War Summary, Day Seventy Seven: The IDF announced that the 36th Division has taken full “operational control” of the Shejaiya neighborhood in Gaza City, After 40 hours of quiet Hamas resumes their rocket attack, and in the north enemy drones are intercepted as far in as Tzfas.
By Mrs. Bruria Efune
War Summary, Day Seventy Seven:
129 held captive in Gaza.
110 hostages freed.
11 hostage bodies rescued.
20 hostages confirmed murdered in Gaza.
1,300+ Israelis murdered.
137 fallen soldiers since entering Gaza.
11,580 rockets fired at Israel.
187,533 Israelis displaced from their homes.
1 Jewish nation united in prayer, charity, and good deeds.
Renewed hostage negotiations have reached an impasse.
Hamas published an official statement: “There is a Palestinian national decision that they will not hold talks on the exchange of captives or prisoners until the Israeli attack is completely stopped.” They explained this means a withdrawal from Gaza and end to the fight to eliminate Hamas.
An Israeli source responded to the Hamas announcement: “Israel will continue the war until all its goals are achieved and all its abductees are returned.”
Prime Minister Netanyahu in an address to the nation said. “We fight until victory. We will not stop the war until we complete all its goals: the completion of the elimination of Hamas, and the release of all our hostages. The choice I offer to Hamas is very simple: surrender or die. They don’t have and won’t have any other choice. And after we eliminate Hamas, I will work with all my might to ensure that Gaza no longer poses any threat to Israel. Neither Hamastan nor Fatahstan.”
In response, Senior Hamas official, Aizat Rashek stated: “Surrender is not in our lexicon. Israel should submit to the conditions of the resistance before the circle of fire expands.”
Gaza Front Updates:
After 40 hours of quiet, Hamas got back into the rocket game. Five launches of rockets were fired into Gaza Envelope communities, and one very large barrage was fired at the entire area from Ashkelon to Ranana, past Tel Aviv, sending over 4 million Israelis running for shelter. The missiles were intercepted by the Iron Dome, and large shrapnel fell in the Herzilya, Kiryat Ono, and Ramat Hasharon areas, including on the roof of a preschool, during school hours. Thank G-d the children were in a bomb shelter, and not the classroom at the time of impact.
The IDF announced the names of three heroes who fell in battle in Gaza:
Sgt. Lavi Ghasi, 19, from Hashmonaim.
Lt. Yaacov Elian, 20, from Ramat Gan.
Lt. Omri Shwartz, 21, from Shadmot Dvora.
IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said that since the end of the temporary truce in the Gaza Strip on December 1st, the IDF has eliminated more than 2,000 Hamas terrorists through air strikes and ground combat. It’s estimated that since the beginning of the war, the IDF eliminated a total of 8,000 Hamas terrorists inside Gaza, and 1,000 in Israel on October 7th.
In the last day, the IDF carried out airstrikes against around 230 Hamas terror targets inside Gaza. The Navy was also involved in carrying out strikes, hitting vessels used by Hamas’s naval forces.
After weeks of fierce combat, the IDF announced that the 36th Division has taken full “operational control” of the Shejaiya neighborhood in Gaza City, and has effectively dismantled Hamas’s core capabilities in the neighborhood. Shejaiya is still suspected to have some more terrorists in hiding, and terrorist infrastructure which may still need to be found and destroyed. Troops will continue to operate in the neighborhood, in limited search and destroy missions.
During the battle of Shejaiya, IDF troops eliminated several hundred terrorists, and destroyed dozens of tunnel shafts—both items which were found hiding in children’s bedrooms, schools, medical centers, and mosques. IDF Golani soldiers also captured the headquarters of Hamas’s Shejaiya battalion, from where the October 7th terrorists were sent out. In the headquarters, large caches of weapons and valuable intelligence materials were found.
Under Palestine Square in Shejaiya, the IDF’s elite Yahalom combat engineering unit demolished a major Hamas tunnel network where the terror group’s top officials hid on October 7.
In Jabailya, troops evacuated civilians from inside a school, and then found large weapons belonging to Hamas in the building.
