Please see an overview of the situation in the south of Israel as of 1:30 PM November 18 2012:
- As of November 18, 2012, the number of rockets and mortars fired at Israeli civilians from Gaza for 2012 stood at more than 1,700. More than three million Israelis live within range of rocket and mortar attacks.
- All kindergartens and schools remain closed within a 40-kilometer radius of the Gaza border.
- All places of work remain closed within a 7-kilometer radius of the Gaza border. Civil Defense officials have instructed all residents within this area to remain within a maximum 15 seconds from a bomb shelter or protected area – the amount of time residents have to reach shelter once radar detects incoming projectiles and triggers air raid sirens.
- Since the beginning of Operation Pillar of Defense, the IDF and news reports this morning indicate the Iron Dome neutralized at least 277 rockets aimed at Israeli civilians including eight rockets Sunday morning fired at the Tel Aviv area, Ashkelon and Ashdod, home to a combined population of more than one million.
- Israel deployed a fifth battery of Iron Dome short-range defensive missile system to protect the Tel Aviv region of approximately 1.5 million people.
- More than 820 rockets and mortars fired from Gaza since the beginning of Operation Pillar of Defense.
- On November 18, 2012 Israel continues to mobilize some 75,000 reservists and move them towards Gaza for a possible ground operation to stop the rocket fire on Israeli towns and cities.
- News report that the IDF appeared to take over the frequencies of the radio stations of Hamas and Islamic Jihad to broadcast a recorded, Arabic-language warning to the people of Gaza to stay away from Hamas installations and personnel.
- On Sunday morning, dozens more rockets were fired at southern towns and cities. Several more rockets were fired at the Tel Aviv area. The IDF reported that Iron Dome neutralized one rocket fired at Tel Aviv, and news reports said another rocket exploded in an open area.
- The Israeli Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), responsible for implementing the government's policy vis-à-vis the Gaza Strip, reports the following:
- Gaza hospitals are reported to be at 80 percent capacity, only slightly higher than intake during routine periods.
- On November 17, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories updated Palestinian Minister for Civil Affairs Hussein Al-Sheikh that despite the problematic security situation and the ongoing rocket fire, it would be possible to transfer medical supplies into Gaza.
- Today 10 Red Cross trucks with medical supplies and one UNRWA truck are scheduled to enter Gaza via Kerem Shalom Crossing. Two trucks have been designated as being of particular importance as they are carrying much needed anesthetics and bandages.
- Since the start of the operation there have been two reported incidents of light damage to medical facilities due to shocks from Israeli air strikes on terrorist infrastructure in the vicinity
- Light damage to windows and doors of the Al-Quds Hospital and the nearby Palestinian Red Crescent station in the Gaza district. Two Al Quds workers also sustained light injuries.
- Light damage to windows in the A-Karma hospital in the Jabaliya district.
- Senior U.S. State Department Official said: "The United States is focused on trying to de-escalate the situation, but equally focused on the fact that it is just simply unacceptable for Hamas to continue – and its allies to continue firing rockets into Israel, including into the Tel Aviv and Jerusalem areas, that that has to stop immediately, and that a sustainable and endurable outcome can only come about if Hamas stops using Gaza to threaten and attack Israeli towns, cities, villages, et cetera. So she [U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton] is carrying that message to her counterparts in the hopes that they will use their leverage and influence with Hamas to get them to cease their attacks and then to bring about a de-escalation where we can get to an end to the violence."
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