War Day 68: Red Cross Refuses to Help, US Pressuring Israel

70 Hamas terrorists surrender to IDF troops in Northern Gaza

War Summary, Day Sixty Eight: IDF announced the completion of a 60-hour counter-terrorism operation in Jenin; US officials are sparring with Israelis over who will rule Gaza on “the day after”.

By Mrs. Bruria Efune

War Summary, Day Sixty Eight

135 held captive in Gaza.
110 hostages freed.
6 hostage bodies rescued.
1,200+ Israelis murdered.
116 fallen soldiers since entering Gaza.
7,771 injured.
11,540 rockets fired at Israel.
187,533 Israelis displaced from their homes.
1 Jewish nation united in prayer, charity, and good deeds.

Hostage Updates:

Prime Minister Netanyahu met with the Red Cross (ICRC) President Mirjana Spoljaric Egger today, and demanded that the organization do its job and visit the hostages taken by Hamas on October 7th. Netanyahu presented a box of medications and first aid for the hostages, many of whom are ill or seriously injured, and most of whom are believed to be held in terrible conditions.

Egger replied that there’s no use trying, as Hamas doesn’t respond to public pressure, and it would just shut the door to them. Netanyahu did not accept that response.

Gaza Front Updates:

Hamas only fired four barrages into the Gaza Envelope communities today, and one time fired at the Ofakim area. No injuries were reported.

The IDF announced the names of one hero who fell in battle against Hamas:
Master Sgt. (res.) Elisha Loewenstern, 38, from Harish.

The Israeli Air Force has carried out more than 500 airstrikes directed by the ground forces inside the Gaza Strip this week.

Hamas terrorists continue to surrender en masse. Most recently in northern Gaza, at the Kamal Adwan Hospital, 70 Hamas operatives surrendered to Israeli troops, and were taken for questioning by the Shin Bet. The terrorists surrendered after the IDF, based on intelligence from the Shin Bet, approached a building in the hospital campus, and found the terrorists.

IDF troops have made significant progress in Jabaliya, where they have been clearing out the area, house by house, and eliminating many terrorists in direct combat.

The IDF released footage of tunnel battles for the first time. The video demonstrated an IDF tunnel surveillance camera manned by elite Yahalom troops, as it locates a terrorist deep in the tunnel, who is then eliminated in a blast, as are many others. IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari emphasized that Hamas terrorists are no longer safe under ground, and the IDF is coming to get them.

The IDF dropped flyers in Gaza advertising a bounty on Hamas leaders heads in exchange for information leading to their whereabouts. The flyer offers a $400k reward for Hamas leader, Yahya Sinwar, and just $100k for Mohammed Deif, the commander of Hamas’s military wing.

Gaza Front Political Updates:

While the White House assures Israel full support for the war on Hamas, some disagreements are emerging.

In his visit to Israel, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, expressed that the US wants Israel to wrap up the intense part of the war within a few weeks.

In a press conference, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant told Jake Sullivan that since Hamas has spent years creating underground battlefields, it will not be easy to destroy them, and it will take “more than several months.”

Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden told reporters at a medical research event near Washington, “I want them to be focused on how to save civilian lives — not stop going after Hamas, but be more careful.”

According to Israel’s Channel 12, reports indicate that the security establishment estimates the intensive part of the war against Hamas to last at least until the end of January, and then it’ll take a few weeks for the IDF forces to withdraw from the heart of Gaza and reposition along strategic defense lines. After that, the remainder of 2024 will be filled with localized raids across Gaza to root out the remainder of Hamas’s control.

The U.S. continues to push forward with a plan to have the same Palestinian Authority (PA) rule over both Judea and Samaria and Gaza. The PA lost elections to Hamas in Gaza in 2005, and was violently chased out by Hamas. According to a report by the Times of Israel, a senior Biden official claimed that the PA will be able to “re-activate” at least 3,500 of some 15,000 former members of its security forces in Gaza.

In an interview on Channel 12 news, Jake Sullivan said, “The goal should be to have a West Bank and Gaza connected under common leadership that does not represent any form of terrorist threat to Israel. And we are determined to arrive at that.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu and others in Israel’s military and political leadership have stated multiple times that PA rule in Gaza isn’t an option.

Hamas isn’t pleased with the idea either, although they are getting desperate. Senior Hamas official, Mousa Abu Marzouk, suggested that Hamas could recognize Israel for the first time, as a step towards Palestinian unity. Hamas has consistently expressed that their goal is the complete destruction of Israel, and murder of Jews.

Hamas political chief, Ismail Haniyeh, recently stated that he is open to talks for ending the ongoing war and “putting the Palestinian house in order both in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip,” potentially leading to a “political path that secures the right of the Palestinian people to their independent state with Jerusalem as its capital.”

Gaza Humanitarian Efforts Updates:

677 trucks of humanitarian aid have entered Gaza over the last week.

Northern Front Updates:

Hezbollah fired two salvos of rockets into communities in Israel’s far north, as they continue to do the bare minimum to show support for Hamas in Gaza.

The IDF attacked Hezbollah positions in Lebanon both with artillery fire and by air.

Houthi War Fronts Updates:

The Houthis in Yemen once again fired at a container ship in the Red Sea, this time at the Maersk Gibraltar—a Hong Kong-flagged container ship that had been traveling from Oman, to Saudi Arabia. The Houthis claimed it was heading to Israel, but either way, their missile missed the boat.

After the U.S. indicated that they’re setting up an international security force to protect the Red Sea from the Houthi attacks, Iran’s Defense Minister Mohammad Reza Ashtiani threatened, “if they make such an irrational move, they will be faced with extraordinary problems.”

Judea and Samaria Updates:

The IDF announced the completion of a 60-hour counter-terrorism operation in Jenin and adjacent neighborhood. During the operation, the troops scanned hundreds of buildings, arrested 60 wanted Palestinians, and seized 50 weapons and hundreds of explosive devices.

The troops also found more than 10 tunnel shafts, seven labs used to manufacture explosive devices, and five war rooms used by local terror operatives to monitor IDF operations. Some of the sites were blown up by the troops.

During the operation, terrorists in Jenin opened fire on IDF troops, and Air Force drones assisted them from above with air strikes which eliminated or wounded at least 10 terrorists.

The IDF also operated in other areas of Judea and Samaria, and arrested 14 wanted Palestinians, including three Hamas members, in overnight raids.

International Updates:

The Mossad in a statement carried by the Prime Minister’s Office thanked Danish security authorities for arresting seven operatives who were working on behalf of Hamas, and foiling their planned attack on European soil.

General Updates:

Goshen, an organization promoting community child health and wellbeing, conducted a study together with the Israeli Pediatric Association on the state of children in Israeli as a result of the war.

The study found that 84% of all Israeli children are suffering from emotional distress. Forty percent of parents are also feeling stressed and anxious, but only 14% of parents have sought help for their or their children’s mental health.

Further, 93% of children who were personally impacted by the October 7th Hamas attacks and the war are having emotional difficulties, with 69% of them suffering from anxiety. 90% of children living in areas with frequent rocket sirens are distressed, with 69% of them specifically feeling anxious. Children living in areas with less frequent sirens experienced less anxiety.

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