A mother protects her daughter during a rocket attack targeting Beersheba (Photo by Oren Or Biton for Tazpit.org.il, July 28, 2014)
Palestinians from Shejaiya who moved into the Al-Shifa'a Hospital celebrate the deaths of the Israeli soldiers (Paltimes.net, July 29, 2014).
Palestinians from Shejaiya who moved into the Al-Shifa'a Hospital celebrate the deaths of the Israeli soldiers (Paltimes.net, July 29, 2014).
IDF soldiers operating inside the Gaza Strip (IDF Spokesman, July 28, 2014)
Exposing the tunnels (IDF Spokesman, July 28, 2014)
The house of Ismail Haniya in the Shati refugee camp (Facebook page of the Palestinian Communications Center, July 29, 2014)
Hamas' Al-Aqsa TV building.
A Hamas military-terrorist wing video of a rocket fired at Tel Aviv on July 28, 2014. It shows the rocket fired near a residential neighborhood (Qassam.ps, July 28, 2014)
1. While contacts for a ceasefire continued, during the past 24 hours the fighting in the Gaza Strip escalated. Mortar shells were fired at an IDF assembly area near the Gaza Strip (four IDF soldiers killed) and an infiltration attack into Israeli territory through a tunnel was prevented (five IDF soldiers killed). Rocket fire into Israel continued (65 rocket hits identified), including rockets targeting the greater Tel Aviv and Haifa areas. Israeli Air Force (IAF) aircraft continued attacking terrorist targets. The IDF continued exposing and destroying terrorist tunnels (31 exposed, 15 destroyed).
The Ground Operation
2. After a relatively quiet morning, on July 28, 2014, in the early afternoon rocket and mortar shell fire from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory was renewed. IAF attacks were resumed while the ground activity to expose and destroy tunnels continued. So far about half of the terrorist tunnels exposed have been destroyed. Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu said that "The operation against the tunnels is a first and necessary step in the demilitarization of the Gaza Strip. The process of preventing the arming of the terrorist organization and demilitarizing the Gaza Strip must be part of any solution" (Website of the prime minister's office, July 28, 2014).
3. During July 28, 2014, serious incidents took place near the Gaza Strip border, claiming the lives of nine IDF soldiers. A tenth soldier was killed in operational activity in the Gaza Strip.
Four IDF Soldiers Killed by Mortar Shell Fire
4. On the afternoon of July 28, 2014, a mortar shell fired from the Gaza Strip hit an IDF assembly area near the Gaza Strip border. Four soldiers were killed and four were wounded. Hamas' military-terrorist wing claimed responsibility for the mortar shell fire. According to the claim posted on the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades website, five 120mm mortar shells were fired at a group of soldiers. The military-terrorist wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) claimed responsibility for firing at the village of Be'eri (Hamas and PIJ websites, July 28, 2014).
Left: Hamas' military-terrorist wing claims responsibility for mortar shell fire (Qassam.ps, July 28, 2014). Right: The PIJ's military-terrorist wing claims responsible for firing mortar shells at the village of Be'eri (Saraya.ps, July 29, 2014).
Terrorist Attack through Tunnel Prevented
5. In the early evening the IDF prevented a terrorist squad from infiltrating into Israeli territory from a tunnel shaft near the village of Nahal Oz. The shaft opening was located south of the Karni crossing in the southern Gaza Strip. The tunnel penetrated 150 meters (or about a tenth of a mile) into Israeli territory. The terrorists fired an anti-tank missile at an IDF post, killing five soldiers. Soldiers in the post's guard tower opened fire at the terrorists. One of the soldiers reported that the terrorists tried to take the body of one of the dead soldiers. After shots were fired at the terrorists and one of them was killed, they threw down their weapons and returned to the tunnel shaft. They left four Kalashnikov assault rifles and two RPG launchers behind (IDF Spokesman, July 29, 2014).
6. Hamas' military-terrorist wing claimed responsibility for the "penetration behind enemy lines"which killed, according to the claim, ten soldiers. The claim also noted that they had tried to take one of the bodies but that had been impossible because of "the conditions on the ground." They also claimed to have taken a Tavor [Israeli-made] assault rifle (Qassam.ps, July 28, 2014).
Hamas' military-terrorist wing announcement of its attempt to penetrate "behind enemy line" (Qassam.ps, July 29, 2014)
IDF Activity on July 28, 2014
7. On July 28, 2014, the IDF's ground operation in the Gaza Strip continued and expanded. Residents of Beit Hanoun, Beit Lahia and the Jabaliya refugee camp, all close to the Israeli-Gazan border, were instructed, via telephone calls and SMS messages, to vacate their houses immediately. In addition, on the morning of July 28, 2014, a terrorist squad opened fire at an IDF force in the central Gaza Strip. The force returned fire and killed the terrorist squad. There were no IDF casualties (IDF Spokesman, July 28, 2014).
