War Summary, Day Eighty Seven: Two security guards were lightly wounded in a stabbing attack near the Mishor Adumim industrial zone, the Gerald R. Ford American aircraft carrier will leave the Mediterranean Sea in the coming days, and guidelines change to allow gatherings of up to 15,000 people in most parts of Israel.
By Mrs. Bruria Efune
War Summary, Day Eighty Seven:
128 held captive in Gaza.
110 hostages freed.
11 hostage bodies rescued.
33 hostages confirmed murdered in Gaza.
1,300+ Israelis murdered.
172 fallen soldiers in the battle in Gaza.
5 fallen soldiers in Northern Israel.
12,540 rockets fired at Israel.
187,533 Israelis displaced from their homes.
1 Jewish nation united in prayer, charity, and good deeds.
Despite the reports to the contrary, Hamas is not giving up its demand for a complete ceasefire as a condition for any hostage release deal. Israel is not yet ready for a ceasefire in Gaza, and won’t be ready for one until Hamas is entirely eliminated, and so the negotiations are unable to proceed at the moment.
Gaza Front Updates:
Most of the day was pretty quiet, with just one single rocket launched at Kissufim, on the Gaza border. A few seconds before midnight, Hamas launched their first barrage of 2024, right at Sderot, Ashkelon, Rechovot, and several cities near Tel Aviv. No injuries were reported.
Rockets have on average been down significantly over the past month, from an average of 75 per day in early December, to 14 per day in the last week.
The IDF announced the names of two heroes who fell in battle in Gaza:
Sgt. Maj. (res.) Eliraz Gabai, 37, from Petah Tikva
Sgt. First Class (res.) Liav Seada, 23, from Tiberias
The IDF now holds control over significant areas of the Gaza Strip, and is beginning to move into the next phase of battle, which is more long-term focused. IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari explained that fighting in Gaza is expected to continue through the entire 2024, and the IDF is preparing new plans to work smartly while moving ahead.
Five brigades of soldiers have been released from fighting in Gaza today. Some are reservists, who will be sent home to their families, and able to return to the jobs for several months—an essential move to keep the economy going. Others will be focused on training more commanders and officers who will return to lead operations in Gaza, relieving more reservists.
There are currently four divisions operating in Gaza (after earlier this month the 252nd Division, who had entered first, was released and replaced with the 99th Division), each focused on a specific Hamas battalion, by location:
Division 162 is in Gaza City, and for the past week has been focused on the Hamas battalion of the Daraj and Tuffah neighborhoods, which is Hamas’s last stronghold in the Northern Gaza Strip. Today the division’s combat engineers destroyed many tunnel shafts in the neighborhood.
Division 99, is now in control of the Netzer Corridor, which early on separated the north of the Gaza Strip from the south, and are destroying many tunnels located in the area over the last month.
Division 36 is in Central Gaza (the Camps) in al-Bureij. A major focus in this area is munitions and manufacturing plants.
Division 98 is in Khan Yunis, where they’re searching for tunnels (and finding many), and closing in on Hamas military leader, Yahya Sinwar. Leading the search for tunnels, is the “Bedouin Trackers” unit, famous for finding anomalies in desert areas.
The division is also battling the Hamas terrorists who attacked and devastated Kibbutz Nir Oz. Today the division eliminated several of Hamas’s elite Nukhba forces, and arrested others who surrendered—some of which had participated in the October 7th massacres.
The elite Maglan unit is carrying out raids in Khan Younis, and in an educational institution found a rocket launcher, documents belonging to Hamas, and other Hamas equipment. In “civilian” homes, the unit found more weapons and explosives.
Smaller brigades of soldiers from each division remain in the captured parts of Northern Gaza, to retain control, and deal with possible remaining holdouts. Near Gaza City, in the Shati Camp, the 14th Reserve Brigade located and destroyed explosives found in a daycare center (this was their last operation before being released home for the next few months).
Ahead of today’s advancements on ground, the Israeli Air Force carried out a wave of airstrikes overnight in the Gaza Strip. Throughout the day, both the Air Force and Navy assisted the troops on ground by taking out many Hamas targets, including military buildings, a tunnel, and Hamas terrorists.
