War Day 232: Many Homes Hit in North, 3 Bodies Returned

Stormy seas disconnected a part of the American JLOTS floating pier, which was used to unload humanitarian aid. The section floated off and then got stuck near the coast of Ashdod. The U.S. sent a second vessel to extract it, but it got stuck too.

War Summary, Day Two Hundred and Thirty Two: On Friday the IDF announced that they had rescued the bodies of three hostages: Orión Hernández-Radoux, Hanan Yablonka, Michel Nisenbaum, there are unconfirmed reports of mass surrenders of Hamas terrorists in Jabaliya, and Hezbollah continues to fire heavily on Israel’s far north, and over the last day, made direct hits on homes in Manara, Dovev, Metula, and Shtula.

By Mrs. Bruria Efune

War Summary, Day Two Hundred and Thirty Two:
Wishing you a happy Lag B’Omer!

125 held captive in Gaza.
41 hostages confirmed murdered in Gaza.
112 hostages freed.
19 hostage bodies rescued.
1,523 Israelis killed.
285 fallen soldiers in the battle in Gaza.
14 fallen soldiers in Northern Israel.
5 fallen soldiers in Judea & Samaria.
14,000 estimated rockets fired at Israel.
90,000 Israelis displaced from their homes.
1 Jewish nation united in prayer, charity, and good deeds.

Top Headlines:

  • Three hostage bodies returned to Israel
  • Negotiations to reopen
  • IDF denies Hamas’s claims to have kidnapped and killed IDF soldiers
  • The IDF is holding most of Jabaliya
  • Advancements made in Rafah
  • The American JLOTS pier is experiencing ocean trouble
  • Egypt continues to block the Rafah crossing, may transfer aid via the UN to Israel
  • The ICJ issued an unclear ruling on Rafah
  • Many homes hit in Israel’s far north
  • Iraqi militia fire towards Haifa and Eilat

Hostage Updates:

On Friday the IDF announced that they had rescued the bodies of three hostages:

Orión Hernández-Radoux, 30
Hanan Yablonka, 42
Michel Nisenbaum, 59

The three were found in a tunnel in Jabaliya, Northern Gaza, in the same area where the bodies of another four hostages were found last week. Until Friday it had been unknown whether these three hostages were alive or not, but the IDF revealed that according to intelligence recently uncovered by the Shin Bet, they had been killed by Hamas terrorists on October 7th in the Mefalsim area, before being taken hostage to Gaza.

Orion and Hanan had been at the Nova Festival, and were killed while feeling on foot. Michel was on the way to the Rei’m base to pick up his granddaughter who was spending Shabbat Simchat Torah with her officer father.

On Friday, the head of the Mossad met with the head of the CIA and Prime Minister of Qatar. It was agreed that negotiations for a ceasefire and hostage release will reopen, on the basis of new proposals led by the Egyptian and Qatari mediators and with the active involvement of the USA.

In response to reports of renewed negotiations, Senior Hamas official Osama Hamdan told the Al-Jazeera network: “The goal of the negotiations is to stop the aggression and end the siege, and achieve a just deal for the hostages. We have not received an update from the mediators on anything regarding the resumption of negotiations. Today’s talk about new negotiations are not serious. We don’t need new negotiations, since Hamas responded to the proposal that the mediators presented to it.” In other words, Hamas will only agree to an end of the war deal.

According to a report by Israel Hayom, sources close to Prime Minister Netanyahu believe that there is a chance for a deal, due to the IDF’s increased military pressure on Hamas, and Israel’s willingness to compromise on several issues. However, Israel will not agree to compromise on ending the war.

Negotiations are expected to reopen in a few days.

Gaza Front Updates:

On Friday night, Hamas fired rockets at Netivot HaAsarah, and Israeli community near the Gaza border.

Thank G-d, the IDF did not announce any fallen heroes however, an unnamed soldier was seriously injured in Northern Gaza.

