Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yaalon (Thursday evening, 17 July 2014) instructed the IDF to commence ground action to strike at the terrorist tunnels from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory.
July 21: Terror infiltration from northern Gaza
Four IDF soldiers were killed early in the morning by a rocket-propelled grenade, fired by Hamas gunmen who emerged from a tunnel dug from Gaza into Israel near Kibbutz Nir Am. The Hamas cell, clad in IDF uniforms, emerged from the tunnel, and waited for an approaching IDF jeep before opening fire, killing the IDF officer and the three soldiers in the vehicle.
Five more were killed fighting terrorists in Gaza.
The tunnel infiltration involved two groups of Hamas gunmen. The second cell emerged near Erez, on Israeli territory. Surveillance soldiers spotted the infiltrators and summoned an aircraft to the area. The aircraft opened fire, killing the gunmen.
July 20: 13 Israeli soldiers of the Golani Brigade were killed overnight in the course of the IDF operation in Gaza.
In the first incident, terrorists detonated an explosive device on an armored vehicle, causing the death of seven soldiers. 19-year-old Oron Shaul from Poria is believed to have been killed in the attack, but his remains have not yet been identified. Hamas claimed on Sunday to have kidnapped Shaul, but Israeli officials say they may have simply retrieved some identifying items from the scene after the attack.
In the second attack, terrorists opened fire at two IDF soldiers in the northern Gaza Strip, killing one. Later, IDF soldiers were attacked by a terrorist squad in northern Gaza, leading to the death of two soldiers. Lastly, three IDF soldiers lost their lives when they became trapped in a burning building.
Israel agrees to humanitarian window
Israel agreed to the Red Cross request for a humanitarian window in Sejaiya and will hold fire there from 13:30-15:30. Since July 8, Hamas has fired over 140 rockets at Israel from Sejaiya, and 10 tunnel openings have been uncovered.
IDF: Although we agreed to the Red Cross' request to extend the a ceasefire in Sejaiya until 17:30, Hamas has not stopped shooting from Sejaiya and opened fire from near Wafa Hospital.
Israel opened a field hospital on the Israeli side of the Erez Crossing for Palestinians in Gaza.
July 19: Terror infiltration from central Gaza
Two IDF soldiers were killed when Hamas terrorists infiltrated Israeli territory through a tunnel from the central Gaza Strip and ambushed a military vehicle patrolling on the Israeli side of the border.
Items found after the attack, including handcuffs and bottles containing sedatives, indicate that Hamas planned to kill and kidnap soldiers and/or civilians and take them back to Gaza.
The IDF has uncovered 13 tunnels and over 30 tunnel entrances.
July 17: Terror tunnel
Early Thursday morning (July 17), just a few hours before the start of a humanitarian ceasefire, IDF forces thwarted an attack by Hamas terrorists who attempted to infiltrate Israel via a terror tunnel, preventing the terrorists from attacking an Israeli kibbutz.
Following requests by representatives of the UN and other international organizations on Wednesday evening (July 16, 2014), the IDF has declared a "humanitarian window" in Gaza on Thursday, 17 July between 10:00-15:00. The purpose of the humanitarian window is to allow the civilian population in Gaza to get needed supplies such as food and medications. During this time the IDF will not initiate military actions in Gaza, but will respond in case Israel is attacked.
Gazan terrorists violated the truce by firing three mortars at Israel. An IDF soldier was lightly injured by an explosion during operational activity near southern Gaza. One minute after 3pm, rocket fire from Gaza resumed against Israeli civilian areas. The IDF subsequently resumed attacks on terror targets in Gaza.
July 15: Egyptian ceasefire
Israel accepted an earlier Egyptian proposal for a ceasefire to begin on Tuesday morning, 15 July 2014, at 09:00. This proposal was rejected by Hamas.
IDF Spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner: “In according with the government directives, the IDF now holds fire. We remain alert and preserve high preparedness levels, both defensive and offensive. If the Hamas terror organization will fire at Israel, we shall respond.”
- PM Netanyahu: "If Hamas rejects the Egyptian proposal, and the rocket fire from Gaza does not cease, and that appears to be the case now, we are prepared to continue and intensify our operation to protect our people. For this we have kept full support from the responsible members of the international community."
Five hours later, following the continuation of rocket fire from Gaza, PM Netanyahu said: "Hamas's rejection of the cease fire gives Israel full legitimacy to expand the operation to protect our people."
At 3pm the IDF Spokesperson announced: “After six hours of unilateral attacks by Hamas, the IDF has resumed operational activity in the Gaza Strip. Since 9am Tuesday, about 50 rockets were fired at Israel.” The IDF struck at Hamas tunnels, 20 concealed rocket launchers, weapons storage facilities and other operational infrastructure.
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Daily distribution of rocket fire from the Gaza Strip during Operation Protective Edge