War Summary, Day One Hundred and Sixteen: The Wall Street Journal ran a front page exposé on UNRWA, a Palestinian terrorist attempted to stab soldiers at an army base in the Shomron but was quickly eliminated, and White House spokesman John Kirby says that the White House believes they we are “moving in the right direction on the way to a hostage release deal.”
By Mrs. Bruria Efune
War Summary, Day One Hundred and Sixteen:
136 held captive in Gaza.
110 hostages freed.
11 hostage bodies rescued.
34 hostages confirmed murdered in Gaza.
1,400+ Israelis murdered.
220 fallen soldiers in the battle in Gaza.
5 fallen soldiers in Northern Israel.
3 fallen soldiers in Judea & Samaria.
12,900 rockets fired at Israel.
187,533 Israelis displaced from their homes.
1 Jewish nation united in prayer, charity, and good deeds.
White House spokesman John Kirby says that the White House believes they we are “moving in the right direction on the way to a hostage release deal.”
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken sees “real hope” for a deal to release hostages from Gaza after talks in Paris. He claims, “The proposal that is on the table is strong and convincing, and again offers hope that we can return to this process. But Hamas will have to make its own decisions.”
At 10:30 pm Hamas announced that it rejects the proposal of the mediators in the deal for the release of the hostages, and put out a statement announcing: “Israel must cease its aggression and withdraw from the Gaza Strip before a deal can be made.”
The Tikva Forum representing some of the families of the hostages put out a statement about the potential deal: “We cannot agree to any deal that divides the hostages. Any deal that does not include everyone, without any criteria, will bury in Gaza those who are not included in the deal. The Shalit deal exploded before our eyes on Simchat Torah. The hostages must be returned by force or through the subjugation of Hamas, by making them that the hostages are a burden and not an asset.”
The are two primary groups representing the hostage families, the most well-known is the Hostages and Missing Persons Families Forum, which operates the large-scale campaigns and tries to represent the majority and avoid politics, though they do tend to lean more to the left, in a representation of the kibbutzim where many hostages were taken from. The Tikva Forum leans to the right, and mostly represents families of soldiers, but not exclusively.
Rumors about the deal say it includes the release of a huge amount of deadly terrorists from Israel’s prisons, and two months pause in fighting. Some rumors also claim a complete end to the fighting in exchange for peace with the Saudis.
The Prime Minister’s Office put out a statement in response to the rumors: “The reports about the deal are incorrect and include conditions that are not acceptable to Israel. We will continue until complete victory.”
Gaza Front Updates:
For the first time in 6 weeks, Hamas fired a barrage of rockets at the Tel Aviv area. Shrapnel fell in various areas, including a particularly large chunk in Rishon Letziyon, but thank G-d no physical injury or serious damage was reported.
Thank G-d, the IDF did not announce any fallen heroes today!
Yesterday and last night, the IDF carried out a surprise intensive operation in Gaza City, especially in the Shati neighborhood. Gaza City is already largely under IDF control, but they haven’t yet searched every single building, and so many Hamas holdouts remain, as well as weapons caches and hidden rocket launchers. An intensive operation like this one is usually based off intelligence pointing to specific locations.
During the operation, IDF troops eliminated more than 30 Hamas terrorists, some in direct clashes with both artillery and air support. The troops also found many weapons and rocket launchers. The Air Force also hit anti-tank missile launch sites, tunnel entrances, observation posts, and other infrastructure belonging to Hamas.
In Khan Younis, the IDF is advancing both west and south, and also closing in on the besieged center of the city. The troops eliminated many Hamas terrorists, including four who were shooting from next to the Al-Amal Hospital. IDF troops also raided a Palestinian Islamic Jihad apartment, where they found many weapons used by the terror groups.
The IDF estimates that two thirds of the terrorists in Khan Younis have been eliminated.
The IDF released footage of a Hamas tunnel found under Bani Suheila cemetery in Khan Yunis. The tunnel was used as a command center and hideout for senior Hamas officials, and had a command room, living quarters, a prayer room, and all the necessary luxury accommodations for Hamas elite.
It is estimated that the IDF has so far destroyed 20% of the 500 km of tunnels which Hamas has built over the last 10 years.
UNRWA Expose Updates:
In follow up to the incredible work by Hillel Neuer of UN Watch, the Wall Street Journal ran a front page expose on UNRWA. The report says that an estimated 1,200 UNRWA employees in Gaza are actual “operatives” of Hamas or Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and about half have close relatives who belong to the Islamist terrorist organizations, according to Israeli intelligence estimates shared with the U.S. government.
