Gaza Conflict Day 15: Here’s What You Need To Know

July 22, 2014

As Israel’s offensive against Hamas entered its 15th day, Secretary of State John Kerry was in Cairo pressing for a truce modeled after the 2012 cease-fire.

Still, the violence continued unabated with the death toll on both sides rising: More than 500 Palestinians and 25 Israeli soldiers and two Israeli civilians have been killed.

With that here’s what you need to know:

— Delta says it suspended service to and from Tel Aviv, citing the “safety and security” of its customers and employees.

“Delta flight 468, a Boeing 747 from JFK with 273 passengers and 17 crew, diverted to Paris-Charles de Gaulle Tuesday after reports of a rocket or associated debris near the airport in Tel Aviv,” the airline said in a statement.

In a similar statement, United also said it was suspending service to/from Tel Aviv “until further notice.” (Added at 11:38 a.m. ET.)

— Later today, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to meet with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

“Ban was traveling to the region to discuss [an] effort to reach a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip,” the Jerusalem Post reports.

Reuters quotes Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, the prime minister’s most dovish cabinet member, saying “a ceasefire is not near.”

“I see no light at the end of the tunnel,” the wire service quotes her saying.

— In Gaza City, USA Today reports that this Israeli offensive has “led many Palestinians to express their support for Hamas.” The paper reports:

“‘We faced two Israeli wars before but this one is the most bloodiest and most cruel,’ said Abu Awni, 38, of Gaza City. ‘Civilians are attacked in their homes. I’m against Hamas, but when Israel is killing my family, then I will join Hamas.’

“‘The world must wake up and stop consuming Israeli propaganda,’ he added. ‘More than half of the population in Gaza is not affiliated with Hamas. But we have been collectively punished.'”

The Washington Post reports Israel says one of its soldiers is missing, but it is not known if he is dead or alive.

“The development,” the paper reports, “could complicate diplomatic efforts underway to stop the conflict between Israel and Hamas as it enters its third week.”

— NPR’s Emily Harris visited Al-Aksa hospital in the middle of the Gaza strip that was shelled yesterday.

“Four people were killed, according to hospital officials,” Emily tells our Newscast unit. “Israel says it’s ‘initial investigation suggests’ anti tank missiles were stored nearby.”

“It’s clear that more than one rocket or shell hit the hospital. Judging by the pattern of shrapnel gouges in the concrete and charr marks on the ceiling, it looked like at least two rooms on the fourth floor were directly hit. At least one missile travelled through three rooms, making a series of holes in a walls. Other rooms had broken windows, broken beds. Supplies were on the floor, the ceiling lights were twisted. There had been shelling in the area – I could see a building close by was also hit. And it smelled different that the rest of the hospital,” Emily reported. “On the ground floor, when we came in, someone was mopping and its smelled sort of soapy clean. Upstairs, as soon as we entered the hospital units that were damaged, it was dusty, chalky kind of smell.”

— Correspondent Daniel Estrin tells our Newscast unit that the Israel’s military says it has killed 10 militants today “who had infiltrated Israel through tunnels.” Israel also said that militants fired at least a dozen rockets into Israel today. For the first time, one of those rockets landed in the Tel Aviv area.

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