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Israeli strikes kill more Palestinians as Gaza conflict enters fourth day (LIVE BLOG)

The death toll is now more than 100.

Gaza conflict july 11 2014Enlarge
A ball of fire is seen following an Israeli air strike, on July 11, 2014 in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip. (SAID KHATIB/AFP/Getty Images)

GLOBALPOST LIVE BLOG: CRISIS IN GAZA

UPDATE: 7/11/14 4:00 PM ET

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This live blog is now closed.  

Here's a good resource to stay updated on the conflict — Foreign Policy Interrupted put together a list of female journalists on the ground who are covering the Gaza crisis as well as other Israel and Palestine experts. Check it out here

UPDATE: 7/11/14 3:02 PM ET

Israeli tanks seen approaching Gaza border

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel won't succumb to international calls to halt its Gaza offensive. Although there haven't been any reports of a ground invasion thus far, AFP/Getty photographers took these shots of Israeli Merkava tanks approaching the Israel-Gaza border today.

UPDATE: 7/11/14 2:17 PM ET

Why Israel's Iron Dome is a game changer

A few years ago, GlobalPost Senior Correspondent Noga Tarnopolsky wrote a piece on how Israel's anti-missile system — the Iron Dome — saved lives.

"Iron dome is an entirely defensive weapon that is saving many lives on both sides of this conflict," Gidi Rahat, an expert on electoral politics, told GlobalPost in 2012. "The Israeli lives are obvious — this would be an entirely different conflict if the shelters and Iron Dome weren't saving lives — but this is true also for the Palestinian side. If they succeeded in killing more people in Israel, public opinion would support or even clamor for a ground invasion, and you are absolutely not seeing that right now."

Read the full piece here.

UPDATE: 7/11/14 12:26 PM ET

'The aura of danger' still lingers in southern Israeli region hit by Gaza fire

GlobalPost Senior Correspondent Noga Tarnopolsky's report from Ashdod, a southern Israeli city which was struck by Gaza rocket fire earlier in the day:

Ashdod is pretty much a ghost town right now. Empty, wide boulevards dotted with pretty date trees lead to the Mediterranean. At Greg's coffee shop, there is one couple on what appears to be a first date, and a few TV crews. It appears Ashdodis are not as blase as Tel Avivis.

A tanker making a delivery to a gas station blew up in Ashdod this morning, and the hulking black carcass of it has attracted media attention from around the world, and a thin but constant stream of locals.

Destroyed vehicles litter the forecourt of a gas station hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip in the city of Ashdod in southern Israel on July 11,2014.

Luba and Yuri, a couple sauntering by, say "yeah, we're used to it," but can't turn their eyes from the wreckage. "It should stop. It's sad."

Avi, an electric company executive riding by on his bike says he wanted to see the damage — "but don't take my picture. My wife will kill me!"

The zone still holds the aura of danger.

Rony Yaakovian, 48, who lives across the street and heard the explosions from the safety of a bomb shelter, dropped by with his son, Priel, 14. He was about to light a cigarette when a man next to the charred tanker stops him. "I don't want any Arabs in Israel," he says, slowly. "I want them all out of here."

Vali Stadnikov, 26, a computer science student, scowls with disgust. "I want to live in peace and I want the Gazans to live in peace," he says. "They have extremist leadership, but all they want is just to live quietly, like everyone. Their leadership is hurting them and they just want to live with democracy and equality."

UPDATE: 7/11/14 11:43 AM ET

'No international pressure will prevent us from acting with all power,' Netanyahu says

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a press conference today, in which he stated Israel's intent to continue the military offensive in Gaza until rocket fire from Gaza stops, according to the Associated Press.

"No international pressure will prevent us from acting with all power," Netanyahu said.

UPDATE: 7/11/14 10:54 AM ET

The cost of war

The Jerusalem Post reports that Operation Protective Edge could cost Israel approximately $2.5 billion, according to a study done by Israeli financial newspaper Globes. From the piece:

"If we assume that the operation lasts 20 days, the loss in GDP will be 0.4 percent, amounting to about NIS 4 billion. If the operation lasts an additional 10 days, the loss in GDP during these extra days will be 0.1 percent of GDP, or about an additional NIS 1 billion,” the study said, noting that as time dragged on, the reduction in productivity would decrease.

