UPDATE: Nov., 20 — 3:50 pm ET. — 809 rockets fired from Gaza hit #Israel + 389 Iron Dome interceptions = 1,198 rockets fired at Israel.

The Israeli soldier killed was not reservist but an 18 year old named Yosef Fartuk. The IDF states:

“Cpl. Yosef Fartuk, 18, from Emmanuel, was killed earlier today by a rocket fired from Gaza into Israel.”

Sharona Schwartz, reporting from Israel for TheBlaze, contributed to this report

Nov. 20 (2:00 pm ET) Israeli         Palestinian
Dead 5  **111
Injured 70 **840

 

** Number of Palestinians injured and killed reported by the Gaza health authority, thus cannot be confirmed with certainty. 

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This building in Rishon LeZion took direct hit by a Hamas missile (screen shot from Israel Channel 2)

Miracle in Rishon LeZion

A long-range missile launched at Israel by terrorists in Gaza destroyed the top three floors of an apartment building in Rishon LeZion, a suburb of Tel Aviv.

Israel Channel 2’s Nir Dvory at the site of the eight-story building reports that all residents entered their safe rooms before the Iranian-made Fajr-5 missile landed; therefore, even though most of the top-floor apartments were decimated, the safe rooms were spared and the family living on the top floor was able to walk away with light injuries and psychological trauma from the frightening experience.

According to Israeli building codes, all news buildings have to have a “mamad” safe room made of reinforced concrete, with window covers made of steel.

Dvory says further that many nearby buildings on the street were heavily damaged.

 

 

Nov. 19 (9:00 pm ET) Israeli         Palestinian
Dead 3  **111
Injured 70 **840

** Number of Palestinians injured and killed reported by the Gaza health authority, thus cannot be confirmed with certainty. 

95 rockets were fired by Hamas into Israel on Monday alone, one hitting an Israeli school.

With the mainstream media and the entire Arab world against it, Israel has stepped up its targeted, defensive strikes on Hamas militants after the terrorist group slammed the Jewish State with at least 544 rockets — 19 of which were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome defense system on Monday alone —  since Operation Pillar of Defense began less than a week ago. More than 700 Hamas rockets have struck Israel since the beginning of the year, the most recent ones reaching as far as Tel Aviv and at least one striking a school.

———–

Nov. 20. Updates

Here are the latest updates Tuesday morning on the military – and diplomatic – fronts of the conflict.

THE FIGHTING

For the second time in a week, residents of Jerusalem rushed to find cover as sirens wailed in Israel’s capital. Hamas says it fired a long-range M75 missile. Israeli Police told Israel’s Channel 2 News that the missile fell in the open field near a Palestinian village in the area of Bethehem.

A brief overnight lull for residents of southern Israel was shattered early in the morning on Tuesday. By mid-day, Gaza terror groups had fired a heavy barrage of some 60 rockets of which some were intercepted by the Iron Dome anti-missile system. In Beer Sheba, one rocket landed near a bus, another near a vehicle and another on a house.

The IDF distributed this photo showing immense damage to a child’s bedroom in Beersheba Tuesday:

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The IDF says it targeted 100 terror sites overnight including rocket launchers, terrorist smuggling tunnels and arms caches. The Palestinian Maan News Agency reports Israeli jets struck the Islamic National Bank in Gaza, an institution believed to be involved in terrorism financing. In 2010, the U.S. Treasury placed the bank on its terrorist-financing list.

Ynet reports the IDF overnight attacked the homes of two senior Hamas military operatives.

Here’s the IDF’s recap of the sixth day of Operation Pillar of Defense:

CASUALTIES

Palestinian fatalities in Operation Pillar of Defense now total 112 according to Gaza health officials.

A Bedouin Arab from the Beersheba area was killed by a Grad rocket attack Tuesday evening – launched by Palestinian terrorists in Gaza – and the man he was with was injured. Earlier on Tuesday, an Israeli reserve soldier was killed by mortars fired from Gaza over the Israeli border.

