Israel Police Force demolitions specialists deal with rocket fragments (Facebook page of the Israel Police Force)
Israeli Air Force strike on a rocket launcher from which a rocket was fired into Israeli territory (IDF Spokesman, July 9, 2014).
The IAF attacks a facility belonging to Hamas security service headquarters in Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip (Facebook page of the Hamas forum, July 10, 2014)
rocket hit in the south (Sderot Media Center)
The PIJ's military-terrorist wing displays a rocket launcher mounted on a pickup truck and firing rockets (Saraya.ps, July 9, 2014).
Khaled Mashaal, speaking from Qatar (Al-Mayadeen TV, July 9, 2014).
1. Operation Protective Edge has been ongoing since the evening of July 7, 2014. During the past 24 hours the IDF continued attacking terrorist targets throughout the Gaza Strip from the air and sea. Since the beginning of the operation 785 terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip have been hit, mainly from the air. Among the targets were terrorist operatives, rocket launchers, weapons storehouses, military-terrorist compounds and terrorist tunnels. Hundreds of tons of explosives have been destroyed (IDF Spokesman, July 10, 2014).
2. The terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip, led by Hamas, continue firing massive barrages of rockets and mortar shells into Israeli territory. On July 9, 2014, approximately 150 rocket hits were identified. During the past 24 hours the Palestinian terrorist organizations have fired rockets with longer ranges and a new targets: on the afternoon of July 9, 2014, rockets were identified in an open area in the coastal plain south of Haifa, the furthest location from the Gaza Strip ever hit (the previous day a rocket landed in Hadera). In the afternoon rockets were launched at the central Negev towns of Yeruham and Dimona for the first time; they were intercepted by the Iron Dome aerial defense system. The Iron Dome continued intercepting rockets, most of which targeted Israel's principal cities. There were no casualties so far; damage to property was reported.
3. In a message to the international community, Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu said that no country on earth would remain passive in the face of hundreds of rockets fired on its cities and Israel was no exception. He said that no country in the world would agree to suffer relentless missile attacks and infiltration attempts by sea and via tunnels, and that Israel had therefore expanded its operations against Hamas and the other terrorist groups in Gaza. He added that Hamas was perpetrating a double war crime by deliberately trying to attack Israeli civilians while using the civilian population in Gaza as human shields. While Israel would do everything in its power to protect its citizens, Hamas, in contrast, deliberately put Palestinian civilians into harm's way by embedding its terrorists in hospitals, schools, mosques and apartment buildings throughout the Gaza Strip (Israeli prime minister's website, July 9, 2014).
4. Hamas claimed responsibility for most of the rockets fired, including those fired at the coastal plain south of Haifa, Dimona, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. In his first public appearance since the beginning of the operation, Khaled Mashaal, head of Hamas' political bureau, claimed that Hamas had not initiated the escalation and did not want it. He claimed that Hamas was acting in response to Israel's policies in Judea and Samaria and towards Israeli Arabs. He called on the Israeli leadership to change its approach to the Palestinians, and threatened a strong response to the Israeli attack.
5. On the third day of Operation Protective Edge attacks on terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip continued. During the past 24 hours the IDF struck 322 terrorist targets (for a total of 785 since the beginning of the operation). Among the targets were the following (IDF Spokesman, July 10, 2014):
1) Weapons storehouses, including one storehouse located inside a mosque.
2) Five sites for the manufacture of weapons.
3) Five military facilities.
4) 58 tunnels.
5) Two surveillance facilities.
6) 217 hidden rocket launchers.
6. In addition, attacks were carried out against 46 senior operatives of Hamas and other terrorist organizations. Among those killed was the senior Hamas commander of the organization's forces in the northern Gaza Strip. In response to the attempted terrorist attack in the area of Zikim (north of the Gaza Strip), during the past 24 hours the Israeli navy attacked from the sea more than ten times. Damage was done to vessels belonging to Hamas' naval force, weapons warehouses, surveillance posts, training facilities, etc. (IDF Spokesman, July 10, 2014).
Left: A military-terrorist installation near a school is attacked (IDF Spokesman, July 9, 2014). Right: Attack on a weapons storehouse located in the house of a Palestinian Islamic Jihad operative in Khan Yunis.
Click https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vmzVuyPipjA for the video
7. The IDF Spokesman said in a statement that Hamas had been in distress during the past weeks. He said Hamas' rocket fire was not effective and the rockets it launched to harm the Israeli population had been intercepted by the Iron Dome aerial defense system, and that IAF's immediate response had been to attack the rocket launchers. He added that the IDF's attacks were focused and "surgical," and that the IDF took every possible precaution. That was done at a time, he said, when Hamas had taken its civilians, including women and children, as hostages and used them as human shields for its terrorist operatives (IDF Spokesman, July 9, 2014).
