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Gaza assault live report: Day 2

Nov. 15, 2012 12:01 A.M. (Updated: Nov. 22, 2012 4:00 A.M.)
23:59 Here ends Thursday's coverage of Israel's military campaign on the Gaza Strip. The live report will continue on Friday here.

23:51 UN chief Ban Ki-moon will visit Jerusalem, Cairo and Ramallah on Tuesday, Israel's Haaretz is reporting. The UN secretary-general is not expected to visit the Gaza Strip.

23:29 An Israeli airstrike has killed three Palestinians in the northern Gaza Strip, the health ministry says, bringing the death toll in Gaza to 19.

Tareq Jamal Naser, 16, Oday Jamal Nasser, 14 and Fares al-Bassiouni were killed and six were injured, including three children, when Israel bombed a home in Beit Hanoun, the ministry said.

23:14 The US has urged Turkey and Egypt to pressure Hamas to "de-escalate," deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes says.

Asked if Washington is concerned Israeli ground troops will enter the Gaza Strip, Rhodes told reporters: "Ultimately it's up to the Israeli government to make determinations about how they're going to carry out their military objectives."

22:56 Hezbollah's leader urges Arab states to cut oil supplies and use political pressure to stop the assault on Gaza.

"No one is calling for armies or tanks or planes," Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah says in televised address.

22:52 The hacker group Anonymous continues its "OpIsrael" targeting Israeli websites demanding an end to the bombing of Gaza.

Addressing the people of Gaza, Anonymous wrote in a statement: "We will be with you. No matter how dark it may seem, no matter how alone and abandoned you may feel - know that tens of thousands of us in Anonymous are with you and working tirelessly around the clock to bring you every aid and assistance that we can."

The group has prepared a "care package" offering assistance in case Israel severs Gaza's internet connection, as well as basic first aid and advice on evading surveillance.

Its members have taken over Israeli site falcon-s.co.il which it describes as a "top Israeli security and surveillance website" posting an image of burning buildings with the words:

"Stop bombing Gaza!! Millions of Israelis & Palestinians are lying awake, exposed & terrified. We Anonymous will not sit back and watch a cowardly Zionist State demolish innocent people's lives."

22:49 An Israeli airstrike hit an electricity generator that fed the house of Hamas's prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh, in Gaza City.

Reuters photographer Majdi Fathi captured firefighters trying to extinguish the blaze.

22:00 The Israeli military said it targeted around 70 medium-range rocket-launching sites in Gaza during the past hour, confirming direct hits.

The army "will continue to target sites that are used to carry out terror attacks against Israeli citizens," a military statement said.

21:50 Hamas' office in the West Bank has called for a day of protests. It asked imams and national leaders to march from mosques for "The Friday of loyalty to Gaza."

21:26 French President Francois Hollande has begun talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to avoid an escalation in the Gaza Strip, France's prime minister says.

21:04 An elderly woman in the Zeitoun neighborhood of Gaza City describes the airstrike that killed seven-year-old Rana Arafat on Wednesday night. "Suddenly I heard a big explosion and black smoke flew from somewhere .. everyone was crying and the whole place was on fire."

Rana was trapped under rubble for 15 minutes. A journalist drove her to Shifa Hospital but she died on the way.

20:44 Ten-month-old Hanin Tafish has died from wounds sustained when Israeli bombed her home in the Zeitoun neighborhood of Gaza City, medics said, bringing the Palestinian death toll to 16 since Wednesday.

Israeli fighter jets renewed their assault on the Gaza Strip on Thursday evening and dozens of airstrikes were reported across the enclave.

20:21 Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak says rocket fire at Tel Aviv is an escalation that will exact a price from Gaza militants. He also announced he had ordered the military to enlist more reservists "so that we can prepare for any development."

The Israeli armed forces chief spokesman said the military had the green light to call in up to 30,000 reserve troops.

20:08 Hamas' al-Qassam Brigades says it fired a surface-to-air missile at an Israeli reconnaissance plane over the eastern Gaza Strip and claimed a direct hit. An Israeli military spokeswoman had no immediate comment.

19:55 Six protesters were wounded near Bethlehem's Aida camp, and another in nearby al-Khader, in clashes with Israeli forces at Gaza protests, witnesses say.

