War Day 141: Hostage Negotiations, Preparation for War in the North

War Summary, Day One Hundred and Forty-One: Talks of hostage release for Ramadan ceasefire, Hamas drops demands out of fear of Rafah takeover, and missile boats doing exercises in preparation for a war in the north.

By Mrs. Bruria Efune

134 held captive in Gaza.
112 hostages freed.
11 hostage bodies rescued.
32 hostages confirmed murdered in Gaza.
1,400+ Israelis murdered.
238 fallen soldiers in the battle in Gaza.
6 fallen soldiers in Northern Israel.
3 fallen soldiers in Judea & Samaria.
14,900 injured.
13,350 rockets fired at Israel.
186,000 Israelis displaced from their homes.
1 Jewish nation united in prayer, charity, and good deeds.

Hostage Updates:

Amongst American reports of progress negotiating with Hamas, the Israeli War Cabinet has decided to send an Israeli delegation to continue the negotiations for a deal to release hostages in Qatar. It is beginning to look possible that there will be a ceasefire agreement for the duration of Ramadan.

Meanwhile, Tahar al-Nunu, the adviser to Ismael Haniyah who is the political leader of Hamas, denied reports of concessions in the negotiations: “We talked about three main things – the immediate and permanent cessation of aggression and the end of the war; ending all military presence in the Strip; and the lifting of the blockade and the beginning of the restoration of the Strip.” In an interview with Al-Jazeera, Al-Nunu said that these are the basic conditions, and it is impossible to talk about “temporary peace” and it is impossible to give up on these issues.

There are conflicting rumors about a new hostage release deal being negotiating. According to some reports, Hamas has agreed to release all the hostages during a six week pause in fighting. According to other reports, only 40 hostages will be released. It also appears that Hamas may have dropped the demand for the release of 1,500 dangerous terrorists. It appears that Hamas is conceding, out of fear of an imminent IDF maneuver into Rafah.

Mediators say that Hamas’s military leader under Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, is back in communication with Haniyeh, although the communication is slow.

Gaza Front Updates:

On Friday, Hamas fired rockets at civilians in Kibbutz Nachal Oz, in the Gaza Envelope.

The IDF announced the name of a hero who fell in battle in Gaza: Maj. Eyal Shuminov, 24, from Karmiel.

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi again emphasized that military pressure is the most effective way to obtain a release deal from the terrorists.

Halevi told soldiers: “Your achievements; another [Hamas] battalion that you dismantle, another underground infrastructure, another neighborhood where [Hamas] infrastructure is destroyed, and the population evacuates to safe areas, all these things push us, I very much hope, to achieve the release of the hostages. This is the goal of war, we intend to do a great deal to realize it, and the combat effort is the most effective action that helps those who are negotiating for the release of the hostages.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also emphasized that military pressure leads to the hostages release—along with “assertive negotiations.” He added that the War Cabinet will be meeting in the coming days to approve the IDF’s plans for a maneuver in Gaza and the evacuation of civilians there. Netanyahu said the IDF is working for both—another agreement for the release of the hostages, and the completion of the elimination of Hamas in Gaza: “Only a combination of military pressure and firm negotiations will lead to the release of our hostages, the elimination of Hamas, and the achievement of all the war’s goals.”

The IDF has been battling in Zeitoun in Gaza city, and in Khan Younis. In both areas, the IDF found tunnel shafts, weapons caches, and eliminated dozens of terrorists—mostly by IDF sniper fire or called in drone strikes. The IDF also struck Hamas targets in Central Gaza by air.

Chief-of-Staff Halevi explained that the battles in Northern Gaza are a return after having earlier moved through the area very quickly, without doing a thorough clearing. After interrogating many Hamas terrorists who had surrendered form those areas, and after studying the tunnel systems and gaining a better understanding of the local Hamas infrastructure, the IDF is now operating with more intelligence and understanding of the issues to remove the remaining terrorist holdouts.

Gaza Humanitarian Efforts Updates:

Over 13,000 trucks carrying over 250,000 tons of humanitarian aid entered the Gaza Strip since the start of the war.

The IDF says that there is no limit to the amount of humanitarian aid that can enter Gaza.

UNRWA announced that they are no longer able to deliver to Northern Gaza, due to their loss of control in the area.

Northern Front Updates:

Hezbollah has been firing heavily at Israel’s far north with assorted missiles and attack drones. Sirens were also heard as far is Ravid, which is in between Tzfat (Safed) and Tiberias—but the IDF says they were a false alarms.

80,000 Israeli civilians remain evacuated from their homes in the north since October 7th, due to dangerous Hezbollah fire. An estimated 1/4 of buildings in Israeli communities on the Lebanon border have sustained some level of damage from Hezbollah fire.

The IDF attacked back heavily, but still only in Southern Lebanon. The IDF attacked Hezbollah targets by air, and shelled Hezbollah positions along the border. Hezbollah announced their 212th death, a number that has been escalating more dramatically lately, as the IDF is specifically bombing building which terrorists are seen running into.

The Israeli Navy’s fleet of missile boats have been doing extensive exercises over the last week, in preparation for a war in the north.

According to a report in the newspaper “A-Sharq Al-Awast”: Lebanon hopes that a ceasefire in Gaza during Ramadan may “pave the way for the implementation of resolution 1701,” and lead to the renewal of mediation between Israel and Lebanon.

Houthi War Front Updates

Coalition forces led by the U.S. and the UK, with support from several other countries, conducted airstrikes on 18 Houthi targets in Yemen. The targets included weapons and missile storage facilities, drones, air defense systems, and radars. The U.S. Central Command says that their aim is to weaken the Houthi capabilities and stop their unlawful attacks on international ships to ensure freedom of navigation in the area.

The Houthi spokesman stated that the militia attacked an American oil tanker in the Gulf of Aden and US warships in the Red Sea. He also claimed that they will not stop their attacks until the war in Gaza ends.

The US Central Command announced that the attack by the Houthi rebels on the British oil tanker caused an oil leak of enormous proportions. It also has 41,000 tons of fertilizer, which could leak and cause a serious environmental disaster.

Judea and Samaria Updates:

The IDF and Border Police were seen operating in Tulkarem, Bethlehem, Beit Purim, Qalqilya, and al-Tawana, and arrested five wanted persons throughout Judea and Samaria, for their affiliation with terror groups.

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