Channel 2 reports an Israeli woman in her 60s was wounded Tuesday by gunfire in the Etzion Bloc, a region of Israeli settlements near Bethlehem. Only initial details are known about the incident, but police are investigating in the direction of a nationalistic attack. Israel’s rescue service, Magen David Adom, says it treated five people in southern Israel with light injuries overnight, and four more people suffering from shock.

One person was lightly injured by shrapnel in the strike that hit the bus Tuesday morning in Beersheba per Israel’s Channel 2 News while others are being treated for shock.

Ynet reports an Israeli reserve soldier was moderately  wounded in southern Israel.

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Iron Dome intercepts many incoming rockets at once over Beersheba (screen shot from Israel Channel 2 News)

DIPLOMACY

Israeli media report Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is making a surprise visit to Israel Tuesday in an effort to move forward efforts at securing a ceasefire. She plans to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority officials but not with any Hamas representatives. She also plans to travel to Cairo to meet with Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood leadership which has close ties with Hamas. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon is also on the ground and meets with officials in Jerusalem and Ramallah, but not Gaza where Hamas rules.

The U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro tells Army Radio that the Obama administration is not vetoing an Israeli ground operation in Gaza. Media reports quoting administration officials had suggested the U.S. was not in favor of Israel moving ground forces into Gaza.

Israeli government ministers met until 4am to discuss an Egyptian ceasefire proposal. Israel’s Ynet reports “Israel has agreed not to launch a ground offensive until the negotiations are exhausted.”

The Washington Post reports U.S. relations with the Islamist leaderships of Egypt and Turkey are being strained by the Israel-Hamas fighting. Egyptian and Turkish officials are expressing displeasure that the Obama administration is backing Israel.

Russia is also apparently unhappy with Washington. Reuters reports Russia is accusing the U.S. of blocking a bid at the Security Council to condemn the hostilities.

U.S. CITIZENS

CNN reports the U.S. is sending three Navy ships to the region in case U.S. citizens need to be evacuated from Israel (see related story here). Meanwhile, an Israeli man attacked a security guard at the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv with a knife and an ax. Israel Police do not suspect political motives or that a protest of the military conflict are behind the attack. The man has been taken into custody.

Nov. 19. Background on data

While accurate tolls on those injured and killed in the conflict are difficult to assess due to skewed reporting and fabricated data often on the part of the Palestinians (i.e. a boy Palestinians claimed was killed by an Israeli rocket was in fact killed by a Hamas rocket), TheBlaze will attempt to provide the most up-to-date casualty tolls available.

Please continue to check this post as we plan to update the following figures each morning and evening throughout the duration of the conflict, but read with one caveat: Based on past conflicts, Hamas has been known to “pad” its casualty numbers and put its own civilians in harm’s way by operating its rocket-launch sites from within civilian areas. This is a deliberate propaganda method done to increase the casualty toll on the Palestinian side in an effort to vilify Israel and claim the IDF purposefully targets Palestinian civilians.

Further, Hamas is known to deliberately target Israeli civilian sites while the IDF specifically targets terror sites, often distributing Arabic-language leaflets to Palestinians in targeted areas in advance of an attack to ensure they’ve enough time to evacuate. The issue is that Hamas comprises guerrilla fighters who operate among their own civilians to use them as human shields. Thus far, in Operation Pillar of Defense, the IDF has targeted over 1,000 Hamas terror sites.

Figures have been derived from various Israeli news sites including Haartez, Arutz Sheva and the Jerusalem Post with some Israeli casualty tolls coming directly from the IDF website. It is imperative to note that, thus far, the only source reporting Palestinian injuries is the Gaza health authority, which places the number of Palestinians injured at 720 (as of day six). Of course those figures are in question.

The Israel Defense Forces is also running a live-blog of its operation, providing daily recap videos featuring the number of rockets fired, the number of rockets intercepted by its Iron Dome defense system, and the number of Israeli casualties among other statistics. Below is the IDF’s Day 5 recap:

 

In 2011 alone, the IDF reports that 630 rockets from Gaza hit Israeli towns, an increase of 400 rockets since the year prior. Since 2001, more than 12,800 rockets and mortars, an average of 3 attacks every single day, have landed in Israel.

 

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