19:31 More from Islamic Jihad's armed wing after it claimed an attack on Tel Aviv: "We have widened the range of the battle to reach Tel Aviv and what is coming will be greater," the al-Quds Brigades said.

On Wednesday, after Israel's assassination of Ahmad al-Jaabari, the brigades warned that "Israel has declared war on Gaza and they will bear the responsibility for the consequences".

19:30 Prime Minister in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh received a phone call from Tunisian president Moncef Marzouki in support of Gaza amid Israeli airstrikes on the coastal enclave, Haniyeh's office said.

19:11 Palestinians clashed with soldiers near Ofer, and nine women were detained after they climbed the walls of Beit El, as protests were held across the West Bank in support of Gaza, witnesses said.

19:10 Hamas will not discuss another ceasefire after Israel broke the last truce mediated by Egypt, a spokesman said.

19:09 Islamic Jihad's al-Quds Brigades claims attack on Tel Aviv with Fajr rockets.

18:44 Air raid siren, explosion heard in Jaffa near Tel Aviv.

18:20 Israeli planes strike houses in Tel al-Zaatar northern Gaza.

17:53 Egypt's prime minister will visit the Gaza Strip on Friday, says Hamas government spokesman Taher al-Nunu.

17:24 Did a phoney truce lead al-Jaabari into the open? Jeffrey Heller looks at the evidence.

17:11 Israel's Channel 2 TV is reporting that rockets fired from Gaza have landed in Rishon Letzion south of Tel Aviv, indicating advances in the design of projectiles.

16:58 According to Hamas' armed wing, the Gaza interior ministry says its specialized civil defense units "are ready to deal with the Zionist escalation."

16:47 Hamas' military wing says that Israel's assassination of its top commander has started a war which will lead to Palestine's liberation. "The curse of assassinating al-Jaabari will hunt you in your graves and the rocks of Sijjil will shake you off," says al-Qassam spokesman Abu Obaida.

The al-Qassam Brigades is calling the escalation the "Battle of Sijjil," a Quranic reference to divine intervention on behalf of Muslims in battle. Israel's military has termed the operation launched Wednesday "Pillar of Cloud," a reference to the Israelites' divine sign of deliverance in the Bible.

16:40 In a new analysis, Palestinian-American writer Yousef Munayyer raises the role of politics and the upcoming Israeli elections in Netanyahu's decision to break a ceasefire with Hamas:

With Israeli elections around the corner, the right-wing Israeli government chose the counter-productive path of escalation even though civilians would pay the price and their domestic opposition rallied behind them. Trading bodies for ballots is an equation Israeli leaders are happy to be engaged in, especially since all the ballots are Israeli and the bodies are almost always Palestinian.

16:36 The Israeli army says three soldiers were injured by a rocket that exploded near them Thursday. The "Iron Dome" system intercepted over 80 rockets as aircraft targeted over 100 launch sites, "severely damaging rocket launching capabilities used by terror organizations."

14:54 The death toll since Wednesday in the Gaza Strip rose to 15 as an injured Palestinian succumbed to his wounds and another's body was found in the rubble of an airstrike, medics say.

14:31 Twenty foreign journalists have been unable to enter Gaza since early this morning, a French reporter stuck at the Erez crossing says.

14:25 Witnesses say Israel detained two teenagers at a demonstration against the attacks on Gaza, at Huwwara checkpoint in the northern West Bank.

14:18 Egyptian security sources say a rocket landed half a kilometer from Egyptian border guards stationed in Sinai's Rafah. No injuries reported and the authorities are investigating.

14:17 Three Israelis have been injured after a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip struck a house in Ashkol, according to news reports from Israel.

14:16 Israeli airstrikes target an ambulance in the al-Tawam area in northern Gaza.

14:15 President Abbas has decided to cut short his trip to Europe in light of Israel's attacks on the Gaza Strip, an aide at his office said.

14:03 The Israeli military says it targeted an "underground rocket launching site" in Gaza.

14:01 Hamas chief Khalid Mashaal condemns the killing of al-Qassam Brigades commander Ahmad al-Jaabari and vows to continue resistance against Israel.

13:55 Was Ahmad al-Jaabari preparing to make peace with Israel? Israeli peace activist Gershon Baskin says al-Jaafari received the draft of a permanent truce with Israel shortly before he was assassinated on Wednesday. Israel's Haaretz daily has the story.

