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LiveBlog: IDF begins ground incursion into Gaza Strip

Hamas says that Israel will pay 'heavy price' for Gaza ground operation; 50 Palestinians wounded in first hour

The Israel Defense Forces began a ground operation in the Gaza Strip after the Prime Minister's Office authorized a ground incursion just after 19:30 GMT. Dozens of Palestinians are reportedly wounded in the first hour of the operation, according to Palestinian sources.

While Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the ground incursion targeted terror tunnels, the IDF Spokesman said that the operation "will be expanded for as long as it's necessary, in accordance with situation assessments."

IDF spokesperson's unit

Throughout the evening heavy artillery fire and airstrikes were reported across the entire Gaza Strip. Earlier, a major barrage of rockets was fired on Israel, with rockets intercepted over central and south Israel, in a major escalation in the fighting.

Fighting resumed Thursday immediately after the end of the five-hour Israel-Hamas ceasefire at 12:00 GMT, with rockets from Gaza fired at southern Israel and a Hamas drone shot down by the Israeli Air Force over the Mediterranean Sea.

In Gaza, thousands took advantage of the reprieve to buy food and water and line up at ATM machine to withdraw cash.​

The U.N. asked both Israel and Hamas for a temporary cessation of hostilities as Israel's Operation Defensive Edge entered its tenth day.

So far, the Palestinians are reporting 244 fatalities in more than 1,600 Israeli attacks since the start of Operation Protective Edge. More than 1,350 rockets have been launched at Israel, more than 1,030 of which landed in Israeli territory and at least 270 were intercepted. One Israeli has been killed by a mortar shell on the border with Gaza.

Latest Developments:

21:07 GMT: Israel authorizes call-up of a further 18,000 reserve troops.

20:16 GMT: Hamas says that "Israel will pay a heavy price for ground invasion"

20:05 GMT: Dozens of Palestinians wounded in first hour of Israeli ground operation according to Palestinian sources

20:00 GMT: Sirens warn of incoming rockets in Golan Heights, none fall in Israeli territory

19:59 GMT: IDF Spokesperson says that operation "will be expanded for as long as it's necessary, in accordance with situation assessments."

19:48 GMT: Egypt says that Hamas could have saved dozens of lives by agreeing to Wednesday truce

19:38 GMT: Israeli Prime Minister's Office authorizes ground operation in Gaza.

19:23 GMT: Heavy artillery fire and airstrikes are reported all over the Gaza Strip, and according to a statement made by the Islamic Jihad, the Israeli army already began a ground incursion, though these reports are yet unconfirmed by other sources. Earlier, a major barrage of rockets was fired on Israel, with rockets intercepted over central and south Israel. The Homefront Command instructed residents of Israeli towns near the Gaza border to remain in their homes.

19:06 GMT: Seven rockets intercepted over central Israel; airstrikes, heavy artillery fire reported throughout the Gaza Strip.

19:00 GMT: Israeli war planes, Israeli navy, and artillery pound the Gaza Strip

18:26 GMT: Two rockets fired from Gaza intercepted over the southern city of Ashkelon.

18:23 GMT: Israeli Air Force bombed five targets in the Gaza Strip; Palestinian sources report three civilians killed by artillery fire in Gaza City.

17:32 GMT: Hamas drone downed over Mediterranean Sea near the Gaza border by Israeli Air Force

17:25 GMT: Rocket fired from Gaza hits a house in southern regional council Hof Ashkelon, causes fire; no casualties.

17:12 GMT: The Israeli Ministers Committee on Security Affairs will gather Friday at 08:00 GMT to discuss a possible expansion of Operation Protective Edge, Israeli daily Haaretz's diplomatic correspondent Barak Ravid reports.

16:15 GMT: Twelve rockets from one salvo intercepted over Ashdod, Ashkelon, and Rehovot, one falls in open area

15:47 GMT: One injured in Ashkelon by rocket fired from Gaza

15:19 GMT: Three children killed in Israeli strike in the Gaza strip

15:00 GMT: Sirens warn of incoming rockets over the Tel Aviv area, two rockets intercepted.

14:55 GMT: Two rockets fired from Gaza hit houses in Israel - one in Eshkol and one in Ashkelon. Fire reported, no injuries.

14:39 GMT: The roads that were blocked by police following a suspected security incident in the south of Israel are reopened for traffic.

