Thursday, July 03, 2014

Today's news from Israel

Gaza and the south

Man inspects the damage to a house following a rocket attack by militants from the Gaza Strip in the southern Israeli town of Sderot, on July 3, 2014. Photo by AFP
The IDF mobilized troops to southern Israel and called up reservists on Thursday after several barrages of rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip, several of them striking houses in Sderot.

9:02 P.M. Home Front Command calls on residents of communities near the Gaza Strip to remain in bomb shelters. (Shirley Seidler)

8:56 P.M. Two Qassam rockets hit Sdot Negev Regional Council, two buildings damaged. No injuries reported.

Rocket alert sounds also in Eshkol and Shaar Hanegev Regional Councils.

8:25 P.M. IDF soldier lightly injured from shrapnel as nine mortar shells hit Eshkol Regional Council in southern Israel. (Shirley Seidler)

7:57 P.M. More than 30 Gaza rockets have hit southern Israel in 24 hours, IDF officials say. 

7:35 P.M. IDF officials say rocket fired from Gaza landed in urban area in Sderot, two more rockets landed in open areas. (Gili Cohen)

7:07 P.M. Rocket alerts sound in Sderot and Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council. (Shirley Seidler)

6:52 P.M. Hamas "are prepared for all options against Israel," speaker of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades tells press in Gaza. "The threat of an Israeli military action against the Gaza Strip does not scare us. It only hastens the hour of our revenge against Israel, and an opportunity to teach it a lesson. […] Israel will be surprised when it discovers what arms we have. In the past we have fired rockets at Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Gush Etzion and Rishon Letzion, and a foolish move by Israel at this time will cause further hits to other location in Israel, some of which it does not expect." (Jack Khoury)

6:11 P.M. Several dozen protesters rally in Sderot after rocket strikes, chant "Bibi [Netanyahu] wake up, Jewish blood is not forfeit." (Shirley Seidler)

4:19 P.M. Soldiers from a Nahal Haredi unit sentenced to 10 days in military jail after posting pictures of themselves on Facebook demanding revenge for the murder of the three kidnapped teenagers. The IDF Spokesman's Unit said the soldiers were jailed for "operating against military rules. This is a grave matter that is inconsistent with what is expected of an IDF soldier. Any incident that commanders learn of will be treated with utmost severity." (Gili Cohen)

1:55 P.M. A rocket fired from Gaza hits Sderot industrial zone, damage done to property but no injuries reported. (Shirley Seidler)

1:52 P.M. Despite the tension in the southern front with Gaza and the damage done to residential buildings, a senior military source says Israel is interested in restoring quiet in the region. The source says that "quiet would be met with quiet," adding that actions taken in recent days by Israel are defensive in nature.

The source says that if Hamas will move to prevent rocket fire to the south, Israel would not escalate the situation. However, he warned that Israel would know how to respond if needed.

The source's remarks come after three security cabinet meetings in recent days. A few of the ministers called for expanding the operation in Gaza and it seems that the senior officer's message is coordinated with the political leadership and is intended to give Hamas a last chance to avoid further escalation. (Amos Harel and Gili Cohen)

1:10 P.M. Rocket sirens go off in southern city of Sderot. (Shirley Seidler)

1:06 P.M. IDF mobilizes tanks and infantry forces to south following the escalation in Gaza. (Gili Cohen)

10:54 The rocket that hit a Sderot house earlier Thursday did not explode, but penetrated a wall and caused extensive damage. The woman of the house was in a protected room with her four children at the time of the strike. "We heard an explosion, and then a really strong explosion," she said. "I know it was close, but I didn't think it was actually inside the house."

8:43 A.M. Gaza rockets hits two houses in Sderot, causing damage to the buildings and a nearby vehicle. There are no reports of casualties. Three other rockets explode in open areas. (Shirley Seidler)

8:06 A.M. Israeli forces overnight arrest 13 Palestinians and raid two institutions affiliated to the Dawa, Hamas' social welfare network, in the Hebron area.

Eleven rockets were fired overnight from Gaza at southern Israel. An Iron Dome defense battery intercepted two over Netivot, three exploded in Sderot and six fell in open areas. A residential building in Sderot was hit by one of the rockets; no injuries were reported. (Gili Cohen)

4:42 A.M. At least 10 civilians were injured in the northern Gaza Strip, including a woman in critical condition, Gaza emergency chief Ashraf al-Qedra told reporters. Witnesses reported hearing explosions in the northern Gaza Strip and Gaza city. (DPA)

A crater caused by an Israeli air strike in Gaza City, July 3, 2014. (Reuters)
3:37 A.M. IAF strikes 15 targets in Gaza, according to a statement released by the IDF spokesperson, "in light of constant and continued fire into Israeli territory." Among the Hamas-affiliated targets were hidden rocket launchers, training compounds and weapons storage sites. (Gili Cohen)

3:13 A.M. The IAF is currently striking targets in Gaza following late Wednesday night's rocket fire into Sderot. There are reportedly casualties. (Gili Cohen)

1:12 A.M. A rocket fired from Gaza lands in Sderot. Additional explosions have been heard, and electricity in the city is cut off. (Shirly Seidler)


8:12 P.M. Rioting in East Jerusalem continues, police arrest six in Shoafat (Nir Hasson)

7:51 P.M. Slain Palestinian boy's father and Jerusalem police reach agreement to delay funeral to Friday, after end of prayers.

4:06 P.M. Jerusalem police refuse to allow Abu Khdeir's funeral procession to commence at the Temple Mount, as requested by the murdered boy's father when he met with top police commanders earlier. Police do agree to open access to the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Shoafat for the funeral. (Nir Hasson)

Abu Khdeir's family seeks to hold the funeral on Thursday evening, unless the body is released from the Abu Kabir Institute of Forensic Medicine late at night, in which case it will be held Friday afternoon. The family claims that police and the Shin Bet security service are attempting to delay the funeral to a late-night hour in order to minimize potential for friction. The boy will be buried in a family plot not far from his home.

The boy's family says that despite promises to expedite the procedure, their son's body has not yet undergone an autopsy. The Palestinian pathologist taking part in the autopsy, Sabr Al-Alul, was detained for an hour and a half at a checkpoint due to a blockade imposed on Hebron, where he resides.

When Al-Alul finally arrived at Abu Kabit Forensics Institute, the body could not be operated upon since a new autopsy had to be ordered - the procedure was called before the teenager was identified, and a new order had to be issued with his correct identity now verified.

Lawyer Muanad Jabara said the police told the boy's family that the investigation, which has been passed to Jerusalem's central unit, is being treated as the most important investigation currently taking place in Israel.

10:30 A.M. Jerusalem light rail to operate on limited route Thursday following severe damages caused Wednesday during the clashes. Light rail franchisee City Pass says repairs could last months. (Nir Hasson)

9:35 A.M. Family of slain Palestinian teen Mohammed Abu-Khdeir says coroner has concluded checking the body and that the autopsy could begin. A Ramallah pathologist will part in the autopsy on behalf of the family. It is still not clear when the body will be transferred to the family. Police fear that the 16-year-old's funeral will spark renewed violence. National police forces have been deployed in the capital and are on high alert. (Nir Hasson)

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