OPERATION ‘PROTECTIVE EDGE’ DAY 18: Israel, Hamas Agree to 12-Hour Humanitarian Ceasefire (LIVE UPDATES)
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WRAP: Algemeiner updates will be temporarily suspended until Saturday evening in observation of Shabbat. For live updates on Operation Protective Edge click here.
7:01 pm – Israel agreed to a 12-hour humanitarian ceasefire to begin on Saturday. In a statement the IDF said:
Today, Saturday, July 26, 2014, between 08:00-20:00 IDT, a humanitarian window in the Gaza Strip will commence.
Gaza civilians who have been requested to vacate from their residence are to refrain from returning.
The IDF shall respond if terrorists choose to exploit this time to attack IDF personnel or fire at Israeli civilians.
During this time, the Operational activities to locate and neutralize tunnels in the Gaza Strip will continue.
4:00 pm – In its latest operation update, the IDF said it thwarted an attempted kidnapping of a wounded soldier. The full statement is below:
Today, an armored corps force targeted two militant squads during final preparations to launch rockets at Israel. The launching site was concealed between two schools and a mosque.
In addition, engineering crops forces unveiled a house wired with explosives in the southern Gaza Strip, in which were transmitting devices and anti-tank missiles. In another house in the southern Gaza Strip, infantry forces revealed 8 explosive devices.
During one of the battles in Gaza, terrorists emerged from a tunnel and attempted to abduct a wounded soldier. Forces engaged the terrorists and foiled the attempt.
Since midnight, over 80 rockets were launched at Israel, out of which 60 hit Israel and 15 were intercepted.
Approximately 2430 rockets were launched at Israel since the operation commenced. As part of the ongoing efforts to combat terror and prevent rocket launchings at Israeli civilians, at least 1500 targets associated with rocket launching capabilities have been targeting.
3:01 pm – The Jerusalem Post reports: “Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s security cabinet has rejected proposals for a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip and is seeking changes to the plans, a government source said on Friday.”
The Times of Israel cites Army Radio quoting an unnamed source in Jerusalem flatly disputing Secretary Kerry’s assertion that his ceasefire proposal is “built on” the Egyptian proposal that Israel accepted Wednesday.
“It is not built on the Egyptian proposal,” the source is quoted saying. It is, rather, heavily tilted toward Hamas.
2:28 pm – An Israeli soldier was killed by fire from a UN school structure, the IDF announced. Another soldier was also killed bringing the IDF death toll to 35.
“At noon today militants fired mortars and anti- tank missiles from a structure near an UNRWA school in the central Gaza Strip, killing an IDF soldier and wounding several others,” the IDF said. “The soldier who was killed is Staff Sergeant Guy Levy, an armored corps combatant, 21 years old, from Kfar Vradim.”
“Since midnight, six soldiers were moderately injured, and 8 additional soldiers were lightly injured during combat in the Gaza Strip.”
11:16 am – An IDF investigation has found that Israeli soldier Oron Shaul, who was formerly considered missing in action, was killed in Gaza on July 20th.
“A special committee lead by the Chief Rabbi of the IDF, announced the death of the IDF infantry soldier,” the IDF said. “Prior to the decision, all the religious, medical and further relevant issues were taken into consideration.”
“The soldier’s family was notified moments ago by the Chief Military Rabbi, Brigadier General Rafi Peretz, and the Chief of the IDF Personnel Directorate, Major General Orna Barbivai.”
“The committee concluded that Staff Sergeant Oron Shaul is defined ‘a soldier killed in action whose burial site is unknown’. The IDF will continue to support the family, and escort them through the grieving period. May his memory be blessed.”
The IDF said, “OTR – In light of this definition – According to the Jewish religion the family is not obligated to conduct a funeral, nor is the family obligated to sit through a “Shiva”, the traditional mourning period of seven days.”
10:35 am – Overnight an Israeli soldier was killed in action in the Gaza Strip.
“Master Sergeant (Res.) Yair Ashkenazy, 36 years old from Rehovot, was a combatant in the reserve brigade of the IDF Officer Cadet,” the IDF said. “His family has been notified.”
Since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge, 33 IDF officers and soldiers have been killed.
10:30 am – The IDF released the following summary of its overnight activities:
Since the beginning of the ground phase of Operation Protective Edge, 843 rockets were launched by Gaza terrorists towards Israel. 658 of those rockets struck Israeli territory, while an additional 166 were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system. Since midnight, 8 rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, whereas 1 was intercepted, and 7 hit Israeli territory. As part of the overall Operation, over 65,000 reserve forces have been drafted by the IDF.
Overnight the IDF targeted 45 terror activity sites. Amongst them was a military command post, which included Hamas internal security offices and the office of a Hamas senior operative, Ra’at Habat. Earlier this morning, in a combined IDF-ISA effort, Salah Abu Hasim, a member of the PIJ Military Council, was targeted in the southern Gaza Strip.
Today, July 25, 2014, the Kerem-Shalom Crossing will be open for the transfer of humanitarian supplies, between 08:00-15:00.
Furthermore, the following is information regarding senior terror operatives who were targeted in the Gaza Strip over the past week:
- Tafat Muhammad Hamed (1977), a senior PIJ operative in the Beit Hanoun region, was responsible for rocket attacks at Israeli communities over the last months, which broke the seize fire agreement and lead to Operation Protective Edge.
- Hasim Abad Elkader Mecusan, a senior PIJ operative in the area of Shuja’iyya.
- Akrem Sha’ad (1973), senior PIJ operative in the area of Khan Yunis, was responsible for executing terror attacks against Israel and firing rockets at civilians.
- Mahmud Ziada, a senior PIJ operative in the area of Jabalia, was responsible for the proliferation of rockets and their firing at Israeli communities.
- Ahmed Sahamood, a senior terror operative in the Khan Yunis area.
- Asama Alhia, a Hamas leading terrorist in the Shuja’iyya region, son of Halil Alhia, a highly ranked operative in Hamas’s political wing.
- Mahmad Shaaban, a senior Hamas operative.
- Abdala Al Haras, a senior leader in the Hamas military wing.
PREAMBLE: 8:19 am – Early on Tuesday July 8th Israel launched Operation Protective Edge aimed at stopping “the constant terror activity that Hamas is aiming at Israeli civilians.” The major Gaza initiative comes in response to a significant increase in rocket attacks from the coastal enclave over the past weeks.
Since the start of the initiative Israel has targeted over 3200 terror sites and has seen over 2000 rockets fired from Gaza at Israeli cities including Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Gedera. More than 6 million Israelis are under threat of rocket attacks and many are spending the nights in bomb shelters. Over 800 deaths have been reported in Gaza and 33 Israeli soldiers have been killed and well as three civilians.
Last Tuesday, while Israel accepted an Egyptian proposed ceasefire, Hamas rejected it and fired volleys of rockets into Israel.
Late on Thursday July 17th the IDF launched an extensive ground offensive in Gaza.