Senior Israeli ministers to discuss cease-fire with Hamas

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 Forum of nine senior Israeli ministers to convene to discuss future of Gaza operation; UN chief Ban Ki-moon arrives in Cairo to discuss cease-fire efforts; Hamas-run Health Ministry says number of Palestinians killed in Gaza reaches 100; IDF kills top Islamic Jihad leader.

Operation Pillar of Defense entered its sixth day on Monday with relative quiet on the Israeli side and a night of attacks in the Gaza Strip. The IDF said it struck 80 targets in the coastal territory overnight, and that at least 14 Palestinians were killed.

According to the IDF, the death toll in the coastal territory since the operation began has reached 95 people, one-third of them uninvolved in the conflict.

Rocket fire against Israeli territory resumed Monday morning, after a night of calm, and turned into a full-blown barrage by early afternoon.

Meanwhile, Egyptian intelligence officials were continuing with their efforts to reach a cease-fire between Hamas and Israel.

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10:04 P.M. Four rockets explode in open land in Be’er Sheva.

9:57 P.M. Sirens sound in Be’er Sheva, indicating rocket fire.

8:41 P.M. Ma’an news agency reports two Palestinians killed in an IAF attack on Nuseirat refugee camp.

7:48 P.M. Forum of nine senior Israeli ministers to convene within the hour, discuss options for continuing Gaza operation (Barak Ravid)

7:47 P.M. A CNN/ORC International poll found that 57% of the public says Israel is justified in taking military action in Gaza against Hamas; one in four saying the attacks are unjustified.7:47 P.M. A CNN/ORC International poll that 57% of the public says Israel is justified in taking military action in Gaza against Hamas; one in four saying the attacks are unjustified.

7:29 P.M. United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon arrived late Monday in Cairo to discuss ceasefire efforts in Gaza led by Egypt. “I strongly urge the parties to cooperate with all efforts led by Egypt to reach an immediate ceasefire,” Ban had said before leaving New York for Cairo. He is expected to meet later Monday with Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Amr. Ban is due to meet with Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi on Tuesday before heading to Israel (DPA)

7:12: Israeli woman lightly wounded from shrapnel in Eshkol regional council (Yanir Yagna)

6:42: Ma’an news agency report two killed in Israeli airstrike on Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza.

6:34 P.M. Iron Dome intercepts two rockets headed for Ashkelon Regional Council; a third rocket lands in an open space next to a school that was struck this morning; no casualties reported.

6:32 P.M. A senior Egyptian official tells Haaretz: “We are very close to a cease-fire. What is needed is more flexibility on the Israeli side, tomorrow will be a critical day in the talks.”

6:25 P.M. Hamas-run Health Ministry says number of Palestinians killed in Gaza reached 100 on Monday. According to the ministry, the dead include 24 children and 10 women. (Reuters)

5:37 P.M. One Israeli injured from shrapnel, apparently due to a rocket interception. He was taken to Soroka Medical Center.

4:55 P.M. The IAF killed senior Islamic Jihad member Ramez Hamez, who was involved in launching long-range missiles toward Israel. The IDF reports it hit three more Jihad operatives: Baha Abu al-Alta, a member of the organization’s supreme military council, who was also involved in launching long-range missiles; Tayasir Jabari, also a member of the military council in charge of its operations portfolio; and Khalil Bahatini, also involved in long-range launches. According to the report, the four were hit at the Gaza media center. Antennae and other broadcasting equipment stationed on the roof of the building were also damaged (Gili Cohen)

5:40 P.M. From the start of Operation Pillar of Defense, the IDF has attacked more than 1,350 targets in the Gaza Strip, 80 of them on Monday. The Iron Dome system intercepted 324 rockets, 19 on Monday. 1,128 rockets were fired at Israel, with 37 landing in populated areas. 42 rockets were fired Monday at Israel, compared with 230 rockets on Saturday and 156 on Sunday (Gili Cohen)

5:17 P.M. IDF reports that it wounded three other Islamic Jihad militants in the strike that killed the top leader.

4:59 P.M. At least two rockets that were ready to be fired at Israel have been found in southern Lebanon, a security source said Monday. “The two-soviet made Grad rockets were found in the Lebanese border village of Hilta,” the Lebanese source told DPA.

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