War Day 222: Fallen IDF Soldiers, 600,000 Evacuate Rafah

War Summary, Day Two Hundred and Twenty Two: Fallen IDF soldiers, 600,000 evacuated Rafah, Gallant calls for Palestinian government in Gaza, Hezbollah attack near Tiberias, IDF airstrikes deep into Lebanon, and the EU threatened damage to the relationship with Israel.

By Mrs. Bruria Efune

132 held captive in Gaza.
112 hostages freed.
12 hostage bodies rescued.
39 hostages confirmed murdered in Gaza.
1,511 Israelis killed.
273 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:

  • Hamas fires on Kerem Shalom and Sderot multiple times
  • Fallen IDF soldiers
  • Operation in Zeitoun mostly complete
  • 600,000 evacuated Rafah
  • Gallant calls for a new Palestinian government in Gaza
  • Significant escalation: Hezbollah attack near Tiberias
  • IDF airstrikes deep into Lebanon
  • The EU threatened damage to the relationship with Israel

Hostage Updates:

There currently appears to be no chance of a negotiated deal to release the hostages.

Gaza Front Updates:

Hamas fired rockets once at the Kerem Shalom crossing and four times at Israeli communities near the border, including three times at Sderot. Around 80% of Sderot residents returned to the city in March primarily families with children who need to go to school. Most rockets were either intercepted or landed in empty areas, though one hit a new and not-yet occupied apartment building. No physical injuries were reported, but residents are experiencing increased symptoms of PTSD.

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

Sgt. Ira Yair Gispan, 19, from Petah Tikva

The IDF also announced that a contractor hired by the Ministry of Defense who was hit in a mortar attack on Monday, today died of his wounds. He is named as:

Liron Yitzhak, 30, from Petah Tikva. He was supposed to get married in two weeks.

The IDF has not yet confirmed reports of a mass-casualty incident in Gaza today (Wednesday), in which around 16-20 soldiers were injured, many seriously, and some were killed.

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’s Zeitoun neighborhood, and the 162nd in Rafah.

In Jabaliya, where a large number of Hamas terrorists have been regrouping, the battles have been particularly intense and dangerous. The IDF says that a large number of terrorists have so far been eliminated in the area, including a few squads who were responsible for the recent rocket barrages on Sderot. Today the IDF expanded the evacuation zone, calling on civilians in neighborhoods near Beit Lahiya and Beit Hanoun to move towards the humanitarian zone west of Gaza City.

In Gaza City’s Zeitoun an estimated 200 terrorists have been eliminated since the operation began last Thursday, and nearly 100 terror sites were destroyed. Troops also found and confiscated many weapons belonging to Hamas, and important intelligence materials. It appears that the operation in Zeitoun has been completed, and most or all IDF troops withdrew from the neighborhood to prepare for an operation in another area.

In Rafah, troops have not yet significantly advanced past the eastern more rural part of the city, in what reports say is the IDF heeding a U.S. request to wait for National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan to visit before advancing further. Troops raided a Hamas training camp in the area, where they eliminated several armed terrorists, captured weapons, and even found mock IDF vehicles which Hamas used for training. In addition, the Air Force carried out strikes on 80 terror targets in Rafah, including rocket launchers, weapons depots, observation points, and Hamas buildings.

According to UNRWA updates, over 600,000 Gazans have already evacuated Rafah towards the humanitarian zones.

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant gave a press statement in which he said that Israel’s relationship with the U.S. is essential, strong, and stable. He noted that despite differences in opinion, the fact is that the US was the first to stand by Israel on October 7th—not just in word, but also in action. He added that disagreements are resolved behind closed doors, not in the public eye.

Gallant also spoke about the need to create an alternative government to Hamas in Gaza in order to defeat them. In his opinion, the government should be made of local Palestinians, and not military rule, which he said “will cost us in blood and many needless victims, and will also bring a heavy economic price.” Gallant called on Prime Minister Netanyahu to “to make a decision and declare that there will be no Israeli military rule in the Gaza Strip and that an alternative government to Hamas in the Gaza Strip be advanced immediately.”

The Financial Times reported that the Biden administration has been urging Arab countries to participate in “peacekeeping” forces, to be stationed in the Gaza Strip after the war against Hamas ends. According to the report, the goal is to fill the vacuum that will be created in Gaza until a “reliable” Palestinian security force is established there. Despite the American effort, they are experiencing difficulties.

Gaza Humanitarian Efforts Updates:

There have not been any updates about the amount of aid transferred into Gaza today or yesterday, as Egypt continues to block the Rafah crossing, and Hamas continues to fire at the Kerem Shalom crossing. In an odd twist, Egypt and Hamas are attempting to punish Israel by blocking humanitarian aid to Gazan civilians.

Some trucks of aid did enter Gaza, but it’s unclear how many.

A small number of activists from the Order 9 Movement continue in their attempts to block aid trucks en route to Gaza along various roads in Israel. The group says that all aid should be halted so long as Hamas continues to take control of it and sell it for their own profit, while holding Israeli hostages.

Northern Front Updates:

There has been significant escalation in the north, with Hezbollah firing massive barrages across Israel’s far north, including 60 missiles at a strategic air traffic control base on Mount Meron. In addition, Hezbollah made their furthest attack drone strike yet—on a military base near Tiberias, in the Lower Galilee. Light damage was reported in various locations, including the base on Meron.

Yesterday a Hezbollah attack killed civilian Elad Fingerhut, a 30-year-old husband and father of three. He was making a delivery to the soldiers, and then ran to help when he saw that some were injured. He was killed when Hezbollah fired at the injured soldiers and civilian who was assisting them.

The IDF confirmed that last night they eliminated Hussein Ibrahim Makki, a top Hezbollah field commander, in a drone strike on his vehicle. The IDF says that Makki had extensive knowledge and was closely connected to the IRGC.

In addition to the normal airstrikes on Hezbollah targets in Southern Lebanon, the IDF made heavy airstrikes in northeastern Baalbek, in what Lebanese describe as the largest airstrike in the area yet. The IDF did not yet confirm the airstrike, but the area is known to be full of Hezbollah warehouses and strategic assets.

Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah met today with a Hamas delegation headed by Khalil al-Hiya. They reportedly held a situational assessment on the latest developments. Hamas has been trying to encourage Hezbollah to enter the war more aggressively, rather than containing fire to the far north of Israel.

Houthi War Front Updates

The Houthis launched sea missiles at an American destroyer, and launched rockets at the ship “Destiny,” which was on its way to Israel. No harm was reported.

Judea and Samaria Updates:

Palestinian media reports that the IDF has been raiding money changer branches throughout Judea and Samaria, which are known to assist terror groups. The IDF is also reported to be carrying out raids in Ramallah, Bethlehem, Qalqilya, Jericho, Shechem (Nablus), Tubas, and Tulkarm.

International Updates:

European Foreign Minister, Joseph Borrell, issued a special statement, in which he urged Israel to immediately end the military operation in Rafah, and said that the operation in Rafah further disrupts the distribution of humanitarian aid in Gaza and leads to an increase in the problem of displaced persons in the Gaza Strip, increases the chance of starvation, and increases suffering. Burrell then added, “The Union calls on Israel to avoid further aggravation of the difficult humanitarian situation in Gaza and to open the Rafah border crossing. The continuation of the operation in Rafah will inevitably damage the Union’s relations with Israel.”

Israel decided to send a delegation to The Hague tomorrow (Thursday) to oppose the request of South Africa to issue orders to stop the war in Gaza.

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.

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