UPDATE: 7/11/14 9:24 AM ET

Protests against Israel's offensive erupt all over the world

AFP/Getty photographers captured scenes of protests against Israel's strikes on Gaza in Pakistan, Turkey, Indonesia, France and other parts of the world these past few days.

 

Pakistani Shia Muslims shout anti-Israel slogans during a protest against Israeli military operations in Gaza, in Islamabad on July 11, 2014.


 

 

 

Turkish protesters wave Turkish flags as they protest against Israel's attack on Gaza outside the Israeli Embassy in Ankara on July 11, 2014.


 

 

 

Indonesian demonstrators, some splashed with red paint, stage a huge pro-Palestinian rally in Jakarta on July 11, 2014 condemning Israel's offensive in Gaza.


 

 

 

Almost 300 people congregate on July 10, 2014 in Bordeaux in France to denounce the Israeli military offensive in the Gaza strip.


 

 

 

People take part in a demonstration in support of Palestinians at Sant Jaume square, in Barcelona, Spain, on July 9, 2014. 

 

UPDATE: 7/11/14 9:03 AM ET

Israeli strikes on Palestinian homes could breach laws of war, UN warns

Agence France-Presse — Israel could be violating the laws of war by bombing Palestinian homes in Gaza, the UN's human rights office said Friday, as the death toll from the Israeli strikes rose to 100.

"We have received disturbing reports that many of the civilian casualties, including of children, occurred as a result of strikes on homes," said spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani.

"Such reports raise doubts about whether the Israeli air strikes have been in accordance with international humanitarian law and international human rights law," she told reporters.

International humanitarian law is UN-speak for the laws of war, and Shamdasani said targeting homes was a violation unless the buildings were being used for military purposes.

"In case of doubt, buildings that are ordinarily used for civilian purposes, such as homes, are presumed not to be legitimate military targets," she said. "Even when a home is identified as being used for military purposes, any attack must be proportionate, offer a definite military advantage in the prevailing circumstances at the time, and precautions must be taken to protect civilians," she added.

Israel has accused the Islamist movement Hamas and other Palestinian militants who have fired hundreds of rockets at its territory of deliberately placing military installations in densely-populated Gazain order to use civilians as human shields.

"Military assets should not be located in densely-populated areas and attacks should not be launched from such areas," said Shamdasani.

"This is a call to the armed groups on the Palestinian side," she added, condemning their attacks on Israeli civilian areas, which have injured less than a dozen people.

"On the Israeli side, however, their responsibility in international law is very specific. If there is even an iota of a doubt, homes are not legitimate military targets.

And if these homes are being used for military purposes, attacks must be proportionate, and precautions must be taken," said Shamdasani. "It is incumbent on both parties to ensure that their military operations respect the law, no matter what the obstacles and no matter what the difficulties."

UPDATE: 7/11/14 6:15 AM ET

Israeli strikes kill more Palestinians; rocket causes huge blaze in Israel

Reuters — Israeli air strikes on Gaza killed four more Palestinians before dawn on Friday, while a Palestinian rocket hit a fuel tanker at an Israeli petrol station causing a huge blaze.

 

Israeli fire fighters extinguish vehicles destroyed by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip that hit a gas station in the city of Ashdod in southern Israel on July 11,2014.

Israeli leaders, determined to end Palestinian rocket attacks deep into the Jewish state, have hinted that they could order the first ground invasion of the coastal strip in five years. Some 20,000 army reservists have been mobilized. The Israeli military said it launched fresh naval and air strikes early on Friday, giving no further details.

 

 

 

A ball of fire is seen following an early morning Israeli air strike on July 11, 2014 on Rafah in the southern of Gaza strip.

The salvoes into Israel have so far caused no fatalities, due in part to interception by Israel's partly-U.S. funded Iron Dome aerial defense system. However, eight people were wounded, one in serious condition, by a rocket on Friday that hit a fuel tanker at a petrol station in Israel's port city of Ashdod, an ambulance service spokesman said.

In Gaza, the death toll has gone up.

Fire was also exchanged across Israel's northern border. Lebanese security sources said two rockets were fired into northern Israel on Friday but they did not know who had fired them. Israel responded with artillery fire.

And yesterday, President Barack Obama expressed concern to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about the risk of an escalation of hostilities in the region and said the United States was ready to help bring them to an end, the White House said.

"The United States remains prepared to facilitate a cessation of hostilities, including a return to the November 2012 ceasefire agreement," the White House said Obama told Netanyahu in a phone call.

