War Day 221: Hamas Terrorists in UN Facility, Advancements in Rafah

War Summary, Day Two Hundred and Twenty One: Hamas command center in UNRWA school and armed Hamas terrorists in UN aid facility, intense battles in Jabaliya and Zeitoun and advancements in Rafah, Hagari says there are hostages in Rafah, Hamas setting up in Turkey, Egypt is holding up aid, Iraqi militia firing at Israel, and Biden moved forward some arms.

By Mrs. Bruria Efune

132 held captive in Gaza.
112 hostages freed.
12 hostage bodies rescued.
39 hostages confirmed murdered in Gaza.
1,509 Israelis murdered.
272 fallen soldiers in the battle in Gaza.
14 fallen soldiers in Northern Israel.
5 fallen soldiers in Judea & Samaria.
13,670 estimated rockets fired at Israel.
90,000 Israelis displaced from their homes.
1 Jewish nation united in prayer, charity, and good deeds.

Top Headlines:

  • Sirens in Ashkelon and Sderot
  • Hamas command center in UNRWA school
  • Armed Hamas terrorists in UN aid facility
  • Intense battles in Jabaliya and Zeitoun
  • IDF advancements in Rafah
  • Hagari says there are hostages in Rafah
  • Hamas tried or is trying to set up in Turkey
  • Egypt is holding up aid
  • Israeli activists are blocking aid
  • Civilian killed in the north
  • Iraqi militia are firing at Israel
  • Biden moved forward some arms

Hostage Updates:

In response to Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed al-Thani’s warning that attempts to reach a ceasefire and a hostage deal are “backtracking” due to the entry of IDF forces into Rafah, US State Department Deputy Spokesman Vadnet Patel said that contacts continue regardless for the operation. “Contrary to reports – the talks continue, we continue to do everything possible to reach an agreement,” he said.

However, negotiations are still at a stalemate, due to Hamas’s demands for a complete ceasefire and IDF withdrawal before anything.

Gaza Front Updates:

Hamas fired rockets at the Ashkelon and Sderot areas today. The rockets were fired during Independence Day celebrations in Sderot, and hundreds of people had to lay on the street with their hands on their heads. Thankfully the rockets were intercepted, and no shrapnel injuries were reported.

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

Three divisions of IDF troops are currently operating in Gaza: the 98th in Northern Gaza’s Jabaliya, the 99th along the Netzarim Corridor and in Gaza City—specifically in Zeitoun, and the 162nd in Rafah. Today the Air Force struck over 100 Hamas targets across Gaza.

The operation in Jabaliya expanded, and the IDF issued wide evacuation warnings, instructing civilians to move to shelter west of Gaza City. Troops are now operating in areas which were skipped over, or not thoroughly cleared out during the first offensive in Jabaliya at the very beginning of the war, when the IDF was focusing on speed.

The battles in Jabaliya have been very intense, with a lot of close-quarters combat and gun battles. In one battle seven IDF soldiers were injured, including three seriously. Over 80 terrorists have been eliminated in the area since the operation began.

In Gaza City’s Zeitoun, over 150 armed terrorists were eliminated since the operation began on Thursday, and troops loaded and destroyed around 80 terror sites, including tunnel shafts, rocket launches, and weapon storages.

In Central Gaza, the Shin Bet identified a Hamas command room inside a still-functioning UNRWA school in Nuseirat. The IDF says they used a precise airstrike against the command room, based on accurate intelligence, which avoided risk to civilians as much as possible. The airstrike eliminated 15 terrorists.

In Southern Gaza’s Rafah, the IDF has completed operations in most of the eastern rural areas, and advanced further along the Salah al-Deen street, which connects to Khan Younis. They’ve begun entry into the first urban neighborhoods of Rafah. Since the beginning of the entry into Rafah, over 100 terrorists have been eliminated, and 10 tunnel systems were located. Expect to hear more about these tunnels in the future.

An estimated 450,000 people have already evacuated Rafah, far beyond international expectations. The entry to Rafah has thus far been relatively smooth, although IDF troops were injured in several incidents, including from an explosive device. IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari today said that “there are also hostages in the Rafah area, we are determined to do whatever it takes to create the conditions for them to return to us soon.”

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi visited troops in Eastern Rafah today, for an assessment and morale boost. The entire 162nd Division is waiting to go further and complete the operation in Gaza, but at the request of the Biden administration is waiting until National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan arrives for a visit later this week.

