LIVE UPDATES: Operation Protective Edge, day 20

This is a re-post from

IDF tells troops in Gaza: Fire only when fired upon ● Hamas agrees to 24-hour humanitarian truce ● IDF soldier killed by mortar shell ● 15 Palestinians killed, raising death toll to 1,034.


Operation Protective Edge entered its 20th day on Sunday as Israeli ground forces continued their incursion into Gaza.

A humanitarian cease-fire that began at 8 A.M. on Saturday collapsed 26 hours later when the Israel Defense Forces announced it is resuming aerial, naval and ground strikes on Gaza in retaliation for repeated rocket barrages.

Israel's security cabinet voted on Saturday evening to extend the temporary break in fighting but Gaza militants continued to fire rockets throughout the night and the following morning. A Hamas spokesman said that any cease-fire that doesn't ensure that the IDF pulls out of Gaza and the evacuation of the wounded is not acceptable.

Early on Sunday, an Israel Defense Forces soldier was killed by a mortar shell near the Gaza border. Two other Israeli soldiers who were previously wounded in the fighting died of their wounds on Saturday evening. The latest incidents bring the IDF death toll to 43.

In Gaza, the total death toll surpassed 1,000 as the humanitarian cease-fire allowed rescue workers to recover bodies from buildings destroyed in Israeli strikes.

Latest updates:

11:35 P.M. Three rockets hit open areas in Eshkol Regional Council; no injuries reported (Shirley Seidler)

11:00 P.M. U.S. President Barack Obama spoke on the phone with Prime Minister Netanyahu. In their conversation, Obama reaffirmed that Israel has the right to defend itself, and reiterated U.S. concerns over Palestinian and Israeli casualties, a White House press release said. Obama also said there is a "strategic imperative" to reach an immediate, unconditional humanitarian cease-fire which leads to a permanent cessation of hostilities, based on the November 2012 cease-fire agreement. For the full story, click here (Barak Ravid)

10:35 P.M. The Gaza Health Ministry says 15 Palestinian were killed by IDF fire on Saturday, and 53 were wounded. Since the operation began 1,034 were killed and 6,233 were wounded. (Amira Hass)

10:10 P.M. The IDF says the directive to commanders on the field is to fire only when fired upon, or during rocket and mortar fire toward Israeli territory. Security sources said on Saturday that the cease-fire between the sides is being run as a "saga," but that currently, activity in the Gaza Strip is such that if Hamas holds its fire, so does the IDF. However, the IDF continues to demolish tunnels that were already uncovered. (Gili Cohen)

9:24 P.M. Seven tunnels have been neutralized and two destroyed over the last 24 hours, the IDF says. In addition, three Palestinian militants were killed in an Air Force strike on a rocket launching pad. According to the IDF, since the ground incursion into Gaza began, 2,930 targets were attacked and over 300 militants were killed. (Shirly Seidler)

9:10 P.M. A delivery of medicine from Turkey to the Gaza Strip arrives in Ben-Gurion International Airport. The humanitarian aid was stocked in the airport ahead of its transfer to the Strip. (Zohar Blumenkrantz)

8:13 P.M. Since midnight, 16 rockets and mortar shells exploded in Eshkol Regional Council in southern Israel. Three houses were damaged, one of which was directly hit. Since the operation began, over 520 rockets and mortar shells landed in Eshkol, most of them in open areas.

Israeli Air Force strikes over 20 targets in recent hours, including tunnels and hidden rocket launchers, the IDF stated. IDF forces destroyed two tunnels, on the northern and the southern Strip. (Shirly Seidler, Gili Cohen)

7:43 P.M. Family of Oron Shaul, the soldier believed to have died in Gaza fighting though his body was not found, decides to sit shiva. (Eli Ashkenazi)

6:53 P.M. IDF attacks different targets in the Gaza Strip, after holding fire at noon. (Gili Cohen)

6:43 P.M. Projectile lands in Eshkol Regional Council, causing damaging to an electric line. Earlier, rocket sirens were sounded in the area. (Shirly Seidler)

5:56: P.M. Israeli man lightly wounded from shrapnel in Be'er Sheva, taken to hospital. (Shirly Seidler)

5:55 P.M. Two rockets explode in agricultural areas in Eshkol Regional Council. Damage caused to plantations and greenhouses. Third rocket explodes in open area. (Shirly Seidler)

5:27 P.M. Israeli security cabinet convenes to discuss Gaza fighting. (Barak Ravid)

5:24 P.M. Iron Dome intercepts a rocket over Be'er Sheva. Four other rockets explode in open areas in the region. No damage or casualites were reported. Earlier, rocket sirens were sounded in Bnei Shimon, Lachish, Merhavim and Eshkol regional councils. (Shirly Seidler, Gili Cohen)

5:00 P.M. Iron Dome intercepts four rockets over Kiryat Gat, fifth rocket explodes in open area. No damage reported. (Gili Cohen, Shirly Seidler)

