War Day 184: Six Months at War, Iran Sends Hostage Family Flowers

The flower wreath which Iran attempted to send to the family of a hostage.

War Summary, Day One Hundred and Eighty Four: Today marks six months since the start of the war, Iran sent a wreath of flowers with a cruel note to a family of one of the hostages claiming that their daughter was killed, and after four moths of fighting in Khan Younis and the area, the IDF withdrew all troops from Southern Gaza.

By: Mrs. Bruria Efune

War Summary, Day One Hundred and Eighty Four:

133 held captive in Gaza.
112 hostages freed.
12 hostage bodies rescued.
37 hostages confirmed murdered in Gaza.
1,489 Israelis murdered.
260 fallen soldiers in the battle in Gaza.
6 fallen soldiers in Northern Israel.
4 fallen soldiers in Judea & Samaria.
11,600+ injured.
13,200 estimated rockets fired at Israel.
102,100 Israelis displaced from their homes.
1 Jewish nation united in prayer, charity, and good deeds.

Top Headlines:

  • Flowers with cruel note to hostage family came from Iran
  • Hostage deal may be close
  • Four IDF soldiers fall in Gaza
  • 96th Division withdrawn from Southern Gaza
  • IDF gives updated war data
  • Siren in Tzfat
  • Terror attack in Judea and Samaria—worse attacks prevented

Hostage Updates:

A florist packing an order realized that it was a cruel gift, and immediately called the police. The arrangement in question was a flower wreath, ordered to the home of Liri Elbag’s family. Liri is a 19-year-old female hostage being held by Hamas in Gaza, who is believed to still be alive. The wreath was ordered with a note, which read: “May her memory be a blessing. We all know that the state [Israel] is more important.”

Upon investigation, the Shin Bet determined that the wreath was most likely sent by “Iranian elements.”

The note appears to be an attempt by Iran to sow further discord between Israelis, dividing the country into two groups, who each see only one conclusion to the war: either free the hostages, or defeat Hamas. By writing “we all know the state is more important,” the Iranian sender made it look like one side was making a very cruel attack on the other.

Former Prime Minister Naftali Bennett spoke at a rally in New York, outside the UN office, and said, “May no one tell Israel to stop, before all the abductees come home.” Over 7,000 joined the rally, including former hostages.

Israel has sent its negotiating team back to Egypt. According to rumors, Prime Minister Netanyahu is under huge pressure from the U.S., which has made him “desperate” for a deal. Seeing this, Hamas has raised their demands.

Israel Hayom quoted a commentator close to Hamas, Ibrahim al-Madhoun, who said “I believe that the talks this time are different compared to the previous times. The delegation in Cairo is led by Khalil al-Hiya, the deputy of Yahya Sinwar—the leader of Hamas in Gaza. The [Hamas] delegation came with several advantage points: 1. The firm stand of the Palestinians and the resistance 2. The attitude of the world and especially the decision at the UN on a ceasefire and its adoption by China and Russia. 3. The change in the American position, and the application of pressure on the Israeli side. All of these will put pressure on the Israeli side, to make concessions that may lead to surrender and a ceasefire. However, there are internal Israeli problems that may prevent this.”

In other words, Hamas now firmly believes that they have the upper hand in negotiations, and can get what they are demanding—primarily thanks to the UN and US. In a statement to the press in Cairo today, Hamas outlined their demands: “We confirmed our adherence to our demands and our desire to reach an agreement that would achieve the cessation of aggression [permanent ceasefire], the withdrawal of the occupying forces, and the return of the displaced.”

According to reports, Hamas also demanded that Israel stop attacking senior members of the terror group.

Egyptian sources who spoke to the newspaper “Al-Arabi Al-Jadid” say that there is priority for a temporary ceasefire agreement in Gaza during the three days of Eid al-Fitr, which begins on Tuesday.

At the beginning of today’s cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said: “Israel is not the one preventing a deal. Hamas is preventing a deal. Its extreme demands are intended to end the war and leave it as it is. Hamas hopes that the pressure from outside and inside will make Israel give in to these extreme demands. This will not happen. Israel is ready for a deal, Israel is not ready to surrender.”

Preparations for Iranian Response:

Iran continues with its threats of retaliation, but with no act.

After holding a situational assessment with the IDF’s operational and intelligence directorates today, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said that Israel has “completed preparations for a response against any scenario that would develop against Iran.”

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi also announced that the IDF is fully prepared, and said there is no reason to panic—just to be aware and ready. He said Israel is ready on all fronts, for whatever proxy Iran may use in an attack, and has strong air-defenses in place.