Palestinian Casualties and the Use of Civilians as Human Shields
8. The Palestinian media and ministry of health reported that since the beginning of the operation 50 people had been killed and more than 400 wounded (Website of the Palestinian ministry of health, June 10, 2014). So far the ITIC has not been able to determine how many of those killed were terrorist operatives and how many were uninvolved.
9. The ministry of the interior in the Gaza Strip issued a statement calling on to reject the IDF's calls to evacuate their houses [before attacks]. The calls, claimed the ministry, were meant "to frighten the population, sow terror and weaken the home front" (Facebook page of the Gaza ministry of the interior, July 10, 2014). Behind the statement was Hamas' desire to use Gazan civilians as human shields for its terrorist operatives whose houses were attacked.
Notice from the Gazan ministry of the interior to the civilians of the Gaza Strip, telling them to reject the IDF's call for evacuating their houses (Facebook page of the Gaza ministry of the interior, July 10, 2014)
10. During the past 24 hours rocket and mortar shell fire from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory continued. Rockets with longer ranges were fired, including rockets targeting Haifa in the north, but which fell in the northern coastal plain south of Haifa. On July 9, 2014, about 150 rockets hits were identified in Israel. Some of them fell in the region of the northern coastal plain and Caesarea. For the first time, rockets targeted Yeruham and Dimona in the central Negev; they were intercepted by the Iron Dome aerial defense system. The Iron Dome intercepted dozens of additional rockets; there were no casualties, but damage to property was reported.
11. The Palestinian media reported that Hamas' military-terrorist wing claimed responsibility for most of the rocket fire (including the long-range rockets targeting Haifa and Dimona). Hamas military-terrorist wing said in a statement that its operatives had launched M75 rockets into Israel and Tel Aviv and an R160 rocket at Haifa.
12. The Jerusalem Brigades, the military-terrorist wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), also claimed responsibility for rocket fire (including long-range rocket fire). The military-terrorist wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) and the Popular Resistance Committees all claimed responsibility for rocket fire. Several local terrorist networks publicly claimed responsibility, mostly for rocket fire targeting the towns around the Gaza Strip.
Left: Three M75 rockets fired at Dimona (Qassam.ps, July 9, 2014). Right: From the Hamas forum Facebook page: "The cannons of Ramadan" fire rockets from the Gaza Strip (July 10, 2014).
Attacks by Terrorist Squads Infiltrating from the Gaza Strip
Attack by Terrorist Squad from the Sea Prevented
13. On the evening of July 9, 2014, two armed frogmen were seen near the shoreline north of the Gaza Strip. They were going towards Israel. An IDF force that identified the suspects took action of keep them from progressing (IDF Spokesman, July 9, 2014). The previous day, July 8, 2014, the IDF also prevented an attack by squad of armed terrorist operatives who had entered Israeli territory from the sea in the region of Kibbutz Zikim, north of the Gaza Strip.
Video of a training exercise of Hamas military-terrorist wing's naval commando force (Facebook page of the Hamas forum, July 10, 2014).
The Situation at the Crossings
14. Throughout Operation Protective Edge, despite the massive rocket and mortar shell fire, the Kerem Shalom crossing has remained open, although its activities are limited. Through the crossing food, medical supplies and fuel enter the Gaza Strip. The Rafah crossing, on the other hand, remains closed. Hamas has appealed to Egypt to open the crossing. Maher Abu Sabha, director of the general administration of crossings and borders, said that despite the appeal, it is not known when Egypt will open the crossing. He said the Palestinian team working on the Gazan side was prepared to open it under all conditions (Gazan ministry of the interior website, July 9, 2014).
Statements from Hamas
15. Senior Hamas figures have stressed their movement's achievements in the current campaign and threaten to intensify their responses. They also continue to state their conditions for a renewal of the lull, especially the stopping of Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip, the release of the prisoners freed in the Gilad Shalit deal and redetained recently in Judea and Samaria during Operation Brothers' Keeper, and the cessations of administrative detentions.
16. Khaled Mashaal, head of Hamas' political bureau, in his first appearance since the beginning of the operation, gave a prerecorded speech from Qatar. He claimed that Hamas had not initiated the escalation in the Gaza Strip and did not want it. He added that Hamas was taking action in response to Israel's policies in Judea and Samaria and toward Israeli Arabs, who were being pushed to the wall. He called on the Israeli leadership to change its approach to the Palestinians and threatened a stronger response to the Israeli attack. He called on the Palestinian Authority (PA) and its security services to support the Gaza Strip and called for a new intifada against Israel in Judea and Samaria. He also called on the West to exert pressure on Israel to stop what he called its "aggression" against the Gaza Strip (Al-Aqsa TV, July 9, 2014).