Obama reiterated US condemnation of rocket fire into Israel by Hamas and reaffirmed Israel's right to defend itself against the attacks, the White House said.

UPDATE: 7/10/14 4:00 PM ET

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This live blog is now closed. We will continue coverage tomorrow.

UPDATE: 7/10/14 3:46 PM ET

A path for those wounded in Gaza to seek treatment

Egypt has opened the Rafah crossing to provide wounded Gaza residents a chance to get medical care at hospitals in Egypt, The Los Angeles Times reports. From the story:

MENA, the state news agency, quoted North Sinai's Gov. Sayed Abdel Fattah Harhour as saying that hospitals in his area were on alert to receive injured Palestinians. Most will be treated in the coastal town of Arish, though critical cases may be transferred to other cities, including Cairo.

UPDATE: 7/10/14 2:52 PM ET

The names of 83 people killed in Gaza

The Washington Post has republished the names of people killed in Gaza, including the names of 21 children. 

 

Palestinian mourners carry the body of five-year-old boy Abdallah Abu Ghazal during his funeral in the northern Gaza town of Beit Lahiya on July 10, 2014 after he was killed in an Israeli air strike.

UPDATE: 7/10/14 1:22 PM ET

Hamas has a new rocket

Hamas has a new weapon in its arsenal: the M-302 which according to Foreign Policy, traveled "the greatest distance a Hamas rocket has ever traveled from Gaza" when it was launched earlier this week. The story notes that though the rocket is inaccurate, it "represents a significant upgrade for Hamas." 

Read the piece here.

UPDATE: 7/10/14 12:30 PM ET

The Telegraph maps locations of air strikes on Gaza and Israel

UPDATE: 7/10/14 11:44 AM ET

Two Gaza rockets shot down over Jerusalem, 2 hit West Bank

Agence France-Presse has more details on the rockets fired at Jerusalem:

Gaza militants fired four rockets at Jerusalem on Thursday, with two shot down over the city and another two hitting open spaces, the Israeli army said.

Witnesses and Palestinian security sources told AFP one rocket struck near the West Bank Jewish settlement of Maaleh Adumim, while a second hit close to an Israeli military prison near Ramallah.

"Four rockets were fired at Jerusalem, of which two landed in open areas and two were intercepted," an army spokesman told AFP, without giving further details. 

Three loud blasts could be heard around the city shortly after sirens wailed, sending people scrambling for shelter, AFP correspondents said.

Sirens also sounded across Maaleh Adumim, and an explosion was heard in Ramallah, witnesses and a correspondent said.

Witnesses told AFP one struck an open area in Mishor Adumim, an Israeli industrial area adjacent to Maaleh Adumim, east of Jerusalem.

Further north, Palestinian security sources said a rocket had struck open ground near Ofer, an Israeli military prison that lies to the west of Ramallah.

UPDATE: 7/10/14 11:06 AM ET

Reports of sirens and blasts in Jerusalem

UPDATE: 7/10/14 10:28 AM ET

UN Security Council meeting on Gaza unrest


Agence France-Presse — UN chief Ban Ki-moon appealed Thursday for a ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian militants, calling on the international community to do everything to halt escalating violence in Gaza.

"It is now more urgent than ever to try to find common ground for a return to calm and a ceasefire understanding," he told an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council in New York.

Ban said Hamas and Islamic Jihad had fired more than 550 rockets and mortars from the Gaza Strip into Israel in the last few days and that Israel had launched more than 500 air strikes on Gaza.

Eighty-eight Palestinians, many of them civilians, are reported to have been killed and 339 injured, with around 150 homes destroyed or severely damaged and nearly 900 people displaced, he said.

Ban said all parties, including Palestinian armed groups, must respect international law.

"Once again civilians are paying the price for the continuation of conflict. My paramount concern is the safety and well-being of all civilians no matter where they are," he told the Council.

"Israel has legitimate security concerns but I am also concerned at the many Palestinian deaths and injuries as a result of Israeli operations," he said.

UPDATE: 7/10/14 10:16 AM ET

UAE pledges $25 million in aid to Gaza

Agence France-Presse — The United Arab Emirates pledged $25 million in humanitarian aid Thursday to "support the steadfastness" of Palestinians in Gaza where Israeli strikes have killed more than 70 people in three days.

The Emirati Red Crescent will supervise delivery of the aid, WAM state news agency said, adding that the aid organization will also set up a field hospital in Gaza "to help the victims of the Israeli aggression."