14:35 GMT: 40 rockets were fired from Gaza to Israel since 12:00 GMT.

14:10 GMT: Reports of a serious security incident in the southern Negev desert. SWAT units are operating in the vicinity. Additionally, forces are sweeping the area in Eshkol and residents were requested to remain in their homes.

14:00 GMT: Israeli Air Force bombs four targets throughout the Gaza Strip.

13:50 GMT: A serious "security incident" in the south of Israel is reported by local media. Several major roads have been blocked by police, and ground forces are reportedly engaged in fighting.

12:01 GMT: One minute after end of five-hour ceasefire, rockets from Gaza fired at southern Israel.

10:45 GMT: Israel and Hamas reach agreement on ceasefire to take effect at 0300 GMT Friday, BBC reports and other media report. But Hamas spokesman tells i24news that nothing has been finalized, as yet and that a lifting of Israel's siege on Gaza is a condition for any future agreement.

09:00 GMT: Ceasefire violated by three mortars which land in open areas in southern Israel, two hours after it begins. Hamas denies firing them.

06:50 GMT: Israel tank fire kills three people in Gaza, minutes before a five-hour humanitarian ceasefire took effect.

05:40 GMT: Heavy barrage of rockets fired at extensive areas of central Israel.

05:30 GMT: Army reports that its forces foiled an attempt by 13 Islamic Jihad terrorists to infiltrate southern Israel near Kibbutz Soufa, killing several and forcing the rest to flee back into the tunnel through which they came. The air force bombed the entrance to the tunnel. An Israeli soldier was slightly injured when he went with his bomb detection dog to check out the tunnel.

Israel Defense Forces

04:42 GMT: Four rockets fired at the city of Beersheba fall in open spaces.

17/7 01:34 GMT: The Israeli military struck the home of senior Hamas member Khalil Al Hayya who apparently was not at home during the strike.

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22:52 GMT: Sirens warning of incoming rockets from Gaza sound in Kiryat Malakhi, Beit Shemesh, Kiryat Gat, and Jerusalem Area. Two interceptions reported above Kiryat Malakhi and Kiyat Gat. A third rocket struck an open area near Kiryat Malakhi.

22:38 GMT: Sirens warning of incoming rockets from Gaza sound in Eshkol Regional Council. At least two rockets strike in southern Israel.

22:30 GMT: Obama: "Israel has a right to defend itself from rocket attacks that terrorize the Israeli people. There is no country on Earth that can be expected to live under a daily barrage of rockets."

22:24 GMT: Sirens warning of incoming rockets from Gaza sound in Ashkelon.

21:45 GMT: According to the Turkish Anadolu News Agency, Hamas agreed to hold its fire during Thursday’s UN-backed humanitarian ceasefire from 07:00-12:00GMT.

21:30 GMT: 132 rockets were fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, according to the Israeli military.

More than 82 rockets struck Israel while the Iron Dome intercepted 33 more.

19:23 GMT: Israel says Gaza beach children's deaths 'tragic,' adding that a special investigation will be launched into the incident.

18:35 GMT: Israel accepts UN envoy Robert Serry's request for six-hour humanitarian ceasefire on Thursday morning. The unilateral ceasefire will take place between 10:00 and 15:00 local time, 7:00 and 12:00 GMT. It is unclear whether Hamas plans to respect the temporary truce. "This humanitarian window is meant to allow civilians to resupply needed goods," IDF spokesperson said on Twitter.

17:21 GMT: Four rockets fired at southern Israeli cities Ashdod and Ashkelon; two intercepted by Iron Dome, one lands in a schoolyard in Ashdod, causing no casualties.

17:00 GMT: Israel struck militant targets in the Gaza city of Kahn Yunis. Although there have been conflicting reports, Palestinian sources say that four people were killed in the strike, two of the four being children. This would bring the total number of children killed in Gaza during Israel's operation to 46, according to Palestinian sources.

16:09 GMT: Israel concedes that half of the Palestinian casualties in Gaza have been civilians. Israeli General Noam Tibon has been appointed to investigate the non-combatant deaths.

14:47 GMT: Israel has cleared for publication that some of its elite military units have mounted localized operations in Gaza in the past week, aimed to curb Hamas's rocket-launching capabilities.

14:39 GMT: Israel's cabinet approves the call-up of 8,000 additional reserve soldiers.

