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Operation Protective Edge War-Blog: August 3, 2014

August 3rd 2014

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11:59 AM ET August 3, 2014. Israel is withdrawing the bulk of its ground forces from Gaza. Analysts say that PM Netanyahu and advisors now understand the difference between Palestinian leader Abbas and the Hamas organization. The next steps, conclude Israeli analysts, depend on Hamas. Palestinian delegation in Cairo will present a list of demands while meeting with Egyptian representatives today. Among these: a ceasefire and IDF withdrawal from the Gaza Strip; removing the blockade over Gaza and opening fishing zones; releasing the Palestinian freed under the Shalit deal, and imprisoned again, and releasing the prisoners as discussed in the last peace talks; and the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip.

A U.S. delegation is expected to arrive in Cairo, as well as former British PM Blair. Egypt's Foreign Minister Shukri says the Egyptian initiative will lead to negotiations between Israel and Hamas, which will address the demands and needs of the Palestinians in Gaza, and will prevent military escalation in the future. In a joint press conference with his Chinese counterpart in Cairo, Shukri condemned Israeli military actions, which caused an "unacceptable casualty rate." -- Haaretz

10:50 AM ET August 3, 2014. Rocket alert sirens sound in Ashodod, Ashkelon, Beer Tuviya, Sha'ar Hanegev, Beersheba, Eshkol, Sderot, Merhavim, and Kiryat Malahi and the surrounding area. Iron Dome intercepts at least two rockets over Tel Aviv. Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke today with the family of Lt. Hadar Goldin Sunday, after the IDF officer who was feared kidnapped was officially declared killed in action. "Hadar was a tremendous personality, a great hero," said Netanyahu. "I know that you are going through terrible agony, the feeling that a part of you has been taken away and you are no longer whole." IDF reports that there have been 35 rockets launched from Gaza today; 31 of these 31 landed in Israel. The family of fallen Israeli St.-Sgt. Oron Shaul stated that they trust the IDF is doing everything it can to ensure that his is returned to Israel for proper burial. Shaul had been unaccounted for after his personnel carrier came under attack by Hamas, killing 5 other soldiers.

09:10 AM ET August 3, 2014. Givati infantry unit and an Armored Corps unit came under enemy fire while operating inside the Gaza Strip today. When a Palestinian gunman fled a house to a vehicle, the Israeli air force struck the vehicle. No IDF casualties were reported by the army. A hit on the vehicle was confirmed.

08:57 AM ET August 3, 2014. Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Chairman Ze'ev Elkin said that the committee would investigate the "difficult questions" relating to the Gaza Operation. "This is precisely the role of the committee, to question everyone who was there. The issue of the tunnels is only one element to probe, and I'm not sure it is even the most central subject for investigation," he told Army Radio. Opposition leader Izaac Herzog (Labor) stated that, "The threat posed by [terror] tunnels has been diminished, but peace has not been guaranteed," adding that military gains need to be made permanent by diplomatic measures. He said that if PM Netanyahu does not increase cooperation between Israel and regional Arab powers who share a common interest in resolving the conflict, a new round of violence could ensue.

07:12 AM ET August 3, 2014. An Israeli air strike killed at least seven people this morning, and wounded about 30 others at a UN-run school in the southern Gaza Strip, witnesses and medics said. The Israeli military declined immediate comment. A missile launched by an aircraft struck the entrance to the school in the town of Rafah, witnesses said. Hundreds of Palestinians in the area, where the Israeli military has been battling militants, had been sheltering in the school.

A Hamas and Islamic Jihad delegation arrived in Cairo today for indirect ceasefire talks with Israel, to be conducted through Egyptian and U.S. officials. A previous Fatah-led delegation already arrived in Cairo for talks yesterday. -- i24News

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