UPDATE: 7/10/14 10:06 AM ET

The death toll has exceeded 80

More than 80 people have died and approximately 600 have been wounded in Gaza, Al Jazeera reports

An Israeli air strike killed seven Palestinian civilians on Thursday, including five children, in the largest death toll from a single attack since the start of the three-day offensive, the health ministry said.

UPDATE: 7/10/14 8:50 AM ET

Ceasefire 'not even on the agenda,' Netanyahu says

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he will "expand and continue" the operation in Gaza until rocket firing on Israeli cities stops, the Jerusalem Post reports. Full story here

And according to Haaretz newspaper, Netanyahu said a ceasefire with Hamas is "not even on the agenda." From the piece:

Netanyahu also stressed that he had received understanding and support from every foreign leader he had spoken to in the last day. "French President Francois Hollande told me that I am right and even issued a statement condemning the rocket fire afterward," Netanyahu said.

UPDATE: 7/10/14 6:12 AM ET

Israeli air strikes kill 22 people on third day of Gaza offensive

Agence France-Presse — Five Palestinian children were among 22 people killed in Israeli air strikes on Gaza early Thursday, medics said, with most of the bloodshed in the southern city of Khan Yunis.

The deaths bring to 73 the overall number of Gazans killed since Israel launched Operation Protective Edge early on Tuesday to halt cross-border rocket fire.

In one attack, a five-year-old boy was killed when an Israeli missile struck the northern Gaza town of Beit Lahiya, emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra told AFP.

A Palestinian family leaves its house after it was damaged in an Israeli air strike on July 10, 2014 in Gaza City.

The majority of deaths took place in Khan Yunis with a strike hitting a coffee shop where people were watching the World Cup semi-final between Argentina and the Netherlands.

UPDATE: 7/10/14 5:58 AM ET

UN Security Council to meet on Israel, Palestinian hostilities

Reuters — UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will brief the UN Security Council on Thursday on the escalating Israeli and Palestinian hostilities, which he described as a "troubling and volatile" situation.

The 15-member body will meet at 10 a.m. EST on Thursday to discuss the violence that is building up to the most serious hostilities between Israel and Hamas militants in Gaza since an eight-day war in 2012.

Rwanda, which is president of the council for July, said there would be a public briefing by Ban and the Israeli and Palestinian UN ambassadors before closed-door consultations.

Palestinian families leave their houses following overnight Israeli air strikes in Gaza City on July 10, 2014.

Israeli air strikes shook Gaza every few minutes on Wednesday, and militants kept up rocket fire atIsrael's heartland in intensifying warfare that Palestinian officials said has killed at least 47 people.

"Gaza is on a knife edge," Ban told reporters on Wednesday. "I firmly condemn the multiple rocket attacks launched from Gaza on Israel. Such attacks are unacceptable and must stop."

"I also urged (Israeli) Prime Minister (Benjamin) Netanyahu to exercise maximum restraint and to respect international obligations to protect civilians. I condemn the rising number of civilian lives lost in Gaza," he said.


Here's a quick recap of the events leading up to the conflict:

UPDATE: 7/9/14 4:00 PM ET

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UPDATE: 7/9/14 3:31 PM ET

US calls on Israel, Palestinians to de-escalate Gaza tensions

Reuters — The United States on Wednesday urged Israel and the Palestinians to de-escalate tensions in Gaza and expressed concern for the safety of civilians on both sides as Israel pressed a campaign of air strikes and militants kept up rocket fire at Israel's heartland.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told a briefing that US Secretary of State John Kerry, who is in China, had spoken earlier in the day with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and planned to speak with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas "over the next 24 hours."

Psaki said US officials have been "encouraging all sides to de-escalate the situation," restore calm and take steps to protect civilians. She said White House Middle East coordinator Philip Gordon was in Jerusalem and theWest Bank on Wednesday and had met with Abbas.

"We are concerned about the safety and security of civilians on both sides," she said, referring to "the residents of southern Israel who are forced to live under rocket fire in their homes and the civilians in Gaza."

Psaki underscored the US view that Israel has the right to defend itself against the rocket attacks.

Smoke billows from buildings following an Israeli air strike in Gaza City on July 9, 2014.

UPDATE: 7/9/14 2:11 PM ET

Reactions from both sides of the conflict

Here's what residents of Gaza and Israel have to say about the war shattering the region.

