War Summary, Day Sixty Six: A missile is fired at Holon, moderately injuring one; a senior Hamas official says that the IDF claim of mass Hamas member surrender is false; seven Israeli soldiers killed in battle.
By Mrs. Bruria Efune
War Summary, Day Sixty Six:
138 held captive in Gaza.
110 hostages freed.
4 hostage bodies rescued.
1,200+ Israelis murdered.
105 fallen soldiers since entering Gaza.
11,500 rockets fired at Israel.
187,533 Israelis displaced from their homes.
1 Jewish nation united in prayer, charity, and good deeds.
There are rumors of renewed negotiations over the remaining hostages. Egyptian sources told the “Sky News Arabia” network that “Israel requested the mediation of Egypt and Qatar in order to bring about a prisoner exchange deal as part of a humanitarian pause in Gaza.”
Meanwhile, Osama Hamdan, a senior Hamas official living in Lebanon, told the Al Jazeera network that “there is no talk of any deal for a prisoner exchange until there is a cessation of aggression on the Gaza Strip.”
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant didn’t confirm the rumors, but said, “I believe that if we increase the military pressure, there will be offers for more hostage deals, and if there are offers, we will consider them.”
Senior Hamas official, Mahmoud Mardawi, says that they reject the Israeli demand for the Red Cross to visit the abductees in Gaza. Denying Hamas’s desperate situation and cries for a ceasefire, he said, “The Israeli Defense Minister’s statements about the surrender of a large number of Hamas members are lies and deception.”
Gaza Front Updates:
There was minimal rocket fire, mainly into the Gaza Envelope communities, and one salvo on the Tel Aviv area. A hit was made in Holon, and one man was moderately injured.
The IDF announced the names of seven heroes who died in battle against Hamas:
Sgt. Major (res.) Gideon Ilani, 35, from Asa’el.
Sgt. Major (res.) Etay Perry, 36, from Modiin.
Maj. (res.) Eviatar Cohen, 42, from Kfar Saba.
Maj. (res.) Roman Bronshtein, 46, from Bat Yam.
Cpt. (res.) Eliya Yanovsky, 24, from Jerusalem.
Master Sgt. (res.) Ari Yehiel Zenilman, 32, from Jerusalem.
Maj. Gal Becher, 34, from Oranit, was killed in a military-related traffic collision in southern Israel.
Additionally, there are currently 34 soldiers hospitalized in serious condition, 210 in moderate condition, and 149 in good condition
IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Daniel Hagari once again stated that the IDF is collecting intelligence and closing in on eliminating Hamas leader, Yahya Sinwar, and all Hamas commanders.
To the question of whether the IDF will attack senior officials if they are in the vicinity of abductees, Hagari responded, “We will not give details about the manner and way in which we will attack senior Hamas officials. Our job is to kill them and return the abductees home.”
According to Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, Hamas’s Jabaliya and Shejaiya battalions in northern Gaza are “on the verge of being dismantled,” despite the fact that many had earlier considered them to be invincible.
Gallant said that hundreds of Hamas terrorists have surrendered in the past few days, and recommended that the rest quickly do the same, if they want to live.
The forces have arrested more than 500 terrorists in Gaza in the last month, all of whom have been taken for questioning by the IDF Military Intelligence and the security agency. At least 104 of the arrested terrorists participated in the October 7th attacks. 50 of them belong to Hamas, and 120 to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. The terrorists were arrested in various locations, including while hiding in civilian buildings, such as schools and shelters for civilians.
Despite international pressure for a ceasefire, Gallant vowed that the war will not end until Israel achieves the goals, including the complete annihilation of Hamas—and after that, the IDF will hold the territory for a long time, with a dominant presence.
The IDF is pushing further into Jabaliya, in northern Gaza. Troops found explosive devices and weapons hidden in civilian homes, and even hidden inside of UNRWA bags, with the UNRWA logo. They also found a truck full of long-range rockets near a school, and a rocket launcher site with 50 launchers, some loaded and ready to fire. Inside of a mosque, troops found an entire floor used as a Hamas training site, with simulators, RPGs, and a machine gun, amongst other equipment.
