War Day 235: IDF Enters Central Rafah, Standby in the North

War Summary, Day Two Hundred and Thirty Five: PIJ released a video of hostage Sasha Trufanov, expansion of operations in Central Gaza, IDF reached the city center of Rafah, humanitarian zone explosion was not from IDF, US Army’s JLOTS port is no longer functional, and standby in the north.

By Mrs. Bruria Efune

125 held captive in Gaza.
41 hostages confirmed murdered in Gaza.
112 hostages freed.
19 hostage bodies rescued.
1,525 Israelis killed.
287 fallen soldiers in the battle in Gaza.
14 fallen soldiers in Northern Israel.
5 fallen soldiers in Judea & Samaria.
14,100 estimated rockets fired at Israel.
90,000 Israelis displaced from their homes.
1 Jewish nation united in prayer, charity, and good deeds.

Top Headlines:

  • The PIJ released a video of hostage Sasha Trufanov
  • Expansion of operations in Central Gaza
  • The IDF reached the city center of Rafah
  • The IDF did not bomb a humanitarian zone
  • The US Army’s JLOTS port is no longer functional
  • Standby in the north

Hostage Updates:

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) released a cruel 30-second video of hostage Alexander (Sasha) Trufanov. The video is not dated, nor gives any information as to when it could have been filmed. In the video, which is clearly scripted, Alexander introduces himself, and then says that in the coming days in a follow-up video he will speak about what happened to him and other hostages being held in Gaza.

The PIJ has released other such cruel videos in the past. The IDF says that these videos are a form of psychological warfare, and asks that they not be shared.

A senior Egyptian source told national media that Egypt, Qatar, and the US are increasing efforts for a cease-fire and release of hostages agreement. The source added that Cairo maintains its position that it only agrees to Palestinian elements managing the Rafah crossing.

Meanwhile, sources in Hamas told the Saudi Al-Sharq channel today that they still refuse to accept any Israeli proposal regarding the hostage deal due to the attacks in Rafah recent days. Hamas still refuses to accept any proposal that does not include ending the war.

Gaza Front Updates:

Hamas fired rockets twice at Israeli communities near the Gaza border.

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

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.

Troops in Jabaliya destroyed several Hamas terror sites and weapons depots today, and eliminated several terrorists, including a group who were launching mortars at them.

Central Gaza saw expanded activity today, primarily along the Netzarim Corridor, and in the Juhor Ad-Dik area. Troops found more tunnel shafts and a weapons warehouse, and at one point identified a group of terrorists in the building next to them, and called an airstrike to take them out.

Overnight, the IDF advanced forward to the city center of Rafah, and deployed a fifth brigade in the city. This comes as UNRWA says that nearly one millions Gazans have fled Rafah over the last three weeks.

In Rafah, the IDF is advancing in two paths—one within the city, and one along the Philedalphi Corridor, which stretches along the border with Egypt. The IDF says that troops operated along the corridor in an overnight operation following new information gleaned about terrorist infrastructure in the area. In searched through Rafah and the corridor, troops found tunnels, weapons, and a lathe for the production of rockets and grenades, and other rocket-making and launching infrastructure.

In a recent briefing, General (res.) Yaacov Amidror, former head of the Israeli National Security Council, said he estimates that it will take a month for the IDF to gain control over Rafah, and another 2-3 to clear it of Hamas terrorists.

In further clarification after Hamas claimed that the IDF bombed and set fire to a humanitarian zone in Rafah, the IDF clarified that the airstrike carried out was 1.7 km away from the humanitarian area, and used precise munitions carrying the minimum possible load of 34kg of explosives. The load was too small to have caused a fire. The IDF had confirmed that there were no women or children in the building before it was hit.

The IDF says that it is considering the possibility that there were secondary explosions from a Hamas ammunition warehouse near a civilian compound which was over 100 meters away from the strike site—and which may have caused the fire that tragically took civilian lives.

Any reports that the IDF bombed the Al-Mawasi humanitarian camp are false.

