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LIVE BLOG: Biden welcomes ceasefire, calls for investigation of civilian casualties

By JERUSALEM POST STAFF A picture shows rockets being fired by Islamic Jihad toward Israel from the Gaza Strip, on August 6, 2022
AUGUST 7, 2022 10:23
Gantz approves draft of over 25,000 reservists after IDF strikes in Gaza Israel takes initiative and launches widescale attack on northern Gaza in Operation Breaking Dawn. Iron Dome batteries deployed throughout Israel.
IDF forces strike Palestinian Islamic Jihad targets in Gaza, August 6, 2022 (Credit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)

The IDF launched Operation Breaking Dawn against Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip on Friday evening, striking multiple targets belonging to the group and killed close to a dozen terrorist operatives including the head of the group in the northern part of the enclave. By late Friday night, over 100 rockets had been fired into Israel from the Gaza Strip. 

Defense Minister Benny Gantz approved a draft call up order of up to 25,000 soldiers in reserve duty for operational purposes and the IDF began calling up reservists in the Southern Command, Air Defense Units, the Homefront Command and combat troops and officers.

"The goal of this operation is the elimination of a concrete threat against the citizens of Israel and the civilians living adjacent to the Gaza Strip," Prime Minister Yair Lapid said in a statement.

Dozens of targets across the Gaza Strip were hit, with casualties including the head of the group’s northern command Tayseer al-Jabari.

Jabari replaced Baha abu al-Ata who was killed in an IAF strike in 2019. Jabari, who was also responsible for coordination between the group and Hamas, was killed at 4.16 PM in his apartment in Shuja'iyya. According to the IDF, he commanded over the launching of hundreds of rockets during Operation Guardian of the Walls last year, including anti-tank-guided missile attacks.

 The apartment in Gaza, which Israel struck on August 5 to kill a top Islamic Jihad operative as part of Operation Breaking Dawn. (credit: MAHMUD HAMS/AFP via Getty Images)

The IDF said that it had received a specific warning that Jabari was planning an attack against Israeli targets before the arrest of another Islamic Jihad terror leader - Bassem Saadi - earlier in the week in a raid in the West Bank.

In addition, IAF jets and drones targeted two cells that were on the way to carry out anti-tank missile attacks, killing at least 12 Islamic Jihad operatives. Military bases and buildings used by operatives were also targeted. 

IDF warplanes have attacked a site in the Gaza Strip which manufactured materials used in the production of rockets as well as striking many Islamic Jihad sites manufacturing weapons, launching positions and military sites.

The Islamic Jihad said it fired at IDF aircraft. None were reported hit.

A rocket that was sent from Gaza landed in an open area near Sderot that is under construction. There was light damage that was caused and no injuries were reported.

IDF fighter jets attacked another production site used by the Islamic Jihad for the production of rockets as well as the production of mortar bombs. The IDF continues to attack terror sites of the Islamic Jihad throughout the Gaza Strip.

According to reports in Gaza, several civilians were killed including a 5-year-old girl and at least 55 more were injured.

"The enemy has begun a war against our people and against us and we will defend ourselves and our people," Islamic Jihad said in a statement.

The group’s leader Ziad Nahalka, who is based in Damascus, said that "the enemy should expect fighting. Our military wing will stand abreast of all other resistance factions in our struggle against Israeli aggression. This campaign is no holds barred and Tel Aviv will also taste the wrath of the rockets of the resistance."

A senior IDF officer said that the military was targeting Islamic Jihad and was trying to avoid civilian casualties and damage, but that the IDF was ready for the situation to escalate and stressed that Israeli civilians must adhere all instructions from the Home Front Command. 

“We couldn't allow Islamic Jihad to carry out an attack, it backfired on them,” he said, adding that “there will be [rocket] barrages, there may also be casualties, all this is clear and this should also be told to the public.”

IDF forces strike Palestinian Islamic Jihad targets in Gaza, August 5, 2022 (Credit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)

Following the targeted killings, which were carried out by jets and armed drones, the IDF warned that the group would likely respond with rocket fire toward the Israeli home front. The military has therefore placed Iron Dome batteries in the area of Jerusalem, Beersheba and others in order to intercept any projectile fired by the group.

“No one will be surprised if there are rocket barrages,” the senior officer said. “We are in an operation that won't take several hours, rather it will take time. We have not said our last word, we have more to do.”

The IDF said it hopes Hamas will stay out of the fighting, and that the terror group ruling the Strip is currently sitting on the fence over whether to join in any fighting that may break out.

Earlier on Friday afternoon, it allowed fuel into Gaza to prevent a total shutdown of the sole power plant in the Strip, which already operates on a limited capacity. Without the plant, Gaza would be dependent on external power largely from Israel which provides 120 megawatts daily.

Residents of the Gaza envelope were asked to remain indoors and all large gatherings were canceled. The National Emergency Authority in the Defense Ministry said that it has activated a plan dubbed “civilian safe distance” which allows any regional authority to help residents of the area evacuate their homes to accommodation facilities, should any wish to do so.

