War Day 146: Humanitarian Convoy Disaster, 450 Terrorists Eliminated

Rabbi Yitzhak Zeiger, 57, of Shavei Shomron, and Uria Hartum, 16, of Dolev, HYD.

War Summary, Day One Hundred and Forty-Six: At 4:45 a.m., a mob ambushed the humanitarian aid trucks and caused a riot, IDF troops eliminated over 450 terrorists in Gaza over the past 10 days, and the construction of the Egyptian shelter complex for refugees in West Khan Yunis was completed.

By Mrs. Bruria Efune

War Summary, Day One Hundred and Forty-Six:

134 held captive in Gaza.
112 hostages freed.
11 hostage bodies rescued.
33 hostages confirmed murdered in Gaza.
1,400+ Israelis murdered.
242 fallen soldiers in the battle in Gaza.
6 fallen soldiers in Northern Israel.
3 fallen soldiers in Judea & Samaria.
14,900 injured.
13,500 rockets fired at Israel.
160,000 Israelis displaced from their homes.
1 Jewish nation united in prayer, charity, and good deeds.

Hostage Updates:

Hostage release negotiations are ongoing, with reported measured progress, but no breakthroughs. According to Israel Hayom, the international parties who are mediating the negotiations, namely Qatar, Egypt, and the U.S., are interested in negotiating a complete end to the war. Israel has already made it clear that this is not an option until all the hostages are returned, and Hamas is completely dismantled.

Hamas most recently rejected the last proposal agreed on by mediators and Israel.

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, a meeting took place in Qatar, in early February, in which Hamas leadership shared concern about the IDF’s successes wearing down the Hamas military. A messenger from Yahya Sinwar, Hamas’s military head under Gaza, reassured them, saying, “Don’t worry, we have the Israelis right where we want them.”

Sinwar, who has been hiding underground for nearly five months, and may be out of touch with reality, said that Hamas is ready for the IDF to enter Rafah, and that it will be good, because “high civilian casualties would add to the worldwide pressure on Israel to stop the war.”

Gaza Front Updates:

Hamas fired rockets twice today at civilians in the Gaza Envelope area, including at Sderot, just as many of the local residents are beginning to return home. No injuries were reported.

Thank G-d, today the IDF did not announce any heroes who fell in battle in Gaza.

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant visited Northern Gaza today. He said that the IDF is preparing to maneuver into Rafah and areas of Central Gaza where the IDF has not yet entered on foot. Gallant stressed that the war will not end until Hamas is entirely dismantled. On how the IDF plans the next moves forward, he said, “We use the information we captured from the Hamas archives. There are huge amounts of information that we brought from the places we reached, computers, hard drives, servers, and other things. All this information is decoded, it is used in order to destroy the tunnels and the nerve centers of Hamas.”

Gallant also said that the tunnel network that Hamas built to fight and hide from Israel is slowly turning into their own “death trap.” And added that, “The result is very clear: [Hamas] are getting weaker with each passing day, we are getting stronger. We will go and tighten the rope around the neck of Hamas until we eliminate it,” he says.

Over the past 10 days, IDF troops eliminated over 450 terrorists in Gaza, bringing the war’s total to over 13,000.

The IDF’s large-scale operation is continuing in the Zeitoun neighborhood of Gaza City, where even more terrorists have been eliminated over the last day, as well as tunnel shafts and weapons depots. Troops also found a hidden weapons factory, with tunnel shafts, where missiles were made in the middle of the civilian neighborhood.

The IDF is also continuing in select parts of Central Gaza, mostly in Shati, where they have eliminated more terrorists and located more weapons. Overnight, heavy airstrikes were reported in Nusairat and al-Boreij.

In Khan Younis the IDF is continuing to find and eliminate terrorist squads, although Hamas no longer acts as organized battalions in the area. The IDF has also located large amounts of important intelligence in the city.

Until now, the Paratroopers Brigade have been playing a strong and leading role in the operations on ground in Gaza, and especially in Khan Younis. Today the IDF withdrew them, and replaced them with the Bislamach Brigade. The Bislamach is the brigade responsible for training infantry squad commanders and platoon sergeants, and only join combat in emergency war situations. The Bislamach has fought in Gaza multiple times before, and notably operated along the Philadelphi Route during the Second Intifada.

The Paratroopers are not yet done fighting, and after some rest and training exercises will be redeployed to a new area, which is yet to be announced.

Today, a small group of far-right activists breached a military checkpoint near the Erez border crossing, and nine of them entered into the Gaza Strip, a few of them reaching as far as 500 meters in. The IDF troops had to find and bring them back, and they were handed over to the police. The nine were arrested on suspicion of violating a general’s order, failing to comply with police officers, and assaulting them. The activists were reportedly attempting to reach an area in Gaza which had previously been a Jewish town, before it was dismantled and evacuated in the 2005 engagement.

The Humanitarian Convoy Disaster:

This incident is all over the news, with false information. The facts presented below are according to the IDF’s initial probe into the incident.

For background, it is important to remember that civilians of Gaza City were repeatedly warned to evacuate at the beginning of the war, and were recently again warned not to return, as it is still a war zone. Despite this, and although most locals did evacuate, many still remain in the area, and there is now a shortage of food due to the dangers of delivering aid into an active war zone. For the last four nights, the IDF has been delivering convoys of aid to the area, without any issues.

