War Day 178: Airstrike Targets Iran’s Consulate in Damascus, Knesset Blocks Al Jazeera

War Summary, Day One Hundred and Seventy Eight: Shifa Hospital operation is complete, in a daring attack an alleged Israeli airstrike targeted Iran’s consulate and ambassador’s residence in Damascus killing top commanders, Iraqi militia attacked the Israeli Navy, and law passed in Knesset to block Al Jazeera.

By Mrs. Bruria Efune

134 held captive in Gaza.
112 hostages freed.
11 hostage bodies rescued.
36 hostages confirmed murdered in Gaza.
1,482 Israelis murdered.
256 fallen soldiers in the battle in Gaza.
6 fallen soldiers in Northern Israel.
4 fallen soldiers in Judea & Samaria.
11,549 injured.
14,430 estimated rockets fired at Israel.
102,100 Israelis displaced from their homes.
1 Jewish nation united in prayer, charity, and good deeds.

Top Headlines:

  • Shifa Hospital operation is complete
  • Sister of Ismael Haniyeh arrested
  • Top IRGC commander eliminated in Syria
  • Confirmed: Iraqi militia attacked Israeli Navy
  • Hamas is openly killing Palestinian Authority security in Gaza
  • Al Jazeera law passed in Knesset

Hostage Updates:

Israel’s negotiating team presented a significant concession to Hamas’s demands in the hostage release agreement. Hamas has been demanding the unchecked return of Gaza civilians to Northern Gaza, plus an Israeli withdrawal from the corridor separating the north of Gaza from the south. Israel will not withdraw from the corridor, but has offered to allow the gradual return of civilians to the north—with security checks to filter out terrorists.

This would be part of a 6-week ceasefire during which only some of the hostages would be released in exchange for a significant number of terrorists, some say in the range of 800.

Gaza Front Updates:

Hamas did not successfully fire any rockets at Israeli civilian communities today.

The IDF announced the name of one hero who fell in battle against Hamas in Southern Gaza:

Staff Sgt. Nadav Cohen, 20, from Haifa

After 14 days, the IDF finished up the operation at Shifa Hospital overnight, and withdrew most of the troops from the area. During the operation:

  • Around 900 terror suspects were interviewed
  • Over 500 confirmed terrorists were arrested
  • Over 200 terrorist gunmen were eliminated, including top commanders from Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ)
  • Larges caches of weapons were found and confiscated from around the hospital
  • Zero civilians were harmed, and civilian patients were moved to a separate safe space with full equipment and food.

The hospital only had 300 patients and staff members—amongst 700 terrorists, and hundreds of civilians using the hospital as a shelter.

Hamas committed at least two war crimes:

  1. Using a hospital to store weapons or war, and as a staging ground to launch attacks
  2. Using civilians—the hospital staff and patients inside—as human shields.

The UN-run World Health Organization has not said a word about this, despite the immense risk and harm to patients.

The IDF was also active in various areas across Gaza, including in Central Gaza where a booby-trapped Hamas building was destroyed via airstrike, in Khan Younis—particularly in the Al-Amal neighborhood, as well as at both a truck and car with terrorists inside who were driving towards IDF troops.

Recently the IDF has been focused on thoroughly clearing out buildings and tunnels in areas already under IDF control, using intelligence gained from terrorists who surrendered, in order to remove all Hamas hiding places and escape routes.

As the IDF made its way through Gaza, the surviving terrorists either spread out in small squads who remained in their city of origin, or moved to a place considered safe from the IDF such as Rafah and parts of Central Gaza where the IDF hasn’t been yet, or Shifa Hospital, Hamada, or undiscovered tunnels. It is much easier to capture or eliminate terrorists when they’re all in the same place. Once the IDF finishes up with Central Gaza and then Rafah, there will be no place for the terrorists to gather anymore, and rooting them out will be a completely different and very difficult battle. This is why it’s essential that the IDF root out as many remaining hiding places and holdout terrorists as possible before entering Rafah, and even before beginning the evacuation of Rafah.

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and Secretary of State Anthony Blinken had a video conference call with Israel’s National Security Advisor, Tzachi Hanegbi, and Minister for Strategic Affairs, Ron Dermer, in which they discussed the U.S. concern about action in Rafah. Both parties agreed that they share the objective to see Hamas defeated in Rafah. The Israeli side agreed to take U.S. concerns about the Rafah operation into account and to have follow up discussions in person next week, between experts.

In a conversation today with an American Friends of Likud audience, Mark Regev, a longtime media adviser and spokesperson to Netanyahu and former ambassador to the U.K., said that tightened tension between the Israeli government and Washington is a price worth paying for total victory over Hamas. “Just as we pay a price in human life of our soldiers and an economic price, we have to be willing to pay that price too,” he said, referring to the backlash that may come from the U.S. if Israel goes against their wishes in Rafah.

