OPERATION ‘PROTECTIVE EDGE’ DAY 3: Rockets Fired at Yerushalayim, Two Shot Down


shelter-attack-rocket1[Continuous updates below.] Follow here for continued live updates on the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas. Our report on the launch of Israel’s Operation Protective Edge can be found hereFor details on the rocket attacks that led to Israel’s operation click hereTo read Tuesday’s live blog (now closed) click hereTo read yesterday’s live blog (now closed) click here.


6:23 pm – The Israel Defense Forces posted to YouTube this video montage of Hamas leaders calling for the murder of Israelis. (Warning: Graphic images).

5:53 pm – Eilat police now say the reported security incident near the Sinai border was a false alarm. “We’re happy that it concluded this way,” a spokesman said. “The Eilat police are deployed in force in order to protect residents and visitors.”

5:50 pm – The full readout from Prime Minister Netanyahu’s phone call with President Obama is posted below:

5:47 pm – President Obama tells Israel’s Netanyahu that the United States is willing to negotiate a cease-fire between Israel, Hamas.

5:45 pm – “The incident isn’t taking place within our purview,” the IDF Spokesman said in a brief tweet about reports of the security event in Eilat. “Forces are deployed in the area, and/but it doesn’t appear to be an infiltration into Israeli territory,” the army statement said.

5:27 pm – Israeli security forces in Eilat have launched a manhunt for four possible infiltrators from the Egyptian Sinai in the hills surrounding the Red Sea port and hotel area, according to Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot.

5:12 pm – The Eilat police spokesperson has reported a possible security event at Eilat Port.

A large police and IDF force is on the scene. The road from the Princess Hotel to the Taba border crossing is closed.

3:58 pm – U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer (D-New York), Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), Robert Menendez (D-New Jersey) and Kelly Ayotte (R-New Hampshire) today introduced a resolution expressing “support for the State of Israel as it defends itself against unprovoked attacks from the Hamas terrorist organization.” According to a joint statement:

The resolution:

  • Reaffirms the United States’ support for Israel’s right to defend its citizens and ensure the survival of the State of Israel;
  • Condemns the unprovoked rocket fire at Israel;
  • Calls on Hamas to immediately cease all rocket and other attacks against Israel; and
  • Calls on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to dissolve the unity governing arrangement with Hamas and condemn the attacks on Israel.

“Israel is entitled to take the steps necessary to protect itself from destructive rocket attacks from Hamas, that are aimed at all Israeli civilians,” said Senator Schumer.  “This resolution supports Israel as it defends itself in a manner that values the safety of Palestinian civilians, even as its own civilians face indiscriminate attacks from terrorists. It is time for Mahmoud Abbas to do the right thing and break ties with Hamas.”

“The State of Israel is under siege on multiple fronts,” said Senator Lindsey Graham.  “Hamas is a terrorist organization that has fired hundreds of rockets at the State of Israel. This is truly an act of terrorism that needs to be condemned. I believe the Senate will speak with one voice in condemning the actions of the terrorist organization Hamas and standing by America’s best friend in the region, the State of Israel.  There is no moral equivalency between the self-defense actions of Israel and the barbaric actions of Hamas.”

“Israel has a right to self-defense in the face of indiscriminate violence and vicious attacks against civilian populations,” said Senator Robert Menendez. “It is an appalling but often-used tactic by Hamas to launch rockets indiscriminately at Israeli population centers.  Nobody should be surprised that a terrorist organization is once again resorting to terror to harm innocent Israelis, and exposing Palestinian civilians to danger while doing so. Hamas is a terrorist organization that rejects a two-state solution and celebrates the kidnapping and murder of innocent civilians; it cannot be a partner in a Palestinian unity government.”

“Israel is our closest and most reliable ally in the Middle East, and we stand with Israel and their right to defend themselves against terrorist organizations that deliberately target civilians,” said Senator Ayotte.

