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LIVE BLOG: Hamas, Israel reach apparent ceasefire after massive flare-up

Broken windows line an apartment building hit by a rocket fired by Palestinian militants from Gaza, in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon, Israel, Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018.
AP Photo/Ariel Schalit
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Palestinian militant groups in the Gaza Strip announced an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire with Israel on Tuesday after a severe escalation of violence threatened to descend into full-blown war.

The groups, including Hamas, issued a joint statement saying they would abide by the ceasefire as long as Israel did the same. 

As of Tuesday evening at 6:30pm local time, there have been no rockets fired for about two hours. This pause in clashes comes after over 24 hours of rockets launched at Israel followed by Israeli strikes on Hamas and Islamic targets in Gaza.

A massive missile and mortar barrage from Gaza into Israeli territory beginning Monday afternoon continued throughout Tuesday, with the Hamas militant group vowing that the 400 rockets launched so far would be "just the beginning" if Israel continued to carry out retaliatory strikes in the enclave.

Israeli communities adjacent to the Gaza Strip came under near-constant bombardment throughout the day Tuesday as the security cabinet huddled at the military's Tel Aviv headquarters for over five hours of discussions on the situation.

The first fatality in Israel was confirmed Tuesday after rescuers pulled the body of a man in his 40’s from beneath the rubble of an apartment building in the city of Ashkelon that sustained a direct missile hit shortly after midnight.

Gaza's health ministry said six Palestinians were killed and 23 wounded in Israeli retaliatory strikes against hundreds of Hamas targets the military identified as "key assets" of the group, including a Hamas command center and a television station connected to the group.


Two Palestinians killed in the Israeli strikes were identified as members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine militant group and the third as a member of Islamic Jihad's armed wing.

Militants in the Strip threatened to extend the range of their rocket attacks if Israel did not halt its retaliation, making direct threats on the cities of Ashdod and Beersheba. Attacks on those cities, with populations of approximately 25,000 and 200,000 respectively, are rare and considered a major escalation.

The bombardment drew international condemnation and calls for both sides to de-escalate the situation and salvage Egyptian-led efforts to forge a UN-backed ceasefire.

The massive flare-up began on Monday afternoon after an anti-tank guided missile fired from the Gaza Strip hit a civilian bus that had reportedly just moments before been filled with dozens of Israeli troops.

AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov

One soldier who had been standing outside the bus when it exploded into flames was critically injured.

The attack on the bus came on the heels of a clash between IDF special forces and local Hamas fighters during a rare Israeli ground mission inside the Gaza Strip overnight Sunday during which one Israeli soldier and seven Palestinians, including a local commander for Hamas' armed wing, were killed.

Hamas had vowed revenge after the clash that erupted during an Israeli special forces operation in the Gaza Strip late Sunday, killing eight people.

Refresh this page for the latest updates.

See also:

