ALGEMEINER LIVE UPDATES DAY 8: 12 Rockets Fired Into Israel After U.S. Backed Egyptian Ceasefire Plan Enacted
Below are The Algemeiner’s continued live updates on Operation Pillar of Defense, entering day eight. For a recap of Tuesday’s events please see our blog. For coverage of today’s terror attack on a bus in Tel Aviv please go here. For an exclusive interview with a top British army commander on the current conflict go here. For a story on Israeli children suffering from PTSD go here.
Please refresh this page for live updates.
WRAP: The Algemeiner is concluding our live updates for tonight and will continue to report on all developments. Please check back to the Algemeiner home page for breaking news. Thank you for joining us.
8:10 pm – Israeli politicians from across the political spectrum criticize ceasefire, at least two members of of Israel’s security cabinet voted against it. Israeli citizens take to Facebook to express disappointment, while Tel Aviv is still reeling from this afternoon’s terror attack.
5:42 pm – According to the IDF, 120 of 177 killed in Gaza were engaged in terror.
4:30 pm – The Jerusalem Post reports that 12 rockets have been fired into Israel since the ceasefire began:
“At least 12 rockets were fired into Israel Wednesday night in the hour after the cease-fire understanding between Israel and Hamas went into effect at 9 p.m., according to police.
No injuries or damage were reported in the attacks.”
4:05 pm – Prime Minister Netayahu’s office released details of his comments to the Israeli people following the ceasefire:
“Citizens of Israel,
Eight days ago, Israel embarked on operation Pillar of Defense. The Government decided to launch the operation after the frequency of the terror attacks originating from Gaza increased over the last few months. I announced that we would respond forcibly to these attacks when we see fit. I said that we would exact a heavy price from the terror organizations.
The terror organizations assumed that we would avoid offensive action against them; they were wrong. We hit their senior commanders, we destroyed thousands of rockets which were aimed towards the South and most of those aimed towards central Israel, and we crushed Hamas’ control facilities. I must say that we did this with the strong support of the leading authorities of the international community.
In particular, I wish to thank President Obama for his resolute support for Israel’s actions, for this operation and for Israel’s right to defend itself. I also thank him for supporting the Iron Dome systems. I thank Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, and express my gratitude to the Egyptians for their efforts in achieving this cease-fire.
In a phone call I had this evening with President Obama, I agreed with him that we should give the cease-fire a chance in order to enable a lull in the situation and allow for the citizens of Israel to return to routine. However, Israel obviously cannot sit idly while our enemy reinforces itself with weapons of terror. Therefore we decided, President Obama and myself, that the United States and Israel would work together to fight the smuggling of weapons to the terror organizations – weapons, virtually all of which come from Iran.
From the day the State of Israel was established, it has had to deal with complex challenges in the Middle East, and we can all see that these challenges have become even more complex in the last few years. Under these conditions we are required to navigate this ship, the State of Israel, wisely and responsibly while taking into account all considerations – military and political alike. This is what a responsible government does, and it is what we did here: we made use of our military might while applying political considerations.
Now, I realize that there are citizens who expect a harsher military action and we may very well need to do that. But at present, the right thing for the State of Israel is to exhaust this possibility of reaching a long-term cease-fire. As Prime Minister, I have the responsibility, and it is the highest responsibility, to make the right steps to ensure our security. That is what I have done and it is what I will continue to do.
During the last week, Israel has lost several victims. On behalf of the entire population, I send condolences to the families, and wish the wounded a speedy recovery.
I would like to thank my colleagues, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman. We worked together as a team, in full agreement. I also thank the Nine-Member Ministerial Forum, the Cabinet and the Government, for working – each in its field of responsibility – for the citizens of Israel. I also appreciate the factions of the Opposition and the factions in Knesset for standing with us and proclaiming their support.
I thank the Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Benny Gantz, the Chief of Shin Bet, Yoram Cohen, the Director of the Mossad, Tamir Pardo, and all of their people for their exceptional efforts in reaching our accomplishments in Pillar of Defense. On behalf of the people of Israel, I thank the IDF commanders and soldiers, the pilots, the Iron Dome operators and developers, the members of the intelligence services, all the members of the security services and to the reservists, who left their families and immediately signed up for duty.
I appreciate the mayors and heads of regional councils for displaying leadership and level-headedness at the Home Front, and above all – I salute you, the citizens of Israel. We have a strong army; we have a strong people. I am proud to by your Prime Minister.”