Late Monday night Palestinians inside Gaza reported that an alleged Israeli airstrike on a car killed five aid workers, including some foreign nationals, from the World Central Kitchen (WCK). The IDF delivered a statement:

“Following the reports regarding the World Central Kitchen personnel in Gaza today, the IDF is conducting a thorough review at the highest levels to understand the circumstances of this tragic incident. The IDF makes extensive efforts to enable the safe delivery of humanitarian aid, and has been working closely with WCK in their vital efforts to provide food and humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza.”

On Sunday night the Israeli police and Shin Bet arrested Sabah Abdel Islam Haniya, the sister of Hamas political leader, Ismail Haniyeh, on suspicion of contact with terror operatives and supporting acts of terror. Hidden around her home, police found cash and gold worth over one million shekels. Sabah Haniyeh is 57 years old and lived in Tel Sheva, a Bedouin town next to Be’er Sheva.

Gaza Humanitarian Efforts Updates:

243 trucks carrying humanitarian aid were inspected and transferred to Gaza today
216 packages carrying hundreds of thousands of meals airdropped over northern Gaza.

Hamas, to their own admission, is killing and arresting the security personnel from the Palestinian Authority (PA) who are accompanying the aid trucks into Northern Gaza, after entering via Egypt. Today they killed two officers from the PA General Intelligence – Abd al-Fattah al-Masri and Abd Allah al-Barbar, and arrested ten others. This is not the first time they kill other groups who attempt to distribute aid, but it’s the first time they openly admit it, while accusing the PA security as being part of the IDF, due to their cooperation to get the aid in.

Hamas continues to do everything they can to control the aid, which allows them both to take what they need and create desperate scenes of hunger.

Northern Front Updates:

Hezbollah continued firing at civilian communities in Israel’s far north, though at slightly reduced levels.

The IDF struck a significant number of Hezbollah terror targets in Southern Lebanon, including weapons depots and rocket launchers.

Today IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi approved new plans “for the continuation of the fighting” in the north. If Hezbollah is anything like Hamas in their warfare tactics, it’s likely that they have thousands of weapons depots spread across Lebanon in between civilian buildings, which the IDF will have to deal with.

The IDF downed a “suspicious aerial target” coming from Syria, before it entered Israeli airspace. The IDF did not elaborate, though targets like this one are usually either attack drones or cruise missiles.

In a daring attack, an alleged Israeli airstrike targeted Iran’s consulate and ambassador’s residence in Damascus. An Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) statement carried by Iranian media announced the deaths of seven members, including its most senior official in Syria, Mohammad Reza Zahedi, and his deputy Mohammad Haj Rahimi.

Zahedi was a top commander in the IRGC’s Quds Force—which the U.S. designates as a terror group.
He was responsible for the force’s operations in Syria and Lebanon, via Iranian militia and Hezbollah, and in that capacity oversaw all terror attacks against Israel from Syria, Lebanon, and from Palestinian groups within Israel and Gaza.

While the IDF has not taken credit for the attack—something it rarely does when the attack is in Syria—this is a significant move and signal that Israel is targeting everyone connected to the October 7th attack, regardless of where. It is also the first significant attack directly at Iran—both at a high-ranking Iranian, and on a sovereign Iranian embassy inside Syria. To top it off, he was eliminated together with is deputy, and seemingly the next few commanders in line who would otherwise be the candidates to take over his position.

Houthi and Other War Front Updates:

The IDF confirmed that the drone that struck Eilat last night hit the Navy base, causing damage to the hangar.
The Islamic Resistance in Iraq, an Iranian-backed militia, took credit for the attack.

IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said that the attack was a serious incident, and that the IDF has learned from the Incident to improve air defenses in the Eilat area.

Judea and Samaria Updates:

IDF, Shin Bet, and border police forces operated in the home of the terrorist from the Gan Yavne mall attack, in Kfar Dora south of Chevron (Hebron).

Overnight the IDF arrested nine wanted persons throughout Judea and Samaria, and for their involvement with terror organizations.

While the U.S. is showing satisfaction with the new PA government which is supposed to establish reform, information is coming out about the new ministers. For example, the new Minister of Religious Affairs Muhammad Mustafa Najem is quoted as saying “Allah turned [the Jews] into apes and pigs” and “O servants of Allah, be the ones through which Allah will afflict the Jews with the worst torment.”

The new Minister of Women’s Affairs, Muna Al-Khalili, meanwhile praised the murder of 37 civilians, 12 of them children, as a “quality resistance operation.”

International Updates:

Tensions are rising in Jordan, between Palestinians and native locals, as members of the Muslim Brotherhood are violently rioting in support of Hamas. While Jordanians have shown significant support for Gaza and against Israel, Palestinians have carried out violent attacks in Jordan before, most memorably the Black Revolt in 1970.

General Updates:

The Knesset approved the “Al Jazeera law,” which temporarily allows the government to prevent foreign news networks from operating in Israel if security services determine them to be harming national security. The government will now move to close Al Jazeera’s offices in Israel, since Al Jazeera has been proven to employ and pay salaries to Hamas terrorists, including some who participated in the October 7th attack.

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