According to Palestinian reports, former security prisoner and senior Hamas operative, Abdel Fattah, was killed in an Israeli air strike in the Gaza Strip.
The IDF also released footage and information about the “Oketz” canine unit, which is operating in the Gaza Strip. The canines assist troops by inspecting buildings, tunnels, and other areas, ahead of the soldiers. In several cases, the canines foiled Hamas ambushes, and even located and took out Hamas gunmen before they could attack the IDF troops.
Gaza Humanitarian Efforts Updates:
A total of 170 trucks carrying humanitarian aid, including food, water, medical supplies, and shelter equipment were inspected and transferred to the Gaza Strip today.
Northern Front Updates:
Aside from a small amount of fire from Hezbollah, today the north was attacked by explosive drones from The Islamic Resistance in Iraq. This was the third time that the group, which is backed by Iran, attacked Northern Israel with drones. The drones were downed by Israeli fighter jets, most of them before entering Israeli airspace, although the IDF didn’t specify exact location.
The IDF attacked three Hezbollah squads who were firing missiles at Israel, with artillery fire and via helicopters. The Israeli Air Force carried out heavy air strikes in the Lebanese village of Ramyeh, against Hezbollah military buildings and infrastructure.
The IDF explained that Hezbollah operates from the village, which they use as a terror center from which to fire at Israel, and exploit the local population, using the women and children as human shields.
Hezbollah reports five of their terrorist killed today.
During a cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Netanyahu said, “We are working to restore security in the north and return the residents to their homes. This currently necessitates the continuation of fighting there. If we do not achieve this through political means, we will achieve it through military means.”
Hezbollah head, Hassan Nasrallah’s deputy said in response, “Israel is not in a situation to impose a position, and it will not be able to return the residents of the north to their homes until the end of the war in Gaza. With the continuation of the bombings in Lebanon, this means that the response will be stronger and proportional to the Israeli aggression.”
Additional War Fronts Updates:
At 5:30 a.m., the Maersk Hangzhou container ship reported being hit by Houthi fire while in the Red Sea, and requested assistance. An American destroyer assisted and intercepted further ballistic missiles fired by the Houthis.
An hour later, the ship missed a second dishes call, this time being attacked by four smaller ships operated by Houthi terrorists, who were firing small arms at the container ship, and attempting to board it.
The US army dispatched helicopters from their nearby ships, and gave the Houthis a warning. Instead of withdrawing, the Houthis tried to fire at the helicopters. In response, the US sunk three of the Houthi ships, while the fourth fled. Ten Houthis were eliminated.
The Houthis put out a statement in response, saying that “The American enemy bears the consequences of this crime and its consequences. They will not prevent Yemen from fulfilling its religious, moral, and humanitarian duty in support and victory of the oppressed in Palestine.”
Judea and Samaria Updates:
Two security guards were lightly wounded in a stabbing attack near the Mishor Adumim industrial zone. The stabber was neutralized.
Overnight, the IDF operated in Nur Shams (near Tulkarm), where they seized illegal weapons from terror groups, and arrested five wanted Palestinians. During the operation, an IDF drone strike attacked and neutralized a group of terrorist gunmen who opened fire on IDF forces, and hurled explosives towards them.
In one incident, IEDs were thrown at the forces from a mosque.
IDF combat engineers also uncovered and destroyed several explosive devices which terrorists had planted under and on the sides of the roads in Nur Shams.
Since October 7, IDF troops have arrested more than 2,550 wanted Palestinians across Judea and Samaria, of which 1,300 are affiliated with Hamas.
ABC News reported that according to US officials, the Gerald R. Ford American aircraft carrier will leave the Mediterranean Sea in the coming days, from where it arrived when the war with Hamas started in October.
Homefront Command updated guidelines, one of the changes being to allow large gatherings of up to 15,000 people in all parts of Israel aside from the Gaza Envelope in the South, and the Confrontation Line in the North.