War Day 143: 6m Tunnel Crossing Gaza Found, IDF Drone Shot Down

The IDF unveils a massive tunnel network connecting Central Gaza to Northern Gaza.

War Summary, Day One Hundred and Forty-Three: The IDF discovered a previously missed massive tunnel network which connected Central Gaza to Northern Gaza, a missile from Hezbollah succeeded in taking down a valuable Israeli drone, and David Edri, the husband of Rachel from Ofakim who was famous for offering the terrorists cookies, passed away.

By Mrs. Bruria Freeman

War Summary, Day One Hundred and Forty-Three:

134 held captive in Gaza.
112 hostages freed.
11 hostage bodies rescued.
33 hostages confirmed murdered in Gaza.
1,400+ Israelis murdered.
240 fallen soldiers in the battle in Gaza.
6 fallen soldiers in Northern Israel.
3 fallen soldiers in Judea & Samaria.
14,900 injured.
13,400 rockets fired at Israel.
160,000 Israelis displaced from their homes.
1 Jewish nation united in prayer, charity, and good deeds.

Hostage Updates:

According to an Egyptian source in the “Al-Arabi Al-Jadid” newspaper, Hamas was offered a choice between releasing 15 “heavy” terrorists for each Israeli hostage or a large number—possibly up to 100–of female and juvenile terrorists to be released for each hostage.

Amidst reports that a demand of Hamas in negotiations is to allow the return of residents to the north of Gaza, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant reassured families of the hostages that this will not happen until the last hostage is returned home.

“As part of the talks, we are working to maintain pressure on Hamas,” he said. “The position of the security establishment will be clear: the full return of the residents of the northern Gaza Strip will only take place after the return of all the hostages.“

Gallant added that, “even if we reach a framework that requires a temporary truce, we will return to fighting to eliminate the Hamas organization and to return all the hostages.”

Gaza Front Updates:

Hamas fired rockets twice at Israelis civilian communities in the Gaza Envelope area.

The IDF is continuing with battles in multiple locations across the Gaza Strip. The IDF is still using an advanced combination of land-air-sea cooperation, in which the troops call in air strikes or backup support to eliminate terrorists who attack them—when it is safe to do so.

In Northern Gaza, the operation in Zeitoun, Gaza City, is ongoing. In the last day alone, IDF troops eliminated over 30 terrorists in the neighborhood.

The IDF discovered a previously missed massive tunnel network which connected Central Gaza to Northern Gaza. The tunnel was over 10 kilometers long and passed under the Turkish-Palestinian Friendship Hospital and a nearby university, before ending in the Zeitoun neighborhood. The tunnel was being used by both the Central Gaza and Gaza City brigades to transfer terrorists between the two areas. This tunnel may have been the primary way in which Hamas repopulated Zeitoun with terrorists.

Inside the tunnel, the IDF found living quarters with kitchens, beds, and bathrooms, as well as weapons depots and the bodies of several Hamas terrorists. The IDF destroyed major sections of the tunnel.

In Central Gaza, which is still home to two largely intact Hamas battalions, IDF troops are primarily in the Shati area, and eliminated over 10 terrorists in the last day.

In Southern Gaza, Khan Younis is still seeing intense battles, mainly in the east and west of the city, and troops eliminated numerous terrorists.

Israeli media today filled with reports claiming that on the midnight of the October 7th attack, the IDF identified 1,000 SIM cards being activated on the phones of Hamas members inside Gaza. This was reported to have been released by the IDF censor.

The IDF responded that these reports are largely “false and far from reality.” The IDF says that what happened is that “several indicative signs accumulated, which included, among other things, the activation of just dozens of SIMs, which were activated in previous events in the past.”

While a thorough investigation will only be launched after the war, it is largely understood that the IDF and government ignored many warning signs ahead of the attack, under the assumption that Hamas was deterred from doing any such thing. Additionally, Hamas carried out many similar exercises, including activating many SIMS at once, in the years and especially months leading up to the attack, leading the IDF to assume that it was just another false alarm.

Gaza Humanitarian Efforts Updates:

245 trucks carrying humanitarian aid were inspected and transferred to the Gaza Strip yesterday. 154 were inspected and transferred via Kerem Shalom, and 91 via Nitzana.

The IDF coordinated a convoy of 17 trucks of humanitarian aid to northern Gaza.  

4 tankers of cooking gas and 3 tankers of fuel designated for the operation of essential infrastructure in Gaza, entered the Gaza Strip.

A United Arab Emirates floating hospital docked at El-Arish in Egypt and began treating patients from Gaza. The hospital is equipped for treatment in various fields of specialization, and is part of the comprehensive medical response for Gazan patients.

20 bakeries are operational in Gaza, providing over 2.5 million breads, rolls, and pita breads a day for the local population. Over the last 2 weeks, the number of operational bakeries went up from 10, to 12, to 15 and now to 20, following the IDF’s COGAT division’s facilitation.

Jordan delivered four plane loads of humanitarian aid to Gaza by dropping the aid with parachutes. A large amount ended up in the sea, and Gaza fisherman were recorded salvaging some of it.

