:35 P.M. Netanyahu's office: Israel has accepted Egyptian proposal for 'mutual' cease-fire
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said in a statment that Israel's security cabinet has agreed to accept an Egyptian proposal for a "mutual" cease-fire "without any preconditions."
The statement said the truce will go into effect "at an hour to be agreed upon later." (Haaretz)
10:33 P.M. Blinken tells Israeli FM the U.S. expects 'de-escalation'
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he spoke to Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi by phone on Thursday during a visit to Greenland, and reiterated the message that the United States expects to see a "de-escalation on the path to a cease-fire" between Israel and the Palestinians.
Blinken said there was a deep and shared concern around the world for the deaths of Palestinians and Israelis and Washington's goal remains to end the violence.
10:30 P.M. Israeli official says cease-fire to go into effect 'at 2 A.M. or earlier'
A senior Israeli official said his assessment was that a Gaza truce would go into effect "at 2 A.M. or earlier."
He warned that Hamas may fire rockets shortly before that. (Jonathan Lis)
10:29 P.M. Hamas official says 'mutual and simultaneous' cease-fire to go into effect at 2 A.M.
Israel and Hamas will enter a "mutual and simultaneous" Gaza truce at 2 A.M. on Friday (2300 GMT Thursday), a Hamas official told Reuters.
Israeli media reported on Thursday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's security cabinet had approved the truce, on the basis of what one official was quoted as calling "quiet in exchange for quiet". (Reuters)
10:18 P.M. Security cabinet agrees to tell Egypt that Israel is ready for cease-fire, source says
The security cabinet has agreed to tell Egypt that Israel is prepared for a cease-fire and would like to see a proposal for one, according to a source.
The security cabinet meeting began meeting at 7 P.M., amid reports that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would ask for approval to agree to a cease-fire.
Israeli officials believe international support for the country's military operation in Gaza has nearly dried up, which has been a factor in the growing likelihood of a cease-fire. The U.S., which has publicly backed Israel, has in recent days privately told Israel to immediately halt the operation, and officials in Jerusalem made the assessment that continuing it could lead to sharp international criticism and condemnations of Israel in the UN Security Council and other international bodies. (Jonathan Lis)
10:00 P.M. Two flights temporarily diverted from Ben-Gurion Airport; airport operating as usual
Two flights due to land at Ben-Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv were briefly diverted on Thursday night before returning and landing as scheduled. The airport's operations are continuing as usual. (Rina Rozenberg Kandel)
9:01 P.M. Rocket barrage targets Israel's south
Sirens sounded in Israeli cities and towns across Israel's south, and particularly near the Gaza border.
There were reports of explosions heard around Ashdod, Ashkelon and other areas, but there were no immediate reports of any casualties or damage. (Haaretz)
8:18 P.M. White House: Reports of cease-fire 'clearly encouraging'
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Thursday that reports of a move toward a cease-fire in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict were encouraging.
"We have seen reports of a move toward a potential cease-fire. That's clearly encouraging," Psaki told a regular news briefing. (Reuters)
8:17 P.M. U.S. envoy tells UN 'we have not been silent'
The United States on Thursday defended its efforts to broker a cease-fire in renewed fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants after Washington found itself isolated at the United Nations over its opposition to any Security Council action.
"We have not been silent," U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the 193-member UN General Assembly as it met to discuss the violence. "In fact, I don't believe that there's any country working more urgently and more fervently toward peace."
The United States has repeatedly objected to a UN Security Council statement since fighting erupted 11 days ago between Israel and Hamas militants and other groups in Gaza. (Reuters)
8:13 P.M. Israel says more than 300 rockets fired from Gaza over 12 hours
The Israeli military said that between 7 A.M. and 7 P.M. more than 300 rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip, with 299 of them crossing over into Israel. Some 90 percent of rockets were intercepted, according to Israel.
