LIVE BLOG: Uneasy calm falls on Gaza, Israel as ceasefire holds
AP Photo/Adel Hana
Scroll down for the latest updates from Gaza, Israel's south, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
Hopes that a sudden conflagration between Israel and militant groups in Gaza has subsided grew on Wednesday as a lull in rocket launches and retaliatory air strikes stretched into the longest break in violence in 24 hours.
Rocket fire into Israel from Gaza and retaliatory Israeli strikes continued overnight despite two separate ceasefire announcements from Hamas and Islamic Jihad, as Israelis and Palestinians waited to see whether the sudden conflagration would flare into a larger escalation.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said it has struck 65 "military targets" in Gaza since the beginning of the flare up. The strikes came after what the Israeli military said late Tuesday were more than 70 projectiles fired from the enclave since Tuesday morning, although that figure swelled overnight.
Late Tuesday Hamas and Islamic Jihad, another Gaza militant group, announced an Egypt-brokered ceasefire would come into force at midnight. An Israeli official briefed local media that they were not aware of any agreement.
Rocket fire continued throughout the early hours of Wednesday, with one falling in the Israeli town of Netivot.
A Hamas official then announced a fresh ceasefire would be imposed at 4am, although Israeli ministers said there was no agreements with the group. Sirens blared in Israel's south again after this deadline, although it is not clear whether they were caused by projectiles or were false alarms.
Reporting contributed by i24NEWS correspondents Daniel Tsemach, Emily Rose and Ellie Hochenberg.
One site was identified as a collection of unmanned submarines intended for "carrying out maritime terror attacks", according to the army.
"We need to separate from Gaza, to stop the fuel and water and to rely on military power as in the case with southern Lebanon."
He added, "there is an anomalous situation here that happened at the end of the disengagement, and we remained responsible."
"We cannot agree to the text put forth by your delegation especially as we are considering a draft resolution that deals with the protection of civilians in the occupied Palestinian territories and the Gaza Strip," Kuwait said in a statement cited by AFP.
Pressed on whether, as a potential prime minister, he supports the IDF entering Gaza and toppling Hamas, Lapid said it is definitely part of the army's "toolbox" -- along with knocking out Hamas leaders.
He also sharply condemned the "international community" for, in his view, not acknowledging Hamas' role in the recent border clashes and protests.
"If [Hamas] feels they have some sort of backing from the international community they will go on and on with terror attacks," Lapid said, adding that it is "time for the international community to sir back and think about their behavior in these issues."
It added that some were "Iranian-made".
A senior IDF officer has made the same claim to reporters near the Gaza border, an i24NEWS correspondent said.
Although there is no Egyptian mediated agreement, the official said, there is an understanding with Hamas that if there is no fire from Gaza, Israel will not attack.
"Israel does not want the situation to deteriorate, but those who started the violence must stop it," he said in a public radio interview cited by AFP. "Israel will make (Hamas) pay for all fire against Israel."
Three of those were Israeli troops, two of which were released from hospital late Tuesday.
The IDF has not given a recent total number of rocket and mortal shells that have been fired since Tuesday morning. The last number given was 70 at around 8pm Israel time, however since then there have been several more volleys.