War Day 62: Two Senior Hamas Killed, Israeli Killed By Hezbollah

War Summary, Day 62: As the world lit Chanukah candle number one, the IDF continued with its war goals, killing two senior members of Hamas and arresting dozens of terrorists; an Israeli farmer in the north was killed by Hezbollah anti-tank fire.

By Bruria Efune

War Summary, Day Sixty Two:

138 held captive in Gaza.
110 hostages freed.
4 hostage bodies rescued.
1,200+ Israelis murdered.
89 fallen soldiers since entering Gaza.
7,771 injured.
11,490 rockets fired at Israel.
187,533 Israelis displaced from their homes.
1 Jewish nation united in prayer, charity, and good deeds.

Hostage & Injured Updates:

After gathering extensive intelligence to determine whether he was killed or taken hostage, the IDF announced that Muhammad Alatarsh, 40, from the Bedouin village of Sawa, was kidnapped by Hamas on October 7th, and is being held with the hostages in Gaza.

Gaza Front Updates:

Hamas only managed to fire four salvos of rockets today, all limited to the Gaza Envelope communities.

The IDF announced the names of five heroes who died in battle against Hamas terrorists in Gaza:

  • Staff Sgt. Amit Bonzel, 22, from Shoham.
  • Staff Sgt. Alemnew Emanuel Feleke, 22, from Kiryat Gat. Feleke was wounded Dec. 5 and succumbed to his wounds yesterday.
  • Sgt. First Class (res.) Maor Gershoni, 24, from Yokne’am Illit.
  • Master Sgt. (res.) Gal Meir Eisenkot, 25, from Herzliya. He is the son of former Chief of Staff , and current member of the War Cabinet, Gadi Eisenkot.
  • Sgt. Maj. (res.) Jonathan David Deitch, 34, from Harish.

Major General Yaron Finkelman, commander of the Southern Command, lit the first Chanukah candle with the reserve soldiers of the 551st Brigade, who are currently fighting in Jabaliya. “It’s a long, important and difficult war, and lighting the candles is a symbolic moment,” he said. “At this time that we are here in Jabaliya, our families sing and light candles, and trust us, and are proud of you. You are the Maccabees of today, you are the commanders who lead the warriors, and we will continue forward until victory.”

The IDF and the Shin Bet announced that they killed two senior members of the Hamas intelligence system, via air strikes. The two are Abd Elaziz Rantisi, a senior in the military intelligence of the terrorist organization Hamas who took part in planning the October 7th massacre, and an observation operative, Ahmed Ayush.

The IDF Air Force struck many targets, including a location which acted as a center for all of Hamas’s observation capabilities, and served as a significant strategic asset for the management of the fighting.”

In northern Gaza, the 460th Brigade has advanced in the Jabaliya camp, capturing a main Hamas outpost in the area, and killing several operatives in the process, the IDF says. Tunnels and weapons were found in the area.

Many photos appeared across social media today, which appear to show IDF troops detaining many dozens of terrorists inside Gaza. In response to inquiries about them, IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari commented that “Jabaliya and Shejaiya are ‘centers of gravity’ for terrorists, and we are fighting them. They are hiding underground and come out, and we fight them. Whoever is left in those areas, they come out from tunnel shafts, and some from buildings, and we investigate who is linked to Hamas, and who isn’t. We arrest them all and interrogate them [to gather information].”

In the south, the 98th Division continues to advance in southern Gaza’s Khan Younis, and together with the Air Force, has eliminated dozens of terrorists.

The IDF says that in one incident, two Hamas operatives popped out of a tunnel and opened fire at forces of the Duvdevan unit, who responded by killing the gunmen and destroying the tunnel shaft.

The IDF says the Navy has continued to assist the ground forces, carrying out strikes and shelling of Hamas sites along the coast.

In a video, the commander of the 932nd Battalion of the Nachal, Lt. Col. Dotan, showed a credit card bearing the name of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, discovered by his troops.

Gaza Humanitarian Efforts Updates:

According to a Reuters report, Israel agreed to open the Kerem Shalom crossing from Israel into Gaza, in order to inspect the humanitarian aid trucks that are supposed to enter the Gaza Strip tomorrow. Until now, aid has only been entering through the Rafah crossing from Egypt.

The IDF spokesman in Arabic announced that a local and temporary tactical shutdown will take place for humanitarian purposes in the Al-Slam neighborhood in Rafah from 10:00 to 14:00, so that humanitarian supplies may reach those in need.

Videos are emerging of Hamas terrorists hijacking UNRWA and other aid trucks, and taking all the goods for themselves. When civilians protest, Hamas fires at them, and chases them away. Gaza civilians report that they are not receiving any of the aid, rather it’s all going underground to Hamas tunnels.

The IDF announced that on Wednesday, Hamas fired 12 rockets at the Israeli city of Be’er Sheva, from inside a humanitarian area in southern Gaza, to which Gaza citizens had evacuated from the north. The area is also right next to UN facilities. One rocket failed, and landed inside Gaza. This presents a huge danger to the evacuated citizens, and makes it all the more challenging for the IDF to protect Israelis while minimizing civilian casualty in Gaza.

Gaza Front Political Updates:

The White House is sending conflicting messages about their opinions on the Gaza war.

In his speech before the Aspen Defense Forum on Wednesday evening, Deputy National Security Adviser, Jonathan Feiner, said that the White House has not set a deadline for the end of the military operations against Hamas in Gaza. According to him, if the war ended now, Hamas would still be a threat. Feiner added that the US believes that many of Israel’s security targets are in the southern Gaza Strip.

Conversely, according to a Reuters report, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken spoke harshly towards Israel and said that “there is a gap between Israel’s intention to protect civilians and the results on the ground.” It’s unclear how he expects Israel to extract terrorists who are hiding in between civilians and firing from humanitarian zones, without any incident.

US President Joe Biden spoke today with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and King Abdullah of Jordan, and said that additional aid is needed for civilians in Gaza.

Northern Front Updates:

Hezbollah fire in northern Israel increased in quantity, but not range, today.

Eyal Ozan, a 54-year-old a resident of Gesher Ziv was killed by Hezbollah anti-tank fire today. Ozan was a dedicated farmer who did not want to give up because of the war. He leaves a wife and three adult children.

Hezbollah and other terror groups fired into Israel from both Lebanon and Syria today, and the IDF retaliated by striking many terror targets in both countries. Islamic Jihad announced that two of their terrorists were killed in Lebanon today.

The IDF is still trying to hold off a complete conflict with Hezbollah, until Hamas is under control in Gaza.

Sources told the Saudi Al-Hadth network that “several Hezbollah officials expressed their dissatisfaction with the performance of the Radwan force in southern Lebanon.” According to the sources, Hezbollah may be attempting to place the responsibility for the failure to achieve the goals in southern Lebanon on the commander of the Radwan unit.

Judea and Samaria Updates:

The IDF arrested 21 wanted persons across Judea and Samaria last night.

In an operation in Noor al-Shams, explosives were uncovered and wanted persons were arrested. In Beit Omer, the offices of a nonprofit association that was suspected of funding Hamas operatives were sealed.

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