A terrorist squad is prevented from using a terrorist tunnel to infiltrate Israel.
Some of the weapons found in the possession of the terrorist operatives.
Hamas' military-terrorist wing claims of responsibility for the attempted infiltration near the Sufa crossing in the southern Gaza Strip (Qassam.ps, July 17, 2014).
The house of senior Hamas figure Khalil al-Haya (YouTube, July 16, 2014)
Hamas' national security headquarters after the attack (Facebook page of the Hamas ministry of the interior, July 16, 2014).
Mahmoud Abbas meets in Cairo with Nabil al-Arabi, secretary general of the Arab League
1. On July 16, 2014, the UN asked for a "humanitarian pause [in the fighting]" to allow the Gazan population to purchase necessities and repair the infrastructure. Israel and Hamas agreed. The pause began on July 17 at 1000 hours and ended at 1500 hours. It was violated after two hours by mortar shell fire from the Gaza Strip into the western Negev. At 1459 hours heavy rocket fire attacks into Israel recommenced. In addition, on the morning of July 17, a showcase attack in the western Negev was prevented. (Note: In view of the ongoing rocket fire and ground attacks, and Hamas' rejection of the ceasefire, on the night of July 17 the IDF began a ground incursion into the Gaza Strip.)
2. Futile contacts have begun in Cairo for an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire with the participation of Mahmoud Abbas (the Palestinian Authority), Musa Abu Marzouq (Hamas) and Ziyad al-Nakhaleh (the Palestinian Islamic Jihad). The Israeli media reported an Israel delegation that included Yoram Cohen, head of the Israel Security Agency (ISA), paid a short visit to Cairo and returned to Israel.
3. Statements from senior Israeli and Hamas figures indicate that both sides oppose the limited understandings of the ceasefire that ended Operation Pillar of Defense. Israel wants an agreement that will ensure a long-term ceasefire based on a severe blow to the infrastructures of Hamas and the other terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip, which will improve Israel's deterrence. Hamas wants to wrest societal and economic achievements from Israel and make political capital from the agreement that will relieve the political-strategic straits it finds itself in and help it secure its control of the Gaza Strip. (For example, it wants the permanent opening of the Rafah crossing, the revoking of limitations on the crossings with Israel, arrangements for paying the salaries of its tens out thousands of employees, economic help to rebuild the Gaza Strip, and the release of the Hamas operatives and terrorist operatives freed in the Gilad Shalit deal redetained in Operation Brothers' Keeper.)
Infiltration into Israeli Territory via Terrorist Tunnel Prevented
4. Before dawn on July 17, a few hours before the humanitarian pause in the fighting was supposed to go into effect, IDF forces prevented a Hamas attack by operatives using a tunnel. At around 0430 hours a terrorist squad of 13 operatives attempted to enter Israeli territory via a tunnel from the Gaza Strip. They were identified by IDF surveillance near the Sufa crossing (southern Gaza Strip) as they entered Israeli territory. IDF forces sent to the site attacked the terrorist operatives and the tunnel shaft, identifying a number of hits. There were no casualties among the IDF forces. Weapons left by the terrorists were found near the tunnel opening (IDF Spokesman and Ynetnews.co.il, July 17, 2014). Thus the IDF again prevented Hamas from carrying out a showcase attack in Israeli territory to create an "image of victory."
5. Hamas' military-terrorist wing claimed responsibility for the attempted attack near the Sufa crossing (Qassam.ps, July 17, 2014).
Left: Some of the weapons found at the site of the infiltration (IDF Spokesman, July 17, 2014). Right: The region of the attempted attack.
Click https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=741768219203031 for the video
The Humanitarian Pause in the Fighting
6. On the evening of July 16, 2014, after the UN had made repeated requests (including from Robert Serry, the UN envoy to the Middle East), Israel decided to authorize a five-hour humanitarian pause in the fighting. It was in effect on July 17, 2014, between 1000 hours and 1500 hours, to allow the Gazan population to purchase necessities and repair damages to the infrastructure (IDF Spokesman, July 17, 2014).
7. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in a statement that Hamas would comply with the UN request and stop fighting for five hours (Facebook page of Sami Abu Zuhri, July 16, 2014).
