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Jul-26-2014 22:41printcomments

Battle in Gaza Hits Day 20 as Death Toll Passes 1,000

Rocket barrage fired toward southern and central Israel after cabinet agrees to extend humanitarian ceasefire.

Israeli troops
Israeli troops move towards the border with the Gaza Strip Sunday morning. Photo Courtesy: AFP

(TEL AVIV) - An Israel Defense Forces soldier was killed early on Sunday by a mortar shell near the Gaza border as Israel's Operation Protective Edge entered its 20th day.

Hours earlier, Israel's security cabinet voted to extend a humanitarian cease-fire that began on Saturday morning until midnight Sunday. Nevertheless, sparse rocket fire from Gaza continued throughout the night.

A Hamas spokesman responded to the Israeli extension by saying that any ceasefire that doesn't ensure that the IDF pulls out of Gaza and the evacuation of the injured is not acceptable.

Two other Israeli soldiers who were previously injured in the fighting died of their wounds on Saturday evening. The latest deaths bring the IDF death toll to 43.

In Gaza, the total death count passed the 1,000 mark as the humanitarian cease-fire allowed rescue workers to recover bodies from buildings destroyed in Israeli strikes.

Latest Updates from Gaza:

8:30 A.M. The Iron Dome intercepts a rocket fired toward the Sharon Plain, in central Israel.

8:20 A.M. Iron Dome intercepts rocket fired toward central Israel (Haaretz)Rocket barrage fired toward southern and central Israel.

8:10 A.M. Rocket sirens sound in towns across Israel's south, including Ashdod and Ashkelon.

7:14 A.M. An Israeli soldier was killed near the Gaza border by a mortar shell fired from the Strip overnight. The IDF names the soldier as Sergeant First Class (res.) Barak Refael Degorker, 27, from Gan Yavne. An additional soldier was lightly wounded.

6:55 A.M. Since midnight three projectiles fired from Gaza exploded in Israel – all in open fields. Earlier this morning rocket sirens sounded in the Eshkol Regional Council. The IDF did not attack Gaza in response. A senior IDF officer told Haaretz: "We are running this like any other military operation and everything is being considered. When we need to attack we will attack. That's not a problem. Right now we are continuing our main activity – uncovering the tunnels within the timeframe of the humanitarian cease-fire." (Gili Cohen)

5:55 A.M. Rocket sirens sound in several towns in the Eshkol Regional Council.

5:05 A.M. Rocket sirens sound in a couple of Israeli towns near Gaza.

1:08 A.M. A Hamas spokesman responds to the Israeli extension of the humanitarian pause in fighting, saying: "Any cease-fire that doesn't ensure that the IDF pulls out of Gaza and the evacuation of the injured is not acceptable to Hamas." (Jack Khoury)

12:08 A.M. Two people are wounded in a rocket explosion in the Sdot Negev Regional Council. One sustains serious injuries, the other light injuries. (Shirly Seidler)

11:59 P.M. The Israeli security cabinet voted to extend a humanitarian pause in fighting until midnight Sunday, as per the UN's request. During this period, the IDF will continue to neutralize Gaza tunnels. Ministers Bennett, Lieberman, and Aharonovich voted against the extension.

Source: Haaretz/Reuters

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