War Day 73: Possible New Hostage Deal, Massive Tunnel Discovered

War Summary, Day Seventy Three: Hezbollah and Israel continue to exchange fire, stabbing attack near Beit Aryeh in Samaria, and Republican Senator Lindsey Graham pushes idiotic ‘two-state solution’ idea.

By Mrs. Bruria Efune

War Summary, Day Seventy Three

129 held captive in Gaza.
110 hostages freed.
11 hostage bodies rescued.
20 hostages confirmed murdered in Gaza.
1,300+ Israelis murdered.
122 fallen soldiers since entering Gaza.
7,800 injured.
11,580 rockets fired at Israel.
187,533 Israelis displaced from their homes.
1 Jewish nation united in prayer, charity, and good deeds.

Hostage Updates:

The meeting between Mossad Director Dedi Barnea, and the Prime Minister of Qatar, Muhammad Al-Thani, to discuss a new hostage release agreement was “positive,” according to a CNN report.

Sources in Egypt report that Israel and Hamas are open to a ceasefire agreement and the release of hostages. However, Hamas is demanding that they choose who to release, and that the IDF withdraw to certain lines during the ceasefire. Israel will allow Hamas to choose who to release, but refuses to withdraw IDF forces from any positions.

Gaza Front Updates:

Hamas only fired rockets four times today, three to Gaza Envelope communities, and one to communities near Ashkelon. The reduction in fire at Israeli civilians is not for a lack of rockets, it’s estimated that Hamas still has a significant supply spread out between many hidden storages in and under Gaza. However, firing rockets at this point is more of an obligatory “sign of life” from the terrorist organization, while they’re struggling with a losing battle on ground in Gaza.

The police opened an investigation into an explosion which happened yesterday in Ashkelon. A man was seriously injured after a piece of shrapnel from an intercepted rocket exploded when he touched it. The police issued a warning to the public, calling on people not to touch or get close to rocket parts, as they might contain explosives even after being intercepted by the Iron Dome.

The IDF announced the names of three heroes who fell in battle in Gaza:

Sergeant Joseph Avner Doran, 26 years old, from Jerusalem.

Lieutenant Colonel Shalev Zaltsman, 24 years old, from Ramat Yishai.

Sgt. Borris Donvetsky, 21, from Kiryat Bialik.

IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi addressed IDF combat soldiers who fight in Gaza, and said “I hope that we will have another opportunity for abductees to come to us and we will do the right thing. If you see two people, and they have their hands up and no shirts, take two seconds.”

While Halevi and other IDF senior command had already stressed that they understand the soldier’s actions in the incident with the hostages, he added, “I want to tell you something no less important; if it’s two Gazans with a white flag who come out to surrender, do we shoot at them? Absolutely not. Absolutely not. This is not the IDF. I’m telling you whoever got confused here, even whoever fought and now puts down his weapon and raises his hands, we capture him, we don’t shoot him. We extract a lot of intelligence from the prisoners we have, we have over a thousand already. We don’t shoot them because the IDF doesn’t shoot a person who raises his hands. This is strength, this is not weakness.”

During the government cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu read a letter that he says was sent to him by families of fallen soldiers, in the letter was written, “You have a mandate to fight but you do not have a mandate to stop.”

Netanyahu commented, “The will of the fallen is what guides us, we will fight until the end”.

The IDF revealed the largest terror tunnel discovered yet inside Gaza, mere meters from the Erez crossing into Israel. The tunnel was built at the direction of Yahya Sinwar’s brother, Muhammad. It is about 3.5 meters wide—enough for cars to drive through, and its depth reaches 50 meters below grounds very close to the groundwater.

IDF Spokesman, Lieutenant General Daniel Hagari, addressed the revelation, and said, “So far we have uncovered more than four kilometers of the tunnel’s markings. This is a flagship project of Hamas. We found many weapons. The tunnel did not cross into Israel. This is not an ordinary tunnel, it is a terrorist city underground that Hamas dug and built instead of investing money in the residents of Gaza. The tunnel was a flagship project of Mohammad Dief.”

The IDF attacked around 200 terror targets in the Gaza Strip over the last day, and exposed 30 tunnel shafts over the last week.

In Gaza City the IDF is battling in Zeytoun, Shejaiya, Daraj, Sabra, and Tuffah neighborhoods with heavy artillery. In Nasser the IDF attacked sites with airstrikes, eliminating several terrorists. Shejaiya continues to be the most compact terror hotspot, and today forces raided an apartment in the neighborhood in which they found ammunition, explosives, grenades, and more, plus a tunnel shaft more than 15 meters long. The Air Force destroyed the tunnel shaft. In a building on an UNRWA school campus the IDF found machines for the production of rocket parts, and three more tunnel shafts.

In the south of Gaza, the IDF Division 7 ground forces are continuing to operate in Khan Younis, as well as in the town of Bani Suhila at the city outskirts. Air Force strikes were also reported all the way south in Rafah, near the border with Egypt.

In Khan Younis, soldiers raided the luxury vacation homes of senior Hamas officials, including that of Yahya Sinwar. During raids, soldiers confiscate weapons, and also gather material for intelligence—such as phones, computers, and instruction leaflets.

