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Prime Minister Netanyahu said he would not give in to international pressure to halt Israel's offensive against militants in Gaza, and refused to rule out the possibility of a ground operation. He claimed that Israeli forces have attacked over 1,000 targets, many of them linked to Hamas and Islamic Jihad, in the four-day offensive and that there are still "more to go." The military said about 550 projectiles have been fired at Israel since July 8.
The Israeli military claimed to have hit over 750 targets in Gaza so far on the third day of its offensive, including 320 Hamas targets such as underground tunnel networks and rocket launching sites last night. Of the 250 missiles and mortars launched from Gaza towards Israel in recent days, the Iron Dome interceptor has shot down 70 missiles, a near-90% success rate. As a result of the incoming fire, nine Israelis have been slightly injured and 59 treated for shock. Israeli officials, concerned about the long-range missiles being employed by Hamas, said they are not seeking a ceasefire but rather to dismantle Hamas' rocket infrastructure. A military official for the southern command said preparations are underway for expanding the operation; Israel's UN envoy stated that a ground offensive would be prevented if Hamas stopped firing rockets into Israel.
The military launched Operation Protective Edge, conducting airstrikes on over 150 targets in Gaza. Hamas' Al Qassem Brigades claimed to have fired rockets at Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Haifa. At least 17 Palestinians are reported to have been killed and over 100 wounded. Top Islamic Jihad militant Hafez Hamad, his two brothers, and his parents were killed by an Israeli airstrike in the Gaza Strip. Hamas gunmen landed on the shore near a military base in Zikim; four gunmen were killed. The government is calling up 40,000 reserves due to the potential for escalation. The US Embassy in Tel Aviv is cutting staff to a minimum.
Hamas vowed to avenge the deaths of eight militants killed by Israeli strikes in Gaza; five were reportedly killed in a strike on a smuggling tunnel in Rafah. The Israeli military claimed it had targeted "terror sites and concealed rocket launchers" and that strikes had hit at least 14 locations in response to the firing of some 39 rockets and mortars into southern Israel since yesterday. One of the rockets landed deep inside Israel, near Beersheba. Israeli authorities yesterday arrested six Jewish suspects in the revenge murder of a Palestinian youth; the murder occurred after the bodies of three kidnapped Israeli teenagers had been found.
After security forces in the West Bank found the bodies of three Israeli teenagers who had been murdered, Prime Minister Netanyahu vowed revenge on Hamas, the group he holds responsible. Israeli security forces broke into the homes of the suspected kidnappers, Hamas operatives Marwan Qawasameh and Amar Abu Aisha, in Hebron. Israeli forces had been conducting security sweeps for three weeks in search of the youths; Palestinian sources claimed that as many as six Palestinians were killed in the operation. Hamas denied responsibility for the murder of the three teens, and warned that Israeli attempts to escalate will "open the gates of hell." An Israeli airstrike targeted the Gaza Strip after a rocket from Gaza exploded in Eshkol.
Prime Minister Netanyahu called for international support for Jordan in the face of the Islamic State threat, and also for Kurdish autonomy. The Israeli military conducted airstrikes against 12 locations in the Gaza Strip, targeting rocket launchers, weapons manufacturing sites, and "terror activity" sites, in response to a sharp increase in rocket attacks from Gaza. The military continued searching for three Israeli teenagers kidnapped by Hamas. Israeli diplomats have reportedly told the US that Israel is prepared to help Jordan avoid being taken over by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham. Israeli drones are said to be flying over the Jordan-Syria border. The Cabinet is considering whether to ban the radical northern faction of the Islamic Movement in Israel, which has allegedly called for the abduction of Israeli soldiers.
Israeli forces foiled a suicide bombing at a checkpoint south of Nablus, arresting a Palestinian man as he approached the Tapuah Junction with suspected pipe bombs hidden under his clothes. Shin Bet announced the arrest of senior Hamas operative Mahmoud Toama, who told interrogators that Hamas secretly supports the Islamic Movement in Israel and that eight representatives of the international Muslim Brotherhood sit on Hamas' Shura Council.