Exposure and Destruction of Terrorist Tunnels
8. During the past 24 hours IDF activity to expose and destroy tunnels continued. Fifteen of the 31 tunnels exposed so far have been destroyed. During the morning of July 28 the IDF destroyed another tunnel in the southern Gaza Strip. IDF Chief of Staff Major General Benny Gantz said that the IDF activity to destroy the tunnel network, which he said honeycombed the length and breadth of Gaza Strip, was difficult and complex, and was proceeding slowly. He said that it was done "step after step, shaft after shaft, tunnel after tunnel, clash [with terrorist operatives] after clash" (IDF Spokesman, July 28, 2014).
IDF forces expose a tunnel shaft (IDF Spokesman, July 27, 2014)
Click https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_NBEixuQbYQ for the video
Air Attacks on Terrorist Targets Continue
9. In addition to the ground operation, the IDF continued attacking terrorist targets from the air. So far, more than 3,700 terrorist targets have been attacked. Beginning in the afternoon of July 28, 2014, and continuing into the night, the air attacks increased. IAF aircraft attacked more than 150 terrorist targets.
10. Among the targets were the following (Ynetnews.co.il, July 29, 2014):
1) Houses of senior activists and operatives, including the house of Ismail Haniya, deputy head of Hamas' political bureau, and the house of the commander of Hamas' Shejaiya battalion.
2) Installations and facilities, including the building from which Hamas' radio and TV Al-Aqsa channels broadcast, the Hamas ministry of the treasury, and buildings used as command and control posts by Hamas' military-terrorist wing.
3) Four mosques, one of which was used as a [military] operation room and another in which a tunnel shaft was located.
4) Sites for the manufacture of weapons.
5) Concealed rocket launchers.
6) Terrorist operatives.
11. In the afternoon Palestinian sources claimed that IDF forces had hit the outpatient clinics of the Al-Shifa'a Hospital. The IDF Spokesman said that the hospital had been hit by rockets targeting Israel whose launch had failed. IDF Chief of Staff Major General Benny Gantz rejected the claim, saying that he possessed an aerial photograph showing rocket launchings carried out by Hamas near the hospital (IDF Spokesman, July 28, 2014).
12. Fifty-three IDF soldiers have been killed in Operation Protective Edge.
13. On July 28, 2014, ten IDF soldiers were killed. Four were killed by mortar shell fire at a meeting in the western Negev, five were killed while preventing an infiltration attack near the village of Nahal Oz, and one when the bulldozer the soldier was using to destroy a terrorist tunnel in the Gaza Strip was hit with an anti-tank missile.
14. The names of the soldiers killed are the following (IDF Spokesman, July 28, 2014):
1) Sergeant Daniel Kedmi, 18, from Sufim. Squad commander cadet. Killed in combat when terrorists infiltrated Israel via a tunnel from Gaza.
2) Sergeant Barkai Ishai Shor, 21, from Jerusalem.Squad commander cadet. Killed in combat when terrorists infiltrated Israel via a tunnel from Gaza.
3) Sergeant Sagi Erez, 19, from Kiryat Atta. Squad commander cadet. Killed in combat when terrorists infiltrated Israel via a tunnel from Gaza.
4) Sergeant Dor Deri, 18, from Jerusalem. Squad commander cadet. Killed in combat when terrorists infiltrated Israel via a tunnel from Gaza.
5) Sergeant Nadav Raimond, 19, from Shadmot Devora. Squad commander cadet. Killed in combat when terrorists infiltrated Israel via a tunnel from Gaza.
6) Staff Sergeant Eliav Eliahu Haim Kahlon, 22, from Safed. Armored corps soldier. Killed by a mortar shell near the Gaza Strip border.
7) Corporal Meidan Maimon Biton, 20, from Netivot. Armored corps soldier. Killed by a mortar shell near the Gaza Strip border.
8) Corporal Niran Cohen, 20, from Tiberias. Armored corps soldier. Killed by a mortar shell near the Gaza Strip border.
9) Sergeant First Class Adi Briga, 23, from Beit Shikma. Armored corps soldier. Killed by a mortar shell near the Gaza Strip border.
10) Staff Sergeant Moshe Davino, 20, from Jerusalem. Combat engineering soldier. Killed during operational activities in the Gaza Strip.
Rocket Fire into Israeli Territory
15. Since the beginning of the operation approximately 2,225 rockets have fallen in Israeli territory. The Iron Dome aerial defense system intercepted more than 500.
16. The morning of July 28, 2014 was relatively quiet after a night without rocket fire. In the early afternoon rocket and mortar shell fire into Israeli territory was renewed. During July 28, 2014, 65 rocket hits were identified. Most of the rockets fell in the south of Israel. In the afternoon rockets were fired at the north of Israel. Sirens were sounded in Haifa, Zichron Yaakov and along the Carmel coast. On the night of July 28, 2014, rockets were fired at the greater Tel Aviv area. Three rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome aerial defense system and one fell in an open area.
