Investigation into exploding Hamas weapons cache that killed 45 Palestinians: Is it really that hard to believe that terrorists would hide weapons near civilians?

Palestinians-at-Strike-area

Important Takeaways:

  • Israel says tent camp blaze that killed 45 Palestinians and sparked international outcry could have been caused by exploding Hamas weapons cache – as IDF tanks roll into the center of Rafah
  • …the Israeli military claimed on Tuesday that the munitions it dropped near the camp were not enough to cause the large fires, instead suggesting an exploding weapons cache may have caused the inferno to spread.
  • IDF spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari told reporters that the strike was conducted against a ‘closed structure… away from the tent camp’ and claimed several Hamas officials were sheltering inside.
  • He said the IDF dropped two munitions with 35lb warheads. ‘These are the smallest bombs we have. Our munitions alone could not have ignited a fire of this size.’
  • As international pressure mounts on Israel over the horrific scenes emerging from Rafah – and as calls grow for its war in Gaza to cease – Israeli tanks reportedly reached the center of the beleaguered city on Tuesday.
  • The Gaza Government Media Office claimed that Israel dropped seven 2,000lb (900kg) bombs as well as missiles on the camp in Tal as-Sultan, as reported by Al Jazeera.
  • The UN Security Council is set to convene for an emergency meeting today to discuss the strike as the UN human rights chief Volker Turk expressed his ‘horror at the further loss of civilian life in Gaza’.
  • Yet the Israeli Prime Minister’s resolve appears unwavering, as he declared in parliament: ‘I don’t intend to end the war before every goal has been achieved.’
  • The Israeli military’s top legal official said authorities were examining the strikes and that the military regrets the loss of civilian life.

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Evacuation warnings for Rafah as IDF drops flyers telling citizens where to take refuge: Rafah invasion appears imminent

Rafah-flyer-Getty-e1714997036806

Important Takeaways:

  • The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) urged residents of Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, to evacuate to nearby “safe” zones on Monday as a long-delayed attack by Israel against the last Hamas strongholds appeared to be imminent.
  • The apparent mobilization of the IDF came after Hamas fired rockets from close range at the Kerem Shalom crossing, where humanitarian aid crosses from Israel into Gaza, on Saturday, killing four soldiers and wounding several others.
  • The U.S. has been telling Israel, privately and publicly, not to attack Rafah since February. Israel insisted it would do so, regardless of international pressure and regardless of hostage talks, to complete its goal of destroying Hamas.
  • The IDF has been dropping flyers on Rafah with maps indicating where residents should take refuge during the fighting.

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IDF has updated that the full Iranian attack consisted of over 300 threats: US, UK, France, and Jordan help to defend Israel

Iran-Missiles

Important Takeaways:

  • Iran attacks Israel: No drones, cruise missiles breached Israeli airspace
  • Sirens blared across Israel on Saturday night as hundreds of drones and missiles launched from Iran reached Israel. Drones and missiles were also reportedly launched from Yemen and other countries around the region.
  • The IDF has updated that the full Iranian attack consisted of over 300 threats, of which 100 were ballistic missiles launched from Iran. Another 30 cruise missiles were launched from the Islamic Republic, along with drones. There were also two rounds of rockets, around 40 total, fired on Israel from Lebanon, with Israel responding with counterattacks in close to real-time.
  • None of the drones or cruise missiles entered Israeli airspace. IDF spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari noted that only a small number of ballistic missiles penetrated the Jewish state’s airspace.
  • Almost all interceptions have been by aircraft, David’s Sling, or the Arrow missile systems. The Iron Dome, which defends well against Hamas and Hezbollah’s simple rockets, is less relevant for drones and fancier long-range missiles.
  • Iran confirmed that its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) had launched a missile and drone attack against Israel.
  • Israel, the US, the UK, and Jordan worked to intercept the drones and missiles over Syria, Jordan, Iraq, and Israel, according to foreign reports. France also assisted in shooting down the aerial threats.
  • The Islamic Republic’s attack comes after it accused Israel of killing top Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commander Mohammad Reza Zahedi on April 1, who had directed its proxy attacks on Israel in Lebanon and Syria, including being a top coordinator with Hezbollah.