The IDF has also declared a “special situation” in the home front up to 80km from the Gaza Strip, including Tel Aviv, that there could be a risk of rocket fire. Major cities in central and southern Israel opened up their bomb shelters, including Tel Aviv, Beersheba and Rishon Lezion.

Residents of the Gaza envelope were asked to remain close to shelters should there be any rocket fire. The IDF has also declared a “special situation” for the home front up to 80km from the Gaza Strip, including Tel Aviv, that there could be a risk of rocket fire. 

“The IDF continues to operate against the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist organization with the aim of restoring security to the civilians in the State of Israel,” the IDF said in a statement.

 This picture taken on August 5, 2022 shows Israeli Iron Dome defense missile system batteries, near the city of Ashdod. (credit: (AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES))

Earlier in the day Lapid said that Israel 'won't allow terrorist organizations to set the agenda in the Gaza Strip and threaten the citizens of the State of Israel. Anyone who wants to harm Israel must know that we will get to them. Security forces will act against the Islamic Jihad terrorists to remove the threat from the citizens of Israel."

Gantz said that the goal is to protect Israeli communities and citizens. "We will not allow anyone to threaten or harm the citizens of Israel. Whoever tries - will be hurt."

Lapid, alternate PM Naftali Bennett and Gantz held a security assessment at the Kirya in Tel Aviv at 6:30.

Gantz's warning

Earlier in the day, Gantz warned that the threat posed by the group would be dealt with during a visit to the IDF’s Southern Command.

“To our enemies, and specifically to the leadership of Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, I would like to emphasize: your time is up. The threat [on this region] will be removed one way or another,” the defense minister said.

During his visit, he held a situational assessment with IDF Chief of Staff Kohavi, head of the southern Command Maj.-Gen. Eliezer Toledano, Commander of the Gaza Division Brig.-Gen. Nimrod Aloni and the head of the Shin Bet Ronen Bar. 

“The situation in which several terrorists (some of which are not even located in this area), hold the Gazan people hostage - will backfire,” Gantz warned.

Israel closed the Erez crossing on Tuesday, blocking 14,000 Gazans who have permits to enter Israel to work.

“Those who harm the ability of 14,000 workers to make a living, who cause produce to sit and spoil at crossing points, and who lead to electricity and food shortages - hurt the people of Gaza first and foremost, and will have to take responsibility [for this suffering],”he said. 

Islamic Jihad leader visited Iran

Nahalka was in Tehran on Thursday and met with Iran’s President Ibrahim Raisi. Tehran funds and equips the Gaza-based terror group.

Gantz said that security forces are preparing for all scenarios, on all fronts including in the north and the center of the country and that the IDF will continue its operational activity in all sectors as needed.

“We do not seek conflict, yet we will not hesitate to defend our citizens, if required,” he said, adding that “the State of Israel and the IDF will continue its operations, knowing the responsibility we bear on our shoulders - to defend the communities and citizens of Israel’s south. And to defend the citizens of the entire State of Israel.”

During his visit to the south, Gantz also met with the heads of regional authorities, several of whom have criticized the restrictions imposed on the area by the IDF.

Stating that the resilience of the residents of the Gaza envelope have shown throughout the years “deserves our appreciation,” Gantz said that the defense establishment’s mission is to ensure that the tension ends and life returns to normal.

“I say to the residents of the area - we stand with you and we will take all the measures required in order to defend you, in a manner that is both decisive and responsible, and that meets the operational considerations set to bring about the desired results,” the defense minister said.

Road restrictions in southern Israel remained in place for the fourth day over concerns of an attack by Islamic Jihad after Israeli security forces arrested Bassem Saadi, a senior leader of the group in the West Bank overnight on Monday.

The IDF closed roads near the Strip on Tuesday and on Wednesday, it called up 100 reservists to bolster the Gaza Division to assist in securing the area and keep civilians out of areas that could be targeted by PIJ. The IDF also suspended leave in some of the combat units and has placed its Iron Dome missile defense batteries on alert for any rocket fire.

Troops in the Southern Command and Gaza Division have been ordered to thwart any hostile activity if identified, such as an Islamic Jihad cell readying to fire rockets, mortars or anti-tank missiles. Armed drones flown by the Israel Air Force have also been prepared to strike armed cells.

The terrorist group has in the past fired anti-tank guided missiles toward Israeli vehicles, both civilian and military.

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AUGUST 8, 2022 12:14
‘Israel did not agree to releasing Islamic Jihad prisoners in ceasefire’ Israel did not agree to release the Palestinian Islamic Jihad senior member Bassam al-Saadi as part of the ceasefire talks to end Operation Breaking Dawn. A picture taken on August 5, 2022, shows Palestinian rockets fired from Gaza City in retaliation to earlier Israeli airstrikes.

Israel did not agree to release Palestinian Islamic Jihad prisoners as part of ceasefire talks to end Operation Breaking Dawn, a senior Israeli diplomatic source said on Sunday, hours after the hostilities ended.

Before the ceasefire went into effect at 11:30 p.m. Sunday, Islamic Jihad announced that Israel would release one of the terrorist group’s senior members Bassam al-Saadi, who was arrested last week, as soon as possible, as well as administrative detainee Khalil Awawda, to transfer him for medical treatment. Egyptian state media also said that Cairo would work to that end.