Gaza:

Israel:

UPDATE: 7/9/14 1:27 PM ET

Gaza militants launch rockets towards Israel's Dimona nuclear site

Reuters — Islamist militants in the Gaza Strip launched three rockets towards the southern Israeli town of Dimona and its nuclear reactor on Wednesday, causing no injury or damage, the Israeli military said.

One of the rockets was intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome defensive shield, and two others fell in open areas. 

None caused damage or injuries, an army spokesman said. Militants from Hamas's Qassam Brigades said they had launched long-range M-75 rockets. Other areas in southern Israel's Negev desert were also targeted, according to the Israeli military.


If you're curious about how the Iron Dome works, take a look at this Guardian piece: Iron Dome: Israel's 'game-changing' missile shield

UPDATE: 7/9/14 12:32 PM ET

The IDF is a prolific tweeter

The Israel Defense Forces has a lively Twitter presence, tweeting out infographics like the one below.

The army's feed is an amalgam of photos, videos and updates about missiles intercepted by the Iron Dome. Some sample tweets:

Social media has certainly shifted how war is communicated. 

Back in 2012, Mathew Ingram wrote a fascinating piece in Gigaom examining social media's role in modern warfare. Here's an excerpt from his article:

"In the not-so-distant past, crucial information flowed primarily from the top down, and battlefield data was hard to accumulate or distribute efficiently, apart from the usual word of mouth and rumor-mongering engaged in by soldiers. ... And during a real-time campaign, social media may be a great way of distributing the government’s marketing message about the conflict, but it’s also a great way for anyone involved to publish what could be critical details of an attack — and that is difficult, if not impossible, to defend against."

Read the full story on Gigaom.

UPDATE: 7/9/14 12:06 PM ET

The death toll mounts

According to Agence France-Presse:

Fifteen women and children were among 22 Palestinians killed in Israeli strikes on Gaza Wednesday, hiking the overall death toll to 43 in two days, the emergency services said. More than 370 people have been wounded.

UPDATE: 7/9/14 11:25 AM ET

Abbas says Israel is committing 'genocide' in Gaza

Agence France-Presse — Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday accused Israel of committing "genocide" in Gaza during its military campaign which has so far killed 43 Palestinians.

"It's genocide — the killing of entire families is genocide by Israel against our Palestinian people," he told a crisis meeting of the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank city of Ramallah. "What's happening now is a war against the Palestinian people as a whole and not against the (militant) factions." 

"We know that Israel is not defending itself, it is defending settlements, its main project," said Abbas.

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas prays prior a meeting with his leadership in the West Bank city of Ramallah on July 9, 2014.

"We are moving in several ways to stop the Israeli aggression and spilling of Palestinian blood, including talking to Egyptian President (Abdel Fattah) al-Sisi and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon."

Egypt on Wednesday urged Israel and Hamas in Gaza to halt their spiralling conflict but played down hopes of a Cairo-mediated truce.

"There is no mediation, in the common sense of the word," said Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman Badr Abdelatty.

"Egyptian diplomatic efforts are aimed at immediately stopping Israeli aggression and ending all mutual violence. (Egyptian) contacts have not yet achieved a result." Wednesday was the second day of Israel's Operation Protective Edge.

Israel warplanes have so far hit 550 targets in Gaza, and Hamas militants have hit back with 165 rockets, some of which struck Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and as far away as Hadera, 72 miles to the north of the coastal enclave. Palestinian fatalities include militants but also women and children. More than 370 people have been wounded.

UPDATE: 7/9/14 10:07 AM ET

The victims of the conflict

These photos taken in Gaza City in the past few days show the heartwrenching, grim realities of war. 

 

 

UPDATE: 7/9/14 9:33 AM ET

Obama pens op-ed addressing Gaza conflict 

In an op-ed in Israel's Haaretz newspaper, US President Barack Obama reiterated US' support for Israel. He wrote that the US is "committed to providing more than $3 billion each year to help finance Israel's security through 2018."

Obama also noted that the only solution for peace is a "democratic, Jewish state living side-by-side in peace and security with a viable, independent Palestinian state."

"When the political will exists to recommit to serious negotiations, the United States will be there, ready to do our part," Obama wrote.

Read the entire op-ed on Haaretz.

UPDATE: 7/9/14 9:16 AM ET

Netanyahu says Israel has decided to 'further intensify' attacks in Gaza

Agence France-Presse — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday vowed to ramp up a campaign against Gaza militants which has so far claimed 43 Palestinian lives.

