War Day 253: Mass Tragedy Kills 8 in Rafah, Fire in the South

Hamas launched rockets from the humanitarian area in Central Gaza, towards Israeli civilians. Three fell short into Gaza.

War Summary, Day Two Hundred and Fifty Three: A group of eight soldiers in a vehicle heading back from a successful mission in Rafah were killed, Hamas and the PIJ launched rockets at Israeli civilian communities near the Gaza border three times today with one rocket landing in an open area near Kissufim causing a fire, and Reports that IDF intelligence monitoring systems were down the night leading up to October 7th.

By Mrs. Bruria Efune

War Summary, Day Two Hundred and Fifty Three:

120 held captive in Gaza.
45 hostages confirmed murdered in Gaza.
116 hostages freed.
19 hostage bodies rescued.
1,546 Israelis killed.
309 fallen soldiers and police in the battle in Gaza.
15 fallen soldiers in Northern Israel.
7 fallen soldiers in Judea & Samaria.
19,480 estimated rockets fired at Israel.
90,000 Israelis displaced from their homes.
1 Jewish nation united in prayer, charity, and good deeds.

Top Headlines:

  • Rockets cause fire in the south
  • Mass tragedy in Rafah: 8 fallen soldiers
  • US Army “temporarily” dismantles JLOTS pier
  • Drones and rockets cause fires in the north
  • US preparing for Israel-Hezbollah war
  • Reports that IDF intelligence monitoring systems were down the night leading up to October 7th
  • The US State Department is moving to sanction right-wing groups close to Ministers Smotrich and Ben-Gvir

Hostage Updates:

Thousands of protesters gathered in Tel Aviv tonight, demanding that the government work to find a deal to release the hostages. There is growing disagreement amongst Israelis as to what extend Israel should give in to Hamas’s demands in order to secure the release of the hostages. While an estimated 90% of Israelis agree that Hamas must be destroyed, many families and friends of hostages believe that military setbacks may be worthwhile to bring the hostages home. Meanwhile, a minority of family members of hostages believe that the deal risks the lives of hostages, primarily the male ones, since Hamas will lose motivation to keep them alive once the IDF withdraws. In addition, family members of combat soldiers believe that giving in to Hamas’s demand will bring about a greater loss of life to IDF troops in the long-term, and will only give Hamas time to regain strength and carry out further attacks against Israeli civilians.

Gaza Front Updates:

Hamas and the PIJ launched rockets at Israeli civilian communities near the Gaza border three times today. One rocket landed in an open area near Kissufim, and caused a fire. No injuries were reported.

On Friday night, Hamas launched five rockets towards Kissufim from inside a designated humanitarian zone. Three of the rockets fell short and landed in Gaza, two landed in open areas near Kissufim.

The IDF announced the name of a hero who succumbed to his wounds after being injured in Gaza last week:

Sgt. Yair Roitman, 19, from Karnei Shomron

In a terrible incident, the IDF announced that 8 soldiers fell in Rafah this morning. The name of one soldier was released:

Cpt. Wassem Mahmoud, 23, from Beit Jann

(The names of the remaining soldiers will be released Sunday, giving time for their families to speak to all their relatives at the end of Shabbat.)

The soldiers had just completed a successful overnight battle in Rafah’s Tel Sultan neighborhood, where troops had eliminated around 50 Hamas terrorists, and found important Hamas infrastructure. They were inside a Namer armored combat engineering vehicle (CEV), heading towards a temporary IDF base in Rafah, when the CEV exploded. The IDF is investigating the cause, chief suspects being either an IED on the road or atytache dot the vehicle by a terrorist, or an anti-tank missile.

Despite devastating losses, IDF troops have been extremely successful in Rafah, and are optimistic about depleting Hamas’s capabilities. Over the last two days, troops eliminated a large number of terrorists, and found many tunnel shafts and weapons storages.

Troops also found patterns of Hamas terrorists imitating IDF combat styles, by smashing holes through the sides of buildings in Rafah to allow them passage without being seen in the alleys. This method makes it far more difficult for troops to find and eliminate the terrorists, but the IDF soldiers are innovating by using drones to search and fly through the holes. In one incident on Friday, troops used a drone in this method and discovered traps in a building. They then called an airstrike to destroy the building, and identified secondary blasts—indicating that they were correct, and the building was lined with heavy explosives.

There are late night reports in Gaza of heavy airstrikes in east Deir al-Balah, Central Gaza.

In a speech addressing today’s tragedy, and the pains since October 7th, Prime Minister Netanyahu said, “This monstrous enemy has no intention of stopping here. Together with the other parts of Iran’s axis of evil, it will continue trying to destroy us. If we do not stop it – it will not stop. Therefore, there is no alternative to victory.”

After emphasizing that Israeli must stay focused against attacks from all sides, and that Israel is ready for what lays ahead, he added, “At this time we must show our people’s strength of spirit, thanks to which we have overcome all of our enemies. So it will be this time as well. ‘It is a time of trouble for Jacob but out of it he shall be saved.’ Together we will fight and with G-d’s help, together we will win.”

(The quote comes from Yirmiyahu / Jeremiah 30:7)

Gaza Humanitarian Efforts Updates:

UNICEF Spokesperson, James Elder, publicly complained of being held for 12 hours at IDF checkpoints while trying to transfer aid to children in Gaza. The IDF’s COGAT division responded that he forgot to mention some important details, which they outlined:

“1. Your truck had a closed back cabin. You know this is a security concern as Hamas has used them to smuggle weapons in the past.