Analysis: Hamas’s emboldened risk-taking is fueling this escalation

One killed, dozens injured in Gaza rocket barrage targeting southern Israel

Egypt-UN team said set to visit Gaza, Israel to salvage ceasefire amid flareup

Tuesday 13 November 2018
4:40 PM
Kuwait, Bolivia request urgent UN Security Council meeting on Gaza
4:17 PM
Education Minister Naftali Bennett says he did not oppose halting attacks on Hamas
3:59 PM
Liberman says his position on Gaza has not changed, denies opposing halt to Israeli attacks on Hamas
3:43 PM
Israel's security cabinet unanimously voted in favor of ceasefire in Gaza
2:53 PM
Rocket sirens continue to blast through Gaza border communities
2:48 PM
Security cabinet instructs IDF to continue operations in Gaza 'as necessary'
2:37 PM
Another round of rocket sirens blast through Gaza border communities
2:33 PM
Senior Hamas official says will stop rocket assault if 'Israel stops its aggression', adds 'all mediators must stop Israel'
2:14 PM
Gaza's health ministry says one Palestinian killed, three injured by Israeli fire
2:10 PM
Security cabinet consultations on Gaza escalation end after more than six hours
1:30 PM
Rocket fired from Gaza hits residential building in Ashkelon; no injuries reported
1:08 PM
Palestinian media reports say that Gazan militant groups have agreed to end their rocket bombardment against Israel at the request of mediators. The reports say the rocket fire will end at 3:30 p.m. local time. The report, which emerged approximately an hour before the groups were due to halt the projectile launches, came as a new round of rocket alert sirens blared in Israeli communities near the Gaza border.
12:30 PM
President Reuven Rivlin visited Israeli citizens under fire in the town of Netivot, adjacent to the Gaza border. Rivlin urged residents of the area to "take good care of themselves" and heed all orders given by the IDF. Expressing solidarity with residents of the region on behalf of the country, Rivlin said: “I have said in the past and I will continue to say, the area around Gaza is the whole of Israel. When the sirens are screaming here, we hear them in our hearts in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and all over the country."
12:27 PM
The man found dead under the rubble of an apartment building in Ashkelon that sustained a direct missile hit shortly after midnight on Tuesday has been identified as 48-year-old Mahmoud Abu Asbah, a Palestinian resident of the West Bank town of Halhul, north of Hebron.
12:24 PM
Israeli security cabinet reconvenes
11:09 AM
Turkey calls on Israel to "immediately stop" strikes against the Gaza Strip, urging the international community to act as the escalation in violence threatened to descend into full-blown conflict. Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said, quoted by state news agency Anadolu, said: "Israel must immediately stop its attacks against the Gaza population. The international community, which stays silent in the face of Israel's attacks, must take responsibility and take action".
11:01 AM
Israel’s political-security cabinet breaks for a brief recess after huddling for nearly four hours of discussions at the military’s headquarters in Tel Aviv. Cabinet is expected to reconvene and continue discussions shortly.
11:00 AM

10:26 AM
'Joint committee' of Gaza armed groups threatens to extend range of rockets to 40 kilometers if Israeli attacks continue
10:05 AM
A rocket exploded near a kindergarten in Israel's south after rocket sirens sounded in border communities
10:01 AM
Palestinian death toll from retaliatory Israeli strikes rises to six, after a helicopter fired at a group of Gazans seen attempting to breach the border fence. Gaza's health ministry identified the sixth Palestinian killed as Mossaab Hus, 20.
9:57 AM
The municipalities of Ra'anana central Israel and Binyamina-Givat Ada in north-central Israel are offering respite to residents under fire in communities adjacent to the Gaza border. Municipal hotlines in Ra'anana (*9107) and Binyamina (04-6389746) were opened for families who wish to register to host residents of the south offering them respite from near-constant rocket bombardment.
9:41 AM
UNRWA spokesman for Palestinian refugees says all services besides schools remain open in Gaza today and urges restraint from both sides. "Staff report the ground and buildings shaking as if an earthquake is striking. All sides must support ceasefire efforts to avoid descent into Gaza's fourth war in a decade."
9:39 AM
Egypt-UN delegation reportedly scheduled to visit Gaza and Israel Wednesday in attempt to salvage ceasefire amid major flareup
9:34 AM
IDF says combat helicopter attacked a number of Palestinians seen crossing the security fence from Gaza
9:31 AM
Senior Hamas leader says Netanyahu can end the escalation by dismissing Defense Minister Liberman, "who has caused this round with his stupidity"
9:01 AM

8:45 AM
Senior Hamas official quoted in Palestinian media claims: "We are holding intensive talks with many international, Islamic and Western elements in order to stop the Zionist occupation's attack on the people of Gaza."
8:38 AM
IDF relaxes certain restrictions on Gaza border communities; studies allowed to resume in protected kindergartens in regional councils and non-essential work allowed to resume, provided "proximity to a protected area"
8:30 AM
Fresh round of sirens sound in Israeli communities as 'joint committee' of Gaza armed groups threatens to extend range of rockets to 40 kilometers if Israeli attacks continue
8:02 AM

7:51 AM
IDF says launched a number of strikes on Hamas naval vessels in Gaza
7:46 AM
IDF says carrying out a 'wide-scale strike' on military targets across the Gaza Strip in response to ongoing rocket bombardments
7:45 AM
IDF says aircraft fired at terrorist involved in launching projectiles into Israeli territory. One Palestinian reported killed.
7:37 AM
New round of rocket alert sirens sound in Gaza border communities
7:30 AM
Number of Palestinians killed in Israeli airstrikes rises to six
6:13 AM
Rocket sires sound in Gaza border communities minutes after IDF says citizens can leave protected areas
6:02 AM
PA President Abbas has cut short his visit to Kuwait to return to Ramallah
6:02 AM
Number of Palestinians killed by Israeli strikes in Gaza Strip rises to four
5:58 AM
Health ministry says PA President Abbas authorized shipments of medical aid convoys to the Gaza Strip from the West Bank
5:28 AM
Netanyahu to chair security cabinet meeting at 09:00 a.m. local time at Tel Aviv military headquarters
5:28 AM