“Israel did not agree to release any of the prisoners,” the senior source said. “The Egyptians asked, and we will allow a dialogue on the situation of the prisoners,” meaning how they are faring from a humanitarian perspective.

The senior Israeli source said that Israel has a "diplomatic opportunity" following Operation Breaking Dawn and that Israel wants to leverage recent messages from Hamas about Israeli captives.

Hamas has been holding Israelis Hisham al-Sayed and Abera Mengistu in captivity, as well as the bodies of soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul. In recent weeks, Hamas released a video clip it says shows al-Sayed in poor health.

 POLICE INSPECT a vehicle that was damaged following a rocket attack from Gaza, in Ashkelon on Saturday. (credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)

"We want to take this forward and not just be satisfied with a quiet Islamic Jihad," he said. "The captives are a high priority for Prime Minister [Yair] Lapid. We are acting to exhaust every opportunity to deal with this humanitarian matter."

“Israel did not agree to release any of the prisoners.”

Senior Israeli diplomatic source

Gaza remains delicate, the source said, with 2 million residents with a "complex economic situation" that could boil over at any time.

Israeli actions in the past year to improve the economic situation, such as allowing more Palestinian workers from Gaza into Israel, contributed to stability and to Hamas staying out of the latest round of fighting, according to the source.

Looking at the outset of the Gaza operation, which began on Friday, the source in Jerusalem said that “we did not enter it by choice.”

IDF commanders in Gaza and in Judea and Samaria identified an escalation in Islamic Jihad activities two weeks ago.

“When we made the arrest [of al-Saadi] in Judea and Samaria, we did not know that it would be the toothpick that would ignite a fire,” the source admitted.

The ceasefire

Lapid and Defense Minister Benny Gantz first sought ways to deescalate, the source said, and as such, were in contact with Egypt, which in turn talked to Hamas, to lower the level of tensions. In that way, ceasefire talks started before Operation Breaking Dawn even began, and continued throughout.

Though Israel did not want to enter into an operation in Gaza, “we couldn’t keep the envelope in [a lockdown] situation, but we couldn’t ignore Islamic Jihad’s intention to shoot.”

Israel was intent on keeping the operation focused on Islamic Jihad, without drawing Hamas into it, and therefore only sought to start it when there was an “operational opportunity” or the chance to stop a terrorist attack – which turned out to be when Israel killed top Islamic Jihad commander Tayseer al-Jabari on Friday.

Jerusalem thought it was highly likely that Hamas would not want to join the fighting, but still prepared for that possibility, noting that the terrorist group controlling Gaza did not exercise its authority and control to stop Islamic Jihad from attacking, the source said.

Lapid emphasized the importance of constant communication with parties abroad, whether Egypt and Qatar who were involved in ceasefire talks or the international community more broadly, especially the US, the senior diplomatic source said. Israel communicated to all parties that it is seeking to have as narrow an operation as possible.

US President Joe Biden's statement on the end of the fighting shows the level of support from Washington, the source said.

Biden welcomed the ceasefire on Sunday night, and said his "support for Israel’s security is long-standing and unwavering—including its right to defend itself against attacks.  Over these recent days, Israel has defended its people from indiscriminate rocket attacks launched by the terrorist group Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the United States is proud of our support for Israel’s Iron-Dome, which intercepted hundreds of rockets and saved countless lives."

The US president also "commended Prime Minister Yair Lapid and his government’s steady leadership throughout the crisis."

Egypt began negotiating intensively for a ceasefire on Saturday and was the dominant party in those talks. Jordan played a key role in ensuring there was no violence on the Temple Mount on Sunday, on which Jews marked Tisha B’Av, mourning the destruction of the two Temples at that site.

Israel considered a humanitarian ceasefire on Saturday night, to take place Sunday morning, the source said, which would allow diesel fuel into Gaza so there would be more hours of electricity for its residents. However, when Islamic Jihad shot a rocket toward Jerusalem the following day, Israel said it would have to be a full ceasefire or nothing.

Israel expected a full ceasefire on Sunday afternoon already, but Islamic Jihad continued making demands.

Within Israel, the source said that Lapid, Gantz and other relevant arms of government were very synchronized, allowing for smoother work. Alternate Prime Minister Naftali Bennett took part in a number of key meetings during the operation.

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AUGUST 8, 2022 12:13
Islamic Jihad rockets killed more civilians in Gaza than IDF airstrikes did An IDF briefing about Operation Breaking Dawn revealed that one in five Islamic Jihad rockets fell in Gaza. Smoke trails are seen after a rocket launched from the Gaza Strip hit an open field near Sderot on August 7, 2022.

More innocent people in Gaza were killed by failed Islamic Jihad rockets than by Israeli airstrikes during Operation Breaking Dawn, according to a briefing by the commander of the IDF Spokesperson's Unit Brig.-Gen. Ran Kochav.

