Hezbollah may implement its plan to invade northern Israel if a third Lebanon war breaks out, according to an estimate by the IDF Northern Command. Sources in Israel have identified a change in the Shiite terror group's policies, which Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has defined as "breaking the silence."
Hamas defiantly vowed, after the killing of three of its senior commanders by Israel, that it would be "strengthened" in its quest "to lift the siege on Gaza" and "liberate Jerusalem and Palestine from the neo-Nazi occupier who destroys houses and kills women and children." Meanwhile, Israel is closer to a full-scale ground operation than any point since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge, an Israeli minister told Israel's Army Radio.
Israel killed three of Hamas' senior commanders in overnight strikes as at least 168 rockets were launched at Israel since midnight breaking the previous high of 154 rockets fired in a day. Meanwhile, Israeli ministers called on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not to wage a 'war of attrition' with Hamas, but to overwhelm the terrorist organization with military force.
Hamas violated an extended ceasefire some 8 hours before it was set to expire by firing over 50 rockets into Israel on Tuesday evening. Israel responded by killing a Hamas military chief and destroying some 30 terror targets in Gaza. Hamas' armed wing, the al-Qassam Brigades, said Israel had 'opened the gates of hell on itself' by the killings and warned that the Jewish state would pay for its crimes. Israel recalled 2,000 reservists, as it prepares for a possible ground operation into the Gaza Strip.
Israel withdrew its diplomatic team from Egypt, after Hamas launched 20 rockets at Israeli cities, saying it will not negotiate under fire. Israel Defense Forces struck terrorist sites throughout the Gaza Strip as fighting has renewed.
Israel has reportedly agreed to extend the current ceasefire in Gaza Strip Wednesday as indirect Israel-Palestinian negotiations over extending a truce in Gaza got underway in Cairo. However, Hamas was quick to deny the reports, saying it will renew fire at Israel as soon as the current lull has ended, Ynet News reported. Meanwhile, EU powers proposed Gaza rehabilitation in exchange for disarmament.
Over the weekend, Israel completed its demolition of Hamas terror tunnels and began withdrawing its troops from the Gaza Strip ahead of Tisha B'Av, which begins Monday night. Meanwhile, the U.N. condemned Israel for not sharing its Iron Dome technology with Hamas, saying Israel committed war crimes by not "protecting" Gazan citizens from misfired Hamas rockets that land within the Gaza Strip. Last week, there were scores of misfired rockets by Hamas that killed dozens of Palestinian citizens. On the diplomatic front, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the White House not to 'second guess' him on dealing with Hamas.
Israel and Hamas have agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire beginning Friday morning. While Israel has said it will observe the ceasefire, the IDF will continue to destroy terror tunnels. Meanwhile, three IDF soldiers were killed Wednesday morning in an explosion at a booby-trapped United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA) health clinic. However, UNRWA claims the building was not registered leading to speculation Hamas stole UNRWA signs and placed it throughout the building. Gazan health officials place the death toll at over 1,400 while the IDF casualty toll grew to 61.
As Hamas continues to use hospitals, schools and mosques to wage war against Israel, at least 15 were killed and as many as 200 more were wounded at a UN school, as the IDF and Hamas exchanged fire. Meanwhile, Hamas called for the start of a third intifada, and the Palestinian Authority called for a "Day of Rage" today.