3:47 pm – Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz, and GOC Air Force Maj.-Gen. Amir Eshel made the following remarks after today’s Security Cabinet meeting, according to a statement:

Prime Minister Netanyahu:

“We are in the third day of Operation Protective Edge. While the campaign has gone as planned further stages yet await us. We have struck hard at Hamas and the terrorists and as long as the campaign continues we will strike at them harder. I would like to thank the IDF, ISA, and the security services for their professional, dedicated and precise actions, and express the appreciation of all Israelis. They are making every effort to avoid hitting civilians and innocents are hit it is because Hamas is maliciously hiding behind Palestinian civilians.

As of now, the IDF, ISA and other security services have successfully foiled many attempted attacks against Israeli citizens but a tough, complex and complicated campaign yet awaits us. Therefore, I call on all Israelis to continue to show the strength that you have shown in these days and hours. This civilian fortitude is a main component of our ability to continue operations until we finish the work of restoring quiet and security to Israel’s cities. The most important thing for us, for all of us, is to guard the lives of all Israelis and we are all working together to this end.”

Defense Minister Yaalon:

“We are in the midst of Operation Protective Edge. As of now, we have hit Hamas and the other terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip very hard. Hundreds of targets have been destroyed including the homes of militants, government institutions, launchers, rockets and other war materiel. Dozens of terrorists have been killed and we are continuing to strike at Hamas and make it pay a heavy price for everything it has done in recent days.

This is an opportunity to express appreciation to the IDF; the IDF has been active on land, sea and air, in both offensive and defensive efforts. The IDF has impressively succeeded in intercepting the rockets being launched at the State of Israel and in thwarting the terrorist organizations’ malicious intentions to perpetrate attacks, both by sea and in other ways.

But this is also the opportunity to express appreciation to the residents of Israel. I have visited several local councils and, indeed, the stamina of the public is an important component in our ability to continue the operation. But the public must also act properly; this is part of our ability to avoid casualties. The public must listen to instructions from the IDF Home Front Command. We will continue with this operation until we reach the desired result – the cessation of firing and the lifting of the threat to Israeli citizens and soldiers.”

IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Gantz:

“The IDF is monitoring what is happening in all sectors – in the north, center and south. After the conclusion of Operation Brother’s Keeper, we moved on to Operation Protective Edge in the south and this time we are dealing with Hamas and the other terrorist organizations that are trying to attack deep into Israeli territory by land, sea and air.

We will continue to follow the directives of the political echelon. We will continue to monitor the intelligence reality. We will continue to act patiently and with sagacity. We will attack wherever it is necessary to attack, we will defend wherever it is necessary to defend, and we will attack and defend on land, sea and air. We will use all of our intelligence, command and control, and logistical capabilities. All in all, we are operating well in all sectors. Southern Command, Home Front Command and the Air Force are making maximum efforts. We will continue to act. We will rely on the patience of the public and must ask that it follow the instructions of IDF Home Front Command in order to minimize damage as much as possible. We will continue to take determined action until we reach our goals. At this stage, I would like to commend our citizens and the actions of our forces.”

GOC Air Force Maj.-Gen. Eshel:

“The Air Force is taking both offensive and defensive action: Offensively, with the praiseworthy cooperation of Southern Command, the Intelligence Branch and the ISA. The intelligence agencies are providing excellent intelligence for the Air Force’s operational activity. We have dropped hundreds of tons of ordnance and bombs on terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip, in a very complicated environment in which civilians are being used as human shields and we are trying to avoid hitting civilians as much as possible. Until now the results have been very good and we are continuing the effort.

Defensively, Air Force personnel in Iron Dome and other capabilities are making great efforts in the fight against the rockets being launched in all directions. Until now the results have been good, most rockets are being intercepted and are not causing damage; a minority of them are hitting in settled areas. Nothing is 100% but these soldiers are professionals and are doing their work in a level-headed and determined manner, in short timeframes. Making the necessary decisions is very, very complicated and as of now there has been great success.

We will continue both offensive and defensive efforts until we reach the goals set by the political leadership. The entire Air Force is involved in this effort, both offensively and defensively, and we will succeed.”