4:42 P.M. Rocket sirens sounded in Kiryat Gat and in the Lachish, Shapir, and Hof Ashkelon regional councils. (Haaretz)

4:23 P.M. Woman lightly to moderately wounded by shrapnel after mortar shell hits house in Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council. The woman, 45 years old, has been taken for medical treatment in Sorokoa Hospital, Be'er Sheva. Two other shells explode in open areas. Earlier, rocket sirens were sounded in the area. (Shirly Seidler)

אליהו הרשקוביץ

4:17 P.M. Netanyahu told CBS' "Face the Nation" on Sunday that Palestinians are using their civilians as "human shields" against Israel's military campaign into Gaza. Netanyahu said Israel's efforts to secure itself will not yield despite growing concern about deaths at the hands of Israel's lethal force.

He also said that he realizes world opinion might be shifting away from his nation with every Palestinian civilian's death, but added that the public relations battle cannot supersede Israel's security.

Netanyahu insisted Israel is not targeting civilians but said that Hamas wants non-military bodies to pile up for cameras to capture. He said the Palestinians must be both discredited and disarmed. (AP)

4:04 P.M. Israel rejects UN and Hamas proposal for a humanitarian pause in fighting in the Gaza Strip, a senior Israeli official says.

In an interview for CNN, Prime Minister Netanyahu accuses Hamas of offering a cease-fire on the one hand, and continuing to fire rockets on the other. (Barak Ravid)

3:53 P.M. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejects the cease-fire draft presented by U.S. State Secretary John Kerry, saying in a series of interviews for American morning shows that the only offer on the table is the Egyptian one.

The Israeli prime minister says financial aid for Gaza's residents must be contingent on dismantling the Strip from its arsenals of heavy weaponry and rockets. Funds given by the international community for civilian purposes was used for military ends, Netanyahu said. (Barak Ravid)

2:56 P.M. Two rockets exploded in open areas in Sdot Negev Regional Council; no damage reported. (Shirly Seidler)

2:44 P.M. The Egyptian army destroyed 13 tunnels linking Gaza and Sinai. (Haaretz)

2:20 P.M. UN envoy Robert Serry calls on Israel to "accept Hamas' request through the UN" to extend a humanitarian cease-fire until 2 P.M. on Monday.

"I hope the Israeli government would recommit itself to the humanitarian pause now that Hamas is ready for an unconditional pause," Serry tells Haaretz. "I have told this to the head of COGAT General Mordechai. I asked the Israeli government to show restraint and accept the request for further humanitarian pause. This is important today due to the Muslim holiday.

"I want to emphasize that a humanitarian pause is no substitute for a doable and long-term cease-fire that will tackle all the underlying issues. I hope that both parties will take advantage of the pause to start negotiating. We will not be able to continue extending the humanitarian pauses much longer." (Barak Ravid)

2:18 P.M. Three mortar shells hit open areas in the Eshkol Regional Council; no damage reported. (Shirley Seidler)

2:07 P.M. Rocket sirens sound in Israeli towns near Gaza border.

2:00 P.M. The Islamic Jihad's Khan Yunis division commander was killed in an Israeli strike. (Jack Khoury)

1:34 P.M. UN envoy Robert Serry conveyed a request to Israel from Hamas for a 24-hour humanitarian cease-fire, a senior Israeli official said.

"In response to UN intervention and considering the situation of our people and the occasion of Eid, it has been agreed among resistance factions to endorse a 24-hour humanitarian calm, starting from 2 P.M. on Sunday," Sami Abu Zuhri told Reuters.

Israel has yet to respond to the request and will make a decision on the matter in a security cabinet meeting scheduled for later Sunday. (Barak Ravid and Reuters)

1:11 P.M. The body of Narakorn Kittiyangkul, a Thai migrant worker who was killed by a mortar shell that hit a farm in Israel's south, is repatriated. (Shirley Seidler)

1:09 P.M. According to reports in Gaza, eight Palestinians were killed and 30 were wounded in Israeli strikes since morning. Two reportedly died in a targeted attack while riding a motorcycle. (Jack Khoury)

12:51 P.M. Three rockets hit Hof Ashkelon Regional Council; no injuries reported. (Shirley Seidler)

12:44 P.M. Economy Minister and Habayit Hayehudi Chairman Naftali Bennett calls for the continuation of the Israeli operation in Gaza.

"Hamas has been badly hit, but it hasn't been destroyed," he says in a Facebook post. "We can finish the Gaza front once and for all."

12:24 P.M. The cease-fire proposal U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry presented to Israel contained practically no mention of Israel's security needs or of demilitarizing the Gaza Strip of rockets, according to a draft of the document that reached Haaretz. For the full article, click here

12:10 P.M. Released for publication: A targeted strike by Israeli security forces killed a top Hamas militant, Ismail Mohammed Saadi Aklouk, in Gaza on Friday. According to the Shin Bet, Aklouk was involved in developing and manufacturing advanced weapons, including unmanned aerial vehicles like the ones Hamas attempted to launch into Israel recently. (Gili Cohen)
12:00 P.M. The Israel Air Force has struck four targets in Gaza since the fighting resumed this morning, the IDF says.

