Day 39 of War in Eretz Yisroel: More Successes, More Losses

Golani soldiers took over the governor's house in Gaza City

A summary of important updates from Eretz Yisroel over the past 24 hours, authored by Mrs. Bruria Efune: Day thirty-nine since the start of the war.

By Mrs. Bruria Efune

War Summary, Day Thirty-Nine

239 confirmed kidnapped.
5 hostages freed.
1,200+ Israelis murdered.
46 fallen soldiers since entering Gaza.
7,262 injured.
10,000+ rockets fired at Israel.
500,000+ Israelis displaced from their homes.
1 Jewish nation united in prayer, charity, and good deeds.

A lot of important things happened in the last 24 hours. I did my best to summarize clearly.

Hostage & Injured Updates:

Sadly, the IDF announced the death of Corporal Noa Marciano, 19, from Modi’in, who was kidnapped to Gaza and appeared in a Hamas video. IDF spokesman, Brigadier General Daniel Hagari, sent his condolences to the Marciano family and addressed the families of the abductees, “We are doing everything to bring your loved ones home.”

250 relatives of hostages arrived in the U.S. last night, and prayed at “the Ohel,” the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s resting place, for the hostages release.

Negotiation efforts to release the hostages continue. Shin Bet chief, Ronen Bar visited Egypt today to discuss a possible deal.

A senior Israeli political official told the ABC news network that progress has been made in negotiations for a deal to release the hostages in Gaza, and it is possible that a breakthrough will be reached in the next 48-72 hours. According to the source, the war cabinet met tonight to discuss the deal.

According to a Reuters report, US President Joe Biden referred to the possibility of a deal, saying: “I believe it’s going to happen.” During his speech at the White House, Biden added: “Hold on, we’re coming.”

Minister Benny Gantz, who is in the emergency war cabinet, stressed that no deal would bring a complete ceasefire. He said, “We are continuing, deepening and expanding the maneuver. I emphasize – even if a temporary ceasefire is required for the return of abductees—there will be no stopping of the war. We will continue until we achieve the goals.”

In other efforts, Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, along with family members of abductees in Gaza, travelled to meet with the Secretary-General of the World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros Jeversos, and the president of the Red Cross organization, Miriana Spolirik, in Geneva. Neither Jeversos or Spolirik have made any moves for the hostages thus far.

Gaza Front Updates:

There was a spike in rocket fire from Gaza compared to the last week, although still significantly down from earlier. Two falls we made in Ashkelon, causing heavy damage to homes and cars. Two men in their 30s are in a minor condition, with head injuries, and two people were treated for shock. A fall in Tel Aviv Beverly injured a 20-year-old man, and moderately injured a 43-year-old woman.

Today, after 38 days of agony, the last two missing Israelis from Kibbutz Be’eri were identified. Liel Hezroni, a 12 year old whose brother was also murdered, and Vivian Silver, a 74 year old woman and prominent peace activist.

The IDF announced the names of two soldiers who fell in combat in Gaza yesterday:

Sergeant Roi Marom, 21, from Ra’anana
Raz Abulafia, 27, from Mashfon

In the last day, the Air Force attacked about 200 terrorist targets of Hamas, including terrorists, munitions production sites, anti-tank missile launch sites and military headquarters.

According to reports, today the IDF assassinated a key member of Hamas, and close friend of Hamas Chief, Yahya Sinwar; Ahmed Andor, commander of the military in northern Gaza, often considered number three in command.

Last night the IDF’s 162nd Division completed the capture of the al-Shati camp. This is a huge milestone for two reasons:

  1. The camp was home to a primary Hamas stronghold, and its capture was very difficult. According to the IDF, almost every other home in al-Shati was booby-trapped.
  2. This puts the IDF inches away from completing the circle around northern Gaza, including Hamas Headquarters in Gaza City. The 162nd Division entered Gaza from the North, and worked its way capturing cities along the coast. After capturing al-Shati, they will be an easy battle away from linking up with the 36th Division, which entered from the east, and then worked through the coast towards the north.

The 162nd Division is now working to methodically clear the al-Shati area of any Hamas infrastructure, including tunnels and caches of weapons, which are repeatedly found in mosques, schools, and hospitals. The division has already dismantled Hamas’s command and control systems in the area. While the vision has full control of the area, they are still cautious of lone terrorists in hiding, or remaining booby-traps.

The commander of the 162nd Division, Brig. Gen. Itzik Cohen, said “The forces of the division killed over 1,000 terrorists from the beginning of the ground maneuver and reduced by about 80 percent the amount of rocket fire towards Israel from the north of the Gaza Strip.”

The biggest battle in Gaza is now beginning—the battle of Shifa Hospital, where Hamas built their headquarters and is likely holding some of the captives. Yesterday the IDF conveyed to the relative authorities that after a month’s warning, they now had 12 hours left to evacuate before the IDF advances on the hospital. Ahead of this, it was announced that Al-Quds Hospital had been successfully evacuated.

According to international law, a hospital which is used as a military outpost loses its protection status, so long as a reasonable amount of evacuation time is given first. The IDF determined that Shifa Hospital has long past lost its legal protection status.