8. On the morning of July 17, 2014, before the pause went into effect, Israel was attacked with a heavy barrage of rockets. The locations attacked were the greater Tel Aviv area, the entire coastal plain, Beersheba, Ashqelon, Ashdod and the populated areas around the Gaza Strip. Several civilians sustained minor injuries, primarily from running to shelters. Five civilians were treated for shock. One rocket hit high tension wires and there were power outages in several Israeli communities around the Gaza Strip. Israel was also attacked with rocket fire during the humanitarian pause. At 1200 hours, two hours after it went into effect, sirens were sounded in the western Negev. Three rocket hits were identified in open areas. There were no casualties and no damage was reported. Heavy rocket and mortar shell fire was renewed as soon as the pause ended.
Attacks on Terrorist Targets in the Gaza Strip
9. The IDF continued attacking terrorist targets from the air. More than 1,800 terrorist targets have been attacked since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge. They include more than 700 concealed rocket launchers, 300 military camps and posts, approximately 220 terrorist tunnels, and about 100 senior terrorist operatives (IDF Spokesman, July 17, 2014).
10. During the past 24 hours more than 100 terrorist targets have been attacked, including the following:
1) On the evening of July 16, 2014, Israeli Air Force (IAF) aircraft attacked operatives who were preparing to fire or in the process of firing rockets into Israeli territory.
2) On the afternoon of July 16, 2014, during an attack on a target near the shore from which terrorist activity was launched, four children were killed. The IDF is investigating the circumstances. Hamas is trying to use the deaths to win the support of world public opinion by representing them as "slaughter" and "the murder of the children of the Gaza Strip."
3) On the evening of July 16, 2014, Hamas buildings were attacked, including Hamas' national security service headquarters and the house of senior Hamas figure Khalil al-Haya.
The Gazan Population
11. According to ITIC information,243 Gazans have been killed since the beginning of the operation (as of noon, July 17), and more than 1,700 have been wounded.
12. Distribution (not final) of those killed is as follows:
1) 93 terrorist operatives:
a) 48 Hamas operatives
b) 33 PIJ operatives
c) 12 operatives from other terrorist organizations
2) 95 non-involved Palestinians
3) 55 Palestinians whose identity is not yet known
Support for the Gazan Population
13. The Hamas ministry of the interior and national security announced it had opened a joint situation room for all its security services, which would operate around the clock. They would deal with requests for help from Gazans and provide a hotline for emergencies (Website of the ministry of the interior, July 16, 2014). In ITIC assessment, opening the situation room is a Hamas attempt to respond to the distress of the Gazan population.
14. The UAE's Red Crescent Society announced it had completed preparations for sending equipment for a field hospital to Ismailia, Egypt, from where it would be transferred to the Gaza Strip. According to the hospital director there were operating rooms, and intensive care, surgical and burn units. A staff of more than 50 will accompany the hospital (Alresala.net, July 16, 2014).
15. Since the beginning of the operation approximately 1,185 rockets have fallen Israeli territory. The Iron Dome aerial defense system has intercepted more than 176 rockets targeting population centers throughout the country. In addition, according to the IDF Spokesman, about 100 rockets misfired and fell inside the Gaza Strip (IDF Spokesman, July 16, 2014).
16. During the past 24 hours heavy rocket and mortar shell fire into Israeli territory continued, and 120 rocket hits were identified. The main events were the following:
1) In the late evening a barrage of seven rockets was fired at Ashdod. One of the rockets hit the roof of a school. There were no casualties but the building was damaged. A short time earlier, a barrage of six rockets was fired at Ashqelon.
2) In the evening the Iron Dome aerial defense system intercepted three rockets targeting Kiryat Gat (north of Beersheba).
3) In the morning a barrage of rockets was fired at the center of the country. The Iron Dome aerial defense system intercepted four of them. A house in Tel Aviv was hit.
Daily Distribution of Rocket Fire from the Gaza Strip during Operation Protective Edge
Claims of Responsibility for Rocket Fire
17. The military-terrorist wing of Hamas continued claiming responsibility for most of the rocket and mortar shell fire during the past 24 hours, including the attacks on Tel Aviv. Responsibility was also claimed by the military-terrorist wings of the PIJ, the PFLP, the DFLP and the Popular Resistance Committees. Local networks claimed responsibility for firing at populated areas around the Gaza Strip.