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World turns on Israel after drone strike on World Central Kitchen convoy killing seven

World-Central-Kitchen-transport

Important Takeaways:

  • The world turns on Israel after World Central Kitchen slaughter: International fury grows with Biden saying he is ‘outraged and heartbroken’ as IDF is accused of war crimes and aid worker death toll exceeds that of any other conflict
  • After long standing support of Israel in its war with Hamas terrorists, President Joe Biden is joining a chorus of world leaders furious over the drone strikes that killed aid workers in Gaza, including one American.
  • Biden issued a statement claiming Israel ‘has not done enough to protect aid workers trying to deliver desperately needed help to civilians’ as thousands of Palestinians are caught in the crosshairs of war and left without food, water and other necessary supplies.
  • The president called for a ‘swift’ investigation to bring accountability to what he said was not a ‘stand alone incident’.
  • Israel apologized for what it called ‘a grave mistake’ and said it is investigating the incident.
  • International outrage ensued after the convoy of aid workers for World Central Kitchen was hit by an Israeli ‘triple tap’ drone strike on Monday, leaving seven dead. The three cars were marked as humanitarian aid and were struck while moving along a route approved by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).
  • Britain summoned the Israeli ambassador to London and demanded ‘full accountability’ over the deaths. The UK government is also considering suspending arms sales to Israel should an investigation reveal wrongdoing, inside sources have reportedly said.
  • World Central Kitchen was facilitating the provision of supplies brought by sea from Cyprus

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Hamas is far from a spent force

Palestinians

Important Takeaways:

  • Four months after Israeli troops first stormed Gaza’s biggest hospital, al-Shifa, claiming it was a cover for a Hamas command and control center, they have returned.
  • The Israeli military said it had “concrete intelligence” that Hamas operatives had regrouped there
  • The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) now claim to have killed “over 140 terrorists” in ongoing fighting at al-Shifa and to have made some 600 arrests, including dozens of top Hamas commanders as well as some from Islamic Jihad.
  • Israeli reports suggest that in recent weeks the army found that senior Hamas figures had resumed operations at al-Shifa and that some even took their families to the hospital.
  • The IDF says it uncovered arms caches and a large quantity of cash at the site.
  • Israeli media have suggested the operation at Shifa Hospital could last for several days. It is not being linked to the military operation in Rafah which Israel insists it must carry out to win the war with Hamas.
  • “It’s going to happen. And it will happen even if Israel is forced to fight alone,” the Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister

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Houthis hit Israel’s territory with cruise missile

Important Takeaways:

  • Houthi Cruise Missile Hits Israel in Ominous First
  • Yemen’s Houthis have claimed responsibility for a cruise missile launched from the Red Sea which landed near Eilat, in what marks the first time a projectile fired from the Iranian-backed group has struck Israel’s territory.
  • The Iran-aligned militants have repeatedly launched drones and missiles at international commercial shipping in the region since November, in what they say is in solidarity with Palestinians against Israel’s military assault in Gaza.
  • Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said on Tuesday it had tracked a “suspicious aerial target” which it confirmed was a cruise missile, The Times of Israel reported. No damage or injuries were caused and Newsweek has contacted the IDF for comment.

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Former IDF General warns Egypt may become an enemy state

Egyptian-Army

Important Takeaways:

  • Egypt may become an unstoppable enemy for Israel, former IDF general warns
  • “For years, they’ve been building highways into Sinai. We’re the target. They’re not building the army for anywhere else,” retired Major General Yitzhak Brik said.
  • [Note: with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowing to send Israeli troops into Rafah, a city in Gaza on the border with Egypt, the Egyptian government is threatening to void the peace agreement made during Jimmy Carter’s era.]
  • Israel hoped Egypt would sit in custodianship of the Philadelphi Corridor
  • Regarding the fighting in the Philadelphi Corridor and in Rafah, Brik said, “The Philadelphi Corridor, we all know we have evacuations from Sinai under the corridor. The IDF did not want to sit along this corridor for the next few years because it did not have the power to do so and because there would be many casualties, so it hoped that the Egyptians would do it.
  • “But today, there is a very big problem with Egypt. They are not ready to do it in our place. They also do not agree for us to do it from this side of the corridor, and they threaten that if we start doing various things that will cause masses to cross into Sinai, then they will stop the peace.
  • “Although it’s a poor country, it’s the strongest army in the Middle East today – 4,000 tanks, 2,000 modern ones, hundreds of the most advanced aircraft, and a navy of the best there is.
  • For years, they’ve been building highways into Sinai. We’re the target. They’re not building the army for anywhere else. This means one decision to cancel peace, they become an enemy state, and we don’t even have a brigade to stand against it.”