  1. ⁠Closed back cabin trucks require specific coordination. This is not new. But you didn’t bother to do the coordination.
  2. ⁠At the checkpoint when COGAT officers spoke with you, you LIED and said the truck didn’t have a closed back cabin.
  3. ⁠Despite all of the duplicity, we still offered to help you complete the transport, but with a different truck.

Next time try adhering to security protocols and things should go smoothly.”

The US Army will be temporarily removing the JLOTS pier off the coast of Gaza and parking it in Ashdod, “due to expected high seas.” The high seas expected are no more than a 1 meter swell.

Northern Front Updates:

Hezbollah slightly decreased attacks on Shabbat, after unverified reports of a very senior Hezbollah commander being eliminated. Attacks were still heavy, and included several explosive drones.
Several drones caused a fire near Goren, and rockets caused a large fire between Bar’am and Yir’on.
Two missiles struck the IDF’s air traffic control base in Mount Meron, after which the IDF announced that there were no injuries nor “harm to the unit’s capabilities.”

The IDF carried out many airstrikes against Hezbollah positions in Southern Lebanon, including against a terrorist riding a motorcycle.

American envoy Amos Hochstein is expected to arrive in Israel on Monday, for discussions on the escalation in the north, and the White House’s concerns over a war with Hezbollah.

The commander of the Lebanese army met with the commander of the American Central Command in the United States. The two discussed the situation in Lebanon and ways of cooperation between the armies. While the Lebanese Army is not Hezbollah, they are in many ways controlled or manipulated by Hezbollah, and are not expected to fight against them. Instead, it’s likely that the US is hoping that the Lebanese Army will act to protect civilians during a war, in cases where Hezbollah supporters attack Christian and Druze groups, or vice versa.

Kamil Shimon, a Maronite Christian who heads the Free Nationalist Party, threatened Hezbollah this week, saying that the second Israel launches an offensive against the terrorist group, he will send 20,000 armed men to the streets, to assist in fighting, and will help Israel destroy them.

While the IDF is beginning preparations for an offensive inside Lebanon with wider airstrikes and pinpoint intelligence operations, it has not yet mobilized to the extent necessary to begin within the next few weeks. Unless a flash transfer is done, it would take 5-6 weeks to bring all the equipment and vehicles needed into position—about the same time the Rafah operation is expected to take to complete.

Houthi & Iraqi War Front Updates:

Overnight, the IDF launched an interceptor towards a “suspicious aerial target” which was heading towards Israel from the “eastern direction” (which usually refers to Iraq). The iDF did not specific if the target was successfully intercepted–only that it did not enter Israeli airspace, and sirens were activated in the northern town of Na’ura in case of fallen shrapnel.

The Iran-backed Islamic Resistance in Iraq claims to have launched a cruise missile at Haifa.

Judea and Samaria Updates:

IDF forces were seen carrying out counterterrorism activities in various towns around Ramallah and Jenin.

October 7th IDF Investigation:

The IDF has begun internal investigations into the failures of October 7th. While the reports have not yet been released, some leaks will begin. I’ll share reports from verified and trustworthy outlets only.

Ori Maniv, from News 12 reported today that at 11:00 p.m. on October 6th, the entire surveillance system of intelligence Unit 8200 went down. This system monitors Hamas communications and movements, and would have alerted intelligence officers to suspicious activity. The system was only partially returned to function by 5:00 a.m. on October 7th—an hour before the worst began. The head of intelligence, head of the Shin Bet, and IDF Chief-of-Staff were all made aware of the systems collapse, and received updates as officers worked to repair the system.

While the systems have been the target of cyber attacks and have had downtime before, the extent and length of this one was unprecedented, and should have been seen as a signal to trouble ahead.

International Updates:

Three Israelis were wounded in a car accident in the Sinai today. The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Embassy in Cairo coordinated with Egyptian authorities, and an Israeli Air Force plane with crews from Unit 669 evacuated the injured to Israel, to be treated in an Israeli hospital.

Barak Ravid of Axios reported that the State Department is expected to announce new sanctions on Friday against the Israeli right-wing organization “Tzav 9” for blocking humanitarian aid convoys to Gaza. He adds that his sources tell him that in the coming months more sanctions can be expected against organizations close to right-wing ministers, Smotrich and Ben Gvir.

After the French government banned Israeli companies from exhibiting at the Eurosatory arms exhibition next week, today a French court ruled that Israeli citizens cannot attend either.

General Updates:

The US Secretary of Defense invited Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant to visit the Pentagon to further discuss ongoing security developments in the Middle East. Gallant has accepted the invitation and will travel to the U.S. later this month.

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  1. We beseech Hashem to be a Chossid!
    As Chassidim we have been taught by the Rebbe Maharash:
    מלכתחילה אריבער
    The world says if you cannot crawl under an obstacle, try to leap over it. However , I say,leap over it in the first place.
    Yes, our brave holy soldiers are strong! They are strong mentally, spiritually and physically. But it’s a war they’re fighting.
    B’derech Hateva we have lost way way
    too many brothers and sisters, who have given their lives Al Kiddush Hashem.
    G-d YOU have got the complete KNOW HOW to get rid of this poisonous snake. To rid this earth of these monsters! Don’t leave it to us to combat these devils. YOU FIGHT! YOU be the sole HERO! You show to all a most grand Kiddush Hashem! Spare us the ugly agony of war. Bring us ALL HOME. Home to our Promised Land IMMEDIATELY.
    וקרב פיזורינו מבין הגוים …והביאנו לציון ברנה
    “Gather our dispersed among the nations ..
    Bring us with song to Tzion Your city.
    Amein Kein Yehi Ratzon.

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