Kerry meeting Netanyahu;
IDF death toll now 32; Thai worker killed by shell; IDF finds maps, plans for terror attack in Gaza tunnel; 30,000 at US-born soldier’s funeral; Israeli airlines beef up after much of world suspends flights
US Secretary of State John Kerry and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon are in the region, but a ceasefire does not appear close. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says the operation will continue until sustained quiet is achieved for Israel and Hamas’s terrorist capabilities greatly degraded. Numerous foreign airlines have suspended flights to Israel after a rocket hit a home near the airport on Tuesday. IDF-Hamas fighting in Gaza remains intensive, Hamas is still trying to carry out attacks in Israel through tunnels — a major tunnel found Wednesday contained maps and weaponry for an imminent attack — and rockets are still being fired. (Tuesday’s liveblog is here.)
UN’s Ban condemns rocket fire, calls for return to talks; Netanyahu says Israel will continue to defend itself; army names Oron Shaul as missing soldier presumed killed in Gaza fighting; IDF death toll rises to 27; over 600 Gazans said killed so far
The Times of Israel liveblogged events as they unfolded on Tuesday, day 15 of Operation Protective Edge. Two Israeli soldiers were killed on Monday afternoon in battles with Hamas in Gaza, the IDF said overnight, and another was killed on Tuesday morning, bringing the IDF death toll to 27. US Secretary of State John Kerry and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon are in the region, but a ceasefire does not appear close. Many foreign airlines suspended flights to Israel after a rocket hit a home in the Tel Aviv area. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says the operation will continue until sustained quiet is achieved for Israel and Hamas’s terrorist capabilities greatly degraded. IDF-Hamas fighting in Gaza remains intensive, Hamas is still trying to carry out attacks in Israel through tunnels, and rockets are still being fired.
150 Palestinians surrender to IDF in Gaza
Operatives from southern Strip,
mostly Hamas members, transferred to Israeli facilities for interrogation
Dozens of Palestinian terror operatives, most of whom were said to be members of Hamas, surrendered Wednesday to IDF soldiers during raids in the southern Gaza Strip cities of Rafah and Khan Yunis.
The operatives, who came out of hiding spots with their hands raised above their heads, were taken into Israeli custody for further questioning.
In total, 150 Palestinians were arrested, but only 70 of them who were suspected of carrying out terror attacks were transferred under tight security to IDF Intelligence and Shin Bet facilities for interrogation, an IDF spokeswoman told The Times of Israel, adding to 28 operatives already captured. The remaining detainees were later released, Army Radio reported.
A picture of the Gazans posted on Facebook by Israeli Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz showed two rows of captives wearing only underwear and shoes, on their knees in the sand. They were stripped of their clothes in order to ensure they were not carrying weapons.
The IDF said no soldiers were injured during overnight operations in the Gaza Strip, but several were lightly hurt Thursday morning in the northern part of the Strip.
More than 100 targets were struck by the IDF Wednesday throughout the entire Gaza Strip, an army spokesman said. Since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge on July 8, the IDF hit more than 3,330 targets, including tunnels, rocket launchers, and several Hamas military headquarters.