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Israel Defense Forces take control of strategic Gaza village in the South

Gaza-Strip-January-2024

Important Takeaways:

  • Khirbat Ikhza’a is just slightly southeast of Khan Yunis, making it an important strategic location for cutting off Hamas forces from maneuvering.
  • It is also only a few kilometers from the Jewish kibbutz of Nir Oz and was one of Hamas’s invasion launch points to take over that kibbutz on October 7, along with Nirim and Ein Hashlosha.
  • The IDF’s 5th Brigade destroyed hundreds of terror positions and killed dozens of Hamas terrorists to achieve operational control both above and below ground.
  • In addition, IDF forces found a variety of personal items, such as challah covers, bicycles, agricultural items that Hamas stole from Nir Oz residents, and some clues relating to Israelis who were kidnapped on October 7.
  • Further, the IDF seized a sizable number of mortars, rocket launchers, grenades, and guns. Also, IDF sources said every other house had weapons or terror-related items.

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IDF Minister Yoav Gallant reveals what’s next in the war against Hamas

Yoav-Gallant-in-Gaza-Shachar-Yurman-GPO-640x480

Important Takeaways:

  • Israel’s Defense Minister Releases Plan for Next Stage of War, ‘Day After’ Hamas Defeated
  • Gallant’s plan could therefore be a trial balloon — one distributed by the Netanyahu government but not formally adopted by it.
  • It begins with a description of the next stage (“Phase III”) of the war: “Fighting will continue until the goals of the war are achieved: (1) the return of the hostages, (2) the dismantling of Hamas’ military and governing capabilities and (3) the removal of military threats from the Gaza strip.”
  • In the northern Gaza Strip, where Hamas has largely been eliminated, Gallant suggests that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) will scale down operations, but will continue with “raids, the destruction of terror tunnels, aerial and ground activities, and special operations.”
  • In the southern Gaza Strip, where fighting is still intense, Gallant says that “operational efforts [will] focus on eliminating Hamas leadership and enabling the return of the hostages,” and that the IDF will continue to fight there “for as long as is deemed necessary.”
  • In “Phase IV,” or “The Day After,” Gallant suggests that Hamas will not control Gaza; that the Israeli military will have “operational freedom” in Gaza; that there will be no Israeli civilian resettlement in Gaza; that local “non-hostile” Palestinians will govern; and that the U.S. will lead a multinational “task force,” together with European and Arab nations, to rebuild the area. Israel will also retain the ability to inspect all goods entering Gaza, and Egypt will have a consultative role.
  • Crucially, the Palestinian Authority is completely excluded from the plan.

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Just as the Maccabees fought…Now it’s our turn

Menorah-during-war

Important Takeaways:

  • IDF’s Hanukkah Message: ‘When Faced With Destruction, The Maccabees Fought… Now It’s Our Turn’
  • Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, IDF spokesperson — This is a dark time in Jewish History, but together, we will fight for our future. From the depths of darkness, we have risen, stronger and more united.
  • We light the Hanukkah candles at a dark time in the story of our people, a time of mourning, a time of pain, a timely reminder of what we’re fighting for.
  • But the story of Hanukkah should serve as a reminder that our hope will prevail over despair. Our light will dispel the darkness, our love of life will triumph over the forces of evil that seek our destruction.
  • The story of Hanukkah is a story of survival. When faced with destruction, the Maccabees fought. They sacrificed their lives so that we could survive.
  • Now it’s our turn.
  • And together, we will fight for our future. A future where there will once again be Hanukkah candles in the windows across Israel. In Kfar Aza, Nir Oz and Be’eri. where there will once again be no need for context when there are calls for genocide against Jewish students in universities.
  • Where there was horror, there will be hope. Where there was death, there will be life. Where there was darkness, there will be light.
  • “Me’At min Ha’Or, Doche Harbe Min Ha’Hoshech.” A bit of light dispels much darkness. And our people have a whole lot of light.
  • Chag Hanukkah Samea’ch.
  • Happy Hanukkah.

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