Both Egypt and the U.S. have been applying intense pressure on Israel not to go further in Rafah, due to the high density of the population. However, nearly half of the displaced civilians have already evacuated Rafah, many who weren’t even told to yet. This is leading many commentators to speculate that Egypt has something huge to hide along the border—most likely a smuggling operation in which they profited heavily off transferring weapons to Hamas via tunnels and the Rafah Crossing.

IDF drone footage discovered armed Hamas terrorists at an UNRWA logistics center in Rafah. The published footage, which was sent to the UN, shows the terrorists next to UN vehicles and inside the UN compound, which is used to deliver humanitarian aid in Gaza. One clip shows the terrorists firing from inside the complex. The IDF called on the UN to investigate the matter immediately.

In response to a query from the UN about an employee who was killed and another injured while driving in Rafah, the IDF gave an initial assessment, explaining that the two were in an area marked as an active combat zone, and had not given their route to the IDF in advance. It is still unknown who fired at the UN vehicle.

There is a growing frustration in Israel and in the Biden administration at the lack of a governing replacement for Hamas. When IDF Spokesman Hagari was asked about it, he responded that “there is no doubt that an alternative government will increase the pressure on Hamas, but this is an issue for the political level.” Reports indicate that Israel has approached multiple potential partners in friendly Arab countries, but none are interested. Even the Palestinian Authority is afraid of entering Gaza at this stage, because Hamas will kill them. The remaining choice is for an interim IDF government, but this will cause international anger, and the government is afraid of that at the moment.

The London Times reports that Hamas planned to build a secret base in Turkey, and other places around the world. According to the report, Hamas’s goal was to launch attacks against Israeli targets in bordering countries, including NATO-member states. The document with the plans was reportedly seized by the IDF from the home of Sinwar’s Chief-of-Staff. This comes after Turkey’s President Erdogan spoke kindly of Hamas and added that “more than a thousand members of Hamas are receiving treatment in hospitals in Turkey.”

Gaza Humanitarian Efforts Updates:

Egypt continues to block the entry of aid via the Rafah Crossing, in protest to the IDF’s presence.

In Israel, activists of the Order 9 movement were seen halting and raiding aid trucks en route to Gaza. The group says that the aid should not be allowed into Gaza so long as Hamas is handling and profiting off it, while holding Israelis hostage.

The IDF didn’t yet report on aid delivered today or yesterday; either because aid is significantly slowed without the Rafah crossing, or because it was Israel’s Memorial Day followed by Independence Day.

Northern Front Updates:

Hezbollah in Lebanon continues to fire very heavily on Israeli communities along the northern border, and today killed a civilian and injured five soldiers near the town of Adamit. The civilian has not yet been named. Extensive damage and fires were reported in other border communities.

Hezbollah also shot down an IDF observation balloon, which landed on the Lebanese side of the border. The IDF says that there is no concern of intelligence being gathered from the balloon.

The IDF retaliated with airstrikes against Hezbollah positions in Southern Lebanon, as well as a direct airstrike on a moving vehicle, which eliminated a Hezbollah commander and two other terrorists.

Israeli hotels which are hosting displaced people from the north were told to prepare to keep hosting them at least until the end of 2024.

Houthi and Iraqi War Front Updates

The Islamic Resistance in Iraq, an Iranian-backed militia, fired two attack drones towards Eilat, both of which were intercepted by the IDF. The militia has been attempting to attack Israel for a while, but sharply escalated once Israel entered Rafah. They have not had much success yet, with most drones falling short, though it seems they’re improving their skills.

International Updates:

The Wall Street Journal reported that after pausing the shipment of bombs and JDAM Kits to Israel over the Rafah incursion, the Biden administration informed Congress that over $1 billion in new weapons deals for Israel, which includes tank ammunition, tactical vehicles, and in mortar rounds are being moved forward. However, there are further steps needed before approval and delivery of these weapons, and the bombs and kits remain withheld.

The International Court of Justice in The Hague will discuss South Africa’s request for additional orders against Israel on May 16 and 17. Egypt has said that they will back South Africa.

This update is sponsored by Melanie and Hilton Efune and their children, daughters-in-law, and grandchildren, in honor of the heroic IDF and the resilient people of Israel. With thanks to Mendy and Bruria for all you do and your comforting words that inspire us and help us remain connected to Israel.

In keeping in line with the Rabbonim's policies for websites, we do not allow comments. However, our Rabbonim have approved of including input on articles of substance (Torah, history, memories etc.)

We appreciate your feedback. If you have any additional information to contribute to this article, it will be added below.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

advertise package