Rocket barrage strikes Israel. Iron Dome intercepts rockets above Be’er Sheva, Ashkelon and Sderot; Gaza death toll reaches 95; more than 540 rockets have fallen inside Israel since last Wednesday, all but 35 of them in open areas, while Iron Dome systems have intercepted nearly 320 rockets.
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.
16:59 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.
16:47 P.M. Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad says an Israeli strike on a Gaza media center has killed one of its top militant leaders. It’s the second strike on the building in two days. The Hamas TV station, Al Aqsa, is located on the top floor.
Islamic Jihad has sent a text message to reporters saying that Ramez Harb was killed in the strike Monday. Harb is a leading figure in their militant wing, the Al Quds Brigades.
16:33 P.M. Egyptian Prime Minister Hesham Qandil says a cease-fire agreement may be signed soon between Israel and Hamas. “The negotiations continue, and I hope that soon we will reach something that will put a stop to the mutual violence. I think we are close, but this kind of negotiations is very difficult, and it is hard to make predictions. President Morsi is committed to fulfill his role as a major player in the area and help with the resolution.” (Reuters)
4:20 P.M. Code Red missile alert in Eshkol Regional Council (Haaretz)
3:52 p.m. Hamas Prime Minister Khaled Meshal holds a press conference in Cairo after meeting with Egyptian intelligence officials:
“This is a difficult, but magnificent moment in the history of the Palestinian problem, in our brave journey of resistance and combat, nobility, so deeply rooted in the Palestinian land,” said Meshal. “Whoever attacks Palestine will be buried by it. Anyone who invades our Arab nations will be defeated for generations.”
“Netanyahu wanted to achieve several targets but has not succeeded. He succeeded in killing commander Ahmed Jabari but also wanted to damage the military wing’s infrastructure, especially the long-range missiles.”
“This enemy,” Meshal added, “is trying its weapons and its Iron Dome in anticipation of other wars, and yet the limited weapons in Gaza embarrassed it and its army. How will it succeed in other wars? It has an army, true, but no patience or legitimacy.”
“Today,” he went on, “Netanyahu is concentrating on military calculations. He’s making calculations in the run-up to the elections. He’s killing children. And when he saw that Gaza is standing on its own two feet, he tried to break its willpower, and attacked civilians. He is a war criminal.”
3:43 P.M. Hamas political leaders holds press conference after truce talks held in Egypt
3:15 P.M. Palestinian media reports that an elderly woman was killed in an Israel Air Force strike on Beit Hanoun, in north Gaza; Iron Dome intercepts 3 rockets above Ashdod.
3:05 P.M. Iron Dome intercepts three missiles above Ashkelon (Haaretz)
2:50 P.M. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman agree to give international efforts to bring about a cease-fire more time.
2:35 Woman lightly wounded in Ashkelon from rocket that exploded while trying to seek shelter
2:29 P.M. Rockets explode in Ashdod, Ashkelon, and Gan Yavne
2:25 P.M. Rocket alerts sounded in dozens of towns, including Ashkelon, Ashdod, Sha’ar Hanegev, Hof Ashkelon, Be’er Tuvia, and Gadera.
2:16 P.M. Another rocket intercepted by Iron Dome over Be’er Sheva
2:07 P.M. Rocket explodes in open area near Be’er Sheva
2:02 P.M. Iron Dome intercepts rocket in Be’er Sheva, alarm sounded within moments
2:00 P.M. Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan says Israel carrying out “terrorist attacks” in Gaza. (Reuters)
1:34 P.M. Pakistani hackers take credit for taking down website of Groupon Israel.