3:17 pm – Times of Israel reports that a soldier who was injured earlier today “succumbs to his injuries, raising Israel’s death toll to 6.”
2:35 pm - As Israel’s ceasefire with Hamas comes into effect the IDF released the following statement saying that it has accomplished its goals in Operation Pillar of Defense. The statement provides details of Israeli casualties, rockets fired by Hamas and Gaza targets that were struck.
“A short while ago, a ceasefire agreement regarding the fighting in the south, came into effect. Following eight days of operations, the IDF has accomplished its pre-determined objectives for Operation Pillar of Defense, and has inflicted severe damage to Hamas and its military capabilities.
As a result of IDF operations, the command and control apparatus of Hamas was significantly struck, beginning with the targeting of the commander of the military wing of Hamas, Ahmed Jabri, continuing with the targeting of broad terrorist infrastructure, facilities and military bases, as well as the destruction of dozens of smuggling and explosive tunnels.
During the operation, the IDF damaged and destroyed significant elements of Hamas’ strategic capabilities, among them. Amongst those capabilities were long-range (over 40 km) and hundreds of short- and medium-range rocket launchers. These actions have severely impaired Hamas’ launching capabilities, resulting in a decreasing number of rockets being fired from the Gaza Strip. The ‘Iron Dome’ defense system has accomplished high rate of successful interceptions (84%) and Hamas’ accuracy with regards to hitting populated areas within Israel remained below 7%.
IDF soldiers, in regular and reserve military service, gathered in assembly areas and prepared for the ground operation. Their time was used for training and improving their operational capabilities.
These operational achievements provided the underlying framework for this evening’s ceasefire agreement.
At this time, Israeli residents are requested to continue to pay attention to Home Front Command’s instructions.
Over the course of Operation Pillar of Defense, the IDF targeted over 1,500 terror sites including 19 senior command centers, operational control centers and Hamas’ senior-rank headquarters, 30 senior operatives, damaging Hamas’ command and control, hundreds of underground rocket launchers, 140 smuggling tunnels, 66 terror tunnels, dozens of Hamas operation rooms and bases, 26 weapon manufacturing and storage facilities and dozens of long-range rocket launchers and launch sites.
Senior Operatives Targeted:
14.11 – Ahmed Sai’d Halil Jabri, head of Hamas’ military wing.
15.11 – Hab’s Hassan Us Msamch, senior operative in Hamas’ police.
16.11 – Ahmed Abu Jalal, Commander of the military wing in Al-Muazi
16.11 – Khaled Shayer, senior operative in the anti-tank operations.
17.11 – Osama Kadi, senior operative in the smuggling operations in the southern Gaza Strip.
17.11 – Muhammad Kalb, senior operative in the aerial defense operations.
19.11 – Ramz Harb, Islamic Jihad senior operative in propaganda in Gaza city.
Number of Rocket Launches Toward Israel During the Operation:
14.11 – 75
15.11 – 316
16.11 – 228
17.11 – 237
18.11 – 156
19.11 – 143
20.11 – 221
21.11 (Until 21:00) – 130
Rocket Launched Towards Israel:
Total number of rockets launched from the Gaza Strip – 1,506
Open areas – 875
Urban areas – 58
‘Iron Dome’ Interceptions – 421
Failed launching attempts – 152
Fatalities – 5 Injuries – 240″
2:20 pm – Times of Israel reports:
“A Channel 2 snap poll finds that 70 percent of the Israeli public does not support signing a ceasefire with Hamas, while 24% are in favor of it. Six percent say they don’t know.
Asked how long they believe the ceasefire will hold, 64% say they think it will last a short while, 24% say it won’t last at all, and 7% say it will last for a long time.
Asked if Operation Pillar of Defense reinstated Israel’s deterrence, 58% say it has been strengthened, 15% say it was weakened and 26% say it hasn’t changed.”
2:16 pm - Footage of Hillary Clinton announcing the ceasefire can be viewed below:
2:14 pm – The details of the ceasefire agreement were allegedly sent to a BBC reporter. Here The Algemeiner provides the full text.
1:25 pm – 2 rockets fired from Lebanon fall short of the Israeli border.
