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Israel accepted a Gaza ceasefire plan that will start with a preliminary 72-hour truce beginning tomorrow morning. Israeli officials will work out further details of the ceasefire over the next few days in Egypt. As of Aug. 1, at least 2,909 rockets had been fired at Israel from Gaza and 66 Israelis had been killed. In the first fatal attack in Jerusalem in three years, a Palestinian construction worker drove an earthmover into a bus, flipping it over and killing one Israeli and wounding five more. President Netanyahu's spokesman said Israel's military campaign to destroy the Gaza tunnels is coming to a close, but that the overall operation will not cease until Israel experiences an extended period of quiet and security.
Of the 54 rockets launched by Gaza militants into Israel today, some targeting Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, five were intercepted by the Iron Dome defense system. Israel continued its assault on the Gaza militants' tunnels, rockets, and other infrastructure in the 22-day-old conflict, in which 56 Israelis and 1,200 Palestinians have been killed. Israel has indicated willingness to enter a ceasefire under certain conditions.
In the deadliest day for the Israeli military since 2006, 13 soldiers were killed in Gaza, bringing the number of soldiers killed so far to 18, and another was said to have been kidnapped. Prime Minister Netanyahu accused Hamas of using human shields, and said, "All civilian casualties are unintended by us, but actually intended by Hamas." Over 1,700 rockets have been fired at Israel since the conflict began on July 8; today 87 were launched towards Israel, and 16 were intercepted by the Iron Dome defense system.
Prime Minister Netanyahu warned of an expansion of Israel's ground offensive into Gaza, as the number of rockets fired towards Israel since July 8 topped 1,600. Of the 135 rockets launched at Israel during the first day of the ground operation, the Iron Dome system intercepted 40. One Israel soldier was killed and seven others were injured.
After 10 days of an aerial campaign by Operation Protective Edge to stop the rain of missiles into Israel from Gaza, Israeli officials said a ground campaign has been launched in Gaza to destroy militant infrastructure such as tunnels, but not with the intent to topple Hamas. Israeli forces used a Patriot missile to shoot down a Hamas drone over Ashkelon. Israeli bombardments of militant targets in Gaza resumed after a brief ceasefire was broken by Hamas rockets fired into Israel. Three suspects in the kidnapping and killing of a Palestinian youth in Jerusalem appeared in court; Israeli officials called the brutal murder a "terrorist act."
The military said the Iron Dome defense system shot down 29 of 123 rockets fired into Israel today. The IDF agreed to a five-hour humanitarian truce starting tomorrow. Justice Minister Livni warned, however, that Israel will have no choice but to launch a ground incursion into Gaza if the rocket attacks do not stop. Over 1,000 rockets have been fired at Israel since the start of Operation Protective Edge last week; one Israeli has been killed so far by the attacks.
Hamas' Al Qassem Brigades launched missiles into Tel Aviv, the suburb of Rishon LeZion, and Haifa; Israeli officials said the Iron Dome defense system intercepted two missiles. Over 100 rockets were fired towards Israel from Gaza today, bringing the total to over 630 so far in the conflict. Israeli forces shelled the source of a cross-border attack from Lebanon. A rocket fired from Syria landed in the Israel-held Golan Heights. Prime Minister Netanyahu said Israel's offensive will stop only after the capabilities of Hamas and other terrorist groups in Gaza have been seriously degraded.
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.
Authorities announced the arrest of six east Jerusalem lawyers who were acting as couriers for Palestinian militants in Gaza seeking to communicate with their counterparts in Israeli jails. Israeli officials denounced the PLO for applying for accession to 15 international conventions.
The IDF opened fire on two purportedly armed individuals trying to tamper with border infrastructure along the border with Syria. The two suspects were reportedly killed. A planned release of Palestinian prisoners was delayed and may not occur.
Authorities announced the arrest of two separate terror cells, one of which is linked to the PFLP, in the West Bank. The IDF increased its state of alert in the West Bank following the recent killing of three Palestinian militants. Israeli forces fired on two people trying to infiltrate into Israel via Egypt.
The IDF announced the discovery of another terror tunnel from Gaza into Israel. Hamas said the tunnel was old and previously discovered. US senators said talks are underway with Israel to work on a new defense aid package. A top IDF official warned that the next major conflict between Israel and Hezbollah will also involve Syria.
IDF Chief Benny Gantz said that if necessary Israel can carry out operations in Iran. The IDF was recently instructed to continue budgeting for a potential strike against Iran's illicit nuclear program. Defense Minister Ya'alon apologized to Secretary of Defense Hagel for his recent comments regarding US policies in the Middle East.