Left: An announcement issued by the PIJ's military-terrorist wing, warning Israel of "surprises" (Gaza al-A'an website, July 17, 2014). Right: PIJ claims of 906 rockets and missiles fired as of July 17, 2014 (a number that seems exaggerated): 582 107mm rockets, 287 Grads, 32 Buraqs, five Fajrs, 81 mortar shells and one Kornet missile (Paltoday.ps, July 17, 2014).
18. Mahmoud Nizal, a member of Hamas' political bureau, criticized the statement made by Ibrahim Kharisha at the UN about the rocket fire from Gaza Strip attacking Israeli civilians (Sawt al-Aqsa, July 16, 2014). Kharisha, the Palestinian representative to the UN Council of Human Rights, said that every rocket fired into Israel from the Gaza Strip was "a crime against humanity" (Odeh TV, July 13, 2014).
Activity on Other Fronts
Rocket Fire from Lebanon
19. The Lebanese security forces continue to deal with rockets fired from Lebanese territory into Israel. According to the Lebanese media, Lebanese military intelligence detained two men suspected of firing the rockets from the region of the Lebanese coast. According to reports, interrogation established that the two were Palestinians from the Al-Rashidiya refugee camp, and operatives of a Palestinian Islamic organization. Lebanese army searches revealed additional rockets mounted on vehicles (Assafir.com, July 16, 2014).
Regional Distribution of Rocket Fire into Israel
The Crossings – Update
The Kerem Shalom Crossing
20. Despite the unabated rocket fire and the IAF's attacks, the Kerem Shalom crossing remains open and continues functioning. Since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge 605 trucks have entered the Gaza Strip through the crossing, carrying food, medicines and medical equipment (as of the morning of July 16, 2014). In addition, 2.4 million liters of fuel for Gaza's power station were delivered, as well as 1.2 million liters of diesel fuel, 304,000 liters of gasoline, and 915 tons of cooking gas. More than 20 repairs were made to water, electrical and communications facilities (Cogat.idf.il, July 16, 2014).
The Erez Crossing
21. During the operation so far, more than 1,000 individuals have entered Israel through the Erez crossing, more than 500 of them residents of the Gaza Strip with dual citizenship. On July 12, 2014, the crossing opened for medical evacuation although it is usually closed on Saturdays. On July 15, 2014, following the killing of an Israeli civilian, Hamas closed access to the crossing for five hours and delayed the exit of patients leaving for medical treatment (Cogat.idf.il, July 16, 2014).
Contacts in Cairo for a Ceasefire
22. Contacts have begun in Egypt for an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire, so far without result. On July 15, 2014, Mahmoud Abbas arrived in Egypt to discuss the situation and the possibility of a ceasefire. While in Egypt he met with Musa Abu Marzouq, deputy head of Hamas' political bureau. They discussed ways of supporting a lull and the Egyptian initiative. He also met with Nabil al-Arabi, the secretary general of the Arab League (Wafa.ps, July 16, 2014). According to reports, Ziyad al-Nakhaleh, the PIJ's deputy secretary general, arrived in Cairo after having received a formal invitation to discuss the proposal for a lull agreement (Paltoday.ps, July 16, 2014).
23. The Israeli media reported that an Israeli delegation paid a shot visit to Cairo for contacts leading to a ceasefire. The delegation was made up of ISA head Yoram Cohen, Yitzhak Molcho, Netanyahu's representative to the talks, and Amos Gilad, head of the political-military affairs bureau in the ministry of defense.
24. According to a "source reputedly close to Hamas," Hamas is supposed to present a document detailing its concept of a lull, whose conditions include the following (Aa.com.tr, July 16, 2014):
1) Opening all the Gaza Strip crossings, including the Rafah crossing, 24 hours a day.
2) The establishment of a naval passage to the Gaza Strip.
3) Release of the terrorist operatives freed in the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange deal who were redetained by Israel in Operation Brothers' Keeper.
The graph indicates rocket hits in Israeli territory and does to include the massive mortar shell fire or rocket launches that failed.