Following significant evidence that hundreds of UNRWA employees took part in the October 7th massacre, and that a majority of employees are affiliated with Hamas, the UN Watch is today hosting what they called “The International Summit for a Future Beyond UNRWA.” The summit, which is being held in Geneva, is bringing light to UNRWA’s ties to Hamas, and is pushing for the organization to be replaced by the standard refugee organizations used for everyone else.

This comes as some Israeli politicians, including Minister of Housing Yitzchak Goldknopf, are pushing for UNRWA to be labeled by Israel as a terrorist organization.

Northern Front Updates:

Hezbollah fired very heavily on communities in Israel’s far north. A rocket hit a chicken coop in Shtula, and lightly injured one farmer. While 80,000 civilians have been evacuated from the far north communities, the farmers have no choice but to stay, and live in constant extreme danger.

A significant battle occurred this morning in the airspace over Lebanon, leading to a degree of escalation. Hezbollah launched surface-to-air missiles at an IDF Hermes 450 drone. The IDF used the David’s Sling to intercept the missile, but a second missile from Hezbollah succeeded in taking down the valuable drone, which fell in Lebanese territory.

In response, the IDF launched a series of airstrikes on Hezbollah targets deep into Lebanon, out of the southern area in which the IDF has contained most airstrikes until now. A strike was reported as far as Baalbek, in northeast Lebanon, 40 miles north of Beirut, where at least two Hezbollah terrorists were eliminated. Baalbek is considered the “strategic rear” of Hezbollah and a logistical base for the organization’s personnel. In the Second Lebanon War in 2006, the IDF bombed the city extensively.

The IDF also struck the remains of the downed drone in southern Lebanon, to prevent intelligence leaks.

Amongst the Hezbollah terrorists eliminated in air strikes today was Hassan Hussein Salami, whose rank is equivalent to that of a brigade commander. According to the IDF, Salami commanded a regional unit in Hezbollah which conducted attacks on Israeli communities and IDF soldiers in northern Israel, including in the city of Kiryat Shemona.

This escalation comes after Defense Minister Yoav Gallant made it clear that a temporary ceasefire agreement with Hamas would not lead to a ceasefire with Hezbollah—but only a withdrawal of Hezbollah to the Litani River, in compliance with UN Resolution 1701.

Houthi War Front Updates:

The US Central command reported that last night its forces shot down two one-way attack UAVs (drones) over the southern Red Sea, after it was assessed that the drones presented an imminent threat to merchant vessels and to the U.S. Navy ships in the region. A third UAV crashed from an assessed in-flight failure.

Judea and Samaria Updates:

In raids overnight, the IDF, Shin Bet and Border Police arrested 22 wanted persons throughout Judea and Samaria for their association with terror groups. In addition, terrorist funds worth over NIS 100,000 were confiscated in the Samaria area.

The Biden Administration has been pressuring the Palestinian Authority (PA) to shake up their government to remove corruption and implement a more competent structure. This is to demonstrate a willingness to work towards a trustworthy Palestinian State, which the administration is looking to unilaterally recognize.

The PA (aka Fatah, a faction of the PLO) is ruled by President Mahmoud Abbas, who was elected in 2006, and did not hold elections since. In a move symbolic of nothing practical, Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh submitted his resignation today to Palestinian President Abbas. The Prime Minister took his position in 2019, and isn’t responsible for much, since Abbas rules the government. Other members of the government followed Shtayyeh in handing in their resignation.

Shtayyeh and the others will be holding their positions as “caretaker” until Abbas appoints a new government.

Ahead of the construction of a “new and improved” party, Abbas’s party is set to have unity talks with the Hamas branch of the region. While Abbas’s popularity is at an all-time low amongst Palestinians, Hamas is seeing extreme popularity, and is expected to hold positions in the new corruption-free reformed government with which the U.S. wants to establish a Palestinian State in historic Judea and Samaria.

Last week, the Israeli Knesset voted on a resolution which stated that a move like this would be a reward to Hamas for their horrific terrorism.

In response to the resignation of Shtayyeh and others in the PA government, US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller commented: “An important step on the way to the unification of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank under the Palestinian Authority. Abu Mazen [aka President Abbas] told the Secretary of State that he would take steps towards reforming the PA and we welcome it.”

General Updates:

David Edri, the husband of Rochel from Ofakim passed away after some time in the hospital.
David was held hostage in his home together with Rachel on Oct 7, and together kept the terrorists distracted until the police rescued them. While he wasn’t physically injured on that day, he was left with a severe trauma that negatively affected his health.

Cpl. Ori Megidish, who was abducted by Hamas on October 7th, and rescued by the IDF after 29 days, has returned to service today. Formerly stationed as an observation soldier at the Nahal Oz post, Megidish will now be serving in the IDF’s Military Intelligence Directorate. The IDF states that her return “stemmed from her personal desire and sense of mission to serve the country.”

War Cabinet Ministers Benny Gantz and Gafni Eisenkot presented a plan which would require all Israelis, whether Charedi or Arab, to serve either in the military or national service.

This proposal comes at the same time as a bill is being prepared for vote which would extend the service time and reserve duty requirements of IDF soldiers. The plan would give those communities who are currently exempt the choice to serve in the military or in a service such as first aid and rescue, or community welfare—within their community framework.

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