11:45 A.M. The IDF rejects reports that 15 Palestinians were killed in a strike on an UNRWA school in Beit Hanun on Thursday. According to the army, militants fired antitank missiles from the school toward IDF troops, who retaliated with mortar fire. A military inquiry into the incident found that one of the Israeli shells hit the school's yard, which was empty at the time. "The findings disprove claims about casualties within the school," the army said. (Gili Cohen)

11:41 A.M. Border police arrest a man driving a car full of explosives at the Beitar checkpoint in the West Bank. According to the police, the drier was wearing a wig and was "behaving in a suspicious manner." (Chaim Levinson and Yaniv Kubovich)

11:22 A.M. Rocket explodes in open area in Eshkol Regional Council; no damage reported.

11:15 A.M. The Egged bus company instructs drivers to avoid entering Nazareth for fear of attacks. (Eli Ashkenazi)

11:10 A.M. Three Palestinians were killed in Israeli strikes over the past hour, according to reports in Gaza. (Jack Khoury)

10:49 A.M. A defendant in the murder of Palestinian teenager Mohammed Abu Khdeir claims in court that he is "the messiah." (Nir Hasson)

10:25 A.M. Two mortar shells explode within a town in the Eshkol Regional Council; a house and another building are damaged but no injuries are reported. (Shirley Seidler)

10:12 A.M. The IDF charges two army doctors serving in Israel's south with shirking combat duty. (Gili Cohen)

9:59 A.M. The IDF renews strikes on the Gaza Strip after rocket barrages are fired on southern and central Israel.

"Following Hamas' incessant rocket fire throughout the humanitarian window, which was agreed upon for the welfare of the civilian population in Gaza, the IDF will now resume its aerial, naval and ground activity in the Gaza Strip," the military said in a statement.

9:53 A.M. The Turkish Anadolu news agency reports that hundreds of activists marched toward the United Nations Human Rights Council offices in Geneva on Saturday in protest against the Israeli operation in Gaza and the UN's "attitude toward the conflict." Some carried coffins covered in Palestinian flags while others waved signs displaying names and ages of Palestinians killed in Gaza.

9:40 A.M. Some 142 Israeli soldiers hurt during the offensive in Gaza are being treated at hospitals across the country. (Ido Efrati and Shirley Seidler)

9:31 A.M. One man lightly wounded as a result of rocket fired at Petah Tikva.

8:50 A.M. Rocket hits open area in the central Israeli city of Petah Tivka; no damage reported. (Yaniv Kubovich)

8:30 A.M. The Iron Dome intercepts a rocket fired toward the Sharon Plain, in central Israel.

8:22 A.M. Three rockets hit the Eshkol Regional Council, causing damage to cars. The Iron Dome intercepts a rocket fired toward Ashdod. A rocket is intercepted over Ashkelon while five others explode in open areas in the city. (Shirley Seidler)

8:20 A.M. Iron Dome intercepts rocket fired toward central Israel (Haaretz)Rocket barrage fired toward southern and central Israel.

8:10 A.M. Rocket sirens sound in towns across Israel's south, including Ashdod and Ashkelon.

Since the beginning of the operation 43 officers and soldiers were killed. (Gili Cohen)

6:55 A.M. Since midnight three projectiles fired from Gaza exploded in Israel – all in open fields. Earlier this morning rocket sirens sounded in the Eshkol Regional Council. The IDF did not attack Gaza in response. A senior IDF officer told Haaretz: "We are running this like any other military operation and everything is being considered. When we need to attack we will attack. That's not a problem. Right now we are continuing our main activity – uncovering the tunnels within the timeframe of the humanitarian cease-fire." (Gili Cohen)

5:55 A.M. Rocket sirens sound in several towns in the Eshkol Regional Council.

5:05 A.M. Rocket sirens sound in a couple of Israeli towns near Gaza.

1:08 A.M. A Hamas spokesman responds to the Israeli extension of the humanitarian pause in fighting, saying: "Any cease-fire that doesn't ensure that the IDF pulls out of Gaza and the evacuation of the injured is not acceptable to Hamas." (Jack Khoury)

12:08 A.M. Two people are wounded in a rocket explosion in the Sdot Negev Regional Council. One sustains serious injuries, the other light injuries. (Shirly Seidler)

11:59 P.M. The Israeli security cabinet voted to extend a humanitarian pause in fighting until midnight Sunday, as per the UN's request. During this period, the IDF will continue to neutralize Gaza tunnels. Ministers Bennett, Lieberman, and Aharonovich voted against the extension. (Barak Ravid)

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