On Saturday night, Hamas announced that they had killed and kidnapped IDF soldiers in Gaza. The IDF immediately clarified that this is false; all soldiers are accounted for.

Four divisions of IDF troops are currently operating in Gaza: the 98th Division in Northern Gaza’s Jabaliya, the Gaza Division in limited pinpoint operations, the 99th Division along the Netzarim Corridor and Central Gaza, and the 162nd Division in Rafah.

In both Jabaliya and Rafah, troops have been thoroughly searching for weapons, rockets and launchers, and tunnels—all items which are found every 10-20 meters. Most weapons and rockets are destroyed, but some are taken back to Israel for intelligence purposes. Rocket launchers are immediately destroyed so that they can’t be used again. Tunnels are first safely searched, and then either destroyed, or monitored for intelligence purposes. While the IDF mentions that Hamas tunnels have been found in both areas, they are still not publicly talking about tunnels which reach from Rafah to the Sinai in Egypt.

Troops have now taken over most of Jabaliya, and are holding onto it. The battles in Jabaliya remain intense, with a lot of close-quarters combat between narrow alleyways. Troops eliminated dozens of terrorists, including a sniper cell which had been firing at troops over the last few days, until the troops discovered their location and called an airstrike on the building. There are unconfirmed reports of mass surrenders of Hamas terrorists in Jabaliya.

In Central Gaza, the IDF is continuing to hold and operate along the Netzarim corridor, and Hamas continues to be furious about it, and attack the IDF positions. In turn, the IDF troops shelled several Hamas positions today, and eliminated a number of Hamas attackers.

An IDF airstrike in Central Gaza eliminated Diaa al-Din al-Sharafa, the deputy commander of Hamas’s national security organization. Al-Sharafa was responsible for managing the mechanisms securing the borders within Gaza, which prevented Gaza’s populations from evacuating combat zones.

The IDF advanced further in Rafah’s city, as well as along the Philadelphi Corridor which stretches along Gaza’s border with Egypt. Heavy bombing was seen in several areas in Rafah over the last two days.

Gaza Humanitarian Efforts Updates:

Stormy seas disconnected a part of the American JLOTS floating pier, which was used to unload humanitarian aid. The section floated off and then got stuck near the coast of Ashdod. The U.S. sent a second vessel to extract it, but it got stuck too.

Egypt continues to block the entry of aid into Gaza via the Rafah crossing, in protest to the IDF’s presence and removal of Hamas. The IDF is not blocking the aid, and agrees to accept and facilitate the transfer into Gaza. According to a report in the Lebanese “Al-Akhbar” newspaper, the Egyptians have no agreed to transfer the aid indirectly—meaning they will deliver it to the UN, who will then transfer it to Israel, who will deliver it via the Kerem Shalom crossing. They are expected to allow 200 trucks to cross each day.

On Thursday, May 23:

320 aid trucks were inspected [in Israel] and transferred to the Gaza Strip.
8 trucks of aid were transferred into Gaza through the JLOTS temporary floating pier. 
45 pallets containing tens of thousands of packages of aid were airdropped into northern Gaza.
A total of 23 trucks were transferred to northern Gaza via the Erez West Crossing.
7 tankers of fuel (266,000 liters) designated for the operation of essential infrastructure in Gaza, entered Gaza.
There are currently 8 operational field hospitals in Gaza.

ICJ Ruling:

On Friday, in a 13-2 vote, the ICJ ruled on the Rafah issue that Israel must “Immediately halt its military offensive, and any other action in the Rafah Governorate, which may inflict on the Palestinian group in Gaza conditions of life that could bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.”

The two who voted against were Justice Barak of Israel, and the court vice president, Julia Sebutinde of Uganda.

The wording of the ruling is unclear as to whether the clause “which may inflict..” applies only to “any other action,” or the military offensive as well, and there seems to be disagreement with at least five judges, including Germany’s, saying that the IDF may continue military operations in Rafah that do not conflict the clause, and are not causing a genocide.

