War Day 187: Biden Calls for Unconditional Cease-Fire, Iran Attack Imminent

War Summary, Day One Hundred and Eighty Seven: President Biden criticized Israel for the way the war is being conducted and demanded an unconditional cease-fire for six weeks, Iran continues to threaten Israel with a response to the assassination of IRGC generals in Syria, and a Lebanese money changer named Mohammad Sarour was found shot in his home by Mossad agents.

By Mrs. Bruria Efune

War Summary, Day One Hundred and Eighty Seven:

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:

  • Biden pushes for an unconditional ceasefire
  • Bloomberg reports that Iranian attack is imminent
  • Four rockets fall short in Gaza
  • Three of Ismael Haniyeh’s sons were eliminated
  • Lebanese money changer allegedly assassinated by the Mossad

Hostage Updates:

A senior Israeli official privy to the hostage negotiation talks told The Wall Street Journal that Israel is open to using the American proposal as a basis for talks, but added that it is biased in favor of Hamas. He said that the proposal includes large concessions on Israel’s behalf in the free return of Gazans to the north of the Gaza Strip, and a larger number of terrorists—including top level terrorists—in exchange for each hostage.

Hamas rejected the American proposal for a cease-fire, but said that they will will draw up their own outline and stand by their demand that any deal will mean a complete end to the war.

In an interview with Univision, President Biden criticized Israel for the way the war is being conducted. He described Netanyahu’s approach as a “mistake” and called for an end to the war—putting the onus on Israel and not Hamas. “What I’m calling for,” he said, “is for the Israelis to just call for a ceasefire, allow for the next six, eight weeks, total access to all food and medicine going into the country.”

WIth Biden calling for such huge concessions from Israel, Hamas sees no need to negotiate, and has even raised their demands.

Preparations for Iranian Response:

Iran continues to threaten Israel with a response to the assassination of IRGC generals in Syria, and Israel continues to display readiness in both defense and offense. The communications are not just about action, but also a form of psychological warfare where Iran attempts to keep Israel on edge, and Israel shows Iran that it’s not worth it.

Israel Hayom reports that the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Iraq, all spoke by phone with the Iranian foreign minister last night and discussed regional tensions with him.

Today Defense Minister Yoav Gallant visited troops at an Iron Dome battery, and warned that any country that attacks Israel will face a strong defense and receive a “powerful response in its territory.” After emphasizing Israel’s abilities and the wide range of enemies it faces, Gallant added, “One of the things we excel at over the years is that the enemy never knows what surprises we are preparing for it.”

Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz sent a clear message in an interview with Israel’s Chanel 2: “If Tehran attacks Israel from its territory, Israel will respond in Iran, because Israel cannot afford to suffer attacks of this type because of our responsibility to the citizens of the country, to the strength of the country, and the ripple effects.” He added: “Iran is the head of the snake – there is no Hamas without Iran, no Houthis, no Shia-Syrian militias and no Hezbollah. I explain [to representatives from abroad] – the Iranian threat that Iran leads against us – is a threat against you. Iran’s involvement in helping Russia should help one understand.”

An American official told Al-Jazeera that “if Israel is attacked by Iran or its proxies—we will help in defense.” It was also reported that the source said that the US “does not rule out a retaliatory action,” if indeed Israel is attacked.

There are various rumors about when and if such an Iranian attack may happen, varying from a Bloomberg report that U.S. officials see it as “imminent,” to that it may just be threats and nothing will come of it at all. Some speculate that Iran is waiting for the IDF to enter Rafah, which would give them an extra excuse and support to attack Israel.

As per the type of attack, Bloomberg’s sources expect guided missile and drone attacks on major Israeli sites, although unclear if it would be fired from Iran or a proxy such as by Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Either way, Israelis are continuing life as normal, kids are going to school, and Pesach (Passover) preparations are underway—though most people have placed water and snacks in their bomb shelters, and charged backup batteries in case.

Gaza Front Updates:

Hamas launched four rockets from Central Gaza towards Israel, but all four fell short and landed inside Gaza.

Thank G-d, the IDF did not announce any fallen heroes today.

The Nachal Brigade is continuing to operate in Central Gaza, along the Netzarim corridor which divides the north and south of Gaza. The Nachal troops eliminated several Hamas terrorists in close-quarters combat over the last day, and called airstrikes for backup support. The troops are primarily carrying out targeted raids on specific Hamas cells, and locating weapons caches, tunnels, and rocket launchers.

The Israeli Air Force also carried out airstrikes against terror targets including tunnel shafts, military sites, and rocket launchers in Jabaliya and Shejaiya in Northern Gaza.

The IDF and Shin Bet confirm that they have eliminated three sons of Hamas’s political leader, Ismail Haniyeh, with an air strike in Shati, Gaza City. The three sons were all Hamas terrorists, one was a squad commander and the other two were lower ranking militants. Hamas says that three of Haniyeh’s grandchildren, who were minors, were also killed in the airstrike.

