Live Blog at Haaretz
The last six hours with the latest item first.
11:50 P.M. “The Israelis will commit a stupid mistake if they decide to launch a ground operation against Gaza,” Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah says during a Shi’ite religious ceremony in Beirut’s southern suburbs. “The resistance in Gaza has acquired power, determination and planning capabilities,” Nasrallah said, adding that the firepower possessed by Hamas militants was putting Israelis increasingly on edge. (DPA)
11:40 P.M. Egypt’s President Mohammed Morsi says his government is in contact with both the Israelis and the Palestinians and that “there are some indications that there could be a ceasefire soon.” Morsi made the comments at a joint news conference with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, but he stressed that there were still “no guarantees.” (DPA)
11:30 P.M. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with a number of foreign leaders over the weekend, telling them he would be prepared for an immediate, comprehensive ceasefire with Hamas if the latter agrees to halt all rocket fire from Gaza. The leaders asked Netanyahu to refrain from escalating the operation and to give Egyptian attempts to mediate a ceasefire a few days to play out. Netanyahu’s office refused to comment. (Barak Ravid)
11:15 P.M. Prime Minister’s Office denies media reports that an Israeli government representative has been dispatched to Cairo to conduct ceasefire talks. (Barak Ravid)
11:00 P.M. Fifty-seven rockets were intercepted on Saturday by Israel’s Iron Dome air-defense system. Since the beginning of the operation in Gaza, 267 rockets have been intercepted. (Gili Cohen)
10:45 P.M. Hamas is preventing dozens of foreign nationals and journalist from leaving the Gaza Strip into Israel. According to one journalist stationed in Gaza, a group of 22 foreign journalists and Turkish nationals working at the Gaza Strip Red Crescent asked the Hamas authorities for permission to leave the coastal enclave but were denied. According to the reports of news agencies, Israel announced that the Erez Crossing would be open to foreign nationals crossing from Gaza to Israel. (Haaretz)
10:30 P.M. Arab ministers give their backing to Egyptian efforts to secure a truce that would end Israel’s offensive on Gaza, according to a statement released after an Arab League meeting in Cairo. The statement condemned Israeli “aggression” and said Arab foreign ministers would form a delegation to travel to Gaza. Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby said he would lead the delegation, which will leave for Gaza in the next “one or two days.” (Reuters)
9:08 P.M. Israel Police plans to conduct a sweep for Palestinians illegally residing in Israel on Sunday, out of concern that they could carry out attacks in revenge for violence in Gaza. (Haaretz)
9:05 P.M. Iron Dome intercepts three rockets over Ashdod. (Haaretz)
8:45 P.M. Hundreds protest in Tel Aviv’s Habima Square against the operation in Gaza. In Ashdod, three rockets are intercepted by Iron Dome.
7:55 P.M. Interior Minister Eli Yishai on Israel’s operation in Gaza: “The goal of the operation is to send Gaza back to the Middle Ages. Only then will Israel be calm for forty years.”
7:38 P.M. Deputy national security adviser for strategic communication for U.S. President Barack Obama: “The Israelis are going to make decisions about their own military tactics and operations. What we want is the same thing the Israelis want, which is an end to the rocket fire coming out of Gaza. We wouldn’t comment on specific targeting choices by the Israelis other than to say that we of course always underscore the importance of avoiding civilian casualties. But the Israelis again will make judgments about their military operations.” (Haaretz)
7:30 P.M. Tal Russo commander of the IDF Southern Command: “We are going to hit Hamas and all other Gaza terrorist organizations until we destroy Gaza’s weapons arsenal and life returns to normal in Israel. We devastated their long range weapons arsenal, but there is still a lot of work left.” (Haaretz)
7:05 P.M. Secretary-General of the Arab League Nabil Elaraby is expected to visit the Gaza Strip on Sunday accompanied by four Arab foreign ministers. (Haaretz)
6:45 P.M. According to Yossi Druker, head of Rafael’s air defense division, the success rate of the Iron Dome anti-missile system since the start of the current round of hostilities is 85 percent, with the rate improving daily. Defense Minister Ehud Barak plans to propose Israel spend NIS 750 million on the purchase of an additional Iron Dome battery, in Sunday’s government meeting. (Haaretz)
6:30 P.M. In a meeting Saturday with Egyptian intelligence officials, senior Hamas officials demanded Egypt ease the blockade on Gaza and Israel provide assurances that it will keep its side of a ceasefire and especially refrain from assassinating Hamas leaders in exchange for a ceasefire. Palestinian sources told Haaretz the Hamas was not asking Israel to lift the naval blockade on the coastal enclave rather that Egypt allow a free flow of goods through the Rafah Crossing. Cairo rejected this. (Haaretz)
6:15 P.M. IAF fires at the home of Senior Hamas commander A-Din Hazaz. It is still not known whether he was home at the time. (Haaretz)
6:10 P.M. Senior Hamas leader Osama Qadi attacked in a joint Shin Bet IDF operation, his condition is still unknown. (Haaretz)
5:32 P.M. Since beginning of Pillar of Defense, 246 rockets fired at residential areas were intercepted by Iron Dome batteries; 57 rockets exploded in Israel on Saturday, bringing the total of rockets exploding in Israel since beginning of operation to 410.