White House National Security Spokesman, John Kirby, announced that independent U.S. intelligence backs the IDF claims that Hamas commands from inside Shifa Hospital. “I can confirm for you that we have information that Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad use some hospitals in the Gaza Strip, including Al Shifa, had tunnels underneath them, to conceal and to support their military operations and to hold hostages.” He added unequivocally that it is a war crime.

At 2:00 a.m., early Wednesday morning, the IDF announced, “IDF forces are carrying out a precise and targeted operation against Hamas in a specified area in the Shifa Hospital, based on intelligence information and an operational necessity.
The IDF is conducting a ground operation in Gaza to defeat Hamas and rescue our hostages. Israel is at war with Hamas, not with the civilians in Gaza.
The IDF forces include medical teams and Arabic speakers, who have undergone specified training to prepare for this complex and sensitive environment, with the intent that no harm is caused to the civilians being used by Hamas as human shields.”

After this announcement, the IDF entered Shifa Hospital. This is an operation that will need a lot of prayers for the safety and success of our soldiers.

Gaza civilians are slowly beginning to feel some freedom to criticize Hamas. Today, in a hospital in Gaza, the Al-Jazeera channel turned to a wounded elderly man for comment. On live TV, the man said, “Why is the resistance (Hamas) hiding among the people? Go hide in hell.” The Al Jazeera reporter quickly pulled the microphone away.

Gaza Humanitarian Efforts Updates:

The IDF continued attempts to bring fuel, incubators, and supplies to Shifa Hospital. Hamas did not allow any of the supplies to be collected from the door.

Major General Rasan Aliyan of COGAT addressed the public in the Gaza Strip through his Facebook account in Arabic: “The IDF is fighting Hamas and the IDF will bring down Hamas. Hamas has brought war on you—and its leadership spends time in hotel spas or hides under to the ground in the tunnels. Hamas-ISIS humiliated you and abandoned you to your fate. Humanitarian aid exists in the south of the Gaza Strip; food, water, and shelter. For your sake and for the sake of your children – stay away from Hamas.”

The humanitarian corridors were again open for Gaza civilians from the north to evacuate to the south, as they were requested to do over a month ago. IDF soldiers once again guarded the evacuees from Hamas fire, and assisted them with water and other needs. The IDF spokesman announced in Arabic that the residents of the neighborhoods of Zeitoun Tel al-Hua and Sabra, in Gaza City, should evacuate immediately, for their own safety. Hamas has been doing everything they can to prevent civilians from evacuating, although many Hamas fighters hid between the civilians and m over south themselves.

Northern Front Updates:

Fire came from both Lebanon and Syria today, in the form of missiles and explosive drones. It was mostly isolated to the far north, though a drone was intercepted over the sea near Acre (as per protocol, no siren was triggered on land, since it wasn’t necessary). All missiles and drones were successfully intercepted by the IDF, other than two which landed shorten Syrian territory.

The IDF responded by attacking terrorist sites in both Lebanon and Syria. The response is still moderate, and looks as if the IDF is still trying to avoid a larger scale operation or war in the north.

Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke to the leaders of areas under fire in the north, and said, “I do not suggest that Hezbollah try the State of Israel – that would be the mistake of their lives. We are obligated to restore security to the citizens of Israel – both in the south and in the north. That is what we will do.”

It still remains undefined as to what Hezbollah needs to do for it to be considered a full provocation, and what the IDF will do to restore quiet in the north if not for a complete operation or war.

Eilat War Fronts Updates

The Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen fired at Eilat, triggering air-raid sirens twice today. Both times, the IDF intercepted the ballistic missiles shortly before they crossed into Israeli territory.

The leader of the Houthi militia in Yemen, Abd al-Malak al-Houthi, gave a speech today in which he claimed that yesterday missiles and UAVs were once again launched against Israel. Al-Malk also mocked the summit that took place in Saudi Arabia on Saturday. “A summit that they say represents all Muslims, only issues messages? Are these the capabilities of 57 Arab and Islamic countries?”

It takes 10 minutes for a missile launched from the edge of Yemen to reach Eilat, which gives the IDF ample time to intercept it. It’s unlikely that any Houthi missile will ever cause damage in Eilat, but concerning for two other reasons:

  1. Iran is likely using the Houthis as testing grounds for what they can get away with, and how they can fire heavier weapons into Israel.
  2. 60,000 displaced Israelis are in Eilat right now, most of them from Gaza Envelope communities, and a significant majority with severe PTSD from Hamas rocket fire and the October 7th massacre. These people were brought to Eilat so that they could heal in a usually quiet place, away from air-raid sirens. Many of the adults and children experience complete panic attacks with every siren.

Judea and Samaria Updates:

The IDF Kfar Brigade spent 15 hours in Tulkarm, during which they eliminated 7 terrorists, destroyed an explosives laboratory, and uncovered dozens of explosives on the roads. The brigade also used a tractor to destroy a monument erected in memory of Yasser Arafat.

According to Palestinian sources, in the village of Urif, south of Shchem (Nablus), the security forces destroyed the house of Mohand Shahada, one of the terrorists who killed four Israelis in Eli, six months ago.

International Updates:

Over 290,000 Jews and supporters turned up for the rally in Washington in support of Israel and against antisemitism, making it the Jewish community’s largest turnout ever. The previous record gathering was 250,000 to free Soviet Jewry in 1987.

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