13:41 President Mahmoud Abbas has instructed his government to transfer 20 trucks of medicine and medical supplies to hospitals in the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian Authority health ministry says.

13:40 As promised, Hamas' armed wing has uploaded a video showing what it says is a "Fajr" missile being launched toward Tel Aviv.

13:38 Israeli warplanes fire on Sheikh Radwan neighborhood in northern Gaza.

13:16 The two Palestinians killed in Israel's airstrike east of Jabaliya have been identified as al-Qassam Brigades members Rami Hamad and Khaled Abu Nasr. Their bodies were taken to Kamal Adwan hospital.

13:10 Israeli security sources say the army has received a "green light" to continue operations in the Gaza Strip for now.

12:52 In a televised address, Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi says Israel's attacks on Gaza are "unacceptable" and could lead to instability in the region.

12:36 The Egyptian president will hold an emergency meeting with his cabinet, including the ministry of defense, to discuss the aggression in the Gaza Strip.

12:29 A second Palestinian has succumbed to his wounds after the airstrike in Jabaliya, raising the death toll to 13 since Israel launched its assault on Gaza.

12:19 Palestinian killed in Israeli airstrike east of Jabaliya, raising Gaza's death toll to 12 since Wednesday afternoon.

11:38 Away from Gaza, Syrian fire has again struck an Israeli military post on the occupied Golan Heights, an army official says.

11:09 The armed wing of Hamas says it will soon release a video showing that its forces launched "Fajr" missiles toward Israel's main city Tel Aviv.

11:06 PLO official Hanan Ashrawi calls Israel's attack is a "blatant provocation," in a statement:

"Israel’s latest military campaign targeting the Palestinian population in the Gaza Strip represents a blatant provocation in violation of international and humanitarian law. It is also a deliberate attempt to sabotage Palestinian efforts to achieve observer-state status in the United Nations."

"The Israeli government has acted with impunity for its unilateral violations for far too long. The illegal cruel siege of the Gaza Strip ... must come to an end. We call on the European Union, the Quartet and members of the international community to adopt serious measures to bring an immediate halt to Israel’s policy of extrajudicial executions, the killing and injury of innocent civilians and the continued oppression of Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation."

10:45 New Israeli airstrike in eastern Shajaiya neighborhood of Gaza City; medics say six injured including two children and a woman.

10:25 Hamas' al-Qassam Brigades claimed responsibility for launching hundreds of projectiles including Katyusha rockets toward Ashkelon, Beersheva, Ashdod and south of Tel Aviv.

The group said it launched 10 Grad rockets at Ashkelon, 19 rockets toward Sufa and Nir Yitzhak, and five rockets toward Kiryat Gat near the Gaza border.

10:17 Thousands of Palestinians have turned out to mourn the passing of Ahmad al-Jaabari, the Hamas leader who was assassinated Wednesday.

10:11 Egypt has officially requested a meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss what it described as Israeli "aggression" on Gaza, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

10:08 Israel is finally allowing reporters into Gaza.

10:06 Iran's foreign ministry condemns "organized terrorism" against Palestinians in Gaza.

"Iran considers the criminal act of Israeli military forces in killing civilians as organized terrorism and strongly condemns it," Ramin Mehmanparast said.

09:44 PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat emails from Switzerland, where he is traveling with the president, to note that Israel is "fully responsible" for the escalation in Gaza. Full text:

“We condemn in the strongest terms this new Israeli assassination which aims to initiate a bloody escalation. We hold the Israeli government fully responsible for the consequences that this new act of aggression would bring to the region.”

“This exposes that Israel has an agenda for war but not for peace.”

09:04 A rocket fired from Gaza has killed three Israelis, news reports say.

08:40 Media are not in fact being allowed into Gaza,

according to reporters at the border.

08:14 Two Israeli airstrikes near Rafah, no injuries or damage.

07:32 Israel will allow foreign correspondents to enter the Gaza Strip today after they sign a "waiver," according to foreign reporters who received this email from the Government Press Office:

"FOLLOWING AN ASSESSMENT OF THE SITUATION & THE DECISION BY GOC SOUTHERN COMMAND, EREZ CROSSING WILL BE OPEN TO JOURNALISTS WITH VALID GPO CARDS, SUBJECT TO THEIR SIGNING A WAIVER AT THE CROSSING."

