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Over 70 rockets have been fired into Israel Wednesday, with 37 of them hitting Israel and 23 intercepted by the Iron Dome. A barrage of rockets was fired at Israel overnight as the IDF continues Operation Protective Edge now entering its ninth day.
Palestinian media reported that four children were killed by an Israeli naval gunboat. Reports from Gaza claim the children were playing soccer on the beach. The death toll in Gaza has now risen to over 208, 11 killed today in airstrikes targeting underground rocket launchers in northern Gaza, a region the IDF has warned extensively to evacuate.
The IDF continues to drop leaflets, warnings and send SMS’s (text messages) that were airdropped over areas of Gaza ahead of an airstrike, warning residents to evacuate and not harbor terrorists. Hamas has responded to this method, urging Palestinians in Gaza to “ignore” the warning, stating that it is “psychological warfare.”
On Wednesday morning, Hamas claimed that leaflets dropped in the areas of Beit Lahiya and Zeitoun were the use of “psychological warfare and should be ignored.” The IDF performed an airstrike on Beit Lahiya, targeting underground rocket launchers.
The Israeli security cabinet has approved the call-up of an additional 8,000 reservist on top of the 40,000 already approved. The maximum number of reservists approved is now 50,000.
Hamas gave new conditions for a ceasefire with Israel on Wednesday morning. The terrorist organization calls for a ten year truce in which Israel would release all re-imprisoned Palestinians from the GIlad Shalit swap, and that all border crossings into the Gaza Strip be opened, the Rafah crossing into Egypt secure with UN forces. It also has called for an airport and that the fishing region in the Mediterranean be expanded and for all Israeli aircraft to alter their routes as to not fly over the Strip.
Sources from Egypt claim that the report of a ten-year truce is inaccurate and “should be taken with a grain of salt.”
Later in the afternoon, Hamas officially rejected the Egyptian ceasefire, stating, “The outcome of discussions within the internal institutions of the movement was to reject the proposal and therefore, Hamas informed Egypt last night it apologizes for not accepting it.”
In a press conference with Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini who is visiting the region, and Shimon Peres, the foreign minister addressed the difficult situation in Israel, addressing additionally the “radicalization of Islam. She stated, “My visit in Ashdod yesterday showed me the strong physical and psychological pressure on the people… I think it’s in the interest of the Israeli and Palestinian people, especially in Gaza, to stop this…. The region is tense and there is the risk of radicalization in the Arab world and also in Europe, where we know we have to pay attention to the risk of anti-Semitism, especially in these days.”
Shimon Peres responded, “It’s a clear situation today, because Egypt offered a ceasefire. Israel accepted it. The Arab League accepted it. The only one that refused and continues to fire is the Hamas…. We’re trying to defend our own people, as we must, and we’re also trying hard not to hit innocent people in Gaza.”
In a press conference with Prime Minister Netanyahu later on Wednesday, Netanyahu explained how Israel waited for six hours during the ceasefire Tuesday, while rocket attacks continued from Gaza. He stated, “Israel will continue to act thus until peace and quiet prevail in the country; this is our right. We must reach a situation in which Gaza is disarmed from weapons and missiles.”
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
Amir Tsarfati is the founder and president of Behold Israel, a news site to correct the scarcity in trustworthy reportage on issues and events impacting Israel, and to resolve the uncertainty about who or what to believe.