10:06 pm – 5 Israeli soldiers were killed “during combat when terrorists attempted to execute an attack using a tunnel shaft, which lead from the Gaza Strip to the Nahal Oz residential community,” the IDF said. The attack brings the total of Israeli victims on Monday to 10.
Since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge, 53 soldiers have been killed.
9:00 pm – The Times of Israel reports: “The Hamas Interior Ministry says that top Hamas leader and former prime minister Ismail Haniyeh is unhurt following an IDF strike on his house in the Shati refugee camp earlier.”
2:49 pm – Israel announces that 5 Israeli soldiers were killed in action today. The four Israelis killed in a mortar attack earlier today were among them. The total IDF death toll now stands at 48.
The IDF released the following statement:
Over the course of the day, 5 IDF soldiers were killed in combat in the Gaza Strip.
Staff Sergeant Moshe Davino, 20 years old from Jerusalem, was killed during combat in the southern Gaza Strip.
Additionally, 4 IDF soldiers were killed along the border of the Gaza Strip as a result of mortar fire.
2:07 pm – The Associated Press reports that Obama Administration officials are furious about Israeli criticism of John Kerry. The AP reports:
Obama administration officials are fuming over Israeli criticism of Secretary of State John Kerry’s latest bid to secure a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas.
In unusually harsh language, officials say the criticism of Kerry could put the relationship between the U.S. and Israel in jeopardy. They also say the personal attacks on Kerry cross a line and are particularly disappointing at a time of active conflict.
1:47 pm – Following Ya’alon, IDF Chief of Staff Gantz says, “We are making excellent progress… The IDF has dealt Hamas a significant blow in recent days.”
“We are integrating all our forces as we have never done before. As I speak we are intensifying operations in Gaza,” Gantz says. “We are striking command and control posts, launch sites, operatives, and arms manufacturing facilities. Our achievements are extensive.”
Chief of Staff Gantz ends by holding up an aerial photo of Shifa hospital confirming that today’s fatalities were caused by a rocket launched from Gaza. He advises Gazans to stay away from areas where Hamas is operating.
1:43 pm – Speaking after Netanyahu, Israel’s Def. Min. Ya’alon says, “We will not compromise on Israeli’s safety.”
“Hamas has suffered many strikes. We will not hesitate to expand the IDF’s operation,” Ya’alon says. “At this hour, the IDF is striking Hamas sites and other terrorist targets across the Gaza Strip.”
“If Hamas think they can continue to hit and attack us they will see over the next few days our response,” Ya’alon continues. “If terror organizations believe they can break the citizens of Israel, in the coming days they will see that they are mistaken.”
1:33 pm – In an address to the nation outside the Defense Ministry Netanyahu says “we need to be ready for a long war.”
The PM expresses condolences to the families of the victims of a mortar attack earlier today. “We knew we’d have tough days, and this was a difficult day,” he says.
Netanyahu highlights the threats Israel faces on land, sea and air and asserts that the terror tunnels must be destroyed and that Gaza must be demilitarized.
1:02 pm – Israel foiled an attempted terror tunnel attack into Israel killing 5 terrorists who emerged from an underground passageway.
Gaza militants have now attempted 6 times to infiltrate Israel by tunnel.
12:21 pm – IDF: “A short while ago, phone calls were made and text messages were sent out to the civilian population of Shuja’iyya, Zeitoun and eastern Jabalia calling them to evacuate themselves immediately towards central Gaza City.”
11:59 am – Prime Minister Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ya’alon and IDF Chief of Staff Gantz will address the media at 20:00 this evening, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement Monday afternoon.
11:52 am – Home Front Command officials are cautioning residents to stay off the roads in the vicinity of the Gaza Strip, according to authorities.
11:31 am – Israeli media reports that at least three Israelis were killed and four were seriously wounded in a mortar attack from Gaza in the Eshkol Region.
10:57 am – The Israeli army said it was not operating in the vicinity of Shifa Hospital in northern Gaza on Monday, where an explosion reportedly killed and wounded dozens of Palestinians.
10:28 am – In a phone call with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Netanyahu rejected the UN’s call for an immediate ceasefire. The prime minister said:
“The Security Council Presidential Statement relates to the needs of a murderous terrorist organization that is attacking Israeli civilians and does not address Israel’s security needs, including the demilitarization of the Gaza Strip according to the principle laid down in the interim agreements with the Palestinians. The statement does not refer to attacks on Israeli civilians, or to the fact that Hamas has turned the residents of Gaza into human shields and uses UN facilities to attack Israeli civilians. Israel accepted three UN proposals for humanitarian truces, and Hamas violated them all. Even now they are continuing to fire at Israeli civilians. Israel will continue to deal with the terrorist tunnels, and this is only the first step in the demilitarization. Instead of the funds of the international community serving the construction of terrorist tunnels for perpetrating large-scale attacks against Israeli civilians, the international community needs to act toward the demilitarization of Gaza.”
PREAMBLE: 8:44 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 2500 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 1000 deaths have been reported in Gaza and 43 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.