LIVE BLOG: Day 8 of Israel-Gaza conflict 2012

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Rocket hits house in central Israeli city of Rishon Letzion, woman lightly wounded; Hamas official: Cease-fire to go into effect at midnight; IDF drops leaflets in Gaza City warning residents to evacuate outlying areas.

A decision on whether to launch a ground invasion of Gaza was put off by at least a day, after Israel decided Monday to give the Egyptians more time to try to broker a cease-fire with Hamas, a senior Israeli official said.

The head of Hamas’ political bureau and Islamic Jihad secretary-general met with Egyptian intelligence chief Gen. Raafat Shehata again on Tuesday, in an attempt to finalize details of a cease-fire agreement.  Hamas officials said late Tuesday that a cease-fire would go into effect by midnight, but both Egypt and Israel downplayed those reports, saying no agreement had yet been reached.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Israel on Tuesday afternoon and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was expecyed later in the day. Both officials will meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday.

More than 140 rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip toward southern Israel on Tuesday. The Palestinians reported that five people were killed in the Strip on Tuesday morning, and put the total death toll in Gaza at 130, including 31 children. Five Israelis have been killed since the conflict began.

LIVE BLOG

5:25 IDF spokesman says over 800 rockets fired from Gaza into Israel over past week of hostilities, 162 of them during the last 24 hours alone. (Haaretz)

5:20 A.M. Code Red missile alert sounds in Be’er Tuvia Regional Council and the Gan Yavne region. (Haaretz)

4:09 A.M. The Palestinian news agency Ma’an reported that an Iranian television journalist was killed in an IDF bombing of a Gaza hotel. Three Islamic Jihad activists were killed in another Israeli attack. (Haaretz)

4:04 A.M. Rishon Letzion’s educational system will only partially open Wednesday after city gets hit by rocket (Israel Radio)

3:05 A.M. Anonymous hactivists hijack Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Silvan Shalom’s Twitter account. Latest tweets include “END THE OCCUPATION. FREE PALESTINE” and “PALESTINE WE LOVE YOU”.

2:22 A.M. UN Security Council meeting over recent Middle East violence ends without results, additional meeting called for Wednesday afternoon EST. (Natasha Mozgovaya)

1:53 A.M. Code Red missile alert sounds in Ashdod and Hof Ashkelon Regional Council. No injuries were reported. At least to rockets fired at Ashdod were intercepted by the Iron Dome anti-missile system. (Israel Radio)

1:40 A.M No cease-fire: IDF forces continuously bombarding Gaza from air and sea. (Gili Cohen)

1:15 A.M. An Israeli airstrike hit a building that houses the office of the French news agency AFP. An agency photojournalist who was in the office at the time said the target appeared to be two floors above him. No one was injured and the agency office was not damaged. The IDF told Haaretz that the attack was accurately aimed at a Hamas intelligence command center. (Gili Cohen & AP)

11:42 P.M. UN Security Council to meet for consultations on the Middle East at 6 P.M. EST (Natasha Mozgovaya)

11:40 P.M. Gaza militants launch four rockets at Eshkol Regional Council, another rocket at Ofakim; none wounded, no damage reported (Yanir Yagna)

11:12 P.M. Clinton: I am very pleased that the Iron Dome defense has been performing so well. The joint project shows the United States’ enduring commitment to the safety and security of Israel’s people and for Israel’s right to defends itself (Haaretz)

11:10 P.M. Hillary Clinton: It is essential to deescalate the situation in Gaza (Haaretz)

11:01 P.M. Jordan’s King Abdullah warns Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of ground operation. “The halting of the [military] escalation in all its forms what will open the way for diplomatic efforts and calm.” Prior to his talk with the premier, Abdullah spoke with Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, asking him to increase his efforts to achieve a cease-fire (Barak Ravid)

11:00 P.M. IDF says its assault on Gaza over last few hours hit a bank serving Hamas, a terror site in southern Gaza, a Hamas command center in northern Gaza, a Hamas safe house and meeting point as well as a system of tunnels used to smuggle in fuel for Hamas activities, four weapons storage facilities and two weapons factories.

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