Overall, since the escalation between Israel and Hamas began last week, 4,369 rockets were fired at Israel. (Almog Ben Zikri)
8 P.M. Sissi speaks with Biden on Gaza violence, Cairo says
Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi spoke to U.S. President Joe Biden on Thursday to discuss a de-escalation of violence in the Palestinian territories, the Egyptian presidency said. Sissi and Biden agreed to continue talks and coordination between their countries in the coming period in order to contain the situation, the presidency said. (Reuters)
7:38 P.M. Hamas agrees to cease-fire starting Friday morning, Lebanese media reports
Hamas sources told Lebanese newspaer Al Akhbar the Palestinian group has agreed to a cease-fire, which would go into effect on Friday morning.
The report states the cease-fire would not be unilateral, as proposed by Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu, but rather be binding for both Israel and Hamas.
Al Akhbar cited a top Hamas official arguing it was U.S. pressure that got Israel to agree to end the fighting. (Haaretz)
7:12 P.M. Israeli emergency services say 342 wounded, 12 dead during operation
Twelve people in Israel have been killed and 342 wounded during the current operation in Gaza as of Thursday evening, according to emergency services in Israel. Ten of the fatalities were directly caused by rockets, while two were caused by injuries sustained while trying to reach shelter. About a third of the wounded, 118, were hurt by rocket blasts, shrapnel, or broken glass, including seven in serious condition and 13 in moderate condition. Two hundred and twenty five were hurt while trying to reach shelter, including one in serious condition and five in moderate condition. (Haaretz)
6:56 P.M. UN secretary-general 'deeply shocked' by Israeli bombardment in Gaza
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Thursday that he was "deeply shocked by the contineud air and artillery bombardment" by Israel in Gaza, announcing that there has been serious damage to essential civilian infrastructure and thousands have been left homeless in the Palestinian enclave. His statement also condemned the indiscriminate firing of rockets by Hamas.
Over 50,000 people in Gaza have been forced to leave their homes because of the hostilities, Guterres said. He also said he was horrified by reports that nine members of a single family had been killed, adding: "If there is a hell on earth, it is the lives of children in Gaza today." Guterres also said he was concerned about the destruction of media offices and damage to United Nations facilities. "There is no justification, including counterterrorism or self-defense, for the abdication by the parties to the conflict of their obligations under international humanitarian law," Guterres said as he condemned both indiscriminate attacks and attacks against military objectives that cause disroportionate loss of civilian life. (Jonathan Lis)
6:40 P.M. Military says it killed anti-tank squad
The military said Thursday it had destroyed a Hamas position in the city of Beit Lahia in the Gaza Strip that was likely the source of anti-tank fire that wounded an Israeli soldier earlier in the day. It also said it had struck an armed anti-tank squad while it was riding in a vehicle. (Yaniv Kubovich)
6:33 P.M. Hamas official: If Israel announces unilateral cease-fire, we'll assess how to proceed
Husam Budran, a member of the Hamas political bureau, told a radio station Thursady that no agreement with Israel has been reached and that if reports that Israel is preparing to announce a unilateral cease-fire prove true, Hamas will make an assessment of the situation and decide how to proceed. (Jack Khoury)
6:22 P.M. Israel told Egyptian mediator it is set to cease-fire
The Israeli government has formally informed the Egyptian mediator in indirect cease-fire talks with Hamas in intends to end the operation, Qatar-based Al Jazeera reported, citing unnamed sources.
The report did not mention any specific time frame for the implementation of the cease-fire.
The Israeli security cabinet is set to convene later on Thursday to debate a proposal for a cease-fire. (Jack Khoury)
6:12 P.M. Gaza death toll rises to 232
The Health Ministry in Gaza said Thursday that the death toll in Israeli strikes has risen 232, including 65 children, with 1,900 wounded. (Fadi Amun)
5:22 P.M. Merkel, Abbas call for 'speedy cease-fire'
German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke by telephone on Thursday to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas about the current conflict in the Middle East, with both agreeing to support efforts to reach a cease-fire, Merkel's spokesman said.