In the south, the IDF has completely encircled Khan Younis, with troops who came from different sides meeting up.
For the first time since 2006, when it was done for IDF troops in Lebanon, the IDF airdropped around 7 tons of equipment to hundreds of troops who are operating in Khan Younis and the area.
On Sunday night, reservists of the Jerusalem Brigade foiled an attempt by Hamas to attack their camp in the Gaza Strip. According to the IDF, the ground forces received an intelligence warning of an attack planned by Hamas. The unit cleared their encampment and prepared positions for a Hamas attack.
Based on the intelligence given, the Air Force carried out strikes on the area, and soon, Hamas terrorists began emerging from tunnels, where they were greeted from fire from the IDF ground troops. During the crossfire, an explosive device detonated inside the Hamas tunnel shaft, and several secondary blasts followed. The IDF later destroyed the tunnel entrance, and other tunnel infrastructure found in the area of the attack.
Gaza Humanitarian Efforts Updates:
In order to increase humanitarian aid brought into Gaza, the IDF will open the Keren Shalom crossing to assist the Nitzana crossing in conducting security checks on the aid. The aid will then be brought into Gaza from Egypt’s Rafah crossing.
While this will enable more aid to be safely brought to Gaza, it won’t solve the two-fold problem of 1. UNRWA not delivering the aid efficiently, and holding onto much of it, and 2. Hamas confiscating aid for themselves, and not allowing it to reach ordinary Gaza civilians.
In an interesting yet sad occurrence today, an injured four-year-old girl wandered into an IDF encampment in Gaza, at 2 a.m. The soldiers treated her wounds, and then brought her to a Gaza ambulance at the humanitarian crossing.
Northern Front Updates:
Hezbollah fired several large rounds of rocket and missile fire, and a “suspicious aerial target” into northern Israel today, reaching as far as Kfar Vradim. In one large barrage on Metula, which is mostly evacuated, the IDF said that 8 houses were damaged, one significantly. No casualties were reported.
In Lebanon this morning, there were reports of an escalation in Israeli attacks on Hezbollah sites in Lebanon.
The Al-Akhbar newspaper, which is close to Hezbollah, learned that at the beginning of last week, UNIFIL officials passed official warnings from Israel to Hezbollah according to which Israel will treat anything that moves on the Lebanese border, at a depth of 3 kilometers – whether it is a civilian or military entity – as a legitimate target. According to UN agreements, UNIFIL and the Lebanese army are supposed to be preventing Hezbollah fire altogether.
Today, while speaking with Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, War Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz noted that the increase in attacks by Hezbollah obliges Israel to remove the threat to the northern settlements, and that the international community should act against the state of Lebanon in order to stop her aggression.
The IDF attacked Hezbollah positions in both Lebanon and Syria today.
Hezbollah announced two members killed by Israeli strikes, bringing their total toll since the beginning of the war to 100, both in southern Lebanon and Syria. The IDF estimate is at least a dozen higher.
According to the Washington Post, Israel used white phosphorus bombs during an attack in southern Lebanon. Injuring nine Lebanese. Contact of phosphorus with the skin causes severe burns and is subject to the restrictions of the Third Protocol to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons. Israel is not a signatory to the third protocol. The IDF stated that the use was made to create smoke screens and not to harm civilians. According to the announcement, the use of weapons “is in line with the requirements of international law and even exceeds them.”
There are rumors of IDF negotiations with the Lebanese and French armies, in an attempt to avoid war.
Judea and Samaria Updates:
The debate over allowing Palestinian workers from PA-controlled towns in Judea and Samaria to return to jobs across Israel is ongoing. Defense Minister Galant is in favor of allowing most workers to return, since a healthy economy for PA residents is important for peace.
Defense Minister Galant remarked at the Central Command: “We must make every effort to support the continuation of the military operation in Gaza. When it becomes clear what the IDF did in Gaza, this will also affect Judea and Samaria.”