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Live blog: Escalation in Gaza - July 2014

Following almost a month of Israeli air strikes and Palestinian rocket launches in the Gaza Strip, the Israeli army declared that it had launched ‘Operation Protective Edge.’ The Israeli cabinet on Tuesday authorized the call-up of 40,000 reservist soldiers after a night in which the Israeli Air Force launched dozens of air strikes inside the Gaza Strip. The operation comes as tensions are already high in Israel and the West Bank following the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers and a Palestinian teenager from East Jerusalem.

Live updates below.Newsletter Banner 2 - 540

11:45 a.m., July 13
The death toll from an Israeli air strike on the Gaza Strip’s police chief last night went up to 21. The number of killed since the start of ‘Operation Protective Edge’ was more than 160.

An Israeli naval commando unit, Shayetet, infiltrated the northern Gaza Strip early Sunday morning to attack a long-range rocket launching facility. According to reports, two Hamas gunmen were killed and four Israeli commandos wounded in the exchange of fire that erupted. The following “Vine” video shot by CNN’s Jon Jenson shows explosions and the sound of heavy gunfire.

Hundreds of Gazans with foreign passports were allowed to leave the Strip through the Erez crossing Sunday morning. Journalist A. Daniel Roth tweeted the following photo:

 

Hundreds of Gazan families were reportedly fleeing the northern cities of Beit Lahia and Beit Hanoun after the IDF warned them to leave by noon today ahead of a “significant operation.

12:25 a.m., July 13
Protests break out in a number of East Jerusalem neighborhoods, and Palestinians clash with Israeli police.

10:47 p.m., July 12
Sirens sound in northern Israel. At least two rockets were fired from Lebanon. One of the rockets landed in an area town, Ynet reported, although no injuries were reported. The IDF shot artillery into Lebanon in response.

In Gaza, an Israeli air strike killed 15 people in recent minutes, bringing the death toll to 150. The commander of Hamas police in all of Gaza was killed. The air strike targeted his family home.

10:00 p.m., July 12
A senior IDF official told Ynet Saturday evening that the army will soon clear the Palestinian civilian population from the northern Gaza Strip.

According to the official, most of Hamas’s long-range rockets have been fired from the northern Strip. “They will receive a notice to evacuate and we will make clear to them that terror operatives are operating nearby. After the evacuation the attack there will be substantial.

After putting out a warning that it would fire a heavy barrage of rockets at Tel Aviv Saturday night, Hamas fired some nine rockets into the region, none of which struck built up areas. Two of the rockets were shot down by the Iron Dome rocket defense system. Sirens and explosions were also heard in the Beit Shemesh area and in Ramallah and the surrounding Israeli settlements.

The Iron Dome rocket defense system near the southern Israeli city of Beer Sheva, July 8, 2014. (Photo: Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org)

The Iron Dome rocket defense system near the southern Israeli city of Beer Sheva, July 8, 2014. (Photo: Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org)

Earlier, rockets exploded near Hebron and Bethlehem.

At least 20 Palestinians were killed by Israeli air strikes in the Gaza Strip on Saturday, Maan reported, bringing the total death toll past 130 people. At least Palestinian children have been killed, according to a UN report published Friday.

Ruins of the home of Al Haddad family, which was destroyed by an a Israeli drone missile, in Al Shaja'ia neighborhood, Gaza City, July 12, 2014. The family of 25 people evacuated the building before the home was hit. (Photo: Basel Yazouri/Activestills.org)

Ruins of the home of Al Haddad family, which was destroyed by an a Israeli drone missile, in Al Shaja’ia neighborhood, Gaza City, July 12, 2014. The family of 25 people evacuated the building before the home was hit. (Photo: Basel Yazouri/Activestills.org)

9:50 p.m., July 12
Hundreds of anti-war activists staged a protest in Tel Aviv’s Bima Square against Israel’s military operation in Gaza Saturday evening. The protest was interrupted by rocket sirens and right-wing activists who shouted and in some cases physically attacked the left-wing activists. At least one protester was evacuated to a local hospital for medical treatment. Groups of nationalist Israelis chased the anti-war protesters through the streets following the protest. A similar protest took place in Haifa and Jaffa.

Israeli anti-war activists (right) and nationalist right-wing counter-protesters at a demonstration against the current military operation in Gaza, July 12, 2014. (Photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Israeli anti-war activists (right) and nationalist right-wing counter-protesters at a demonstration against the current military operation in Gaza, July 12, 2014. (Photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Israeli anti-war activists (right) and nationalist right-wing counter-protesters clash at a demonstration against the current military operation in Gaza, July 12, 2014. (Photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Israeli anti-war activists (right) are attacked by nationalist right-wing counter-protesters at a demonstration against the current military operation in Gaza, July 12, 2014. (Photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

4:34 p.m., July 12
Air strikes killed six Palestinians in Gaza, including the nephews of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh. According to Gaza’s Health Ministry, the death toll in the Strip has reached 127. Dozens of rockets were fired from the strip, including one that hit a home in the southern town of Netivot.