Operation Breaking Dawn lasted for 66 hours in which the IDF struck 170 targets, killing several high-ranking Islamic Jihad operatives and destroying much of the terrorist organization's military capabilities, terrorist attack tunnels and weapon storage facilities. For its final action of the operation on Sunday night, the IDF destroyed three warehouses that were used to store a variety of weapons.

According to the briefing, Sunday night was quiet after the ceasefire came into effect at 11:30 p.m. except for a few rockets fired by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad eight minutes later.

Israelis return to routine

Following the ceasefire, the Home Front Command announced that it would be gradually lifting the security restrictions posed on Israelis living close to Gaza as Israel returns to normal.

Israel Police dealing with the remnants of a rocket in the Negev during Operation Breaking Dawn .  (credit: ISRAEL POLICE SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)

In the first stage, the roads in the Gaza envelope were all opened, and the trains to Sderot and Ashkelon were scheduled to go back to work at noon. The Home Front said that it would look into lifting further restrictions throughout the day while closely monitoring the situation.

The checkpoints between Gaza and Israel were scheduled to open at 9 a.m. for humanitarian purposes only, and the IDF said that more people would be allowed through if the situation remained quiet.

Throughout the operation, the Islamic Jihad fired an approximate total of 1,100 rockets, 200 of which landed within Gaza. Of the 990 rockets that made it into Israel, 380  were intercepted by the Iron Dome at a 95% success rate. The other 610 landed in the sea and open spaces. 

Apart from a few people who were lightly injured from debris on Saturday, no Israeli casualties were reported. The Palestinians, however, reported a total of 35 deaths out of which 26 were innocent bystanders. Of the 26, 11 were killed in Israeli airstrikes, and 15 were killed by Islamic Jihad rockets that failed to clear Gaza.

According to the briefing, no civilian infrastructure in Gaza was harmed in the operation by Israeli forces.

Operation Breaking Dawn

Operation Breaking Dawn began on Friday afternoon after the IDF killed top Islamic Jihad operative Tayseer al-Jabri.

Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Defense Minister Benny Gantz later revealed that the strike on al-Jabri began the operation because the Islamic Jihad was planning a large terrorist attack in Israel.

Following the airstrikes that killed al-Jabri and destroyed Islamic Jihad infrastructure, the terrorist organization began launching rockets toward Israel at 9 p.m. on Friday.

Islamic Jihad rocket fire and IDF airstrikes continued throughout Saturday and Sunday, and a ceasefire came into effect on Sunday night.

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AUGUST 8, 2022 04:08
Biden welcomes ceasefire, calls for investigation into civilian casualties US President Joe Biden speaks during a news conference with Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid (not seen) at Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Jerusalem, Israel July 14, 2022

US President Joe Biden welcomed the ceasefire reached between Israel and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement on Sunday night and called for an investigation into civilian casualties reported amid Operation Breaking Dawn.

"Over these last 72-hours, the United States has worked with officials from Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Egypt, Qatar, Jordan, and others throughout the region to encourage a swift resolution to the conflict," said Biden in a statement.

"My support for Israel’s security is long-standing and unwavering—including its right to defend itself against attacks," stressed the president. "Over these recent days, Israel has defended its people from indiscriminate rocket attacks launched by the terrorist group Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the United States is proud of our support for Israel’s Iron-Dome, which intercepted hundreds of rockets and saved countless lives."

Biden commended Prime Minister Yair Lapid and his government for their leadership amid the operation.

The US president emphasized that civilian casualties in Gaza are "a tragedy," whether they were caused by Israeli strikes or Islamic Jihad rockets that fell within the Strip. "My Administration supports a timely and thorough investigation into all of these reports, and we also call on all parties to fully implement the ceasefire, and to ensure fuel and humanitarian supplies are flowing into Gaza as the fighting subsides."

"As I made clear during my recent trip to Israel and the West Bank, Israelis and Palestinians both deserve to live safely and securely and to enjoy equal measures of freedom, prosperity, and democracy," added Biden. "My Administration will remain engaged with Israeli and Palestinian leaders to support that vision and to implement the initiatives launched during my visit to improve the quality of life for Palestinians and Israelis alike."

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AUGUST 8, 2022 02:16
Islamic Jihad head: If Israel breaks agreement, we will resume fighting The movement's head said there was unity between all the Palestinian factions despite the fact that Hamas was not taking part in the current conflict. Palestinian Islamic Jihad Secretary-General Ziyad al-Nakhala in Tehran, August 2022

Palestinian Islamic Jihad Secretary-General Ziyad al-Nakhala warned that his terrorist movement would resume fighting with Israel if its demands for the release of Islamic Jihad prisoners were not met, during a speech delivered as a ceasefire took effect between Israel and Islamic Jihad on Sunday night.

The movement's leader claimed that Israel had agreed to release Islamic Jihad official Bassam al-Saadi and hunger-striking prisoner Khalil al-Awawda in return for the ceasefire agreement. He additionally claimed that Israel was the one who “strongly sought to reach a ceasefire.”

Saadi, a senior official of Islamic Jihad in the West Bank, was arrested on Monday by Israeli forces in Jenin. Shortly after, movement restrictions were issued for towns in the south due to concerns that the terrorist movement would attempt to carry out an attack in response.