"We have decided to further intensify the attacks on Hamas and the terror organizations in Gaza," his office quoted him as saying after consulting defense chiefs in southern Israel.

UPDATE: 7/9/14 8:30 AM ET

Reports of shortages of medical supplies in Gaza's hospitals

Gaza's Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qedra was quoted in Al Jazeera as saying that medical services are "in a very critical situation" and that 30 percent of essential drugs are missing. Read the full story on Al Jazeera.

Wounded Palestinian youth are wheeled into the al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City on July 8, 2014, following an Israeli airstrike.

UPDATE: 7/9/14 6:00 AM ET

Hamas rockets land deep in Israel, while Israel intensifies Gaza offensive

Reuters has the latest:

Militants in Gaza fired more rockets at Tel Aviv on Wednesday, targeting Israel's heartland after Israeli attacks in the enclave that Palestinian officials said have killed at least 27 people. 

No casualties were reported in the rocket barrages, on the second day of an intensified Israeli offensive in the Hamas-dominated Gaza Strip. Missiles from Israel's Iron Dome defense system shot into the sky to intercept the projectiles.

The rocket salvos have sent people racing for bomb shelters, but businesses remained open in Israel, traffic flowed and the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange seemed to be unfazed, with shares opening higher.

In the Gaza Strip, residents were shaken overnight by the sound, every few minutes, of powerful explosions that sent up plumes of smoke.

At least 18 civilians, including five children, were among the 27 Palestinians dead since Israel stepped up its assault on Tuesday, and 150 people have been wounded, hospital officials said.

UPDATE: 7/8/14 4:00 PM ET

Signing off

This live blog is now closed. We will pick up coverage tomorrow.

Follow GlobalPost Senior Correspondent Noga Tarnopolsky on Twitter for the latest updates.

UPDATE: 7/8/14 3:55 PM ET

Israel says no casualties after reported Hamas rocket fire on cities

Reuters — Israel said it knew of no casualties from a long-range Palestinian rocket salvo on Tuesday that Hamas said targeted cities including central Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, as well as Haifa in the north.

"We are not getting reports of casualties from any of the impact areas," the chief military spokesman, Brigadier-General Motti Almoz, told Israel's Channel 10 television. He did not elaborate on the locations.

UPDATE: 7/8/14 3:21 PM ET

Air raid sirens are going off in Jerusalem

Video by GlobalPost Senior Correspondent Noga Tarnopolsky:

UPDATE: 7/8/14 2:23 PM ET

A bloody day for Gaza residents

The Washington Post published this gripping, haunting raw video of people fleeing Israeli airstrikes in Gaza

And here's a glimpse of the Israeli-Gaza border, via Agence France-Presse: 

View from the southern Israeli border with the Gaza Strip shows smoke billowing during an Israeli air strike pic.twitter.com/I1qtp7djQH

— Agence France-Presse (@AFP) July 8, 2014

UPDATE: 7/8/14 1:23 PM ET

Gaza death toll climbs

According to Buzzfeed Middle East correspondent Sheera Frenkel, the death toll in Gaza now stands at 15, with 92 others injured.

UPDATE: 7/8/14 12:5 PM ET

Rocket from Gaza is intercepted over Tel Aviv

Reuters — Israel shot down a rocket fired at its commercial capital Tel Aviv on Tuesday, a military source said, the deepest such attack from the Gaza Strip during a two-week-old escalation of fighting in the Palestinian territory.

Live television showed a double-burst of smoke in the clear blue skies above Tel Aviv after air raid sirens sounded.

The military source said Israel's Iron Dome interceptor shot down the projectile fired by Palestinians, hours after Israel intensified its bombing campaign in Gaza in a declared bid to halt rocket fire pouring into the south of the country.

Hamas, the dominant armed group in Gaza, had vowed to strike further inside Israel after Israeli air strikes killed six people in a home belonging to member of the Islamist movement.

The Palestinian death toll, on the first day of the stepped-up Israeli offensive, rose to 15, including 11 civilians, Palestinian officials said.

UPDATE: 7/8/14 12:22 PM ET

Missile lands outside of Tel Aviv

GlobalPost Senior Correspondent Noga Tarnopolsky, who was attending a peace conference in Tel Aviv, says a missile landed nearby, leading to evacuations. Below are a couple of her tweets. We'll continue to follow developments.

