War Summary, Day Sixty Seven: Two soldiers were killed during an operation to rescue the bodies of two hostages, battles continue deep down in the underground tunnels, Israeli ambassador tells UN to call Sinwar if they want to discuss a ceasefire.
By Mrs. Bruria Efune
War Summary, Day Sixty Seven:
135 held captive in Gaza.
110 hostages freed.
6 hostage bodies rescued.
1,200+ Israelis murdered.
106 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.
The IDF announced that last week they retrieved the bodies of two hostages:
Eden Zacharia, 27, who was taken hostage near the Supernova music festival, Warrant Officer Ziv Dado, 36, an IDF logistics supervisor who was killed in battle on October 7th.
The two hostage’s bodies were recovered in a tunnel deep under Gaza, near the home of Ahmed Ghandour, the former commander of Hamas’s northern Gaza brigade, who was eliminated by an Israeli airstrike. During the operation to rescue the bodies, two IDF soldiers (whose deaths had been announced last week), were killed; Master Sgt. (res.) Gal Meir Eisenkot, and Master Sgt. (res.) Eyal Meir Berkowitz; and other soldiers were wounded.
A senior official in the American administration told Reuters that Biden invited family members of abductees who hold American citizenship to a meeting at the White House. It is currently unknown how many families will attend the meeting, and some may take part in it virtually. Biden has spoken with the family members in the past on Zoom, and other senior officials in his administration have met with them several times, including National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, and Vice President Kamala Harris.
Reports of an exchange deal in discussion which includes the release of arch-terrorist Marwan Barghouti are fake news, according to the government coalition.
Gaza Front Updates:
Hamas fired five barrages into Israel today, most towards the Gaza Envelope communities, and one to the Ashkelon area. No hits or injuries reported.
Hamas’s reduced fire is not for lack of rockets—they still have a huge supply. Today, 67 days into the war, Duvduvan soldiers found a building with 250 rockets, and Givati soldiers also found hundreds of grenades and rockets in a building. The Air Force fired on and destroyed a site as it was launching towards Sderot. Hamas’s real problem is the loss of many of their commanders and communication systems, making it near impossible for them to communicate and plan anything.
The IDF announced the passing of hero:
Master Sgt. Tzvika Lavi, 30, from Eli, who was wounded on November 20 in northern Gaza, and today succumbed to his wounds.
According to a report in Makan, the Arabic television channel of the Israel Broadcasting Corporation, some senior Hamas officials who were in Qatar have disappeared to an unknown destination, possibly Turkey, Algeria, or Lebanon.
Today may have been the first time the IDF publicly spoke about the ongoing combat battles deep inside the Hamas tunnels.
After an assessment, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said, “IDF troops are operating deep underground, locating Hamas infrastructures, destroying them, and bringing Gaza City closer to breaking. These operations are also being carried out above ground, but there is also a deep descent into the depths, to find bunkers, war rooms, communication centers, ammunition depots, and meeting rooms. We will see these things in the photographs in the coming days.”
IDF spokesman, Brigadier General Daniel Hagari, said in his evening statement that the battles in key locations are taking place “above and below the surface of the ground.”
Over ground, the main battles are taking place in Zeytun, Sajaya, and Jabalia in Northern Gaza, and Khan Younis in Southern Gaza. Each of these cities or neighborhoods are fully surrounded, and the soldiers are now going door-to-door to clear out terrorists and locate tunnel shafts, weapons depots, and items helpful for intelligence purposes. All of these items are found in places contrary to international law; family homes, schools, mosques, and public health centers. Most weapons found are destroyed, some are brought back into Israel for further investigation.
In one apartment, used by Hamas’s elite Nukhba forces, the IDF soldiers found documents and laptops containing plans for the October 7th attacks.
According to Palestinian reports, the IDF is also operating inside the Kamal Adwan hospital in Beit Lahia, in the northern Gaza Strip.
According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, Israel has began to pump seawater into the Hamas tunnels in Gaza. The Journal wrote that a spokesperson for the Israeli defense minister declined to comment, saying the tunnel operations are classified.
The Israeli Navy announced that the fourth Sa’ar 6-class corvette is operational, the final one of the fleet of ships delivered from Germany over two years ago. The Sa’ar 6-class corvettes aid the ground forces in the Gaza Strip, by striking Hamas terror targets and the Hamas naval forces. The IDF announced that the IDF Navy has eliminated the majority of Hamas’s naval force commanders, and intercepted several explosive-laden underwater drones from Hamas, which were launched towards Israeli off-shore gas platforms.
Gaza Humanitarian Efforts Updates:
The IDF has been inspecting and approving trucks of humanitarian aid faster than the UN has been taking care of delivery. The aid is inspected at Israeli crossings in Nitzana and Kerem Shalom, and then sent to Egypt to enter Gaza via the Rafah crossing.
The opening of Israeli crossings for aid inspection is a controversial move. Knesset member Danny Danon of the Likud attacked the decision, and said “This step in itself is very problematic, and now international officials are pressuring Israel to completely open the Kerem Shalom crossing and transfer cargo directly from Israel into the Gaza Strip. The meaning is clear – the return of the situation as it was before the war. It is as if the October 7th massacre never happened. It is prohibited under any circumstances to agree to such a move.”
Gaza civilians continue to complain that Hamas is taking all the aid for themselves.