Halevi added that “Iran has tried to disavow and hide from direct involvement in it [the war], but we know that it activates, directs, finances and transfers knowledge to all its proxies in the region, from Hezbollah, through Judea and Samaria to Yemen. Iran does not only threaten Israel, but the entire Western and Arab world, Iran is a global problem, was and remains, the big problem.”

Gaza Front Updates:

Hamas fired a barrage of rockets from Khan Younis, towards civilian communities near the Gaza border. No injuries were reported.

The IDF announced the names of four heroes who fell in battle in Gaza yesterday:

Cpt. Ido Baruch, 21, from Tel Mond.
Sgt. Amitai Even Shoshan, 20, from Azri’el.
Sgt. Ilai Zair, 20, from Kedar.
Sgt. Reef Harush, 20, from Kibbutz Ramat David.

The four commando soldiers were killed in Khan Younis by terrorists who popped out of a previously unknown tunnel.

After four moths of fighting in Khan Younis and the area, the IDF withdrew all troops from Southern Gaza. Only the Nachal Brigade remains in Gaza, where they are securing the “Netzarim Corridor,” which is a long road from Kibbutz Be’eri in the east to the Central Gaza Coast in the west, dividing the north and south of Gaza.

The IDF said that the ground offensive in Khan Younis has reached its potential, with the local Hamas brigade dismantled, thousands of terrorists eliminated, and around 30 kilometers of tunnels destroyed. Operations in Southern Gaza will now continue in a similar manner as in the north—via raids based on intelligence, such as the one done in Shifa Hospital. The withdrawn troops will in the meantime be given some refreshing and retraining time.

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant says that the troops were withdrawn to prepare for future missions, including an offensive in Rafah. He noted, “We will reach a situation where Hamas does not control the Gaza Strip and where it does not function as a military framework that poses a risk to the citizens of the State of Israel.”

Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi says that the war is far from over, and that in case of a truce as part of a hostage release deal, the IDF will know how to return to the fighting in Gaza. He noted that releasing the hostages is a more urgent matter than other goals of the war.

On the hostages, Halevi said “The IDF is strong enough for the State of Israel to know how to pay prices for the return of its sons and daughters. We have a moral duty to them and the IDF will know how to withstand even a difficult price and will also know how to come back and fight with strength.”

He added that it’s important for details of negotiations to be done responsibly and carefully, and “left in the right rooms.”

On the war front, Halevi said that the goals will take a a long time, as the IDF had said from the very beginning. He also noted that the IDF is working on improving the aid importing into Gaza, as Hamas has an interest to present a humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

While the military leadership explains the withdrawal from Gaza as a preparation or tactical plan, the feeling across Israel is that it is being done under pressure from US President Biden’s administration, and perhaps in preparation for a hostage deal. Insiders indicate that the withdrawal is a strong shift away from original plans to keep an IDF presence in each area which has been taken over. While the north of Gaza is at least protected from Hamas return by the Netzarim Corridor, no such security protects Khan Younis from a mass Hamas return.

Right before the withdrawal from Khan Younis, IDF troops located a 900-meter-long tunnel in the al-Amal neighborhood of Khan Younis. The tunnel contained boarding rooms for terrorists and a large cache of weapons. IDF combat engineers destroyed the tunnel, and a terrorist was eliminated right near one of the entrances.

Six months from the beginning of the war, the IDF published new data on operations in Gaza:

  • Over 13,000 terrorists belonging to Hamas and other terror groups eliminated inside Gaza
  • 14,000 terrorists total eliminated when counting terrorists who entered Israel on October 7th
  • 5 Hamas brigade commanders eliminated
  • 20 Hamas battalion commanders eliminated
  • Over 100 Hamas company commanders eliminated
  • 4,500 suspects interrogated in Gaza, of which many were arrested and brought to Israel for further interrogation and intelligence gathering
  • Around 32,000 terror targets struck ins Gaza since the beginning of the war
  • 3,600 of the targets were identified by troops on ground during the fighting
  • 9,100 projectiles fired in Gaza entered Israel—to including an estimated 1,000 which fell short and landed in Gaza.

According to Hamas’s health ministry, over 33,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza. While the number cannot be verified, and strong evidence points to it being made up, it includes terrorists eliminated by the IDF, and Palestinians killed by Hamas and PIJ rockets that fall short. Either way, it puts the civilian to military casualty rate at an unprecedented low for urban warfare.

At today’s cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said: “The absolute majority of the people are united in the need to continue fighting until victory. We are one step away from victory. But the price that will be exacted from us is painful and heartbreaking. I made it clear to the international community: There will be no ceasefire without the return of hostages. It simply will not happen. This is the policy of the Israeli government, and I welcome the fact that the Biden administration clarified the other day that this is still its position as well.”

Gaza Humanitarian Efforts Updates:

322 humanitarian aid trucks were inspected and transferred to Gaza today—the highest number of aid trucks transferred to Gaza in one day since the start of the war.

