Hamas, Islamic Jihad chiefs in Cairo to discuss details of possible cease-fire; Gaza militants fire 16 rockets at Be’er Sheva, bus hit; U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton due to come to Israel to discuss Gaza operation; top Israeli ministers decide to give more time for cease-fire efforts; IDF strikes 100 targets in Gaza overnight.
A decision on whether to launch a ground invasion of Gaza has been put off by at least a day, after Israel decided Sunday to give the Egyptians more time to try to broker a cease-fire with Hamas, a senior Israeli official said.
Monday’s talks in Cairo are expected to be decisive. The Israeli delegates to the talks, which are being led by Egyptian intelligence chief Gen. Raafat Shehata, plan to return there today to present Israel’s response to demands being made by Hamas.
Senior Egyptian officials told Haaretz that the sides are very close, but that some more flexibility is needed from the Israeli side.
9:52 A.M. Iron Dome intercepts two rockets above Be’er Sheva.
9.50 A.M. White House: Bottom line is Hamas has to end rocket fire; Egypt can be a partner in helping to resolve issues. (Reuters)
9:42 A.M. In Cairo, UN Secretary General calls for immediate steps from all sides to stop Gaza escalation, including ground invasion (Reuters)
9:37 A.M. Gaza militants fired 37 rockets into southern Israel on Tuesday morning. One man was lightly hurt.
9:32 A.M. IDF attacked two terror cells that were about to launch rockets into Israel overnight. IDF says rocket barrage likely renewed Tuesday morning due to the IDF strike on a Gaza bank and attack on several homes of Hamas leaders.
9:00 A.M. Iron Dome intercepts three rockets above Be’er Sheva.
8:50 A.M. Hamas politburo chief Khaled Meshal and Islamic Jihad chief Ramadan Abdullah Shalah due to meet Tuesday morning with Egyptian intelligence chief Raafat Shehata in an effort to lay out the final details of a cease-fire agreement. Should the two okay the wording of the deal, which was transferred to Egypt from Israel, a cease-fire would be declared. According to Egyptian sources, the agreement would be carried out in two stages: first, a general cease-fire would be implemented, and second, a discussion would be held on opening crossings to Gaza and lifting the blockade.
8:30 A.M. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to make surprise visit to Israel on Tuesday in order to advance cease-fire efforts. Clinton due to meet with Netanyahu on Wednesday, as well as with Peres, Barak, and Lieberman. UN chief Ban Ki-moon will visit Israel on Tuesday as well. Clinton will meet Palestinian Authority officials, but will not meet with Hamas leaders.
8:28 A.M. IAF strikes headquarters of Gaza Strip bank. The inside of the bank was destroyed, and a building supply business in the basement was damaged. Hamas set up the bank after foreign lenders, afraid of running afoul of international terror financing laws, stopped doing business with the Gaza government. (AP)
8:02 A.M. Volley of rockets fired from Gaza toward Be’er Sheva, Ofakim and other communities near the Gaza Strip.
16 rockets fired toward Be’er Sheva, three land inside the city. One hit a road and caused damage to a bus, which was parked after its passengers got off due to the siren. Another missile hit a house, causing damage to the building. A third rocket hit a parked car. No casualties reported. Iron Dome intercepts 9 out of 16 rockets fired at Be’er Sheva.
7:34 A.M. Iron Dome intercepts two rockets above Be’er Sheva.
6:48: IDF strikes 100 targets in Gaza Strip overnight (Ch.10)
6:13 A.M.Senior Israeli ministers conclude meeting, rumors that cease-fire is nigh (Army Radio)
5:28 A.M. IDF continues air strikes in Gaza, Palestinians report bombings in Gaza City (Ch.10)