Iranian-backed Gazan Hamas terrorists have fired a total of 2,114 rockets into Israel since the start of Operation Protective Edge. Three hundred and thirty three of these rockets fired at Israeli urban centers, were intercepted by the Iron Dome defense system. You can see people without shelters taking cover in the stairway in Tel Aviv. In addition, you can see full charts of the statistics connected to rocket fire and casualties here.
To date, 33 IDF soldiers have been killed since the IDF entered Gaza on day 10 of Operation Protective Edge, including three paratroopers who were killed by a Hamas booby trap yesterday. You can see some details of all the soldiers here. One soldier, Oron Shaul, 21, from Poriya, is still reported missing in action.
The FAA has lifted its ban on flights to Israel but some airlines, including Lufthansa and Delta continue a temporary suspension.
ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCES
Entering its eighth day, the IDF ground operation continues. Dismantling the Hamas terrorist infrastructure and destroying a vast network of terrorist tunnels — used to smuggle weapons and enable terrorists to infiltrate Israel and carry out attacks against Israeli civilians — is the prime aim of the ground incursion. As of today, the IDF destroyed 35 terrorist targets, used as weapon launchers and military outposts, and dismantled 9 out of 31 discovered terror tunnels.
- Each terror tunnel can take over a year to construct and requires around 500 tons of concrete. You can see an IDF soldier descending to work on destroying a tunnel here. See a collection of photos of terror tunnels here. Terror tunnels have been used on at least four separate occasions to infultrate Israel.
- Wednesday night, the IDF apprehended 150 terrorist suspects for questioning. According to Hamas spokesmen, 718 Gazans have been killed.
Hamas terrorist continue to use civilians as human shields.
The IDF struck a hospital in Gaza that had become a Hamas military base, commanding terrorist activity and accessing several terror tunnels. There were no patients or medical staff in the hospital, a fact verified thoroughly by the IDF prior to considering the strike. You can hear this warning call from the IDF to Wafa Hospital before the IDF targets the site and see that the only occupants are Hamas terrorists firing from within.
Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner, IDF Spokesman: “The IDF is determined in preventing the ongoing aggression by Hamas that is directed by a strategy of exploitation and abuse of the civilian population and its wellbeing.”
Here the IDF warns civilians of living in the Gaza neighborhood Shujaya, a Hamas terrorist stronghold, to leave. Here you can see Gazans being used as human shields as they gathered on a roof to protect terrorist activity below.
Yesterday, two lone soldiers were buried. You can hear some of the moving eulogies spoken for LA- born lone soldier Max Steinberg here. Jewish Agency Chair Natan Sharansky attended the funeral of French lone soldier Jordan Bensemhoun, and said “We were concerned that Jordan’s funeral would be sparsely attended because he had little family in Israel and the public had been cautioned not to travel because of the constant threat of rocket fire. Over 6,000 people came out of their homes and shelters to honor Jordan. Overwhelmed by the massive crowd, Jordan’s father asked me, ‘Do all these people know my son?’ [and I responded, ] that is the secret of Israel. In reality, there is no such thing as a lone soldier.”
President Shimon Peres spent his last evening as President making a consolation visit to the family of slain soldier. Reuven Rivlin is being sworn in as president this afternoon, in a small ceremony. The main festivities were cancelled due to the war.
The United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva voted yesterday to investigate Israel for its actions during this conflict and not to investigate Hamas. Prime Minister Netanyahu referred to this decision as “a travesty.” See his full comments here.
OTHER RESOURCES AND INFORMATION
This document clarifies Israel’s position with regards to UNHRC’s inquiries: http://mfa.gov.il/MFA/PressRoom/2014/Pages/UNHRC-decision-should-be-rejected-by-decent-people-everywhere-23-Jul-2014.aspx
German astronaut Alexander Gerst tweeted a photo he took, Wednesday, from more than 200 miles from earth in the International Space Station showing Israel and Gaza during an evening of rocket attacks and aerial strikes. The dark part at the top of the picture is the Mediterranean Sea his vantage point at the International Space Station.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, whose country has provided much support to Hamas, has called for the arming of Palestinians in the West Bank with weaponry and rockets so that they can ‘defend’ themselves, saying “I believe West Bank should be armed just like #Gaza. Those who love #Palestine should arm ppl of Palestine in West Bank. #TheRight2Resist”
The three IDF paratroopers who were killed last night after a booby trap exploded were:
– Lieut. Paz Eliyahu, 22, from Kibbutz Evron
Paz had been on active duty for over five weeks, having taken part in the searches for the three abducted and murdered Israeli teenagers. His father said, “Paz loved life. We will continue, with all the pain, to smile. I am completely hopeful that Paz was the last soldier [to fall].” Elah Bar, his girlfriend of seven years, related, “We thought we’d be together forever. No one knew what an angel he was to me.”
– Staff Sergeant Lee Matt, 19, from Eilat
“Lee was a wonderful boy, clever and sharp. He was always surrounded by friends,” said a family friend. Lee’s brother was seriously wounded three years ago in a terrorist attack during his own army service when his bus was fired on.
– Staff Sergeant Shachar Dauber, 20 from Kibbutz Ginegar.
A youth-coordinator on his kibbutz said, “Shahar was a boy full of joy of life and love for life. From a young age he was mature and took on tasks and responsibilities like an adult. In Ginegar he was there for everyone who needed help. He had friends throughout the [Jezreel] valley. He was a social boy, loving, handsome and an exceptional basketball player.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Click on these links for the latest news out of Israel: