War Day 241: 4 Hostages Confirmed Dead, Uncontrolled Fires Across the North

War Summary, Day Two Hundred and Forty One: Remains of a missing Israeli were found, four hostages were confirmed killed by Hamas, mixed reports about the hostage deal, over a dozen large uncontrolled fires across Northern Israel, a suspected Israeli attack eliminated a senior Iranian terrorist in Syria, and a Houthi ballistic missile was intercepted over Eilat.

By Mrs. Bruria Efune

124 held captive in Gaza.
45 hostages confirmed murdered in Gaza.
112 hostages freed.
19 hostage bodies rescued.
1,538 Israelis killed.
294 fallen soldiers in the battle in Gaza.
14 fallen soldiers in Northern Israel.
7 fallen soldiers in Judea & Samaria.
14,390 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 remains of a missing Israeli were found
  • Four hostages were confirmed killed by Hamas
  • Mixed reports about the hostage deal, amongst mixed support
  • 650 trucks of aid are waiting for the UN to pick them up
  • Over a dozen large uncontrolled fires across Northern Israel
  • Suspected Israeli attack eliminated a senior Iranian terrorist in Syria
  • A Houthi ballistic missile was intercepted over Eilat

– Large bombing plot prevented in Israel

Hostage Updates:

The IDF announced that they found the remains of a father who was thought to be a hostage:

Dolev Yehud, 35, from Kibbutz Nir Oz

Dolev is a medic, and left his home on the morning of October 7th to help save people. When he went missing, it was thought that he was taken hostage, but after months, when no evidence was found of him being taken to Gaza, the IDF used new scientific technology to conduct advanced DNA testing of all skeletal remains found in and near the kibbutz, and identified remains of Dolev’s body which had previously been unidentifiable. Dolev’s wife gave birth a few months ago.

Based on new intelligence, the IDF confirmed that four hostages have been killed by Hamas in captivity:

Amiram Cooper, 85, from Kibbutz Nir Oz
Chaim Perry, 80, from Kibbutz Nir Oz
Yoram Metzger, 80, from Kibbutz Nir Oz
Nadav Popplewell, 51, from Kibbutz Nirim

It is estimated that the four were killed a few months ago, though the IDF has not yet determined how. Hamas released videos of Amiram, Chaim, and Yoram in May, and of Nadav in March, claiming that he was killed in an IDF airstrike. In the video, Nadav is seen with bruises, clearly having been beaten and abused.

Negotiation Updates:

According to various reports, the Israeli War Cabinet has already accepted the three stage hostage release and ceasefire deal. The next step is for Hamas to agree. Then the wider Israeli government cabinet or Knesset needs to vote on it. It’s expected that the Religious Zionist and Otzma Yehudit parties will vote against, but all other mainstream parties will vote for it, including the Haredi Agudas Yisrael and Shas parties, and most opposition parties.

The Religious Zionist and Otzma Yehudit parties intend to leave the government coalition and attempt to bring about new elections if the deal goes through. Minister Betzalel Smotrich addressed members of the Heroism Forum, which represents over 200 families of fallen soldiers. He said: “I told the Prime Minister, we, together with the bereaved families and the majority of the people of Israel, will stand by your side for a decision and victory, but we will stand against you with all our strength and aggression if you choose surrender and defeat. Anyone who still talks about establishing a Palestinian state is inviting the establishment of a monster of terror and murder in the heart the State of Israel. We will not let this happen even if the whole world recognizes such a country.”

While the Hostage Families Forum is in support of the deal, and the Tikva Forum (which supports a smaller number of hostage families) is approaching it with skeptic caution, the Heroism Forum is adamantly against it, saying their “loved ones went to battle and fell for the sake of victory. We will not settle for anything less than that”

Prime Minister Netanyahu in a video said that Israel maintains both goals of returning the hostages and eliminating Hamas, and that the outline of the deal always included the elimination of Hamas before a complete ceasefire goes into effect. Netanyahu, however, has refused to show the written offer approved by the War Cabinet to Ministers Smotrich and Ben Gvir, who question what he’s hiding.

In a conversation tonight with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said that “Israel will not stop the fighting in Gaza until it returns all the abductees and collapses the Hamas regime.” Gallant also informed Blinken that Israel is currently promoting moves to establish a governing alternative to Hamas, and said that this is a necessary procedure for the overthrow of Hamas’ rule, and for creating pressure that will assist in the return of the hostages.

Meanwhile, Hamas is giving mixed responses. Egypt’s Foreign Minister says that “Hamas sees the proposal as positive.” Senior Hamas official Hussam Badran said that “Israel and it’s supporters are confused,” and “Hamas will not allow Israel to hold any position regarding the organization of our internal affairs – in Gaza or the crossings – and especially in the Rafah crossing.”

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Hamas’s military leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, believes that time is in his favor, and dragging out the war turns Israel into a pariah while promoting the “Palestinian cause.” In other words, he is in no rush to agree to a deal, and if he does, he will try to drag the negotiations out for as long as possible.

The Biden administration is pulling all efforts to make the deal happen, or at least to show that Israel agreed to a ceasefire and Hamas turned it down. At requests from the US, the foreign ministers of Jordan, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Qatar expressed support for the mediation efforts in a joint statement. The leaders of the USA, France, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, Canada, and Japan also released a joint statement, expressing support for the proposal, and calling on all countries who have influence on Hamas to push Hamas to agree to it.

Gaza Front Updates:

Hamas did not successfully fire on Israeli civilians today.

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

Three divisions of IDF troops are currently operating in Gaza: the 99th Division along the Netzarim Corridor, Central Gaza, and in the Sabra and Zeitoun neighborhoods of Gaza City; The Gaza Division in various areas in Gaza on pinpoint operations; and the 162nd Division in Rafah and along the Philadelphi Corridor. The Israeli Air Force struck around 50 Hamas targets across Gaza throughout the day, including terrorist squads, weapons depots, and other Hamas infrastructure.

Troops in all locations are carrying out careful searches, and finding weapons, rocket launchers, and tunnel shafts hidden throughout homes and public buildings. The IDF says they’ve eliminated a number of terrorists in Gaza City and in Rafah.

There are now six brigades under the 162nd Division inside Rafah, with more prepared to enter. In one of the more daring operations today, troops raided an “active combat complex,” and in close-quarters in a dense urban center, eliminated several terrorists and located tunnel shafts in the process. Such operations are extremely risky, with troops entering grounds where the terrorists have the complete upper hand. The success of the battle is both miraculous, and a testament to the skill and determination of the IDF soldiers.

Gaza Humanitarian Efforts Updates:

On Sunday, June 2nd:

248 aid trucks were inspected and transferred to the Gaza strip
7 tankers of fuel designated for the operation of essential infrastructure in Gaza, entered Gaza
12 trucks of aid were picked up on the Gazan side of Kerem Shalom by UN organizations

Nearly 650 aid trucks are currently waiting on the Gazan side of Kerem Shalom for pickup. The UN cannot keep up with the amount of aid they are demanding of Israel to coordinate.

Northern Front Updates:

Hezbollah has been raining rockets, mortars, anti-tank missiles, and attack drones on Israel’s north. While most projectiles headed to populated areas were intercepted, a few hits were made, and more landed in open fields, starting fires.

There are currently at least 15 areas with active fires in the north, most started by rockets, though there is suspicion that one or two may have been started by Palestinian arsonists. Most of the fires are in open fields, but in some areas, such as Kiryat Shemona, homes are being burnt down as well. In Kfar Giladi, fires consumed an avocado field, and at the last report, was fast approaching the local hotel. Fires are also reported in Katzrin, Keren Naftali, Amiad, Tel Saki, Shlomi, Safed, and Metula.

Some areas of the north are completely cut off from the rest of Israel, with roads being entirely blocked by fires. Firefighters had difficulties reaching all areas, and in many cases, local volunteer security teams were left to fight the fires on their own, using garden hoses and small fire extinguishers. Most fires remained uncontrolled as of 10pm.

The IDF has still limited the response to airstrikes against Hezbollah targets in Southern Lebanon. 20 Hezbollah terrorists were eliminated this week, and 20 rocket launchers destroyed. Hezbollah announced the 329th of their ranks to be eliminated by the IDF, though the IDF estimates the number to be higher. Hezbollah has an estimated 40,000-50,000 fighters, and well over 150,000 rockets and attack drones.

Israel is under international pressure not to respond to Hezbollah burning Israel’s north down at the moment, since Hezbollah is expected to stop if a ceasefire agreement goes into place, and the IDF withdraws from Gaza. Even if a deal goes through, it will likely happen slowly.

The Syrian Center reports 16 eliminated in a likely Israeli airstrike last night all of who were members of pro-Iranian militias. One of the eliminated is Saeed Aviar, who was a prominent commander of the Revolutionary Guards in the Syrian arena, and provided assistance to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Houthi & Iraqi War Front Updates

Air-raid sirens were triggered in Eilat this morning, due to a ballistic missile fired by the Houthis in Yemen. The IDF intercepted it over Eilat, using the Arrow air defense system.

Judea and Samaria Updates:

The Shin Bet released information about a recently foiled a Hamas-directed suicide bombing attack in Israel, orchestrated by members of the terror group based in Turkey. On March 15, Anas Shurman, a Palestinian originally from Tulkarem but residing in Jordan, was detained in Shechem (Nablus). Interrogations revealed that Shurman was recruited in December 2023 by Imad Abid, a Hamas terrorist living in Turkey. Shurman agreed to carry out a suicide bombing in Israel and began preparations, including filming a last will, taking motorcycle lessons for the attack, and receiving funds and detailed instructions.

The Shin Bet seized a large 12-kilogram fragmentation bomb from a hidden location in the West Bank, accompanied by written instructions on executing the attack. Additional Hamas members involved in the plot, who were responsible for manufacturing and hiding the bomb for Shurman, were also arrested in Shechem, with at least 5 facing charges. The foiled attack demonstrates the concerning establishment of Hamas in Turkey, with the intent to direct attacks in Israel.

In a separate incident today, undercover Border Police officers entered Balata, near Shechem, to arrest a wanted Palestinian. The man was found to be armed with a handgun, and attempted to flee. The IDF pursued and eliminate him. During the incident, the troops were under attack by armed terrorists and rioters who hurled explosives at them. The troops in turn fired at the armed terrorists.

Late at night, terrorists drove by active IDF forces in the Nitzanei Oz area, and opened fire on them. The forces returned fire and eliminated two of the terrorists, and one more escaped. No IDF injuries were reported.

In an unusual outburst and attack, the advisor to Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority, said that Iran “wants to turn the Palestinians into fuel.” On live TV on the Al-Arabiya network, he said that “Iran is sacrificing the blood of the Palestinian people for its own interests. It wants a foothold in Palestinian geography and dictates to Hamas what it wants.” He also accused that Hamas is the cause of the Palestinian division, and since 2007 has been receiving support from Iran for all its moves.

This update is sponsored by an anonymous reader. May the memories of our brave fallen soldiers be for a blessing! Am Yisroel Chai!!

Lone volunteers in Kiryat Shemona fight a fire surrounding a Hesder Yeshiva

The local security team in Kfar Giladi fights a fire in an avocado field, as it fast approaches the hotel

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