3:42 pm – Below are the instructions issued today by Israel’s Home Front Command for Israeli civilians:

Home Front Command Instructions

Cities and towns located between 0-40 km from the Gaza Strip:

  • Gatherings of more than 300 civilians is forbidden
  • Activity of schools, kindergartens and summer camps is forbidden, except for cities and towns located in the ‘Gaza Envelope’ – the region that extends around the Gaza Strip

Cities and towns located in the areas of Gush Dan, Jerusalem, Beit Shemesh, Sharon Plain, Shfela Plain and Hefer Valley:

  • Activity of schools, kindergartens and summer camps is allowed, provided there is a bomb shelter in the vicinity.

The Israeli public must remain vigilant and pay attention to Home Front Command’s instructions published in the media.

3:40 pm – The IDF posted a video of Israeli civilians running for cover as Ashdod came under attack earlier today:

2:48 pm – The IDF posted this photo of a house in Beersheba that was hit by a rocket fired from Gaza a short time ago. 20 rockets were fired in the past hour, the IDF said.

A house in Beersheba after a rocket strike. Photo: IDF.

2:45 pm – The IDF announced that two soldiers hit by a mortar earlier today sustained moderate and light wounds.

2:27 pm – After initial reports of an injury and death in Ashdod, emergency services are now saying that there was no injury.

12:42 pm – Israeli ambul ance service Magen David Adom says four are suffering from trauma from the hit on the Beersheba house.

12: 35 pm –  Israel’s Channel 2 reports a direct hit on a house in Beersheba from a 20-rocket barrage; initial reports suggest minor injuries to residents.

11:42 am – From Ahava Emunah Lange who is undergoing treatment at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem:

It felt very wrong to just leave all the bedridden oncology patients lying in their rooms while mobile patients, like me, ran for the protected area during the missile attack just now… It’s bizarre that running for shelter and hearing explosions has become normal. This is Jerusalem!

11:25 am – According to Israeli news site 0404, one of the rockets fired at Jerusalem hit in or near the Palestinian village of Bitunia, north of the city. There were no reports of injuries or damage.

11:06 am – Army Radio reports that  four rockets were fired at Jerusalem; Iron Dome shot down two, two fell near the city in open areas. There are no reports of injuries.

10:24 am – Watchdog group Palestinian Media Watch published the following report  and video of incitement on Hamas TV:

In a song on Al-Aqsa TV, Hamas promises to launch more rockets at Israel and encourages Palestinians to seek Martyrdom death for Allah through suicide bombings in cafés and buses.

The song calls to “destroy” and “blow up Tel-Aviv” and to “return” the Israeli coastal city of Ashkelon to Palestinians, while the video shows rockets being fired.

Addressing Hamas’ military wing, the Izz A-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, the song affirms that “victory is from Allah” and that “in Paradise there is a Garden [for Martyrs] calling to you.” The video shows a café and a bus destroyed by a suicide bomber, along with the words, “Martyrdom-seeker (i.e., suicide bomber), O blaze, hurry, blow up Tel Aviv.”

10:12 am – The IDF posted this picture of a recent Iron Dome interception over Ashkelon:

Iron Dome downs a rocket over Ashkelon. Photo: IDF.

10:06 am – Israel’s Hatzolah volunteer ambulance service tweeted: “Over 15 rockets were fired towards Tel Aviv area today, making this the largest bombardment since the 1948 War of Independence.”

9:57 am – Yesterday, Jewish human rights group the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) called on the U.S. government and European Union to denounce remarks made earlier on Tuesday by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who referred to Israel’s military offensive in Gaza as a “genocide by Israel against our Palestinian people.”  The statement from Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, is below:

This is unacceptable language and accusations coming from the leader of the Palestinian Authority. We are used to the outrageous criticisms of Israel coming from Palestinians, but President Abbas has reached a new low in calling Israel’s self-defense action, after hundreds of rockets have been launched at Israeli civilians, a “genocide,” and then by going even further by comparing Israel’s actions to the murder of 1.5 million Jews at Auschwitz.

Mr. Abbas is frequently referred to as a “moderate” Palestinian leader, and many still hold out hope that this is true. At a time when the Middle East is overrun with extremism in places like Syria and Iraq, to have the leader of the Palestinian Authority further inflame the region with these outrageous comments, is disappointing and dangerous.