“If the enemy does not abide by what we agreed on through the Egyptian mediator, we will resume fighting again, and God will do with us what He wills,” warned Nakhala.

The ceasefire took effect at 11:30 p.m. on Sunday evening. Just minutes after it entered effect, rockets were fired in two waves from the Gaza Strip towards southern Israel. No faction took responsibility for the rocket fire.

 Palestinian Islamic Jihad militants take part in a rally to celebrate the shooting attacks in Israel, in Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip April 8, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA)

Nakhala, who was in Tehran when Operation Breaking Dawn broke out, thanked Iran for its support of the movement and the Palestinian people.

Nakhala claims unity despite Hamas sitting out of conflict

The movement's leader called the operation a “victory” on Islamic Jihad's part, claiming that there was unity between all the Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip despite the Hamas movement not taking part in the conflict.

“Hamas did not interfere in the battle, but it is the backbone of the incubator of the resistance, and we will preserve our unity,” said Nakhala.

Abu Hamza, the spokesman for Islamic Jihad's military branch, the Al-Quds Brigades, spoke after the ceasefire took effect, stating that the brigades will continue to “not know a way to ceasefire” and that the “battle is open.”

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AUGUST 7, 2022 23:40
Rockets fired from Gaza, breaking ceasefire after 8 minutes A salvo of rockets is fired from Gaza City toward Israel, on August 6, 2022.

Rockets were fired towards Israeli communities near the Gaza border on Sunday evening, breaking a ceasefire reached between Israel and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad just eight minutes after it took effect.

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AUGUST 7, 2022 23:16
Operation Breaking Dawn to end with Israel-Islamic Jihad ceasefire at 11:30 p.m. Lapid says the operation will continue as long as necessary • Shin Bet says Israel met most of its objectives for Breaking Dawn Rockets are fired toward Israel from Rafah, in the Gaza Strip, on August 7, 2022.

Israel and Palestinian Islamic Jihad agreed to a ceasefire set to take effect at 11:30 p.m. Sunday, ending Operation Breaking Dawn after three days. 

"If the ceasefire will be violated, the State of Israel reserves the right to respond forcefully," National Public Diplomacy Directorate head Lior Haiat said. "We will not let any factor violate the routine life of the residents of the State of Israel."

Israel thanks Egypt for mediating, Haiat said. 

Palestinian Islamic Jihad said earlier: “We welcome the Egyptian efforts, and we affirm our right to respond to any Israeli aggression."

The Gazan terrorist organization launched a barrage of rockets at southern Israel in the half hour before the ceasefire took effect. 

 Palestinians gather at the scene where senior commander of Islamic Jihad militant group Khaled Mansour was killed in Israeli strikes, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, August 7, 2022.  (credit: IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA/REUTERS)

An Egyptian official source also said Cairo would work to release senior Islamic Jihad member Bassam al-Saadi, who was arrested last week, as soon as possible, and commit to working to release administrative detainee Khalil Awawda and transfer him for medical treatment, according to Egypt's official news agency. 

An Israeli diplomatic source said that the only conditions to which Jerusalem would agree, one source said, was for both sides to stop shooting.

The ceasefire would mean the same situation as on August 1, except that some senior Islamic Jihad terrorists are dead or arrested, the source said. 

Officials from Islamic Jihad also demanded that Israel halt its security crackdown on the organization’s members, especially in the northern West Bank.

Earlier, Hamas leaders were reported to have exerted pressure on Islamic to agree to a truce that would end the current round of fighting with Israel.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said that “around the clock” efforts were being made to “protect our people and stop the [Israeli] aggression.”

Haniyeh contacted Egyptian, Qatari and UN mediators as part of the efforts to achieve a ceasefire.

He also phoned Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Michail Bogdanov and discussed with him the latest developments in the Gaza Strip and the need for an immediate cessation of the Israeli military strikes, according to a statement by Hamas.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said on Saturday that his country was working to end the latest violence between Israel and Gaza.

Sisi said his country “made contacts with everyone around the clock in order for things to not get out of control and for fighting not to take place.”

"[Egypt has] made contacts with everyone around the clock in order for things to not get out of control and for fighting not to take place."

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi

In addition, an Egyptian intelligence delegation headed by Major General Ahmed Abdelkhaliq arrived in Israel on Saturday.

Senior Islamic Jihad official Mohammed al-Hindi confirmed that Egyptian mediators had contacted his organization to discuss ways of ending the fighting.

Abu Hamza, spokesperson for Islamic Jihad’s Al-Quds Brigades, said on the third day of the fighting that his group has still not used all its rocket capabilities.

He said that Islamic Jihad was still capable of inflicting pain on Israel. He also called on all Palestinians in the West Bank and the Arab Israelis to join the fight against Israel by launching a “massive uprising” to drive the “enemy from all of Palestine.”

Prime Minister Yair Lapid said earlier Sunday that “this operation will continue as long as necessary.”

“The IDF continues to strike terrorist targets and operatives, and to thwart rocket-launching squads. We are acting in a precise and responsible way to minimize harm to civilians."