3:09 AM
Fresh round of sirens warning of incoming rockets in southern communities
2:19 AM
Some 70 Gaza rockets fired overnight, 'dozens' intercepted by Iron Dome, says IDF spokesperson
1:40 AM
Israel bombs command center of Hamas's internal security forces
1:38 AM
Israel's envoy to the UN Danny Danon calls on the international body to 'condemn Hamas in the strongest terms for its indiscriminate attacks against innocent civilian populations.'
12:30 AM
More sirens warning of incoming rockets in south
Monday 12 November 2018
11:50 PM
Palestinian media report new Israeli air raid in southern Gaza
11:30 PM
Man killed by rocket fire in Ashkelon reported to be Palestinian residing in Israel illegally. Subsequent reports cite his age as 'around 40,' rather than 60.
11:18 PM
Gaza Health Ministry reports man, 22, dead in Israeli strikes, fourth Palestinian fatality of the day
10:48 PM
UN Secretary-General 'is following closely the latest security developments in Gaza. He urges all parties to exercise maximum restraint. The United Nations Special Coordinator, Nickolay Mladenov, is working closely with Egypt and all concerned parties to restore calm.'
10:11 PM
The lifeless body of a man aged around 60 found in the Ashkelon building hit by a rocket hours earlier.
9:16 PM
Israel bombs the headquarters of the military intelligence wing of Hamas
9:14 PM
Alert sirens sound across Gaza border communities as continuous rocket fire enters seventh consecutive hour
9:11 PM
Woman, 60, in critical condition from shrapnel injury as another Gaza rocket lands in residential area in Ashkelon
9:08 PM
20 reported injured in Ashkelon, seven wounded from projectiles while 13 suffering from emotional distress
8:23 PM
Number of projectiles fired at Israel up to 400
8:14 PM
Alert sirens continue to sound as IDF says over 300 rockets launched from Gaza, most landing in open spaces while dozens intercepted by Iron Dome
7:45 PM
IDF 'destruction' of building housing Hamas-run television channel Al-Aqsa will widen the 'resistance response', Islamic Jihad spokesperson says
7:37 PM
Building in Ashkelon directly hit by Gaza rocket, local media reports
7:30 PM
Heavy rocket fire incoming from Gaza as alert sirens blare, reports of interceptions by Iron Dome
7:15 PM
Security cabinet will reconvene at the army's headquarters on Tuesday at 16:00
7:05 PM
IDF reportedly given 'green light' to amplify attacks on Gaza, following security cabinet consultations in which 'operational decisions were made'
7:00 PM
IDF struck Hamas' al-Aqsa television station in Gaza according to Palestinian media
4:11 PM
Rocket strikes a house in Ashkelon
4:05 PM
Palestinian health ministry says two killed, several injured by Israeli strikes
3:50 PM
Rocket alert sirens sound in Ashkelon
3:46 PM
IDF Homefront Command instructs residents of Ashdod, Beer Sheba residents to stay close to bomb shelters
3:39 PM
Netanyahu and Liberman hold security consultation at central army base with chief of staff and senior defense officials
3:38 PM
Hamas claims responsibility for rocket barrage on Israel
3:23 PM
Rocket alert sirens sound in Dead Sea area
3:12 PM
'Joint operations room' of Palestinian factions says barrage of rockets fired into Israel 'response' to Sunday night IDF operation
3:09 PM
IDF says fighter jets have begun striking 'terror targets throughout Gaza Strip'
2:50 PM
Barrage of rockets fired from Gaza, at least two projectiles hit border communities while others intercepted by Iron Dome
2:50 PM
IDF says has struck over 20 Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad targets in Gaza Strip as strikes continue to be carried out in response to over 100 rockets fired into Israel
2:44 PM
IDF says bus directly hit by 'terrorist fire' from Gaza, reports of one seriously injured
2:43 PM
Rocket alerts continue to sounds across southern border communities, central Negev
2:20 PM
Rocket alert sirens sound in Gaza border communities



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