There are now more food imports currently than pre-war food imports AND local agricultural production combined.

Northern Front Updates:

In addition to barrages on communities along Israel’s far northern border, missiles were fired at Tzfat (Safed) today. Iron Dome interceptions were made, and no injuries were reported.

Overnight, after Hezbollah used a surface-to-air missile to shoot down an IDF drone (an Elbit Hermes 450), the IDF struck targets in northeastern Lebanon, belonging to Hezbollah’s air defense units.

The IDF also struck a large number of Hezbollah targets in Southern Lebanon, including against a military compound of seven buildings which belonged to Hezbollah’s elite Radwan force.

The IDF and Israel Police will be carrying out readiness exercises in the north tomorrow morning, which will include mass military movement of a variety of vehicles and equipment. They announced the exercise in advance, warning the public not to panic.

Six months from the beginning of the war, the IDF published new data on operations in Lebanon and Syria:

  • 330 terrorists eliminated in Lebanon, mostly from Hezbollah
  • 30 Hezbollah commanders eliminated
  • 4,700 Hezbollah positions hit
  • 3,100 missiles fired from Lebanon into Israel
  • 35 missiles fired from Syria into Israel

Houthi and Other War Front Updates:

After a siren sounded in Eilat for a suspected drone infiltration, the IDF announced that it was a false alarm.

The Houthi spokesman claimed that the terrorist militia attacked “two Israeli ships,” which were en route to Israel, using ballistic missiles. He claimed one was in the Indian Ocean and the other in the Arabian Sea.

A missile fired from Iraq towards Eilat fell short this morning in Jordan, near the city of Krak in Jordan. Large security forces arrived at the scene.

Judea and Samaria Updates:

A terrorist opened fire on several Israeli vehicles driving along Route 55 near Karnei Shomron. A 19-year-old female soldier was seriously hurt, and a 55 year old man was lightly injured in the attack.

The terrorist had driven to the junction via a dirt road, before parking at the side, firing at vehicles, and then fleeing. Police found the terrorist’s car to contain several dozen kilograms of explosives, and blew it up in a controlled explosion—likely preventing a much larger terror attack. The IDF are still searching for the terrorist.

In an overnight operation, a Palestinian resident of Bethlehem was arrested after the forces seized two 9 mm pistols, cartridges, and ammunition of various types in his possession.

11 residents of Jenin who entered Israel illegally, and one Israeli who had been helping them, were caught in the north of the country. Over the course of the last week, 433 illegal residents and 53 facilitators were caught. The crackdown began after multiple terror attacks were carried out in Israel by Palestinians who entered illegally.

Six months from the beginning of the war, the IDF published new data on operations in Judea and Samaria:

  • Over 3,700 wanted people arrested for their affiliation with terror groups
  • 1,600 of the arrested were affiliated with Hamas
  • 420 terrorist gunmen were eliminated while attacking IDF troops at work
  • 70 “brigade-level” raids have been carried out in terrorism hotbeds in Judea and Samaria
  • 19 homes of terrorists have been demolished

International Updates:

In an unusually explicit condemnation, António Guterres, the Secretary-General of the UN, made a speech condemning Hamas’s October 7th attack, with all the horrific details, and called for the unconditional release of all the hostages.

Personal Note:

Today was a tough day. It’s exactly six months since the war began. We’ve lost hundreds of beautiful young soldiers, and still wait for 133 hostages to come home. The international pressure is ugly, and tensions are high.

The war began at the end of Sukkot, and now we’re nearing the Jewish month of Nissan, marked by the holiday of Pesach (Passover). We’ll soon be reading about the Jewish people’s suffering in Egypt, and the despair they felt at rock bottom. We read it every year, and it’s a stark reminder that we’ve been through the worst before—over and over again. And we always came through.

The Jewish people have survived for thousands of years, through thousands of attempts at our genocide; not because of man, but because of our firm connection Above, and belief that G-d will come through and lift us out of the depths once again.

I want to say thank you to every reader for standing strong and united over the last six months, for keeping informed about what matters, for donating to our soldiers and Israelis affected by the war, and for praying for our survival and victory.

May we soon see miracles.

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  1. “May we see miracles” NOW!!

    Nissei Nissim even before the month of Nissan.

    Ps Ty for all the well written, up to date, information.

  2. My prayers and hopes will always remain with the Jewish people. My wish is for nothing more than the safe return of all the hostages and an end to this war. We all know what these terrorist groups are all about, cowards. Just like when we were attacked on 9/11. There was nothing in this world that would prevent the US from killing as many Taliban as possible.. I feel for you guys, having to be surrounded by the enemy. Just know that you have many supporters of your cause here in the US. GOD BLESS YOU.

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