"Merkel and President Abbas agreed that the initiatives for a speedy cease-fire should be further supported," he said in a statement.
Merkel also underlined Israel's right to self-defense in the face of rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip, the statement said. (Reuters)
5:07 P.M. Palestinians report three killed in targeted strike
At least three people were killed in an Israeli airstrike that hit two cars on a road in the northern Gaza Strip.
The identities of those killed remain unclear. (Jack Khoury and Fadi Amun)
4:45 P.M. Security cabinet meeting set for 7 P.M., source says Netanyahu likely to present cease-fire proposal
The security cabinet is set to meet at 7 P.M., with sources telling Haaretz that there has been no understandings with Hamas yet. According to one source, Netanyahu is likely to present for cabinet approval a unilateral cease-fire agreement. (Jonathan Lis)
4:13 P.M. Israel's security cabinet to convene amid cease-fire efforts
3:50 P.M. Netanyahu: Iran sent armed drone from Syria or Jordan
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pointed at Iran as having a role in the recent attacks on Israel in a meeting with German Foreign Ambassador Heiko Maas on Thursday. The prime minister showed Maas the remains of an armed drone that was downed in Israel on Tuesday after crossing from Syrian or Jordanian airspace, announcing for the first time that it was an Iranian drone. He further stated that Tehran fully supports Islamic Jihad in Gaza and provides all of its financing, as well as giving weapons to Hamas and Hezbollah. (Yaniv Kubovich)
3:25 P.M. Rocket sirens sound in Be'er Sheva and surrounding areas
3:23 P.M. Military says it stuck two Gaza attack tunnels under construction
The military said the air force conducted airstrikes on two attack tunnels that were under construction in the northern Gaza Strip on Thursday. (Haaretz)
3:12 P.M. Rocket hits house in Ashkelon, none hurt
A rocket fell on a house in Ashkelon during the latest barrage at the city at its surroundings. The family living in it entered their fortified safe room in time and were not wounded. (Aaron Rabinowitz, Almog Ben Zikri)
3:09 P.M. Sirens sound in Be'er Sheva and surrounding area
3 P.M. Rocket sirens sound in Ashkelon, Gaza border communities
2:37 P.M. German foreign minister visits Israel and calls for ceasefire
In a visit to the site of a rocket strike in Petah Tikva, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas called for a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas while simultaneously asserting Israel's right to defend itself.
"The fact that we see that Hamas is again firing missiles into the south of Israel, since we have arrived here in Tel Aviv, is for us an indication of how serious the situation is that the people of Israel find themselves in," Maas said on being welcomed by Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi.
Maas emphasised that Israel had "the right to defend itself against such massive attacks" and had to be in a position to defend its citizens "for as long as there are countries and governments in this region that threaten Israel with destruction." Germany would continue to "make contributions" in the future.
The foreign minister also pointed to suffering on both sides. "The casualty numbers are rising by the day. That also concerns us greatly, and for that reason we support international efforts for a cease-fire," he said. (DPA)
1:09 P.M. Heavy rocket barrage on Be'er Sheva and across southern Israel
Sirens are blaring across towns in southern Israel as a heavy barrage rockets continues to be launched across the region.
Areas under rocket fire include Be'er Sheva, Rahat, Lehavim, Eshkol Regional Council, unrecognized Bedouin villages, Shaar Hanegev Regional Council, and Hof Ashkelon. (Almog Ben Zikri)
12:31 P.M. Rocket sirens blare across southern Israel
12:07 P.M. Palestinians report 230 dead, including 65 children
At least 230 Palestinians were killed in Gaza since the beginning of the recent hostilities with Israel, including 65 children, the Gaza Health Ministry said.
The ministry also said that at least 1,710 people have been wounded so far. (Fadi Amun)
10:50 A.M. Israeli soldier wounded by Gaza anti-tank fire
An IDF soldier was lightly wounded by anti-tank fire from the northern Gaza Strip directed at a military bus, empty of people, the IDF's Spokesperson unit said.
