Palestinian official: Egypt-brokered talks progressing in Cairo, but Israel-Hamas no truce soon; fire on south quietens down, with four rockets striking open areas in Negev; more than 540 rockets have fallen inside Israel since, all but 35 of them in open areas, while Iron Dome systems have intercepted 310 rockets.
An Israeli missile flattened a two-story house in a residential neighborhood of Gaza City on Sunday, killing four young children and eight other civilians, most from the same family, Palestinian sources said, in what was the single deadliest incident in the five-day-old Operation Pillar of Defense. The bloodshed is considered likely to raise international pressure for a cease-fire, with Egypt taking the lead in mediating between Israel and Hamas.
The Israel Defense Forces said nine Palestinians were killed accidentally in the missile strike, in which a top operative in Hamas’ rocket program was hit. It is not clear if he was killed. The army, which had originally said the Hamas rocket chief was hit in the air strike, is investigating.
Palestinians fired at least 75 rockets at Israel Sunday, a steep drop from a weekend in which about 230 rockets were fired daily. More than 10 Israelis were wounded by shrapnel, two moderately, according to police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld. In the southern city of Ashkelon, rocket fire damaged a residential building. Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted about 40 rockets, including two aimed at the Tel Aviv area.
Despite some reports of diplomatic progress, the IDF continues to prepare for a possible ground incursion. PLO official Nabil Shaath says that a truce in the coming days is unlikely.
12:34 P.M. Rocket warning sirens go off in Ashdod and Hof Ashkelon.
11:57 A.M. Rocket strikes open area in Sderot.
11:31 A.M. Rocket barrage strikes Eshkol Regional Council and Ofakim area. Another rocket fired at Gan Yavneh. Iron Dome intercepts rocket above Be’er Sheva. No injuries or damages are reported in any of the incidents.
11:15 A.M. Rocket alert warning sounds in Ofakim.
11:00 A.M. Two Palestinians killed in IAF bombing in Khan Younis. Palestinian sources report that the victims were civilians. The intended target was apparently two men riding a motorcycle nearby. Another man was killed in Gaza while riding in his car.
10:41 A.M. Four rockets are fired at Ashkelon, bringing total rocket fire against Israel so far on Monday to 17. Three of them are intercepted by Iron Dome, while the other explodes in the city and damages a building. No casualties are reported.
10:30 A.M. Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz tells Army Radio: If truce not reached, IDF will expand operation within hours, not days.
10:25 A.M. IDF says 95 Palestinians, one-third of them uninvolved in conflict, have been killed since beginning of Operation Pillar of Defense.
9:50 A.M. Vandals set fire to the entrance of a mosque in the northern West Bank in a suspected “price-tag” attack. According to Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian activist who monitors settlers’ activities in the area, a group apparently from the nearby settlement of Yitzhar entered the village of Ureef in the early morning, poured flammable liquid over the entrance of Ribat mosque and set it alight. Daghlas says residents were awakened by the noise and the fire and rushed to put it out, but the vandals had already left when they arrived. The damage did not spread beyond the mosque door. (DPA)
9:48 A.M. Thirteen rockets recorded so far on Monday: 11 rockets have struck the Eshkol Regional Council, one has hit Sdot Negev, and another has landed in Sha’ar Hanegev.
8:58 A.M. IDF says 40 smuggling tunnels between Gaza and Rafah bombed overnight; Gaza stadium used for launching rockets also attacked; 95 Palestinians killed since beginning of operation, nearly 1/3 of them uninvolved.
8:40 A.M. Rocket alert sounds in Sdot Negev (Haaretz)
8:09 A.M. Three Palestinians killed by IDF in Dir Balah. Eilat residents report hearing blast.
8:05 A.M. According to IDF statistics, Israel has attacked over 1,350 targets since the beginning of the current offensive. More than 540 rockets have fallen inside Israel, all but 35 of them in open areas, while Iron Dome systems have intercepted 310 rockets.
8:00 A.M. Four rockets fired from Gaza land in open spaces in the western Negev. No wounded or property damage reported.
7:40 A.M. In a statement, IDF says it attacked some 80 targets overnight in Gaza, including rocket launchers, smuggling tunnels and training camps, destroying arms caches.
6:50 A.M. Palestinians report 11 killed overnight in IDF attacks overnight on Gaza, including a 60-year-old woman, a 19-year-old woman, a child of 4 and a one-year-old baby. Some 70 reported wounded, mainly in the Zeitun neighborhood in northern Gaza.
6:30 A.M. Red alert in Sha’ar Hanegev and Hof Ashkelon Regional Council.