War Summary, Day 53: Tuesday was the first day of an agreed two-day extension in which ten hostages will be released each day. Hamas broke it by firing on Israeli troops, who responded only minimally.
By Mrs. Bruria Efune
War Summary, Day Fifty Three
160 held captive in Gaza.
73 hostages freed.
3 hostage bodies rescued.
1,200+ Israelis murdered.
70 fallen soldiers since entering Gaza.
10,500+ rockets fired at Israel.
187,533 Israelis displaced from their homes.
1 Jewish nation united in prayer, charity, and good deeds.
Hostages Released Today:
Ten Israelis, and two Thai hostages were released today. They are:
Gabriella Leimberg, 59, and her daughter, Mia, 17, from Jerusalem
The mother and daughter were visiting relatives in Nir Yitzchak on October 7th. Mia tried to hold the door to the bomb shut as the family hid inside, but Hamas overpowered her and took them all hostage. Mia is an only child, and has a beloved Shih Tzu dog named Bella. When Mia was taken captive, her father, Moshe Leimberg searched desperately for Bella, so that Mia could hug her when she was released—but to no avail. Today, as Mia was filmed stepping into the Red Cross van, Bella was seen in her hands; it turns out they had been kidnapped together.
Clara Merman, 63, from Nir Yitzchak
Clara, a mother of two and grandmother of three, was kidnapped with her spouse, Luis Har, and her brother, Fernando, both of whom are still in captivity. She is a retired kindergarten teacher who volunteered with at-risk youth.
Ditza Heiman, 84, from Kibbutz Nir Oz
Ditza is one of the founders of Kibbutz Nir Oz, and served in the Nahal group. Since her husband’s passing, she lives alone, and dedicates her time to her children and grandchildren, who say she’s the bond that keeps the family together.
Ofelia Roitman, 77, from Kibbutz Nir Oz
Ofelia was kidnapped from her home on October 7th. She’s a loving wife, mother of three, and grandmother of nine. She was an educator for twenty years, including five years of which she was a principal at a Jewish school in Argentina, from where she made Aliyah in 1985.
Tamar Metzger, 78, from Kibbutz Nir Oz
Tamar was kidnapped from her home together with her husband, Yoram Metzger, who is 80-years-old and still in captivity. The couple are parents of three, and grandparents of seven. The couple are both frail, Yoram has diabetes, and they both need many medications.
Ada Sagi, 75, from Kibbutz Nir Oz
Ada was planning on celebrating her 75th birthday in London on October 20th, but instead marked it in Hamas captivity. Ada is a peace-lover who teaches Hebrew and Arabic, which she learned in order to get to know her Gaza neighbors better.
Meirav Tal, 53, Rishon LeZion
Meirav was visiting a friend at Kibbutz Nir Oz, when she was kidnapped together with them. Hamas terrorists used a grenade to open the door of the bomb shelter they were hiding in, and then took them to Gaza.
Rimon Kirsht, 36, from Kibbutz Nirim
Rimon was kidnapped with her husband, Yagev, who still remains in Hamas captivity. Rimon worked at a domestic violence support center, and also rescued abused animals.
Noralin “Natalie” Babadilla, 60, from Yahud-Monoson
Natalie was visiting good friends in Kibbutz Nirim, together with her spouse, Gidon Badani, to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Kibbutz Nirim. Gidon was murdered before Natalie was taken captive.
The Thai government asked not to name the Thais who have been released, as it may negatively affect their negotiations. The Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand and the Thai Ambassador to Israel visited the released Thai hostages at Asaf Harofeh Hospital.
Hostage & Injured Updates:
The IDF announced that three soldiers who were taken captive by Hamas had fallen in battle on October 7th. Two will be able to have a kosher burial. Their names are:
Staff Sergeant Tomer Yaakov Achims Z”L, 20 years old from Lahavim.
Sergeant Kirill Brodsky Z”L, 19 years old from Ramat Gan.
Sergeant Shaked Dahan Z”L, 19 years old from Afula.
Today was the fifth day of the hostage exchange deal—the first of an agreed two-day extension in which ten hostages will be released each day.
The foreign ministers of the group of the G7 stated that they support the proposed extension of the agreement between Israel and Hamas, during which humanitarian aid to Gaza will be increased and the release of all the abductees will be possible.
