War Day 255: Israeli Arms Sale at 13B, IDF Control 70% of Rafah

War Summary, Day Two Hundred and Fifty Five: Israeli arms sales broke a record high for the third year in a row, reaching $13 billion in 2023 which is a huge step towards military independence, the IDF says that so far, it has gained control of 70% of Rafah, and the Maldives is having legislative trouble with their proposed Israeli ban, realizing that 2 million Arab Israelis will no longer be able to visit the country.

By Mrs. Bruria Efune

War Summary, Day Two Hundred and Fifty Five:

120 held captive in Gaza.
45 hostages confirmed murdered in Gaza.
116 hostages freed.
19 hostage bodies rescued.
1,546 Israelis killed.
312 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:

  • two and two halves of Hamas’s Rafah battalions are down
  • FRC report negates claims of famine in Gaza.
  • Senior Hezbollah commander eliminated
  • Israeli arms sales at all-time high

Hostage Updates:

Efforts are still ongoing to bring about a hostage release agreement, although without any results. Hamas’s military leader in (under) Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, believes that he is winning the war against Israel largely by getting public opinion against Israel, and by getting other terror ground to join in. He’s likely to try and hold out in hopes of a larger war between Israel and Hezbollah.

Gaza Front Updates:

Hamas fired rockets towards Israeli communities on the Gaza border three times today, including once at the Kerem Shalom crossing, from where aid is being transferred to Gaza.

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, and in select neighborhoods of Gaza City; The Gaza Division in various areas in Gaza on pinpoint operations, and in the buffer zone; and the 162nd Division in Rafah and along the Philadelphi Corridor.

There are unverified reports that the IDF is carrying out a renewed raid in the Zeitoun neighborhood of Gaza City, amid heavy shelling from tanks, and drone activity.

Troops based in the Netzarim Corridor continue to carry out pinpoint operations in Central Gaza areas, and in the last day eliminated armed terrorists in short-range battles.

The IDF gave a summary of the three stages of the Rafah operation until now, which they say is being done entirely based on intelligence findings, and in a targeted manner. The IDF says that so far, it has gained control of 70% of Rafah.

In the first stage, which began early May, the IDF took control of Rafah’s eastern outskirts and the Rafah border crossing with Egypt.
In the second stage, the Brazil neighborhood was captured.
In the third stage, the IDF took full control of the Philadelphi Corridor (along the Gaza-Egypt border), and pushed into the northwestern Tel Sultan neighborhood. Along the Philadelphi Corridor, troops found at least 25 long tunnels—many of which likely crossed into Egypt and were used for smuggling weapons; over 200 tunnel shafts which led to the long underground tunnels; and hundreds of rockets, including dozens of heavier long-range missiles.

After intense battles over the last week, the IDF has now taken “complete operational control” over the Brazil and NPK neighborhoods of Rafah, which are located near the Shaboura and Yabna “camps.” These, especially the NPK neighborhood, were heavy Hamas strongholds. The battles took place both over and under ground, with the troops eliminating dozens of terrorists in underground tunnels.

While in Rafah, troops found locations where hostages had been kept, along with important intelligence materials about the hostages. It is possible that Hamas terrorists smuggled hostages out of Rafah before the IDF’s arrival.

A total estimated 550 armed terrorists were eliminated inside Rafah, and many more in the fields surrounding the city.

Of the four Hamas brigades in Rafah, the Yabna (South) Battalion and East Rafah Battalion are almost completely dismantled. The Shaboura (North) Battalion and Tel Sultan (West) Battalion have had their capabilities somewhat degraded.

Sadly, the 162nd Division has lost 22 heroic soldiers in Rafah.

Today, troops are moving further into the Tel Sultan neighborhood, where they encircled terrorists and are fighting in close-combat, in a brilliant maneuver using drones to guide them (some of which were sponsored by our readers). Tel Sultan is on the coast of Gaza, bordering Egypt, and is an important strategic position for Hamas.

The operation in Rafah is expected to take several more weeks, with the last weeks focused on cleaning out Hamas infrastructure, including tunnels, weapons, and rocket launchers.

Gaza Humanitarian Efforts Updates:

On Monday, June 16:

152 aid trucks were coordinated via the Kerem Shalom Crossing. 
8 tankers of fuel designated for the operation of essential infrastructure in Gaza, entered Gaza.
Only 21 trucks were collected throughout the day. The content of 1,000 aid trucks is still waiting to be collected from the Gazan side of Kerem Shalom.
77 pallets containing tens of thousands of packages of aid were airdropped into Gaza.
6 bakeries are now operational in northern Gaza following coordination. Together, these bakeries produce 1.5 million pita breads daily.

A report from the Famine Review Committee (FRC) was published on June 4th, and received almost no media attention. In short, the FRC report said that there is no evidence of famine in Gaza, and previous UN-sponsored reports claiming that there is, were strongly lacking in evidence.

Northern Front Updates:

Hezbollah continued to fire at Israeli communities in the north at a reduced rate compared to last week, with most landing or being intercepted over empty areas.

A small Skylark IDF drone crashed in Southern Syria this morning, while on an intelligence gathering mission. The IDF did not say how it crashed, but that there is no concern of any information leak from the drone.

Amongst several airstrikes in Southern Lebanon, was one targeting a Hezbollah terrorist in a vehicle. The IDF later confirmed that it eliminated Muhammad Ayoub, a prominent Hezbollah operative in the terror group’s rocket unit. Ayoub was responsible for several rocket attacks on Israel, and had plans for more.

Judea and Samaria Updates:

IDF forces are operating in the village of Akbara near Hawara.

International Updates:

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman gave a public call for a ceasefire and hostage release agreement, along with support for a Palestinian State, in a statement: “We emphasize the importance of implementing the Security Council’s decisions regarding Gaza. Eid Al-Adha falls at a time when the crimes against our brothers in Gaza continue. We repeat our call to recognize an independent Palestinian state on the borders of ’67.” 

President Yitzhak Herzog met today with the special envoy of the US President, Amos Hochstein, and discussed the Hezbollah threat, and Iran’s being behind it. Herzog emphasized the importance of bringing the hostages home.

After France banned Israel and Israelis from their arms exhibit, visitors were surprised to see a prominent display of a new European tank, featuring the “Trophy” active protection system. The Trophy is an Israeli invention, by Rafael technologies.

The Maldives is also having legislative trouble with their new proposed Israeli ban, after realizing that there are 2 million Arab Israelis who will no longer be able to visit the country. The Maldives authorities will now need to specify that they’re specifically banning one group of Israelis—the Jews.

General Updates:

Israeli arms sales broke a record high for the third year in a row, reaching $13 billion in 2023. This growth is a large step towards Israeli military independence—something which is growing increasingly more urgent.

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