Prime Minister Yair Lapid

He commended the IDF and Shin Bet for the strike on senior Islamic Jihad terrorist Khaled Mansour, calling it “an extraordinary achievement.”

“The IDF continues to strike terrorist targets and operatives, and to thwart rocket-launching squads,” Lapid said. “We are acting in a precise and responsible way to minimize harm to civilians.”

Cabinet ministers were sent talking points from the Prime Ministers Office that “Israel does not want a broader campaign in Gaza, but is prepared for any developments. This [operation] may go on for several days.”

Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) chief Ronen Bar told Security Cabinet ministers overnight Saturday that Israel met most of the objectives it set at the outset of the operation in Gaza on Friday afternoon. Prior to the Israeli airstrikes, residents of Israeli towns near Gaza were in lockdown for three days amid threats of an escalation by Islamic Jihad.

Among the topics in the Security Cabinet briefing was Israel’s hope to avoid Islamic Jihad drawing Hamas into the fight, which is among the reasons that Israel’s targets for the operation have been very narrow.

Ukrainian Ambassador to Israel Yevgen Korniychuk relayed his support for Israel, saying that "as a Ukrainian whose country is under a very brutal attack by its neighbor, I feel great sympathy towards the Israeli public.

"Attacks on women and children are reprehensible," Korniychuk added. "Terrorism and malicious attacks against civilians are the daily reality of Israelis and Ukrainians and this appalling threat must be stopped immediately."

Ukraine's statement came in contrast to an earlier one from Russia saying that Israel provoked the violence in Gaza and expressing "deep concern" about the humanitarian situation in Gaza.

German Ambassador to Israel Steffen Seibert said his country "strongly condemns the PIJ's attacks and calls for them to stop. Israel, like any other state has the right to self-defense."

EU Ambassador to Israel Dimiter Tzantchev tweeted that he is "deeply concerned over the continuing escalation in and around Gaza [and] hoping for a speedy and comprehensive ceasefire. The EU regrets all loss of life of uninvolved civilians, especially children. We unequivocally condemn the indiscriminate rocket fire by the PIJ terrorist group."

Despite a recent rapprochement between Israel and Turkey, Anakara released two statements in as many days condemning "airstrikes carried out by Israel on Gaza" and calling for an end to hostilities.

"It is unacceptable that civilians, including children, have lost their lives during the attack," the Turkish Foreign Ministry said on Saturday.

On Sunday, Turkey repeated the condemnation, adding a statement against Israeli visits to the Temple Mount.

"Israeli parliamentarian Itamar Ben-Gvir and fanatical Jewish groups raided [the] Al-Aksa Mosque under the protection of Israeli police," Ankara stated. "These provocative acts that constitute a clear violation of the status quo in Al-Haram Al-Sharif and the Al-Aksa Mosque will further escalate tensions in the region."

Hungarian Minister of State for Security Policy Péter Sztáray "condemn[ed] the terrorist attacks against Israel, values Israel's efforts in the fight against terrorism highly and calls for a meeting of the EU-Israel Association Council as soon as possible."

The Austrian Foreign Ministry tweeted: "We utterly condemn the firing of rockets against Israel and the indiscriminate targeting of civilians. We fully stand by Israel‘s right to self-defense and are concerned about a further escalation, leading to the loss of any civilian lives."

The Palestinian Authority, for its part, said that PA President Mahmoud Abbas was pursuing his efforts with regional and international parties to “stop the Israeli escalation targeting the Palestinian people and their Islamic and Christian holy sites.

PA Presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudaineh called on the UN Security Council to “assume its responsibilities to end the aggression.” He urged the US administration and the international community to intervene to stop the fighting “before it’s too late.”

PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said during a press conference in Ramallah that Abbas has instructed the Palestinian envoy to the UN to request a special session of the Security Council to stop the Israeli military offensive in the Gaza Strip.

Shtayyeh called on the Security Council to issue a resolution calling for providing protection for the Palestinian people. “We want more than a condemnation from the council,” he said. “This is the third day of the Israeli aggression on our people in the Gaza Strip, which has resulted in the martyrdom of 31 people and hundreds of injuries, as well as a lot of destruction.”

Shtayyeh criticized visits by Jews to the Temple Mount and Israeli military “incursions” into Jenin Refugee Camp and said that these “crimes will be added to the files submitted to the International Criminal Court.”

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AUGUST 7, 2022 22:21
IDF warns of deadly barrage before 11:30 p.m. ceasefire

The IDF warned citizens that Palestinian Islamic Jihad may launch a deadly final barrage before the 11:30 p.m. ceasefire comes into effect on Sunday. 

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AUGUST 7, 2022 21:57
Ceasefire expected overnight as Islamic Jihad ups demands Lapid says the operation will continue as long as necessary • Shin Bet says Israel met most of its objectives for Breaking Dawn Prime Minister Yair Lapid holds a situational assessment during Operation Breaking Dawn, August 6, 2022

A ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian Islamic Jihad did not go into effect at 8 p.m. as expected, with the Gazan terrorist group making new demands after hours of Egypt-mediated negotiations on Sunday, the third day of Operation Breaking Dawn.