At 4:40 a.m. on Thursday morning, a convoy of 38 trucks carrying humanitarian aid arrived at the coast of Gaza City, in Northern Gaza, to deliver food to Palestinians in the Rimal neighborhood. The trucks drove through a humanitarian corridor, secured by the IDF, to protect civilians and the aid from Hamas. The corridor had IDF troops and tanks guarding from the side, and IDF surveillance drones in the air.

At 4:45 a.m., a mob ambushed the trucks, bringing the convoy to a halt. The mob soon turned into a stampede of thousands. Some of the truck drivers, who are Gaza civilians, continued to drive forward, and plowed through the crowd. The IDF forces securing the corridor saw that people were being hurt in the stampede and from the trucks, and so they fired warning shots into the air. No shots were fired towards the convoys, or to the Palestinians around them.

When the tank commanders saw that the crowd was growing dangerously large, they began to cautiously back up, being careful not to drive into anyone, in order to avoid an additional mob incident.

Some of the aid trucks managed to continue further north into the Rimal neighborhood, where armed men opened fire on the convoy, and looted the content.

Meanwhile, back at the coastal outskirts of the city, dozens of Palestinians who had rushed the last truck in the convoy turned around and started to move towards an IDF platoon and tank stationed nearby. As the crowd reached within ten meters of the troops, an IDF officer in the area ordered troops to fire warning shots in the air, followed moments later by shots at the legs of those who continued running towards them. A small few Palestinians were injured in this incident.

IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, emphasized that “The Israel Defense Forces operates according to the rules of engagement and international law. No IDF strike was conducted toward the aid convoy.” 

In short, according to the IDF, a few dozen were tragically killed by a stampede and the truck drivers, and a few were shot in the legs by IDF soldiers after they rushed towards an IDF position and did not heed warning shots.

According to Hamas health officials, 104 Palestinians were killed and 760 injured by the IDF while waiting patiently in Gaza City.

The IDF released an aerial video of the stampede.

Gaza Humanitarian Efforts Updates:

Today the Jordanian army air dropped humanitarian equipment into Northern Gaza. Due to the winds, some of the aid packages landed in Israeli territory. 

221 trucks carrying humanitarian aid were inspected and transferred to the Gaza Strip yesterday, including 4 tankers of cooking gas designated for the operation of essential infrastructure in Gaza.

Overnight, (Feb 29.) A convoy of 30 trucks carrying food made its way to the northern Gaza Strip. Over the last few days, close to 90 trucks were transferred to the northern Gaza Strip. 

The construction of the Egyptian shelter complex in West Khan Yunis was completed. The complex contains about 300 tents and residents have already started moving in. The complex will be able to accommodate about 3,000 residents in total.

Northern Front Updates:

Hezbollah continued to fire heavily on Israel’s far north, from where civilians have been largely evacuated since October 7th. In an unusual incident, air-raid sirens were triggered as far as the Hamifratz area, near Haifa, and an Iron Dome interception was seen above. The IDF said that the sirens sounded due to an interception missile being fired at a “suspicious aerial target” which was successfully downed. No further explanation was given as to what the target was, or where it came from.

The IDF targeted multiple Hezbollah sites in Southern Lebanon, and continued with the recently increased practice of firing on buildings containing Hezbollah terrorists. IDF artillery also shelled Hezbollah positions along the border, to remove new threats.

The IDF reports having struck Hezbollah 4,000 times since the start of the war.

Inside Syria, media reported two airstrikes which they attribute to the IDF. In one, a drone strike was reported on a vehicle on the outskirts of Qusayr, near the Lebanon border. One was killed. The IDF usually refrains from commenting on incidents in Syria.

Judea and Samaria Updates:

A Palestinian terrorist opened fire at a gas station outside the Jewish town of Eli, and and killed two Israelis: Rabbi Yitzhak Zeiger, a 57-year-old father of 3, and volunteer paramedic, and Uria Hartum, a 16-year-old high school student who had been hitching a ride with him.

The terrorist was eliminated by Aviad Gazbar, who had recently returned from reserve duty in Gaza, and was visiting his restaurant at the gas station – Hummus Eliyahu, where a similar attack occurred in June.

IDF Chief-of-Staff Herzi Halevi visited the scene of the attack, and commended Gazbar, saying “With the professional action of a reserve officer who left fighting in Gaza, the incident ended, and an even bigger disaster was avoided.”

The terrorist was later revealed to be Muhammad Manasra, a 31-year-old Palestinian Authority police officer who had been jailed between 2018 and 2019 for weapons offenses.

The IDF operated in various areas in Judea and Samaria overnight. Palestinians reported a death in clashes that erupted in the village of Beit Furik, east of Shechem (Nablus).

General Updates:

Dozens of Palestinian administrative detainees were unexpectedly released this evening from Ofer prison. The IDF and Shin Bet Spokespersons explained that these were administrative detainees who would be ending their detention in another month, but were released due to a shortage of space in the prisons, and in order to make room for detainees with a higher threat level.

The government extended the evacuation period for residents of the north and south to July 3, 2024. Some Gaza Border communities in lower threat areas with less destruction from October 7th, have already begun returning.

In Sderot, where many locals have begun to return, intense security plans are in place for schools to reopen on Sunday. Over 200 soldiers and members of the local standby squad will be stationed in the city to ensure the security of all the educational institutions, alongside the security of other public institutions. In addition, there will be soldiers on all the buses transporting the students, who will be there assist the students in an air-raid alarm sounds. For the coming months, an IDF battalion will be staying in the city, whose soldiers will assist in all security tasks, in addition to the large Avshalom force already in the city, and members of the city’s standby squad.  

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