Gaza Humanitarian Efforts Updates:

On Monday, May 27:

Over 370 humanitarian aid trucks were transferred to Gaza, including 154 aid trucks that arrived at Kerem Shalom from Egypt.
There are over 600 aid trucks awaiting pick up by UN agencies, on the Gaza side of the border.
1 tanker of fuel designated for the operation of essential infrastructure in Gaza, entered Gaza yesterday.
57 trucks were coordinated and transferred to northern Gaza.
There are 8 operational field hospitals, and 3 mobile clinics in Gaza.
So far, 3,272 sick and injured individuals and 725 escorts, left Gaza for medical treatment abroad.

The US Army was forced to suspend aid shipments to Gaza by sea after the JLOTS temporary pier on the coast of Gaza was damaged by the weather.

Northern Front Updates:

Hezbollah continued with heavy fire on communities in Israel’s far north, causing damage and fires. Over a third of homes near the Lebanon border have been damaged in some way by Hezbollah fire.

The IDF attacked several Hezbollah targets in Southern Lebanon, including weapons warehouses and terrorist gathering points.

With 80,000 residents evacuated from the far north, and many IDF reservists on standby, Israelis are waiting to see what the IDF will do about Hezbollah, and when. There are three main possibilities: war, diplomacy, or deterrence.

A full scale war with Hezbollah is expected to be a devastating one, since Hezbollah is very well armed with modern equipment. While Hezbollah is at least 10 times better armed than Hamas, here the IDF is at least better prepared than with Gaza. It’s unclear when such a war would begin, as the IDF currently has significant forces busy in Gaza.

Diplomatic efforts have been ongoing since November, and do not appear to be very promising, and definitely not to assure lasting effects.

Deterrence would mean the IDF putting very heavy forces on the border, enough to reassure residents that it’s safe to return home. This would be very expensive and not necessarily yield results.

Earlier, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant told troops on the northern border to “prepare for a hot summer,” hinting that the first option is most likely. Whichever it is, expect it to be a sudden surprise move.

Houthi & Iraqi War Front Updates

The Houthis launched five anti-ship ballistic missiles into the Red Sea, hitting a Greek owned and operated bulk carrier with thereof them. The vessel was lightly damaged, but continued on its way. There were no injuries reported.

In a separate incident, U.S. Central Command forces intercepted five uncrewed aerial systems (UAS) over the Red Sea, launched from an Iranian-backed Houthi-controlled area of Yemen.

Judea and Samaria Updates:

Overnight, IDF, Shin Bet and Border Police forces arrested eight wanted persons throughout Judea and Samaria. In addition, dozens of suspects were interrogated and incendiary materials were confiscated.

The IDF has been carrying out nightly operations since the beginning of the war, cracking down on terror groups in the Judea and Samaria region. Around 4,500 terrorists have been arrested so far, and nearly 500 eliminated in street battles.

International Updates:

In a press briefing, White House National Security Communications Advisor John Kirby, replied to questions about the Rafah operation and President Biden’s red line, “As I said, we don’t want to see a major ground operation. We haven’t seen that at this point.”

He added that the US is waiting to hear the results of Israel’s investigation into the fire, and that there was nothing in the incident that would lead to the stop of military aid to Israel at this point.

According to a Reuters report, the White House opposes the imposition of sanctions against officials at the International Criminal Court as a response to the issuing of arrest warrants against Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Galant.

France’s ambassador to the UN, Nicolas de Riviere, warned against any further escalation in Rafah and said that “the time has come for the UN Security Council to act regarding the war in Gaza.”

General Updates:

In an effort to prevent and reduce wartime PTSD, Israel’s Ministry of Defense has tripled the budget for support to associations which help combat soldiers recover from war experiences.

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  1. There are cards with the sheva mitzvos. Would it be ok to make cards with pesukim or the first Rashi of why Eretz Yisroel belongs to the Jewish people ? Or would this be considered shaimos?

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