UPDATE: 7/8/14 11:23AM ET

Israeli stocks take a hit as the country escalates air strikes in Gaza

Israel's already feeling mild economic shocks of its military offensive in Gaza — a sign that its investors may be beginning to lose confidence. Bloomberg reports that the Tel Aviv 25 Index sank by 0.8 percent.

"If the escalation continues then there are concerns of a hit to the economy, as reservists won’t come to their office jobs and the local tourist industry will suffer," chief strategist Yaniv Pagot of Ramat Gan of the Israeli Ayalon Group Ltd., told Bloomberg.

Full story here

UPDATE: 7/8/14 11:01 AM ET

All Israelis are targets after deadly raid on Gaza home, Hamas warns

Hamas issued a statement after the Israeli airstrikes in Khan Yunis. Agence France-Presse has the report:

Hamas said Tuesday that "all Israelis" would be targeted after a deadly strike on a house in the southern city of Khan Yunis killed seven people, among them two teenagers.

"The Khan Yunis massacre... of children is a horrendous war crime, and all Israelis have now become legitimate targets for the resistance," Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in a statement, without elaborating.

Medics said another 25 people were wounded in the strike.

UPDATE: 7/8/14 10:34 AM ET

Tel Aviv preps bomb shelters

GlobalPost Senior Correspondent Noga Tarnopolsky reports from Tel Aviv:

UPDATE: 7/8/14 9:42 AM ET

Disturbing images of the destruction in Gaza 

Charred vehicles lay strewn on the streets as medics attend to the injured following Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City.

The death toll continues to climb. Ynetnews reports seven deaths, including children, in the southern Gaza city of Khan Yunis. From the story:

Hamas has already called the attack a "crime against humanity" and dubbed it the "massacre of Khan Yunis."

Al Jazeera's Rania Zabaneh has more details on the rising death toll and injuries.

And take a look at this video from the Guardian, which shows the aftermath of the airstrikes in Gaza.

 

UPDATE: 7/8/14 8:58 AM ET

Israeli security cabinet authorizes draft of reservists

Agence France-Presse — Israel's security cabinet on Tuesday authorized the military to call up 40,000 reservists for a possible assault on the Gaza Strip, Israeli media reported.

UPDATE: 7/8/14 8:15 AM ET

Israel's readying for a 'battle against Hamas which will not end within a few days,' defense minister warns 

Reuters — Israel bombarded dozens of targets in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, stepping up what it said might become a long-term offensive against Islamist Hamas after a surge in Palestinian rocket attacks on Israeli towns.

Following the worst outbreak of violence along the Gaza frontier since an eight-day war in 2012, the Israeli military said a ground invasion of the enclave was possible, though not imminent, and urged citizens within a range of 24 miles of the coastal territory to stay close to bomb shelters.

"We are preparing for a battle against Hamas which will not end within a few days," Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said in a statement. "We will not tolerate missiles being fired at Israeli towns and we are prepared to extend the operations with all means at our disposal in order to keep hitting Hamas."

A source in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office quoted the Israeli leader as saying: "The IDF (Israel Defense Forces) must be ready to go all the way. All options are on the table, including a ground invasion."

More than 200 rockets have been launched at Israel from the Gaza Strip, the military said, since Israel mounted the dragnet while searching for the teens, who were found dead last week.

Israel has accused Hamas militants of killing them. In a suspected revenge attack, a Palestinian teen was abducted in East Jerusalem last Wednesday. His charred body was found in a forest and six Israeli suspects have been arrested.

In the Gaza fighting, a Hamas fighter was killed in an air strike in Nusseirat refugee camp, Palestinian medical officials said. Palestinian officials said targets included militants' training facilities while six homes were bombed in the Gaza Strip and 30 people were also wounded. The Israeli military said that in the past 24 hours, more than 100 rockets had been fired at Israel, a sharp increase.

Some 1,500 Israeli reservists had been mobilized and more could be called up, the military said.

Explosions echoed across the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, shaking buildings and sending smoke rising from targets hit by Israeli fire. In residential areas, the sounds of crying children could be heard as ambulance sirens wailed.

Some people took to rooftops to watch for Israeli aircraft and rockets streaking toward Israel. In the Israeli port city of Ashdod, motorists scrambled out of their vehicles and raced for the relative safety of apartment house entrances as a siren sounded. 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/israel-and-palestine/140708/israel-intensifies-military-offensive-