War Day 164: Huge Raid on Shifa Hospital, Airstrikes on Rafah

War Summary, Day One Hundred and Sixty Four: The IDF began the operation in Shifa Hospital on Sunday night after significant intelligence pointed to Hamas again using the hospital as a terror center, late Monday night heavy airstrikes were reported in Rafah, and senior Hamas terrorist named Faiq Mabhouh, who served as the head of operations in Hamas’s internal security, was eliminated.

By Mrs. Bruria Efune

War Summary, Day One Hundred and Sixty Four:

134 held captive in Gaza.
112 hostages freed.
11 hostage bodies rescued.
35 hostages confirmed murdered in Gaza.
1,400+ Israelis murdered.
250 fallen soldiers in the battle in Gaza.
6 fallen soldiers in Northern Israel.
3 fallen soldiers in Judea & Samaria.
14,900 injured.
14,050 rockets fired at Israel.
102,100 Israelis displaced from their homes.
1 Jewish nation united in prayer, charity, and good deeds.

Top Headlines:

  • Huge raid on Shifa Hospital captures hundreds of terrorists
  • Senior Hamas commander eliminated
  • Israeli delegation in Washington over Rafah plans
  • A series of airstrikes in Rafah

Hostage Updates:

Delegations from Israel, the U.S., and Egypt met in Qatar today to discuss the hostage release proposal. The Israeli delegation came with extensive powers given to them by the War Cabinet, but did warn that of this round of talks fails to bring about the release of the hostages, the IDF would invade Rafah.

Gaza Front Updates:

Around 2:30 am, Hamas woke up residents of Mefalsim, in the Gaza Envelope, with a small barrage of rockets.

The IDF announced the name of a hero who fell in battle in Gaza:

Staff Sgt. Matan Vinogradov, 20, of the Nahal Brigade, from Jerusalem.

Matan fell during the fighting against Hamas in Gaza City’s Shifa Hospital.

The IDF began the operation in Shifa Hospital on Sunday night after significant intelligence pointed to Hamas again using the hospital as a terror center. The IDF had warned hospital administration multiple times that it would again become a target if terrorists were allowed inside. However, unlike the first raid of the hospital, this time the IDF did not give any evacuation warning ahead of the operation, and made a flash entry and siege of the hospital grounds, trapping the terrorists inside.

Immediately proving their presence, the terrorists shot at IDF troops from inside the hospital. The IDF quickly established control of the grounds, and called on the terrorists to surrender, and civilians to evacuate.

24 hours into the operation, including gun battles inside the building, over 200 Hamas suspects were arrested, 20 terrorists were eliminated inside the hospital building, and 20 terrorists were eliminated outside. Amongst the terrorists eliminated, was a senior Hamas terrorist named Faiq Mabhouh, who served as the head of operations in Hamas’s internal security, and was responsible for coordinating the actions of various Hamas units in Gaza. His brother, Mahmoud Mabhouh, was allegedly assassinated by the Mossad in Dubai in 2010. Faiq Mabhouh was armed and hiding inside the hospital, and was eliminated when he resisted arrest.

Several Al Jazeera staff were amongst those arrested inside the hospital, including reporter Ismail al-Roul. Al Jazeera is demanding their release. A number of Al Jazeera reporters have already been confirmed to be active Hamas terrorists.

Inside the building were not just terrorists and large stockpiles of weapons, but entire offices set up as a Hamas command center, including a safe full of cash with custom thank you cards from Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ)

The IDF gave residents of the area around the hospital and the Rimal neighborhood of Gaza City a map with instructions to evacuate to the al-Mawasi “humanitarian zone” on the coast of southern Gaza, traveling via the coastal road. Civilians were already instructed to evacuate Gaza City over five months ago, but an estimated 300,000 remained, many of them choosing to stay put in support of Hamas.

According to inside reports, based off intelligence tips, the IDF had been watching over the past weeks as Hamas terrorists snuck into the hospital and waited until a critical mass was gathered, so as to capture as many at a time in the net. The terrorists entered in various disguises, including as hospital staff, women in full burqa, and patients inside ambulances.

The military operation was primarily centered around Shifa Hospital, but includes the expanded area of the Rimal neighborhood in Gaza City, where the IDF is also rounding up terrorists, and the Air Force is carrying out targeted strikes.

In Central Gaza, airstrikes eliminated at least 9 terrorists in Nuseirat.

Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Biden spoke today for the first time in a month, after which, Netanyahu sent a delegation to Washington to discuss the Rafah plans. This follows Netanyahu’s strong words yesterday, in which he said that Israel will not bow to international pressure, and will operate in Rafah in order to dismantle Hamas.

According to US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, Biden did not threaten Israel with repercussions for a Rafah operation. Sulliven says that Biden emphasized that he agrees that Hamas is an evil terror group that must be defeated, but that Biden added, “I believe that to get to that (defeat), you need a strategy that works, and that strategy should not involve a major military operation that puts thousands and thousands of civilian, innocent lives at risk in Rafah. There is a better way. Send your team to Washington, and let’s talk about it. We’ll lay out for you what we believe is a better way.”

Biden wrote on Twitter/X “I asked the Prime Minister to send a team to Washington to discuss ways to target Hamas without a major ground operation in Rafah.”

Late Monday night, heavy airstrikes were reported in Rafah.

Netanyahu met in his office with a delegation from AIPAC. The Prime Minister gave the group an overview of the situation in Gaza, and then told them that the picture being shown in the U.S. is inaccurate, and that Israel is united in support for the war in Gaza. “There is unity in the nation and an agreement that a victory should be achieved as I described it,” Netanyahu said, before adding a dig at Biden— “I told this to the president and the people I spoke with. They keep saying that local politics are getting in our way. They may be right, but on which side of the ocean?”

A leaked list shows that Ashraf al-Qudra, the spokesman for the Hamas Health Ministry, is expected to leave Gaza to Egypt via the Rafah crossing. Over the last month, wealthy and well-connected Gaza residents have been bribing their way across the border.

Gaza Humanitarian Efforts Updates:

243 humanitarian aid trucks were inspected and transferred to the Gaza Strip.
3 tankers of cooking gas designated for the operation of essential infrastructure entered the Gaza Strip.

A World Food Program convoy of 18 food trucks made its way to northern Gaza last night. Over the last 3 weeks, more than 150 trucks were transferred to the northern Gaza Strip, most by the private sector. 

179 packages were airdropped by Jordan, yesterday (Mar. 17). Since the start of the war, and in cooperation with the USA, UAE, Egypt, Jordan, Holland, Belgium and France, over 30 airdrops have taken place, airdropping over 1250 packages of humanitarian aid, most to northern Gaza. 

21 bakeries are operational in Gaza, providing over 2 million breads, rolls, and pita breads a day for the local population. 

80% more trucks of food are entering Gaza now than since before October 7th. Previously 70 find trucks entered daily—enough to keep shops heavily stocked—and now an average of 126 trucks of food are entering per day. The problem is not supply—rather, Hamas is hoarding supplies, and UN bodies responsible for aid distribution are failing to act.

Northern Front Updates:

Hezbollah carried out a series of missile and drone attacks on Israel’s far Northern communities.

The IDF retaliated with airstrikes on Hezbollah targets in Southern Lebanon—including on a building shortly after a group of Hezbollah terrorists were spotted entering it.

According to reports in Syria, the IDF carried out airstrikes against military sites near Damascus, in response to missiles fired at the Golan Heights.

Houthi War Front Updates:

In an update on the drone attack last night, the IDF reported that a “suspicious aerial target” entered Israeli airspace from the Red Sea direction and landed in an open area north of Eilat. The incident caused no damage or injuries. The Air Force continuously monitored the object’s trajectory for the duration of the event.

In Yemen, there are reports of at least ten attacks by the US and the UK in on Houthi targets in the Hodda district.

Judea and Samaria Updates:

The Secretary General of the PLO movement, Hussein al-Sheikh, claimed that Marwan Barghouti, who is serving five life prison sentences, is under “torture, isolation and beating” which the Palestinian official claims “puts his life at risk.” Barghouti is in prison for a series of murderous terror attacks against civilians, and his role as a leader of the Second Intifada terror attacks. The prison administration responded that any complaints should be formally submitted, and will be reviewed with professionalism.

Barghouti has been on the top of Hamas’s list of terrorists they want released in exchange for Israeli hostages, and is on Israel’s no release list.

International Updates:

The Spanish Foreign Minister announced that all EU countries have agreed to support sanctions against “violent settlers.”

Prince Turki Al-Faisal confirmed today (Monday) in the “New Statesman” magazine that the Saudi kingdom has not definitively closed the door to normalization with Israel. Last week Israel Hayom reported from a Saudi source that the Kingdom is still interested in establishing relations with Jerusalem, but is waiting at least for the end of the war in the Gaza Strip.

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