10:00 a.m., July 12
Israeli airstrikes killed 14 Gazans since midnight Saturday. According to Gaza medical sources, the death toll now stands at the total death toll to 121.

9:30 p.m., July 11
The death toll from near-constant Israeli air strikes has brought the Palestinian death toll over 100 on Friday. At least 600 have been wounded. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the operation will go on for some time and, although not specifying whether a ground operation will take place, repeated that all options are on the table. According to Netanyahu, Israel has hit over 1,000 targets in Gaza in the past four days, which comes out to roughly one target every five and a half minutes.

Rockets targeted the Tel Aviv area a number of times throughout the day, none of which landed in built-up areas; most were shot down by the Iron Dome rocket defense system. Israel’s south was targeted all day and several people suffered injuries, including a man who was seriously wounded when a rocket struck a gas station in Ashdod. (See below.) A mortar shell seriously wounded an Israeli soldier a day earlier.

9:15 a.m., July 11
According to some reports, Israeli air strikes in Gaza overnight brought the death toll up to nearly 100, including over 20 children. (We have updated our list of the dead here.)

One Israeli was seriously wounded in an explosion caused when a rocket hit a gas station in Ashdod early Friday. In northern Israel, two rockets were fired at the Metula area from Lebanon; no injuries were reported.

9:13 p.m., July 10
Two Israeli soldiers were wounded by a mortar attack in southern Israel. So far on Thursday, there have been 103 rockets shot toward Israeli territory, according to Haaretz.

6:26 p.m., July 10
Iron Dome intercepts two rockets heading toward Jerusalem. Two other rockets explode in open areas.

6:13 p.m., July 10
WATCH: Diane Sawyer, host of ABC World News, misidentified a Palestinian family as Israeli on live television Wednesday night. As the network ran footage of Israeli airstrikes on Gaza, followed by an image of two Palestinian men carrying what’s left of their belongings, Sawyer stated that the image showed an “Israeli family trying to salvage what they can.”

5:00 p.m., July 10
United Nations Security Council beings meeting on Gaza crisis. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says Israeli ground operation can be prevented if Hamas stops firing rockets. Palestinian UN Envoy says Israel committing war crimes against people of Gaza. Earlier, Israel’s defense establishment announced an IAF air strike had killed the head of Hamas’ rocket arsenal, but later retracted its statement. Meanwhile, Israel’s security forces arrested two Palestinians on Route 5 between the West Bank and Israel after they were suspected of intending to commit a terror attack.

1:30 p.m., July 10
Air strikes killed three Palestinians in northern Gaza, bringing the total number of deaths since the operation began to 80. According to Haaretz, Prime Minister Netanyahu told members of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that a ceasefire is currently not on the agenda.

11:55 a.m., July 10
Two rockets exploded in open areas in Tel Aviv; no injuries reported.

10:30 a.m., July 10
Israeli air strikes killed 24 Gazans overnight, bringing the total number killed to 77 since the start of ‘Operation Protective Edge.’ Dozens of rockets were fired from Gaza at Israel’s south overnight; one rocket was intercepted above Tel Aviv in the morning. Hamas’ military wing also fired rockets at the Mitzpeh Ramon in Israel’s south.

11:45 p.m., July 9
Israeli soldiers open fire at armed scuba divers who approached Israeli territory from the northern Gaza Strip. According to Haaretz, large forces are currently canvasing in attempt to locate them.

Five more Palestinians were killed in Israeli airstrikes on northern and southern Gaza Wednesday evening, bringing the total death toll in Gaza to 53, according to Ma’an News Agency. One of those killed was 49-year-old Hamdi Shahab, an employee of Media 24, a Gazan media agency.

9:54 p.m., July 9
IAF air strikes have killed 52 and wounded 450 Palestinians in Gaza. Three rockets were fired from Gaza at Dimona in southern Israel, one was intercepted. Hamas claims it was attempting to hit Dimona’s nuclear reactor site.

7:15 p.m., July 9
Gaza death toll hits 40. Hamas head Khaled Meshal: “Haifa will be hit if the occupation does not end.” Over 70 rockets explode in southern Israel on Wednesday; one rocket is intercepted by Iron Dome over central Israel.

3:19 p.m., July 9
Hamas fires two long-range rockets at Haifa, landing near the town of Zichron Ya’akov, 125 km north of the Gaza Strip. No injuries were reported. The rocket exploded in an open area and set fire to a field.

2:14 p.m., July 9
A list of Palestinians killed in Gaza, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.

1:32 p.m., July 9
Ma’an News Agency reports that an Israeli air strike has killed a father and son in Gaza.

Hamas Spokesperson: All Israelis are now targets for missile attacks.