Israeli diplomatic sources said a ceasefire was likely to be reached overnight, though that remained uncertain. Arab news outlets continued to report that an agreement was imminent.

Islamic Jihad continued to shoot rockets at Tel Aviv in the evening, while demanding that any ceasefire include an Israeli commitment to release members of the organization who were recently arrested by the IDF in the West Bank, including its senior representative Bassam al-Saadi, sources in the Gaza Strip said.

Officials from the terrorist group also demanded that Israel halt its security crackdown on the organization's members, especially in the northern West Bank. 

Israeli diplomatic sources confirmed ceasefire talks were underway but said the only conditions to which Jerusalem would agree was for both sides to stop shooting.

As one Israeli source put it, the ceasefire would mean the same situation as on August 1, except that some senior Islamic Jihad terrorists are dead or arrested.

 Palestinians gather at the scene where senior commander of Islamic Jihad militant group Khaled Mansour was killed in Israeli strikes, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, August 7, 2022.  (credit: IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA/REUTERS)

Earlier, Hamas leaders were reported to have exerted pressure on Islamic Jihad to agree to a truce that would end the current round of fighting with Israel.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said that “around the clock” efforts were being made to “protect our people and stop the [Israeli] aggression.”

Haniyeh contacted Egyptian, Qatari and UN mediators as part of the efforts to achieve a ceasefire.

He also phoned Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Michail Bogdanov and discussed with him the latest developments in the Gaza Strip and the need for an immediate cessation of the Israeli military strikes, according to a statement by Hamas.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said on Saturday that his country was working to end the latest violence between Israel and Gaza.

Sisi said his country "made contacts with everyone around the clock in order for things to not get out of control and for fighting not to take place."

"made contacts with everyone around the clock in order for things to not get out of control and for fighting not to take place."

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi

In addition, an Egyptian intelligence delegation headed by Major General Ahmed Abdelkhaliq arrived in Israel on Saturday.

Senior Islamic Jihad official Mohammed al-Hindi confirmed that Egyptian mediators had contacted his organization to discuss ways of ending the fighting.

Abu Hamza, a spokesperson for Islamic Jihad’s Al-Quds Brigades, said on the third day of the fighting that his group has still not used all its rocket capabilities.

He said that Islamic Jihad was still capable of inflicting pain on Israel. He also called on all Palestinians in the West Bank and the Arab Israelis to join the fight against Israel by launching a “massive uprising” to drive the “enemy from all of Palestine.”

Prime Minister Yair Lapid said earlier Sunday that “this operation will continue as long as necessary.”

He commended the IDF and Shin Bet for the strike on senior Islamic Jihad terrorist Khaled Mansour, calling it “an extraordinary achievement.”

“The IDF continues to strike terrorist targets and operatives, and to thwart rocket-launching squads,” Lapid said. “We are acting in a precise and responsible way to minimize harm to civilians.”

“The IDF continues to strike terrorist targets and operatives, and to thwart rocket-launching squads. We are acting in a precise and responsible way to minimize harm to civilians."

Prime Minister Yair Lapid

Cabinet ministers were sent talking points from the Prime Ministers' Office that “Israel does not want a broader campaign in Gaza, but is prepared for any developments. This [operation] may go on for several days.”

Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) chief Ronen Bar told Security Cabinet ministers overnight Saturday that Israel met most of the objectives it set at the outset of the operation in Gaza on Friday afternoon. Prior to the Israeli airstrikes, residents of Israeli towns near Gaza were in lockdown for three days amid threats of an escalation by Islamic Jihad.

Among the topics in the Security Cabinet briefing was Israel’s hope to avoid Islamic Jihad drawing Hamas into the fight, which is among the reasons that Israel’s targets for the operation have been very narrow.

The Palestinian Authority, for its part, said that PA President Mahmoud Abbas was pursuing his efforts with regional and international parties to “stop the Israeli escalation targeting the Palestinian people and their Islamic and Christian holy sites.

PA Presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudaineh called on the UN Security Council to “assume its responsibilities to end the aggression.” He urged the US administration and the international community to intervene to stop the fighting “before it’s too late.”

PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said during a press conference in Ramallah that Abbas has instructed the Palestinian envoy to the UN to request a special session of the Security Council to stop the Israeli military offensive in the Gaza Strip.

Shtayyeh called on the Security Council to issue a resolution calling for providing protection for the Palestinian people. “We want more than a condemnation from the council,” he said. “This is the third day of the Israeli aggression on our people in the Gaza Strip, which has resulted in the martyrdom of 31 people and hundreds of injuries, as well as a lot of destruction.”

Shtayyeh criticized visits by Jews to the Temple Mount and Israeli military “incursions” into Jenin Refugee Camp and said that these “crimes will be added to the files submitted to the International Criminal Court.”

Keeping everyone in the loop

Ukraine's statement came in contrast to an earlier one from Russia saying that Israel provoked the violence in Gaza and expressing "deep concern" about the humanitarian situation in Gaza.

