Today is Day 3 of the IDF’s Operation “Pillar of Clouds”, also known as Operation Defense Pillar against Gaza.
Last night, two Fajr rockets fired from Gaza reached the Tel Aviv area. [Qassam Brigades were calling them Qassam M-75s.] Earlier in the day, three Israelis were killed by shrapnel after a direct rocket hit on the top floor of an apartment building in Kiryat Malachi.
Overnight, the IDF carried out at least 150 strikes on the Gaza Strip, including on on the Civil Affairs office in the Ministry of Interior in Gaza.
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights [PCHR] sums it up: The “most significant targets was the building of the Civil Department of the Ministry of Interior in Tal al-Hawa neighborhood in the south of the City. The building was totally destroyed and a number of nearby buildings and houses were heavily damaged. Israeli fighter jets bombarded also the building of the Collection and Inspection Center of Gaza Municipality near Abu Mazen Square. The building was completely destroyed and a number of nearby houses and buildings were heavily damaged. Israeli fighter jets further bombarded a plot belonging to an ecclesiastic center near the Roots Restaurant in the southwest of Gaza City. Additionally, Israeli gunboats bombarded an electricity transmitter near the house of Prime Minister Ismail Haniya in the Beach camp. A number of houses and a civilian car were heavily damaged”.
PCHR has called for an urgent meeting of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva to examine the situation. As to the UN Security Council, well, it met on Wednesday night after a request from Egypt, but took no decision. The only outcome was a decision that UN Secretary-General BAN Ki Moon would travel to the region on Tuesday — but he does not intend to go to Gaza. UNSG BAN Ki-Moon will apparently have talks in Israel on Wednesday. Mahmoud Abbas announced to the PLO Executive Committee this evening that UNSG BAN would be coming to Ramallah on Thursday.
The Arab League will meet on Saturday afternoon in Cairo, after a delegation led by the Tunisian Foreign Minister, possibly accompanied by the Secretary-General of the Arab League, Nabil al-Arabi and maybe some other officials from other Arab countries, hopes to enter Gaza via Egypt on Saturday morning…
On Friday morning, a delegation of Egyptian officials led by Prime Minister Qandil and accompanied by Egyptian Special Forces entered Gaza on Friday morning to assess the situation, and were received by Hamas’ Ismail Haniyeh. As they entered Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, a small child who had just died from an Israeli strike was brought in, and the two men cradled the body.
The photo was posted on Twitter by Hazem Balousha [@iHaZeMi]. Pool photo by Mahmud Hams.
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said Israel would serve a 3-hour cease-fire for the visit of the Egyptian delegation on condition that no projectiles were fired from Gaza onto Israel — but there was very little let-up. Several journalists in Gaza reported outgoing projectiles. Journalists also reported incoming [though IDF spokespeople said there were no attacks during the Egyptian PM’s visit.
A little later, there was an execution of a collaborator in Gaza, which the NYTimes reported on, here.
By the end of the day [Friday] the Palestinian death toll in Gaza rose to 30, with some 250 injured — and climbing. There were no Israeli deaths from Gaza firing reported on Friday.