1:19 pm – From Prime Minister Netanyahu’s office:
“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this evening (Wednesday, 21 November 2012), spoke with US President Barack Obama and acceded to his recommendation to give the Egyptian ceasefire proposal a chance and thereby give an opportunity to stabilize and calm the situation before there is a need to use greater force. The Prime Minister expressed his deep appreciation to the President for his support of Israel during the operation and for his contribution to the Iron Dome system. The Prime Minister reiterated that Israel would take all necessary steps to defend its citizens.”
1:17 pm – Israel’s Channel 10 news: the ceasefire was agreed between Obama and Morsi personally.
1:06 pm – Sources in Israel tell The Algemeiner that there is a general feeling of disappointment now in the country. A diplomatic source in Jerusalem says that President Obama “threw Israel under the bus.”
1:03 pm - Prime Minister Netanyahu, Defense Minister Barak and Foreign Minister Lieberman will issue statements this evening at 20:30 Israel time, at the Prime Minister’s Jerusalem office.
12:57 pm – Spokesman for Prime Minister Netanyahu: after a conversation with President Obama, the PM accepted the President’s recommendation to give a chance to the Egyptian initiative for ceasefire.
12:53 pm - In a press conference in Cairo Hillary Clinton announced there will be a ceasefire between Israel and Gaza terrorists starting at 9 pm Israel time. More here.
12:30 pm – According to a senior Israeli official U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will ask both sides of the conflict between Israel and Hamas to hold their fire tonight, Ynet reports. Israel is expected to accept and is aware that shortly thereafter terror groups in Gaza will cease firing on the Jewish state. More here.
11:52 am – Two persistent rumors are circulating in Israeli diplomatic circles: 1) Israel will declare a unilateral ceasefire tonight (this possibility has been denied by all gov. sources) 2) Hillary Clinton told Prime Minister Netanyahu that the US vetoes any ground operation unless Israel commits itself to the full removal of Hamas, and a transfer of Gaza to Mahmoud Abbas followed by the resumption of fast track negotiations for a permanent solution.
11:26 am – The IDF provided the following summary of today’s events:
“Over the course of the IDF targeted over 50 terror sites, including underground rocket launchers, smuggling tunnels and terror tunnels. Several buildings that belong to senior Hamas operatives and serve as command and control centers were also targeted.
Additionally, a number of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror squads that were involved in promoting terror activity, like launching rockets at Israel, were targeted.
Armored and Artillery Forces fired towards open areas in the Gaza Strip.
This morning, Erez Crossing was opened for the crossing of diplomats, and medical supplies, which usually pass through Kerem Shalom, were transferred to the residents of the Gaza Strip via the Crossing. The Kerem Shalom Crossing was closed yesterday, due to rockets fire.
The Gaza Strip has been turned into a front line base for Iran, forcing Israeli citizens to live under unbearable circumstances.
The sites that were targeted were positively identified by precise intelligence over the course of several months.
The IDF is determined to continue targeting sites that are used to carry out terror attacks against the State of Israel and its citizens.”
10:30 am – Maariv reports that a manhunt is underway for the terrorist responsible for this morning’s terror attack on a Tel Aviv bus. Roadblocks have been set up throughout the Gush Dan area.
9:39 am – The IDF releases a video below showing a presenter for Hamas TV covering the terror attack on a Tel Aviv bus this morning. As the camera surveys the damage, he says, “God willing, we will soon see black body bags.”
9:26 am – A political source in Jerusalem told The Algemeiner that “Hamas still desires to pull Egypt into a conflict with Israel, so it’s seeking new ways to provoke Israel into a ground invasion of Gaza.”
9:00 am- Hillary Clinton responds to Tel Aviv bus attack: “As I arrive in Cairo, I am closely monitoring reports from Tel Aviv, and we will stay in close contact with Prime Minister Netanyahu’s team,” she says. “The United States stands ready to provide any assistance that Israel requires.”
PREAMBLE: 8:50 am – Operation Pillar of Defense entered its 8th day Wednesday with no sign of a cessation. A bus in Tel Aviv was blown up at midday by terrorists, injuring 21 people. There were reports that the perpetrator is still at large. Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, the unofficial terror wing of Fatah, has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Elsewhere in the region Hillary Clinton arrived in Cairo to meet with Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi in the hopes of facilitating a truce.
As of this writing the IDF is reporting that 62 rockets have been fired at Israel so far Wednesday, 20 of which have been intercepted by Iron Dome, while the IDF continues to carry out operations to halt rocket fire from Gaza.