We call on the United States, the European Union and other responsible governments to clearly, forcefully and unequivocally denounce these outrageous statements from President Abbas.

9:52 am – Israel’s President Shimon Peres addressed the IDF’s ongoing operation earlier today, according to a statement:

The President of the State of Israel, Shimon Peres, addressed the security situation today at an event at the President’s Residence and said, “Israel underwent another night in which millions of our citizens were under the threat of rocket fire. It is a few nights now that mothers, with children in their arms, can’t sleep because of the fear of another siren. We will protect our children and will not allow anyone to harm them. We must say clearly that the State of Israel won’t rely on luck; we are prepared and ready for any scenario in order to protect our civilians. We are a united front in the face of this danger; we will not consent to being victims.”

President Peres continued and delivered a clear message to Hamas, “We do not wish to see innocent people killed or injured, but it is Hamas who endangers the citizens of Gaza by firing from deep within civilian areas.”

9:35 am – “IDF informs Palestinian citizens in towns along the Gaza Strip border with Israel to evacuate their homes quickly, ahead of military action in the area,” The Times of Israel reports.

9:26 am – Israel Radio reports that the IAF hit one or two motorcycles in Gaza, killing one and wounding several others.

8:49 am – “Palestinian terrorists in Gaza have fired 96 rockets at Israel today, and 442 in the past 3 days,” the IDF said on Twitter.

8:01 am – Israeli army forces at a checkpoint in the northern West Bank foiled a planned terror bombing.

7:47 am – The IDF released a detailed intelligence report overnight on the weaponry held by Gaza based terror groups:

Hamas Arsenal

Short range (15-20 km)

  • Over 1,000 units of self-produced rockets (15 km)
  • Over 2,500 units of smuggled rockets (15 km)
  • Approx. 200 units of self-produced Grad rockets (20 km)
  • Approx. 200 units of smuggled Grad rockets (20 km)

Medium range (up to 45 km)

  • Approx. 200 units of self-produced improved Grad rockets (45 km)
  • Approx. 1,000 units of smuggled improved Grad rockets (45 km)

Medium-Long range (up to 80 km)

  • Over 400 units of self-produced medium range rockets
  • Several dozens of rockets (80 km)

Long range (100-200 km)

  • Tens of long-range rockets (100-200 km)

In Total: Approximately 6,000 rockets

Palestinian Islamic Jihad Arsenal

Short range (15-20 km)

  • Approx. 1,000 units of self-produced rockets (15 km)
  • Approx. 1,000 units of smuggled rockets (15 km)
  • Approx. 300 units of self-produced Grad rockets (20 km)
  • Approx. 100 units of smuggled Grad rockets (20 km)

Medium range (up to 45 km)

  • Approx. 200 units of self-produced improved Grad rockets (45 km)
  • Approx. 600 units of smuggled improved Grad rockets (45 km)

Medium-Long range (up to 80 km)

  • Over 100 units of self-produced medium range rockets
  • Several medium-long range rockets (80 km)

In Total: Approximately 5,500 rockets

Other Terror Organizations

Short range (15-20 km)

  • Hundreds of self-produced and smuggled rockets including Grad rockets (15 km)

Medium range (up to 45 km)

  • Dozens of self-produced and smuggled improved Grad rockets (45 km)

Total number of rockets in the hands of Gaza terrorists: Approximately 10,000rockets

Other Weaponry in the hands of terror organizations in the Gaza Strip

  • Thousands of RPG-7 anti-tank rocket launchers
  • Hundreds of mortar shells and launchers
  • Dozens of anti-tank guided missiles and launchers
  • Dozens of highly-advanced anti-tank missiles and several launchers
  • Thousands of anti-vehicle and anti-personnel explosive devices

PREAMBLE: 7:19 am – Early on Tuesday morning 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 against Israeli civilians over the past weeks.

Since the start of the initiative Israel has targeted over 500 terror sites and seen rockets fired from Gaza at Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Gedera. More than 4 million Israelis are under threat of rocket attacks and many spent the nights in bomb shelters.