LIVE BLOG: Day 5 of Israel’s Gaza offensive

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Two Israelis moderately wounded in rocket attack on Ofakim; ten Palestinians killed in IDF attack, raising death toll to 65; AP: Israeli envoy landed in Cairo for cease-fire talks.

Israel was bombarded by a barrage of rockets on Sunday, as Operation Pillar of Defense entered its fifth day.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told ministers at the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem that Israel was prepared to significantly expand its operation in the Gaza Strip.

The premier told U.S. President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel that he was ready to accept a comprehensive cease-fire if the rocket fire from Gaza will stop.

Jerusalem residents received their first taste of rocket warnings over the weekend as terror groups fired more missiles on the south and at Tel Aviv.

After the first rocket was fired at the Tel Aviv area on Friday, the army deployed a fifth, new Iron Dome anti-missile battery in the region on Saturday morning. Within two hours, the system – considered more advanced than the previous four because of its more sophisticated radar system – intercepted a rocket fired at the city.

LIVE BLOG

9:55 P.M. IDF spokesman, speaking on TV’s Channel Two, says Hamas’ rocket-launching capability has declined, claims that hundreds of rockets launched from Gaza today against Israel actually fell inside the Gaza Strip. 

9:50 P.M. Palestinian Authority seeking urgent Arab League summit to discuss Israeli “aggression” on Gaza (Reuters)

9:37 P.M. The death toll in the IDF attack on a house in the northern Gaza Strip rises to 12, including four children and five women, all of the same family.

9:15 P.M. Egyptian sources say negotiations among Palestinian factions on a cease-fire in Gaza are ongoing in Cairo. The sources say there are differences between the various factions, with the Egyptians pressing them to resolve their diisagreements.

9:00 P.M. Some 500 Egyptian activists cross into Gaza to deliver medical supplies and show support for Palestinians facing an Israeli offensive. “We are telling the Palestinians that we are on their side,” said activist Adam Mubarak.  “Our visit is a message to Israel that we will not abandon the Palestinians in Gaza.” (AP)

8:20 P.M. U.S. embassy in Israel suspends consular services, instructs workers to keep children home from schools in areas located south of Herzliya. Embassy employees in Be’er Sheva temporary moved north to Herzliya. 

8:10 P.M. Four rockets fired from Gaza land in open areas in Western Negev.

7:51 P.M. Iron Dome intercepts rocket fired at Ofakim. Two rockets land in open areas in Eshkol Regional Council.

7:40 P.M. Senator John McCain tells CBS that the U.S. should be “as heavily influential as they can” in intervening in the Gaza crisis, adding that President Barack Obama should appoint former President Bill Clinton as Middle East envoy. J Street calls on Obama to open his second term in office with a bold move to resolve the conflict.

6:44 P.M. Rocket alert sounds in Tel Aviv. For second time today, Iron Dome intercepts rocket launched at Tel Aviv. Another rocket intercepted over Ashkelon.

6:33 P.M. Hamas’ military wing claims it fired three rockets toward an Israeli ship.

6:10 P.M. Two rockets intercepted over Ashkelon.

6:00 P.M. Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) says several foreign diplomats left Gaza for Israel today and that 26 Palestinians and their relatives were allowed into Israel for medical treatment.

5:40 P.M. The IDF has attacked 50 targets today in Gaza, including rocket launchers and smuggling tunnels.

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