14:00 GMT: Israel strike on beach in Gaza reportedly kills 4 Palestinian children, according to AFP journalists, who were staying at a hotel nearby and witnessed the incident.

13:23 GMT: Hamas has officially informed Egypt it rejected the proposed ceasefire with Israel, after putting forth its own proposal (see 10:00 GMT).

11:20 GMT: Rocket lands in the southern city of Ashkelon, causing major damage to property. Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman was in close proximity, visiting the frequently bombarded city. Lieberman, who earlier Wednesday called for a ground incursion into the Hamas-controlled enclave, was accompanied by his Norwegian counterpart Børge Brende; they were forced to run for cover and weathered the attack in a bomb shelter.

1:45 GMT: Two rockets intercepted over the southern city of Kiryat Gat. Two land in open areas. Rockets also land in open areas near the Negev cities of Dimona and Arad.

10:00 GMT: Reports of continued diplomatic efforts to bring a ceasefire proposal. Hamas and Islamic Jihad reportedly agree to a ten-year ceasefire in exchange for an immediate stop to fighting, the release of Palestinian prisoners jailed since June 23rd (the day of the murder, then assumed kidnapping, of the three yeshiva students - which was following by extensive arrests in the West Bank), an end of the siege on Gaza, the presence of international and U.N. observers at Egypt-Gaza border's Rafah Crossing, among other terms.

09:20 GMT: Palestinians reports of three dead in Israeli strike on Gaza.

09:18 GMT: Five rockets explode over Eshkol Regional Council, one man lightly injured by debris.

07:27 GMT: Israeli Air Force resumes strikes over northern Gaza; five targets reportedly bombed in vicinity of Gaza City.

06:29 GMT: Four rockets intercepted over Tel Aviv. Hamas claims responsibility for the rocket fire.

05:56 GMT: A woman lightly wounded by rocket debris in southern Be'er Tuvia.

05:00 GMT. Concurrent with the evacuation notice time given out by the Israeli army to the residents of north Gaza, a heavy barrage of rockets was fired to several targets in the south of Israel. At least six rockets were intercepted over the city of Ashkelon.

04:07 GMT. At least 18,000 residents living in and around Gaza City have left north Gaza, following an announcement by Israeli army calling upon citizens to move out from the area in anticipation of further strikes in the area. They are mostly headed towards the UNRWA base in the center of the Gaza Strip. Up to 100,000 residents have received the call to evacuate north Gaza.

01:41 GMT. After a relatively calm night for communities in Israel's south, sirens once again sound in Eshkol Regional Council as projectiles are launched from Gaza.



7 Comments

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  • Tony Trenton
    Tony Trenton - July 17th 2014 - 08:16am
    The people of Gaza freely voted for their leaders and are therefore responsible for their choices

    They will have to pay the price of the terrorists they voted into power !!!
    Report
  • Cristian Casapu
    Cristian Casapu - July 16th 2014 - 04:00pm
    What is this, a joke? 10 years of cease fire? And after 10 years what will happen? Why not invite the UN presence in Gaza as well? The interest of Israel is permanent peace, not 10 years. Obviously, Hamas and the other groups don't want this and it's in the interest of Israel to apart Hamas from rulling Gaza. Report
  • Pippo nonlosa
    Pippo nonlosa - July 16th 2014 - 09:33am
    Are you sure that the house bombed belonged to Mahmoud al-Zahar?

    I have for sure that he was only RENTING IT. The house destroyed belonged to somebody else. But anyhow, for sure she was (in Alan Winters words) one of the "muslims (who) should suffer because they are enemies".
    Report
  • Alan Winters
    Alan Winters - July 16th 2014 - 05:08am
    Israel's policy of not killing human shields has caused a greater death toll of these people than if they had been killed at the start of using this tactic. Time to stop it now. Show that it no longer works. Kill the human shields and the tactic will no longer work. first do a media blitz showing the intent of the arabs to have their civilians killed. The blame is on them. Report
  • Alan Winters
    Alan Winters - July 16th 2014 - 05:04am
    Why notify them? either they are terrorists, voted for terrorists or support terrorists. People benefit or suffer according to the group they are in. Israelis suffer because they are Jews. The muslims should suffer because they are enemies. Not all? Well some Israelis are on the far left, but the muslims would murder them if given half a chance. Report