Northern Front Updates:
Hezbollah and other northern terrorist groups continue to fire heavily into northern Israel, with mortars and rockets, and today three explosive drones. Two rockets fired from Syria fell short and caused destruction in Syrian territory.
Sirens were triggered as far as Akko (Acre), but the IDF clarified that nothing had been directed to the city of Akko, and the siren was out of concern that shrapnel from an interceptor launched from near the city may cause damage.
The IDF both responded to fire, and carried out several preemptive strikes on Hezbollah and other terror targets in both Lebanon and Syria. IDF aircraft and tanks also attacked a number of military infrastructures and a military position of the Syrian army in Syrian territory.
Houthi War Front Updates:
The Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen are continuing to cause problems in the Red Sea, and insist they will stop all ships heading to Israel—yet they haven’t been too successful at figuring out which ones those are.
This morning the Houthis fired a missile at a Norwegian-owned chemical tanker near the Bab al-Mandab strait, called the Strinda.
An American warship was launched into the area of the incident, and the crew worked to extinguish the fire on board. The ship was damaged by a fire, but at this stage there are no known casualties.
The Houthi spokesman announced, “We hit a ship belonging to Norway that was on its way to Israel. We prevented a number of ships on their way to Israel from crossing to the Red Sea and we will continue to do so.”
The Israeli port administration published a call for help, and wrote: “The risk of shipping lanes by the Houthis is a strategic threat to global shipping lanes in general, and maritime traffic to Israel in particular, and has broad political and economic effects.”
However, despite this significant threat, the port management stated that at the moment there is no concern of the Houthis causing economic damage to Israel in any way. In connection with this, the message states that “the threat of the Houthis has no direct impact on the port’s activity.
The IDF announced that one of the new Sa’ar 6-class corvettes has sailed to the Red Sea, where the Navy’s corvettes are guarding Eilat from Houthi missile and drone threats.
According to a report from Al-Arabiya, the US is in discussions with 12 countries about forming a multinational force to secure the Red Sea from the threats of the Houthis.
A source in the pro-Saudi government in Yemen told Al Jazeera that they received an invitation from the US to participate in the military coalition to protect the shipping lanes in the Red Sea. The source said they would take up on the invitation. The pro-Saudi government mainly controls the south of Yemen, including the city of Aden, and is fighting the Houthi militia that mainly controls the north of the country.
The Pentagon spoke about the Houthi attacks on merchant ships in the Red Sea, saying that these are “dangerous actions that clearly violate international law.” It was added that US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who is expected to arrive in the Middle East next week, will deal with the issue in Israel, Qatar and Bahrain.
Judea and Samaria Updates:
Today the IDF carried out a significant anti-terror mission in the Palestinian city of Jenin. During the mission, there were exchanges of fire between the terrorists and IDF soldiers, at one point an Israeli aircraft flew in to assist the fighters on ground and eliminated terrorists from the air. According to reports, at least 7 terrorists were eliminated during the operation, and 100 were arrested.
IDF forces blew up several vehicles full of explosives in the Jenin camp.
In response to rumors of Hamas political leadership moving in to make a government alliance together with the Palestinian Authority (something which never went well in the past), Muhammad Nazal from the Hamas political bureau said that, “Hamas will remain the one that manages the Strip in agreement with any Palestinian force. We can turn to elections after the war to manage the Gaza Strip, but we will not accept the management of the Strip by the PA If they come on top of an Israeli tank.”
The UN General Assembly voted on and approved Egypt’s proposal to call for a halt to the war in Gaza. This was the same proposal that was voted on and vetoed on Friday in the UN Security Council.
153 countries supported, 10 countries opposed, and 23 countries abstained.
Ahead of the UN vote, Israel’s ambassador, Gilad Erdan, held up a sign with a photo of Hamas military leader, Yahya Sinwar, and the words, “For a ceasefire deal: +970-599373765 ask for Yahya Sinwar.”
Erdan said, “If you want a true ceasefire, call this number, ask for Sinwar, and tell him that Hamas should lay down their arms, surrender themselves, and return our captives. This will result in a total permanent ceasefire.”
In a speech to donors of his 2024 re-election campaign, US President Biden made remarks critical to Israel’s action in Gaza, “Israel’s security can rest on the United States, but right now it has more than the United States. It has the European Union, it has Europe, it has most of the world … But they’re starting to lose that support by indiscriminate bombing that takes place.”
IDF Spokesman, Daniel Hagari referred to Biden’s criticism of the IDF bombings in Gaza and said “We have daily conversations with the US. Even when things are said, it is correct to base them on facts. We do our best to separate the citizens from the terrorist operators and we will know how to explain this to our friends.”
Biden also criticized the government coalition and their stance on the issue of a Palestinian State: “Netanyahu cannot say ‘no’ to the Palestinian state in the future. Netanyahu is a good friend, but I believe he needs to change, and with this government, this government in Israel makes it very difficult for him to move.”
The Netherlands raised the alert level against terrorism to level 4, one before the highest level, and a “real fear” of an attack was declared. The reason: the Israel-Hamas war and the destruction of Koran books in European countries.
A small minority within Israel have returned to politics amidst the war, and called for Benny Gantz and Gideon Saar’s party, the “State Camp,” to step out of the government coalition which they had joined in an emergency response to the war. Gideon Saar responded with sharp criticism to those risking the war efforts by playing politics now, and added that, “After the war, I will not let my patriotism be used for needs that are not in the best interests of the state.” He also warned against the return of the “dangerous idea” of a Palestinian state.