The head of the Mossad, Dedi Barnea, landed in Doha, the capital of Qatar to manage continued negotiations. According to the Qatari Foreign Ministry, there are 20 more abductees to be released, but Hamas doesn’t know where they all are, and can’t find them without a ceasefire.
Israel said that beyond the two day extension, there will be no further extension until all the women and children are released. There are still 8 children being held in Gaza, including 10-month-old baby Kfir with his family.
The Washington Post reported that the head of the CIA is pressuring Israel to extend the ceasefire in order to free “men and soldiers” as well as in an attempt to lead to the release of American citizens who remain captives of Hamas. The spokesman for the US National Security Council, John Kirby, said that there is no evidence that Hamas is holding back the American hostages to use as leverage, which seems to indicate that the U.S. believes Qatars reports that Hamas lost track of the locations of all the hostages, and some may be held by terror or crime organizations that don’t work closely with Hamas.
IDF spokesman Brigadier General Daniel Hagari warned the public not to believe any rumors about further deals or ceasefires, and said that the families of hostages and then the Israeli public will be updated at every stage of the process.
Gaza Front Updates:
On Tuesday afternoon, unidentified militant factions in Gaza broke the ceasefire agreement, and attacked IDF positions. Three explosive devices were activated in two different cases in the Northern Gaza Strip, and in one case, a shot was also fired at IDF forces. Several IDF forces were injured. The IDF responded by firing at the sources of the gunfire. In both cases, the IDF forces stayed within the agreed ceasefire lines.
Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi continued to emphasize that the hostage release was only possible because of military pressure. He said, “The return of the abductees is a bright spot for all of us. It is also further evidence of the results of significant military pressure and high-quality ground maneuvering, we have created the conditions for the return of our citizens home.”
War Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz visited the Shaar HaNegev Regional Council today and emphasized that the IDF will ensure that the residents of the south can return home safely. He added, “After the ceasefire – fire will be renewed. The entire War Cabinet is united in this position. There is no other option.
We are preparing for the next stages of the war, and for expanding the maneuver in the Gaza Strip as a whole. There will be no point that will be a city of refuge for terrorists and Hamas leaders. We are committed to the security of the residents of the south and the north and to all citizens of Israel, and we will not return until we have carried that out.”
IDF spokesman Hagari emphasized that the IDF is using this time to prepare for further battle, with strategizing, training, and planning.
The Southern Command held an expansive operational learning forum in the Gaza Division. During the day, the brigade commanders presented key lessons from the fighting so far and the operational plans for the future. The commanders discussed combat techniques, operational discipline, how the forces operate, and insights into enemy activity.
Defense Minister Yoav Galant completed a situation assessment for the home front issues, and concluded that it will be possible for residents of communities within 4-7 kilometers of Gaza to safely return home in January. Residents of communities less than 4 kilometers from Gaza expect that they will need to wait at least a year, and are being settled into temporary housing solutions throughs various cities and towns.
Gaza Humanitarian Efforts Updates:
Four diesel fuel tanks and four cooking gas tanks were transferred from Egypt to UN humanitarian aid organizations in the Gaza Strip, through the Rafah crossing. In addition, about 200 trucks of food and medical supplies were transferred to the international aid organizations in Gaza. Multiple Field Hospitals are being set up in Southern Gaza.
Northern Front Updates:
There was no exchange of fire on the northern borders today, as Hezbollah continues to stick to the ceasefire for the fourth day (they did fire on the first day).
The Chief of Staff, Harzi Halevi, held a meeting with heads of regional councils in the north. The topic of discussion was bringing complete security to the north so that the evacuated residents can return home.
Halevi listed three possible solutions which are on the table:
- An all-out war against Hezbollah. This possibility could look as intense as the Second Lebanon War, depending on Hezbollah’s behavior.
- A limited operation to clear out a buffer zone in Lebanon, and hope it deters Hezbollah from war.
- Demand enforcement of the UN Security Council Resolution 1701, in which UN Peacekeepers are supposed to prevent Hezbollah from firing at Israel—something they clearly do not do.
The heads of authorities made it clear that they will not allow their residents to return, unless Hezbollah is taken care of. They also emphasized that they do not trust the UN Peacekeepers and will not be able to rely on that as a solution.
Judea and Samaria Updates:
The IDF is continuing to focus on removing terrorist groups from Judea and Samaria, and today focused operations in Jenin. There are reports of intense exchanges of gunfire in the streets. The IDF also arrested wanted persons in Tubas.