23% of UNRWA’s male employees—the agency has a total staff of 12,000 in Gaza—took active part in the Hamas’s military or political framework. This is a higher percentage than the average of 15% for adult males in Gaza—meaning, an UNRWA employee is more likely to be a terrorist than any other person in Gaza.
The Oct. 7 intelligence reports seen by the Wall Street Journal identified an UNRWA Arabic teacher who was also a Hamas terrorist commander and took part in a terrorist attack on Kibbutz Be’eri. An UNRWA social worker played a role in absconding with the body of a dead Israeli soldier, which was taken to Gaza. He also coordinated trucks and munitions distributions for Hamas, before being killed.
US Secretary of State Blinken called the report both deeply concerning and credible, and said, “It is imperative that UNRWA immediately, as it said it would, investigate, that it hold people accountable as necessary, and that it review its procedures.”
Foreign Minister Israel Katz instructed Foreign Ministry employees to cancel their planned meetings with the Commissioner-General of UNRWA, Philippe Lazzarini, and wrote: ”UNRWA employees participated in the terrorist attack on October 7. Lazzarini must draw conclusions and resign. Terrorist aides are not are welcome here.” Lazzarini was scheduled to meet in Israel on Wednesday with Foreign Ministry officials to discuss introducing more aid to the Gaza Strip.
Gaza Humanitarian Efforts Updates:
The “Order 9” protest movement once again arrived at the Kerem Shalom crossing crossing to protest the transfer of aid to Gaza while hostages are still being held. The police were instructed to prevent the protesters from blocking the trucks, but it’s unclear how successful they were.
The IDF reported that today 88 trucks were inspected at the Nitzana crossings and transferred to Gaza via the Rafah crossing. 25 of the trucks carried food.
Yesterday, (Jan. 28) 4 tankers of cooking gas and 2 tankers of fuel designated for the operation of essential infrastructure in Gaza, have entered the Gaza Strip.
16 trucks which made their way from Jordan were transferred to the Gaza Strip, as well as 7 ambulances donated by Turkey.
4 warehouses, designated to enhance the logistic capacity of the international organizations receiving the humanitarian aid within the Gaza Strip, were established.
12 bakeries, providing 2 million pita breads a day are operational with additional ones in the planning process.
Today, (Jan. 29) between 10:00 and 14:00, the IDF will pause operations in the Al- Shaboura neighborhood in Rafah, southern Gaza, in order to enable movement of humanitarian aid.
Northern Front Updates:
Hezbollah fired several rockets and anti-tank missiles into Israel’s far north today. Two soldiers were injured by one attack, and were evacuated to the hospital where they’re reported to be in good condition.
Hezbollah claims that they fired Burkan rockets at an IDF army base on the border. Burkan rockets have particularly heavy warheads.
The IDF continued attacking Hezbollah targets in Southern Lebanon. Hezbollah announced the death of their 175th terrorist since the beginning of the war.
Syrian media reports an air strike near Saida Zainab, a stronghold of the pro-Iranian Shiite militias south of the capital Damascus. Syria claims is was an Israeli attack.
Houthi War Front Updates:
The Houthis in Yemen launched a rocket at an American warship in the Gulf of Aden.
Judea and Samaria and Terrorism Updates:
A soldier was seriously wounded in a car-ramming attack in Haifa. A terrorist rammed his car into the soldier, before emerging with an axe, whereupon he was neutralized by a nearby IDF commander.
In a Judea and Samaria army base, a Palestinian terrorist attempted to stab soldiers, but was quickly eliminated.
During an operation in Yamun, a Palestinian man who was wanted for ties to terrorism opened fire on IDF forces who quickly eliminated him. Nineteen wanted Palestinians were arrested in counter-terrorism raids across Judea and Samaria last night, including in the cities of Jenin, Shechem (Nablus), Askar, and Balata. While in Jenin, IDF engineering vehicles located explosive devices hidden under the roads. Also in Jenin, terrorists opened fire on IDF forces.
The IDF is currently reported to be operating in Tulkarim and Poor al Shams.
Since October 7th, IDF troops have arrested more than 2,960 Palestinians from Judea and Samaria who are wanted for association with terror groups, including over 1,350 who are affiliated with Hamas.