The soldiers also reached Bnei Suhila Square in Khan Younis, and gained operational control of it.

CNN reports that US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who is visiting Israel this week, will push Israel to define intermediate goals and a road map for the war in Gaza. During his visit to Israel tomorrow, he is expected to receive a briefing regarding the Israelis’ assessment of their progress in dismantling Hamas’ military infrastructure.

Gaza Humanitarian Efforts Updates:

201 humanitarian aid trucks were inspected and transferred to the Gaza Strip today. Video footage emerging from Gaza showed two different sights—on some trucks, crowds of Gaza’s gathered and climbed onto the trucks to raid them of the supplies they were carrying. Other trucks were seen with armed Hamas terrorists standing on top and directing the aid to their own location.

Gaza civilians can only get the aid by looting the trucks, or paying exorbitant amounts to Hamas or their family who sell the “free” aid in their own shops.

Northern Front Updates:

Hezbollah has taken responsibility for 10 attacks at different points on the northern border today. An anti-tank missile fired at Kibbutz Sasa made a direct hit on the community’s cultural building. No injuries were reported.

The IDF in return targeted Hezbollah infrastructure in South Lebanon, including at a huge weapons depot which made significant explosions with mushroom clouds, and at multiple terrorist cells, military structures, and observation posts.

The IDF also fired at terror targets in Syria, in the Damascus area. The Al-Mayadeen network reported on explosions in the vicinity of the capital. It was also reported that the air defense systems were activated against the attack in the sky of the city. According to reports in the Syrian opposition, the Israeli attack focused on the sites of the Assad regime and the pro-Iranian militias in the southeast of Damascus, and around the capital’s airport. In addition, the Syrian Center for Human Rights, which is affiliated with the opposition to the Assad regime, reports that Hezbollah sites were attacked in Syria and there were two deaths.

Hezbollah announced the death of three of its men in the exchange of fire with Israel. According to Hezbollah, their death toll now numbers 111.

IDF Spokesman Hagari commented on the war in the north, “South Lebanon is a war zone, and it will continue to be so as long as Hezbollah men are deployed in the area.”

Foreign Minister Eli Cohen met with the Foreign Minister of France, Catherine Colonna, upon her arrival to visit Israel for the second time since the outbreak of the war. In their meeting, Cohen brought up the situation with Lebanon, and said

In their meeting, Cohen said “Only the implementation of Security Council Resolution 1701 and the removal of Hezbollah from the border with Israel, will war in Lebanon be avoided.”

Defense Minister Yoav Galant held a situation assessment in the far north Metula area, and in a meeting with reserve fighters he said, “If Hezbollah raises one level – we raise five. We don’t wish for that, but we will not allow the evacuation of the residents of the north for too long.”

Houthi War Fronts Updates:

In the wake of threats and attacks on ships in the Red Sea, the Hong Kong based shipping company, OOCL (Orient Overseas Container Line), announced that “due to operational problems,” it will immediately stop transporting cargo to and from Israel until further notice.

The American War Zone website published, “During his visit next week, the US Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, will announce “Operation Prosperity Guardian.” According to an American military source, this is an international effort to deal with the threats of the Houthi militia in Yemen.

Two American officials told “Politico” that senior officials in the Biden administration are considering various options for an attack against the Houthis in Yemen after the latest weekend attacks in the Red Sea. According to the report, in recent days the Pentagon moved the aircraft carrier Dwight Eisenhower from the Persian Gulf to the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Yemen, in order to support an American response to possible attacks, according to one of the sources. According to him, the US Army provided commanders with options for attacks against the Houthis.

Judea and Samaria Updates:

There was a stabbing attack near Beit Aryeh in Samaria. A 49-year-old reservist was moderately injured, and fully conscious. IDF forces caught the terrorist shortly after the attack.

The IDF operated in Door al-Shams, near Tulkarm.

The IDF spokesperson announced that during the operation, IDF forces discovered and neutralized explosives which were placed under and on the sides of the roads with intent to harm our forces. In addition, four wanted persons were arrested, and an M-16 type weapon and a shotgun were found.

During the operation several squads of armed terrorists shot and threw explosives at the forces, who returned fire with the assistance of Air Force drones. Four terrorists were eliminated (or five, according to the Red Crescent).

Today (Sunday), Hussein al-Sheikh, who is perceived to be PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s number two, said in an interview with the Reuters news agency that “the Palestinian factions, including Hamas should reexamine their policies in order to achieve freedom for their people.”

International Updates:

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said in an interview on the NBC network today (Sunday) that Israel will have to accept the two-state solution if it wants to continue the normalization processes with Saudi Arabia.

“The Biden administration is trying to revive the normalization process, and I think it’s the right thing to do. If you want to hurt Iran in the long term – you must not let them destroy the contacts between Israel and Saudi Arabia.”

The feeling amongst most Israelis is that the idea of a two state solution is no longer an option after the October 7th attack, and amidst heavy signs that Palestinian factions in Judea and Samaria are developing similar tunnels and weapons abilities as Hamas.

Video: The IDF published footage obtained from Hamas computers, of Hamas at work constructing a huge tunnel, using specialized equipment. The tunnel is wide enough to comfortably drive a car through, and has a depth of 50 meters below ground at some points.

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