According to the army, a piece of shrapnel lightly wounded the soldier while he was standing near the bus. (Yaniv Kubovitch and Almog Ben Zikri)
10:35 A.M. Palestinian teen dies from IDF fire in West Bank
The Palestinian Health Ministry said that a Palestinian youth who was shot by Israeli security forces in the West Bank on Tuesday has died of his wounds.
The Palestinian was wounded during clashes with the IDF in Jenin.(Jack Khoury)
10:29 A.M. IDF attacks Hamas rocket launchers and tunnel
An Israeli fighter jet attacked a Hamas rocket launcher in Khan Yunis in the Gaza Strip.
According to the IDF, the launcher was armed with rockets that exploded following the attack.
They also announced that the air force attacked a Hamas combat tunnel in Beit Hanoun, and two underground rocket launching stations in Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip. According to the army, the launching stations were used a few days ago to fire rockets at Tel Aviv. (Yaniv Kubovtich and Haaretz)
10:21 A.M. Sirens sound in the Ashkelon area
9:34 A.M. Gaza rocket fire resumes on Israel's south after 8 hours of relative quiet
Rockets were launched from the Gaza Strip after eight hours of relative calm, triggering sirens in southern Israel.
Sirens blared in Ein Hashlosha and Nirim in the Eshkol Regional Council. The council said that rockets have fallen in open areas, reporting no casualties or damage. (Almog Ben Zikri)
9:08 A.M. Electricity in Gaza won't be restored until captive soldiers are returned, Israel Electric Corporation workers say
Israel Electric Corporation employees announced they would not repair the power lines damaged in Israeli strikes in Gaza until Hamas returns the bodies of soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul as well as Israeli civilian Avera Mengistu who is held captive by the militant organization.
The company responded that "the IEC is a state company" and that "electricity is an essential product outside of the conflict." They added that they hope that "the boys are brought home." (Haaretz)
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8:51 Top Israeli official: Gaza cease-fire agreement will aim to include returning of bodies IDF soldiers held by Hamas
The agreement would also aim to include later stages, after a cease-fire takes effect, including returning the bodies of two soldiers held by Hamas and two Israeli civilians detained by the group. In return, the officials said, Israel would allow the passage of goods and funds into Gaza.
A senior Israeli official said that a truce with Hamas will strive to include the returning of the bodies of two Israeli soldiers held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, as well as two Israeli citizens who are also held captive in the enclave, according to a New York Times report.
Israel in return would allow the transfer of goods and funds into the Strip, the Times quoted the Israeli official as saying.
In addition, the official said that Israel and Hamas are expected to reach a cease-fire agreement within two days. Two other Israeli officials confirmed this.
According to the Israeli officials, such an agreement will also include the halting of Israeli attacks on Hamas infrastructure, as well as Israel' attempts to assassinate Hamas senior officials.
Hamas, for their part, would agree to stop firing rockets at Israeli communities. The Israeli officials added, according to the Times, that Jerusalem is demanding that Hamas halt the digging of attack tunnels and violent demonstrations along the Gaza border.
8:13 A.M. Blinken speaks with Israel's FM about cease-fire
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Israel's Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi "about 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 cease-fire." (Haaretz)
7:37 A.M. IDF: 70 rockets launched overnight; most intercepted
An IDF spokesperson said that 70 rockets were launched from Gaza towards Israel overnight into Thursday.
About 90 percent of the rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome defense system. At least ten of the rockets fell within the Gaza Strip.(Yaniv Kubovitch)
7:22 A.M. IDF attacks underground targets in Gaza
The Israeli army attacked Hamas underground facilities in the Gaza Strip overnight into Thursday, the IDF's Spokesperson Unit said.
In addition, the IDF hit the home of a Hamas commander, weapons production sites, and several rocket launchers. (Haaretz)
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
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)
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)