German Ambassador to Israel Steffen Seibert said his country "strongly condemns the PIJ's attacks and calls for them to stop. Israel, like any other state has the right to self-defense."

EU Ambassador to Israel Dimiter Tzantchev tweeted that he is "deeply concerned over the continuing escalation in and around Gaza [and] hoping for a speedy and comprehensive ceasefire. The EU regrets all loss of life of uninvolved civilians, especially children. We unequivocally condemn the indiscriminate rocket fire by the PIJ terrorist group."

Despite a recent rapprochement between Israel and Turkey, Anakara released two statements in as many days condemning "airstrikes carried out by Israel on Gaza" and calling for an end to hostilities.

"It is unacceptable that civilians, including children, have lost their lives during the attack," the Turkish Foreign Ministry said on Saturday.

On Sunday, Turkey repeated the condemnation, adding a statement against Israeli visits to the Temple Mount.

"Israeli parliamentarian Itamar Ben-Gvir and fanatical Jewish groups raided [the] Al-Aksa Mosque under the protection of Israeli police," Ankara stated. "These provocative acts that constitute a clear violation of the status quo in Al-Haram Al-Sharif and the Al-Aksa Mosque will further escalate tensions in the region."

Hungarian Minister of State for Security Policy Péter Sztáray "condemn[ed] the terrorist attacks against Israel, values Israel's efforts in the fight against terrorism highly and calls for a meeting of the EU-Israel Association Council as soon as possible."

The Austrian Foreign Ministry tweeted: "We utterly condemn the firing of rockets against Israel and the indiscriminate targeting of civilians. We fully stand by Israel‘s right to self-defense and are concerned about a further escalation, leading to the loss of any civilian lives."

Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.

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AUGUST 7, 2022 21:57
Gaza power plant closes, Palestinians have 4 hours of electricity daily Gaza is chronically short of electricity and is never able to provide 24-hour service. A view shows Gaza's power plant through a barbed fence in the central Gaza Strip January 16, 2017

Gaza’s sole power plant shut down over the weekend for lack of fuel, leaving the 2.1 million Palestinians living there with only four hours of electricity daily.

“This will seriously impact economic and social rights, including the supply of clean water, hygiene and healthcare,” the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said.

Gaza is chronically short of electricity and is never able to provide 24-hour service. Prior to the IDF’s Operation Dawn against Palestinian Islamic Jihad targets, Gazans received from 11 to 15 hours of electricity a day.

Israel’s closure of the two main crossings into Gaza last Tuesday – at Kerem Shalom for commercial use and at Erez for pedestrians – has meant that fuel for the power plant or in any fact any supplies cannot enter the Strip.

The plant shut down on Saturday and is expected to remain closed until Israel allows fuel to enter the Strip.

A Palestinian woman stands by a fence during a protest calling for an end to the power crisis, outside the power plant in the central Gaza Strip April 23, 2017. (credit: REUTERS)

As a result “Gaza’s already insufficient electricity supply has been further reduced, now standing at less than 20% of actual demand,” said the Israeli NGO Gisha – the Legal Center for Freedom of Movement.

The absence of electricity makes it difficult for Gaza hospitals to operate particularly at a time when they are treating casualties from Israel’s aerial bombardments, Gisha said.

“Water and sewage treatment facilities across the Strip have already been impacted,” it added. 

"Gaza’s already insufficient electricity supply has been further reduced, now standing at less than 20% of actual demand."

Israeli NGO Gish — the Legal Center for Movement

Gaza dependent on external power

Gaza is now dependent on limited external power sent in from Israel. Egypt, which also borders Gaza is not currently supplying it with electricity.

Gisha along with the NGOs Adalah, Physicians for Human Rights and the Gaza-based Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, called on Sunday for the IDF to halt Operation Breaking Dawn and for Israel to open its crossings and to allow goods, including humanitarian supplies, to enter the Strip.

The NGOs wrote a letter to Defense Minister Benny Gantz, Attorney-General Gali Baharav-Miara and Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Maj.- Gen. Rassan Alian with that request, adding that at the very least medical patients should be able to leave, while fuel and other humanitarian necessities should be allowed to enter.

The NGOs charged that Israeli actions in Gaza “raise serious suspicion of flagrant violations of the laws of armed conflict that may amount to war crimes, and you are required to stop them immediately,” the letter stated.

On Sunday afternoon three mortar bombs fired from the Gaza Strip hit the Erez Crossing damaging the roof, the Defense Ministry said. “Shrapnel fell into the entrance hall, an area that is used to facilitate the daily passage of thousands of Gazans that work in Israel, the ministry said, adding that the crossing’s closure limited the impact of the mortars.

Egypt also operates a crossing into Gaza at Rafah, mainly used for pedestrian traffic. It has been closed for the last year.

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Important facts


  • The IDF launched Operation Breaking Dawn against Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip on Friday evening. 
  • So far, hundreds of rockets were fired toward Israeli communities from the Gaza Strip, including outside Jerusalem. 
  • Two of the main Islamic Jihad targets so far were Khaled Mansour and Tayseer al-Jabari.
  • A ceasefire entered into effect on Sunday night, although a number of rockets were fired shortly afterwards.