Israel seems to have adopted this interpretation, and in a joint statement by the Head of the National Security Council and the Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, commented on the absurdity of the ICJ ruling, and added: “Israel has not and will not conduct military actions in the Rafah area which may inflict on the Palestinian civilian population in Gaza conditions of life that could bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part. Israel will continue its efforts to enable humanitarian assistance and will act, in full compliance with the law, to reduce as much as possible harm caused to the civilian population in Gaza.”

The ruling comes after at least 950,000 residents of Rafah safely evacuated to humanitarian zones under IDF protection, which have complete food supplies, running water, and electricity. It is no longer any more populated than any other city in Gaza.

Justice Julia Sebutinde, who is known for battling political corruption, argues that the ruling “implicitly orders Israel to disregard the safety and security of the more than 100 hostages still held by Hamas.”

The U.S. remains silent on the ruling, only stating that “the US has been clear and consistent in its position,” without elaborating beyond that.

Britain criticized the ruling, claiming that this decision would strengthen Hamas. A spokesman for the British Foreign Ministry stated: “The reason there is no break in the fighting is because Hamas rejected a very generous hostage deal from Israel. The intervention of the courts will strengthen Hamas’s view that it can hold hostages and remain in Gaza.”

Joseph Borrell, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the European Union stated: “We have taken to heart the orders of the High Court in The Hague to Israel. Israel must stop the war, open the Rafah crossing, and comply with the other orders. Court decisions are binding on all parties and must be implemented immediately and fully.”

However, Israel is not blocking the Rafah crossing, Egypt is.

Northern Front Updates:

Hezbollah continues to fire heavily on Israel’s far north, and over the last day, made direct hits on homes in Manara, Dovev, Metula, and Shtula. These towns, along with other Israeli towns on the border with Lebanon, are 80% evacuated, and nearly half of all homes have some level of damage from Hezbollah fire.

On Shabbat, part of an interceptor missile which took down a drone from Lebanon, landed in Tzfat (Safed), causing a fire.

The IDF struck a large number of Hezbollah targets in Southern Lebanon, including a building which contained several Hezbollah terrorists.

Hezbollah confirmed that the mother of the terror organization’s secretary general, Hassan Nassralah, has died. It is unlikely that Nasrallah will leave his underground bunker, in which he’s been hiding for years now, to go to the funeral.

Meanwhile in Syria, a Syrian officer who was an Iranian associate, was killed in Damascus when his car exploded from a bomb. If this was an Israeli attack, it is unlikely Israel will publicly take credit for it.

Houthi & Iraqi War Front Updates

The U.S. Central Command announced that on May 23, forces intercepted a cruise missile attack over the Red Sea, launched by the Houthis in Yemen.

Iranian backed militia in Iraq continue to launch unsuccessful attacks at Israel, and today the IDF released footage of fighter jets intercepting three drones last night. One drone was launched towards Haifa, and two towards Eilat. All three were intercepted before reaching Israeli airspace.

Judea and Samaria Updates:

According to reports in Judea and Samaria, IDF forces are carrying out counter-terrorism operations and arrests in various areas, including Tulkarem, Burka (near Shechem/Nablus), Dora, Sinjil, near Ramallah and the Jaidi neighborhood in Qalqilya.

The finance ministers of the G7 Forum of States make an unusual call, demanding Israel “Release the tax money of the Palestinian Authority (PA) due to urgent fiscal needs.” Israel is holding the tax money, which it collected for the PA, so long as the PA continues to pay reward salaries to terrorists and families of terrorists who murdered Israelis.

International Updates:

German reports say that Hamas planned an attack against the Israeli embassy in Berlin. Maps of the targets were found on the smartphone of a suspect of Lebanese origin who was arrested in Berlin last December.

The Italian government has announced that it will return to funding UNRWA, in the Gaza Strip.

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