12:19 p.m., July 9
Palestinian sources claim Israeli air strike killed 80-year-old woman in central Gaza.

IDF confirms anti-aircraft missile was fired at an Israeli Air Force plane from Gaza on Tuesday.

11:20 a.m., July 9
The Israeli Air Force struck over 160 targets in Gaza overnight. Dozens of rockets have been fired into Israel since the morning, including a number that were intercepted over the Tel Aviv area.

On the edge of Ramallah, Palestinian protesters said fire to bushes, trees and tires near the Israeli army’s Civil Administration in the Beit El settlement. Eleven Palestinians were wounded by live fire and rubber bullets, one seriously.

In East Jerusalem, clashes broke out between Palestinians and Israeli police arrested 13 people. At a protest in Shfaram, inside Israel, police arrested seven Palestinians.

In the center of Jerusalem racist slogans, including “death to Arabs” and “price tag,” were spray painted in several locations overnight.

2:00 a.m., July 9
An Israeli air strike killed an Islamic Jihad leader and five members of his family, including one teenager, in the northern Gaza Strip, Maan reports. The total death toll in Gaza stood at 24 people, including seven minors.

The European Gaza Hospital was reportedly damaged in an Israeli air strike. Injuries were reported.

The following video shows large salvos of rockets being fired from Gaza:

10:50 p.m.
A rocket from Gaza explodes on the outskirts of Jerusalem. No injuries are reported at this time.

10:12 p.m. Sirens sound throughout the country, reaching Israel’s north, including in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Kfar Saba, Ra’anana, Binyamina, and Be’er Sheva. Hamas claims responsibility for rockets fired in the direction of Jerusalem and Haifa. Iron Dome reportedly intercepts a rocket over central Israel. One rocket explodes in the Jerusalem area.

8:30 p.m.
Hamas’ military wing, the Izz a-Din a-Qassam Brigades, held a press conference immediately after Netanyahu, demanding a return to the truce reached after Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012. Israelis can expect more surprises, the masked spokesperson said. He added that Israel must stop targeting its members in the West Bank and obstructing Palestinian reconciliation, as well as releasing the prisoners from the Gilad Schalit deal that Israel has rearrested in recent weeks.

8:12 p.m.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu makes a televised statement saying he ordered the Israeli army operation broadened. “We won’t tolerate rockets over our cities and towns,” Netanyahu said, adding that the operation “could take time.”

7: 37 p.m.
Hamas naval commandos landed on Zikim beach near the Gaza border. Israeli forces killed five and were searching the area for other possible infiltrators. Police closed major roads in the area. One Israeli soldier was lightly wounded.

7:09 p.m.
Air raid sirens are sounded throughout the Tel Aviv area and the Iron Dome rocket defense system intercepts a Palestinian rocket just south of Tel Aviv.

6:30 p.m.
At least 15 Palestinians, including two small children, have been killed by Israeli air strikes over the past 24 hours. Dozens of Palestinians have been wounded.

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    COMMENTS

    1. Juan Sinnreich

      Let’s hope Netanyahu. Keeps I
      His word. Let’s go in and destroy their capability to harm anyone

      Reply to Comment
    2. rsgengland

      No mention of the 3.5 million Israelis being COLLECTIVELY PUNISHED by Hamas and other jihadists targeting their rockets at Israeli civilians.
      A WAR CRIME

      Reply to Comment
    3. Joel

      “A WAR CRIME”

      Hale Hamas into the ICC!

      Reply to Comment
    4. Average American

      Diane Sawyer is an example of Jewish control of news media using Jewish news announcers who will say what is favorable to Israel. Israel is an example of Lebensraum, this time a Jewish Lebensraum instead of an Aryan Lebensraum, but no difference in methodology or tactics or belief in their own superiority.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Rab

      “Hamas’ military wing, the Izz a-Din a-Qassam Brigades, held a press conference immediately after Netanyahu, demanding a return to the truce reached after Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012. Israelis can expect more surprises, the masked spokesperson said. He added that Israel must stop targeting its members in the West Bank and obstructing Palestinian reconciliation, as well as releasing the prisoners from the Gilad Schalit deal that Israel has rearrested in recent weeks.”

      That is a very generous interpretation of what he said. What I heard him saying was that the Palestinians were not going to stop fighting unless Israel met three conditions, one of them being the release of the re-arrested Shalit deal prisoners.

      So please explain the headline. How, exactly, did Netanyahu reject a cease fire? Where is that option even on the table?

      Reply to Comment
    6. orbifold

      The Israeli oligarchy are the only ones benefiting from the status quo in the conflict. As long as there is a conflict and a state of war they have an opportunity to take what is left from Israel’s welfare state. What are the reasons people think the Israel government would be interested in solving this issue (through war by completely eliminating Hamas or by a peace agreement)?

      Reply to Comment