In Operation Pillar of Defense’s second day, rocket fire is bringing life in southern Israel to a standstill while the IDF inflicts heavy blows on Gaza terror groups. The Times of Israel is live-blogging. Press refresh or click here for latest updates.
Since Israel assassinated Hamas military chief Ahmed Jabari nearly 24 hours ago, launching Operation Pillar of Defense, Israel has suffered three fatalities and Magon David Adom emergency services said it has treated 45 people, most of them for shock.
In Gaza, Palestinian sources said 13 people have been killed and 120 wounded. The IDF says it killed 10 terrorists during 200+ strikes on rocket launching crews and missile warehouses since Operation Pillar of Defense began on Wednesday afternoon.
Central to events is the battle played out in the sky as the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system tracks and destroys incoming rockets from Gaza.
The IDF said it has had an 85% success rate with Iron Dome, and in total 200 projectiles have landed in Israel since Operation Pillar of Defense began. The Iron Dome system only fires at missiles it identifies as heading towards populated areas, and many of the rockets fired in Gaza miss their target and land in open areas.A number of protests are taking place and calling for the end of Israel’s operation against the Hamas in Gaza. In Ramallah and other towns throughout the West Bank, hundreds of people are waving Palestinian flags in the streets.
Demonstrations are also taking place on university campuses throughout Israel, with Israeli Arab students and left wing activists in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa demanding the end of the IDF’s actions.
Three Israeli soldiers, one in a moderate condition, who were injured by a rocket attack on Hof Ashkelon region are being helicoptered to hospital.
In a rare statement, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas says Hamas needs to stop its rocket fire on Israel, as he calls on both sides to end the violence.
Speaking to France 24 News while in Europe, Abbas condemned the “killing of civilians, both Israeli and Palestinian,” saying the “firing of rockets” has to stop along with “Israeli attacks.”
The Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense committee approves a limited calling up of reserve army forces.
The approval allows the army to draw up reserve units only to bolster forces for Operation Pillar of Defense.
The committee also gives the defense minister and chief of general staff the right to declare a state of emergency, on condition that if it continues for more than 48 hours they explain in person to the committee why it is necessary. If they fail to show up, then after 72 hours the committee reconvenes.
Egyptian media reports that hundreds have taken to the streets in Cairo to protest Israel’s action in Gaza.
The crowds are chanting “The people want to bomb Tel Aviv” and waving banners calling for an end to the Camp David peace agreement between Israel and Egypt, a severing of relations with the “Zionist enemy,” and the opening of the border crossing with Gaza.
The demonstration is forming a procession that begins at the Omar Makram Mosque and ends at the Arab League building.