The IDF has now expanded the ground operations towards the areas between the south of Gaza City and the “central refugee camps,” where the 99th Division began carrying out operations in order to gain control of the area. It’s important to be aware that these are not new refugee camps or tent cities, rather fully built neighborhoods of homes and apartment buildings set up in 1948. Each area has a Hamas brigade in control of it, which the IDF needs to eliminate in order to achieve the goals of the war.
In the Nusareit “camp” the IDF troops killed members of Hamas’s Nuseirat battalion and destroyed the group’s infrastructure, including tunnels and weapon depots.
Further south, IDF troops are continuing localized battles in Khan Younis, calling in airstrikes when needed to take out Hamas terrorists or other threats, such as rocket launchers. Airstrike activity was seen in Rafah as well.
National Security Director, Tzachi Hanegbi, wrote in his article to a Saudi newspaper: “Israel is aware of the desire of the international community and the countries of the region to integrate the Palestinian Authority the day after Hamas. We make it clear that this will require a fundamental reform of the Palestinian Authority – which will focus on recognizing its duty to educate the younger generation in Gaza and Ramallah and Jenin and Jericho – on the values of moderation and tolerance – without inciting violence against Israel.”
Gaza Humanitarian Efforts Updates:
Since the start of the war, 5,405 trucks with 95,710 tons of humanitarian aid entered the Gaza Strip. The aid included food, water, shelter equipment, and medical aid.
The IDF enabled a tactical pause for humanitarian purposes to allow civilians to safely replenish stocks such as food and water in the Al-Salaam neighborhood in Rafah, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
President Herzog met with the President of the Senate in France, Gerard Larscher, and pointed a finger at the UN’s failure. “Unfortunately, due to a decisive failure of the UN, they are unable to bring in more than 125 trucks a day. It is possible today to provide three times the amount of humanitarian aid to Gaza – if the UN, instead of complaining all day, would do its job,” he said.
Northern Front Updates:
Hezbollah fired several salvos of missiles into Northern Israel today. Hits were reported in Avivim, where a fire broke out; Ramat Naftali, where a house was destroyed; and Dovev, where two civilians were injured and evacuated to Ziv Medical Center.
The terror group also sent a number of attack drones into Israel, and an interception was seen as far as the city of Tzfat (Sefad).
The IDF continued with the typical non-escalated operations in Lebanon: With shelling at threats and launch sites along the border, and air strikes against Hezbollah terror infrastructure in southern Lebanon.
Additional War Fronts Updates:
According to Reuters reports, the Pentagon has announced that more than 20 countries have joined the international naval force that will patrol the Red Sea and protect merchant ships from Houthi attacks from Yemen. At least eight of those countries refuse to disclose their participation in the coalition.
After midnight, a drone seemingly coming from the direction of Iraq towards Eilat was intercepted on its way through Jordan.
The Shin Bet released for publication that the agency recently uncovered and thwarted an Iranian operation to fool Israelis into gathering intelligence for them.
Judea and Samaria Updates:
Soldiers of the IDF and Shin Bet arrested 20 wanted persons throughout Judea and Samaria tonight, eight of whom are associated with the terrorist organization Hamas.
According to Palestinian reports, the IDF is currently operating in Dahriyah and Bnei Naim, which are south of Chevron (Hebron), in the city of Jericho and in the Ein al-Sultan “refugee” camp, north of Jericho.
Senior Palestinian Authority official, Hussain Esheikh, visited Abu Dhabi and met with the Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed. The two discussed the situation in Gaza and the consequences of the war. The meeting dealt, among other things, with the humanitarian situation in Gaza “and the biennial effort to reach a permanent ceasefire.”
In a statement from the Palestinian side, it was stated that in the conversation they talked about “the necessity to find a serious political horizon to resume negotiations to achieve a comprehensive peace based on the two-state solution.” A similar announcement was also issued by the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Paratroops leave Gaza for their first break since the start of the ground invasion. They sing thanks to Hashem for the miracles He did for them, and for watching over them.
An Israeli father embraces his son who arrived home for a break from the battlefield in Gaza. The father bursts into words of gratitude for G-d, and for seeing his son “alive and whole.”