Ismail Haniyeh, who is currently in Qatar, responded to the news with a calm: “Thank God for the honor he gave us with the martyrdom of three of my sons and several of my grandchildren. With this pain and blood, we create hope, future and freedom for our people, our cause, and our nation.” Haniyeh had 13 children.

The assassination was planned on the military level, and Prime Minister Netanyahu and other war cabinet members were not made aware of it in advanced.

While international pressure is on PM Netanyahu not to enter Rafah in Southern Gaza, political and civilian pressure inside Israel is pressing for a maneuver. The wider government cabinet called a meeting on the topic today, where they were reassured that there is a date and plan for Rafah, but for military reasons, it cannot be made public. According to leaks, there were also big hints confirming that the delay in entry is because of American pressure—but that even with Israel offering huge concessions in ceasefire negotiations, Israel expects Hamas to refuse any deal, which will then give the IDF the clear to go ahead.

Rafah is home to the last four Hamas battalions, as well as many Hamas terrorists who fled from other parts of Gaza. It is Gaza’s border city with Egypt, from where most Hamas weapons and equipment are smuggled in, and likely also home to tunnels leading into the Sinai desert. At the same time, there’s currently an estimated 1.5 million people in Rafah, 1.2 million of which are refugees from other parts of Gaza.

Unless the IDF manages to evacuate most civilians, the maneuver into Rafah will be very difficult without a high civilian death toll—which is exactly what Hamas wants. Hamas has made it very difficult for civilians to evacuate other areas in the past, and is expected to do so again. The IDF is working on plans to allow the safe evacuation of civilians to a tent city on the nearby coast.

With the possibility of a strong attack from Iran or Lebanon in response to a Rafah incursion, it’s possible that the IDF is holding it off until the “safest” moment, such as when school and work is out for Pesach (Passover) break.

Gaza Humanitarian Efforts Updates:

The IDF is now processing and facilitating the import of an average of 400 trucks of humanitarian aid per day into Gaza.

500 trucks worth of aid are currently sitting at the Gaza Side of the Kerem Shalom crossing, waiting for the UN to pick it up and deliver it.

Thirteen planes dropped aid today in the north and south of the Gaza Strip. Of them, were three planes from Jordan, four from the USA, and one each from Egypt, the UAE, the UK, France, Germany, and the Netherlands.

Reuters reports that aid shipments by sea from Cyprus to Gaza are expected to resume soon, after they were stopped following the killing of the aid workers.

The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies reported that the Hamas-run Health Ministry of Gaza admitted that they don’t have complete information about 11,371 of the 33,091 reported fatalities. At least 15,000 of the deaths on their lists were not reported from hospitals, but by “reliable media sources,” or via a google form open to the public to fill in to report missing or dead in Gaza.

Northern Front Updates:

Hezbollah fired a few rounds of missiles and one attack drone into Israel’s far north today, most were intercepted for landed in empty areas. No injuries were reported.

The IDF retaliated with airstrikes on Hezbollah positions in Southern Lebanon—including on a building where Hezbollah terrorists were gathered, and also shelled Hezbollah positions along the border.

A Lebanese money changer named Mohammad Sarour was found shot in his home. According to a claimes by the “Al-Arabiya” network, the Mossad eliminated him for his involvement in the transfer of funds from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards to Hamas, and worked in the financial mechanism of Hezbollah.

Houthi War Front Updates:

The US military announced that it intercepted an anti-ship ballistic missile launched by the Houthis at a Navy ship in the Gulf of Aden.

The Houthis in Yemen announced that they attacked four ships in the Gulf of Aden in the Arabian Sea, including two Israeli ships, using drones and naval missiles, and claim they made two hits.

Judea and Samaria Updates:

Commander of the Central Command, Major General Yehuda Fox, told the heads of municipalities in Judea and Samaria that since the beginning of the war, they have been on the offensive in the region, and the smooth coordination with the heads of each community has greatly improved the security.

Ramadan as now ended, and the three days of Eid-al-Fitr began. While there sadly have been some fatal terror attacks, they were far less than were expected by Israeli intelligence, and thank G-d, a number of large-scale attacks were prevented.

International Updates:

An investigation by a German newspaper described how for years German companies and institutions provided materials intended to improve the civilians infrastructure in the Gaza Strip, while Hamas diverted the sewage and irrigation materials to construction of tunnels, and used the pipes for making rockets and military reinforcements. The investigation also found that German companies who came to Gaza to provide engineering expertise without malicious intent inadvertently aided in Hamas’s war efforts. While the German article focused on Germany’s contributions, it is not the only country who contributed to equipment in Gaza in the same way.

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