07:14 A Ma'an correspondent has identified the three dead Palestinians as a senior security officer and two members of Hamas' military wing, the al-Qassam Brigades.

07:12 The Muslim Brotherhood has called for a "day of rage" to protest Gaza attacks.

07:11 The Israeli military has released footage showing what it says is its air force targeting Hamas "Fajr" missile infrastructure in the Gaza Strip in an airstrike.

07:08 The Israeli military says it dropped leaflets over Gaza warning residents to stay away from Hamas. Here is the text of the leaflets, according to military officials:

"For your own safety, take responsibility for yourselves and avoid being present in the vicinity of Hamas operatives and facilities and those of other terror organizations that pose a risk to your safety.

"Hamas is once again dragging the region to violence and bloodshed. The IDF is determined to defend the residents of the State of Israel. This announcement is valid until quiet is restored to the region.

"Israel Defense Forces Command."

07:04 The Israeli military says it targeted over 100 sites in Gaza overnight.

07:03 The Rafah crossing will operate normally Thursday and Friday, officials say.

06:25 Three Palestinians have been killed in an airstrike in Khan Younis.

06:20 The UN Security Council has concluded an emergency session in New York without taking action on Israel's bombardment of the Gaza Strip.

06:01 The website of Israel's foreign ministry is offline and Anonymous is claiming responsibility.

04:13 The Palestinian embassy in Algeria condemns Israel's attacks on Gaza.

04:08 Hamas leader Nasif calls for a stern response to Israeli aggression.

04:01 Multiple reports of new explosions in the Gaza Strip.

03:38 Egyptian hospitals preparing to accept Gaza wounded, medical officials say.

03:29 US President Barack Obama spoke to Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu and Egypt's Mohamed Mursi and reiterated US support for Israel's right to self-defense, the White House says. Obama told Netanyahu to avoid civilian casualties and condemned rocket fire while speaking to Mursi.

02:58 Emergency UN Security Council meeting underway in New York.

02:29 An infographic from the Israeli army explains the HAMAS ROCKET THREAT:

02:28 The United Nations Security Council will hold an emergency meeting late Wednesday New York time to discuss the violence, according to France's UN representative.

02:18 Demonstrations against Israel's escalation in the Gaza Strip are being held throughout the world today. Click here to see if one is happening near you.

Ma'an covered three protests last night in Jerusalem, Ramallah and Bethlehem.

02:03 In an interview with Al Jazeera English, Palestinian-American writer Ali Abunimah puts the latest escalation in context and notes that the assassination of al-Jaabari broke a 24-hour ceasefire.

01:57 Dan Williams of Reuters has this analysis of the latest events in Gaza and southern Israel.

01:50 The al-Qassam Brigades said it launched 15 rockets at Beersheva, six "type 107" rockets at Kfat Saad, six at Isnad Sofa, and three Grads at "eavesdropping base 8200." It also launched five Grads toward Hatsirim air base, three Katyushas at an intelligence base, four Grad rockets at Hatsirim air base, another 12 Katyushas as Isnad Sofa and five rockets toward Nir Ishaq.

01:42 TV: Israeli causalities admitted to Soroka Medical Center in Beersheva.

01:35 Israel renewing attacks on the Gaza Strip, Ma'an reporters say.

01:19 Who's winning the Twitter war? Not Israel, says the Washington Post.

"But despite the Israeli Defense Force’s calculated deployment on Twitter ... Israel might not actually be winning the Twitter war. By one metric, it’s losing 150 to one."

Western media are riveted by Palestinians and Israelis using Twitter. More here, here and here.

01:11 Prime Minister in Ramallah Salam Fayyad issues directives to assist Gaza hospitals.

00:58 Israel says Tel Aviv is quiet, dismissing claims of a rocket attack as "Hamas propaganda."

00:55 Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called US President Barack Obama to thank him for supporting Israel's right to defend itself, according to Israeli media.

00:22 Israel says its "Iron Dome" system has intercepted 25 rockets fired from Gaza.

00:01 At least eight people died Wednesday in violence sparked by Israel's assassination of a top Hamas commander. Follow this live report for up-to-the-minute coverage.
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