17. Osama Hamdan, responsible for Hamas' international relations, said that the operation in Gaza was an attempt to whitewash "Israel's intelligence failure" regarding the abduction of the three youths in Gush Etzion. He said defensively that Hamas was aware of the value of Palestinian blood, but that the struggle for freedom demanded the Palestinians pay "a certain price." He said that time after time during the first 48 hours of the fighting Hamas's military wing had surprised Israel, which had not expected naval attacks or the rocket fire targeting Haifa. He said the principle of "quiet in return for quiet" the Israelis were trying to force on Hamas was unacceptable, because Hamas refused to stop its rocket fire without demanding that Israel stop the [so-called Israeli] occupation (Al-Aqsa, July 9, 2014).
Arab and Western Reactions
The Palestinian Authority
18. Mahmoud Abbas spoke with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi about what he called "Israel's dangerous escalation" against the Gaza Strip. El-Sisi said that Egypt would continue its efforts to achieve a cease fire as quickly as possible (Al-ayyam.com, July 9, 2014). Saeb Erekat, a member of the PLO's Executive Committee, said that Egypt was making all possible efforts to stop the "Israeli aggression" and restore quiet. He said Mahmoud Abbas was in continuous contact with Egypt, as well as with the American secretary of state and the UN Secretary General (Al-Arabiya TV, July 9, 2014).
19. In a televised speech Mahmoud Abbas called for the Palestinians to show "solidarity, patience and adherence to unity because victory is near." He said the PA would appeal to all the international organizations and institutions to stop Israel's "aggression." He also said that the government would fulfill, insofar as it could, the Gazans' humanitarian needs. The time had come, he said, for the international community, especially the International Quartet and the Security Council, to take responsibility and provided international protection for the Palestinian people (Al-ayyam.com, July 9, 2014).
20. The Palestinian government held an emergency meeting in Ramallah, headed by Rami Hamdallah. It issued a statement condemning Israel's attacks on "the civilians in the Gaza Strip" and called on the UN Secretary General to appoint an international committee to investigate. The government stressed that it would put all its resources to acquiring emergency humanitarian and medical aid for the Gaza Strip (Wafa.ps, July 9, 2014). Note: As in all previous statements issued by senior PA figures, no mention was made of Hamas or its rocket fire into Israeli territory.
21. Ihab Badawi, Egyptian presidential spokesman said that Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi had received a telephone call from the PA chairman, and said that Egypt had intensive contacts with both sides. He said Egypt was working to make Israel responsible for protecting the Palestinian civilians because Israel was the "occupying power" according to the Geneva Convention and international law (Youm7.com, July 9, 2014).
The United States
22. State department spokesperson Jen Psaki said that "…we strongly condemn the continuing rocket fire into Israel and the deliberate targeting of civilians by terrorist organizations in Gaza. No country can accept rocket fire aimed at civilians, and we certainly support Israel’s right to defend itself against these attacks…. The Secretary [of State John Kerry] spoke with Prime Minister Netanyahu Friday and again on Sunday… We certainly expect President Abbas to do everything in his power to prevent rocket attacks and to condemn violence" (Website of the American state department, July 8, 2014).
The European Union
23. A spokesman for the EU Council condemned the indiscriminate rocket fire from the Gaza Strip into Israel by what he referred to as "militant groups." He also condemned the growing number of casualties, including children in the Gaza Strip, caused by Israeli fire. He called on both sides to do their utmost to reach an immediate cease fire and fully respect "the laws of war." He added that Israel should only attack legitimate military targets, and with the utmost care (Website of the EU Council, July 8, 2014).
24. The German minister of foreign affairs said that the rocket fire from the Gaza Strip into Israel was a threat and regional escalation, and that Israel had the right to defend its citizens from rocket fire. He said he hoped the sides would agree to prevent a military confrontation that could become uncontrollable (Website of the German ministry of foreign affairs, July 8, 2014).
Note: In ITIC assessment. the number of launches from the Gaza Strip is about 20% greater than the number of identified hits, due to unsuccessful launchings and/or rockets which misfired and fell inside the Gaza Strip.
About 75 kilometers, or about 47 miles, from the Gaza Strip.
The use of Gazan civilians as human shields by Hamas in Operation Protective Edge will be detailed in a separate bulletin which will be posted on Sunday, July 13, 2014.