Daily Distribution of Rocket Fire from the Gaza Strip during Operation Protective Edge
17. The military-terrorist wings of Hamas and the PIJ continue claiming responsibility for most of the rockets and mortar shells fired into Israeli territory and at the IDF forces operating in the Gaza Strip.
The Gazan Population
18. According to ITIC information,1,031 Gazans have been killed since the beginning of the operation (as of noon, July 29).
19. The distribution (not final, as of noon, July 29, 2014) of the 1,031 Palestinians killed is as follows:
1) 328 terrorist operatives:
A) 175 Hamas operatives
B) 100 PIJ operatives
C) 53 operatives from other terrorist organizations
2) 327 non-involved Palestinians
3) 376 Palestinians whose identity is not yet known
20. On July 27, 2014, the French TV station France 24 broadcast the evacuation of casualties from under the rubble in the Gaza Strip. One of them was a military operative wearing a uniform and armed with a rifle, apparently dead. The announcer noted that "His rifle was quickly hidden from our cameras." A civilian who received the rifle was seen passing it to another man, saying, "Take it and hide it" (France 24, July 27, 2014).
21. On July 27, 2014, several dozen civilians from the Ikhza' neighborhood in the southern Gaza Strip rioted in front of Red Cross headquarters in Khan Yunis, where they burned a dispensary. They claimed the Red Cross was not evacuating the dead bodies from their neighborhood. They also claimed the Red Cross collaborated with Israel (Facebook page of Muthana Najar, July 27, 2014).
The Crossings – Update
The Rafah Crossing
22. The Rafah crossing opened on July 28, 2014 for wounded Palestinians and holders of foreign passports. Food was delivered to the Gaza Strip through the crossing (Youm7.com, July 28, 2014).
Contacts for a Humanitarian and General Ceasefire
23. American Secretary of State John Kerrysaid "Today, we are continuing to work toward establishing an unconditional humanitarian cease-fire, one that could honor Eid [al-Fitr], which begins now, and that will stop the fighting, allow desperately needed food and medicine and other supplies into Gaza, and enable Israel to address the threat which we fully understand and which is real – the threat posed by tunnel attacks – and to be able to do so without having to resort to combat. That is what could come from a cease-fire…) (State Department website, July 27, 2014).
24. At the same time, contacts are being held regarding the Egyptian initiative. Muhammad Dahlan, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, claimed that the Egyptian initiative remained the basis for an agreement because it took the Palestinian demands into consideration. He said that during the next few days the Palestinian organizations would hold a meeting in Cairo. He repeated Hamas' conditions: a seaport, an airport and the designation of [the Gaza Strip's] territorial waters. He said those demands would be defined during negotiations with the PLO, which he said was the only source of authority for the Palestinian people (Maannews.net, July 27, 2014).
25. Nasser al-Laham, director of the Al-Mayadeen offices in Judea and Samaria, reported that Egypt had agreed to receive a delegation appointed by Mahmoud Abbas. The delegation would include representatives of the Palestinian organizations, including Hamas. He said the delegation, headed by Majed Faraj, head of Palestinian general intelligence, would arrive in Cairo to formulate the agreement (Almayadeen.net, July 28, 2014).
Statements from Hamas
26. Senior Hamas figures have reiterated their position that there will not be a ceasefire until Hamas' conditions are met, and accuse Israel of escalation:
1) Musa Abu Marzouq, a member of the Hamas political bureau, claimed that in the coming hours there would be a change in Egypt's position. He accused the United States of "partnership in Israel's aggression" (Alresala.net, July 28, 2014).
2) In response to John Kerry's statement that any solution would be based on disarming the [terrorist] organizations in the Gaza Strip, senior Hamas figure Izzat al-Rishq claimed that such demands were not realistic and that the "resistance's" weapons were not an issue for discussion. He claimed as long as the [so-called Israeli] occupation existed, Hamas would keep its arms, manufacture weapons, develop weapons and acquire weapons in any way possible (Al-Quds TV, July 28, 2014).
3) Osama Hamdan, in charge of Hamas' external relations, claimed that efforts were being invested in reaching a ceasefire, but the facts on the ground proved that Israel refused to accept a ceasefire (Al-Aqsa TV, July 28, 2014).
4) Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri accused Israel of full responsibility for the escalation and of violating the humanitarian ceasefire (Alresala.net, July 28, 2014).
Statements from the Palestinian Authority
27. Mahmoud Abbasheld a series of telephone consultations regarding a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip. He spoke with Khaled Mashaal, head of Hamas' political bureau; Ramadan Shallah, secretary general of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad; Sheikh Tamim bin Hamed al-Thani, the emir of Qatar; Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the president of Egypt; and others. In his conversation with Abdel Fattah el-Sisi he expressed his appreciation for the role Egypt was playing regarding a ceasefire agreement (Wafa.ps, July 28, 2014).
The graph indicates rocket hits in Israeli territory and does to include the massive mortar shell fire into the western Negev or rocket launches that failed.