There has been more delay in the agreement for the (partial) hostages’ release and nothing will happen before tomorrow Friday. No list of hostages’ names has been given to Israel.
Daily rocket and other missile attacks on Israeli civilians continue both from Gaza and Lebanon. The IDF announced the deaths of two soldiers in northern Gaza, bringing the ground operation death toll to 70. Yesterday the IDF said that they had destroyed some 400 terror tunnel shafts in Gaza.Report here
In the last two days, the IDF has entered Hamas’ tunnel network under Shifa Hospital. A vast amount of guns and grenades were found hidden throughout the hospital, as well as rocket-propelled grenade launchers, advanced drones for delivering explosives, and a variety of sophisticated intelligence platforms.
In the tunnel network there was a spacious bedroom with two large beds and a large modern air conditioning unit, a kitchenette, and bathrooms, as well as extensive plumbing and electrical wiring.Report here included videos
Recently IDF forces discovered a rocket production lab, explosives, a tunnel, significant ammunition, and drones inside a mosque in the Zeitoun neighbourhood of Gaza City… Many of the terrorists are abandoning their weapons, donning civilian attire, and attempting to escape. Report here
The IDF released video footage from the questioning of detained terrorists.
One terrorist confessed that not only Hamas but also Palestinian Islamic Jihad members were active in Al-Shifa Hospital, where some disguised themselves as medical staff.
Another said terrorists concealed rockets in mattresses in the Palestine Red Crescent building.
A senior official from Unit 504 of the Intelligence Corps, which specializes in operating undercover agents, said that since the beginning of the war, they had received “thousands of phone calls from Gazans” on an unprecedented scale with tips on Hamas and other terrorist groups. 1 minute video here. 1 minute video here
Last week the IDF invited the international press to view the weapons used by Hamas against Israeli civilians on Oct. 7. The terror group was equipped with “vast amounts of weapons, [and] of explosive materials used not against soldiers, but citizens and families in their own houses.” including military-grade weapons like the Shawaz anti-tank explosive which was used to break into protected shelters and safe rooms, and thermobaric grenades, which raise the temperature in a given space to 3,000 degrees Celsius. These grenades were used in houses and civilian cars at the Nova music festival to incinerate everything and everyone.
According to the IDF: “This is [the result of] organized smuggling into Gaza from many different countries. There’s a lot of money that goes into this. Someone is funding and planning for a long time, and we see the result – a massacre of civilians.” Report here
Shlomi Eldar has been covering the Palestinians in Gaza for Israeli media since 1991… He thinks the exceptional cruelty of the Oct. 7 attack was made possible because of a combination of several factors – one of them is Yahya Sinwar, the Hamas leader in Gaza.
“He is a cruel man. I’ve heard many, many stories. He was arrested in 1989 because he butchered Palestinians… (another) factor…is the education of children in Gaza toward violence.
“The new generation, the young people – they were born, or they were children when Hamas took power in Gaza.”
“They grew up with incitement all the time. And they’ve been taught that the Israelis are not human beings.” Article here
NOTE: Israeli doctors saved the Hamas Gaza leader Yahya Sinwar’s life when he was in prison, serving multiple life sentences for the kidnapping and murder of two Israeli soldiers in 1988. Orit Adato, a former prison commissioner of Israel, said Sinwar survived a brain tumour thanks to an operation carried out by Israeli doctors. Report here
As the war against Hamas continues in Gaza, some Palestinian voices in the West Bank are inciting against Jews and offering rewards to whomever murders them.
The owner of a car dealership near Ramallah posted an advertisement reading, “Anyone who brings a dead Jew will receive a free car” – leading IDF forces to raid the business and arrest the owner. Over 200 suspects have been arrested for incitement to violence since Oct 7. Report here
The body of Shani Gabay, 26 who went missing after the Hamas massacre on October 7, was identified on Wednesday after 47 days. Report here
A team of volunteer archaeologists from the Israel Antiquities Authority has identified the remains of at least 10 people previously considered missing from the various kibbutzim near Gaza. Even more than 40 days after the October 7 massacre, there is no comprehensive list of fatalities. Last week, there were still approximately 40 people considered unaccounted for, who could be either kidnapped or murdered. Forensic pathologists are working around the clock to use DNA to identify bodies. But in cases where homes were torched, the army turned to archaeologists, hoping their expertise in uncovering human remains that are thousands of years old might help.Report here
First Lady Michal Herzog denounced international human rights organizations for not speaking out against the multiple rapes and other violence perpetrated by Hamas terrorists against Israeli women during their October 7 onslaught, saying the silence is “devastating” and a failure for women everywhere. She wrote that the lack of condemnation from rights groups has been a second shock to the country after the unprecedented Hamas attack, the worst in Israel’s history. Article here (graphic content) Article here – graphic content
British Foreign Secretary David Cameron today visited Kibbutz Be’eri, the scene of one of the worst Hamas massacres on October 7. He said: “I wanted to come here to see it for myself; I have heard and seen things I will never forget.” Report heretweet here
UN Security Council Resolution 1701 called for the region between the Israel-Lebanon border and the Litani River to be freed of all armed forces other than the Lebanese army and the UN peacekeeping mission UNIFIL.
This was never implemented, and Hizbullah has become a heavily armed terror militia with tens of thousands of fighters and an arsenal of 150,000 rockets and missiles. Report here
Estimates of the number of displaced Israelis civilians vary (from 130,000 up to 200,000) as, while many communities near Gaza and in the north, those close to the Lebanese border have been evacuated by Government order, many others for example from Ashkelon and Ashdod, have chosen to leave their homes due to the constant rocket barrages and are now residing in 280 guest houses and hotels across the country. Others have been welcomed into private homes. Here are the stories of some of them: Report here
Mosab Hassan Yousef, the son of Hamas co-founder Sheikh Hassan Yousef, defected from the terrorist group in the late ’90s. On Monday he denounced the group at the UN exposing Hamas’ savage indoctrination of Palestinian children. A must-watch (30 minutes) – even a part of it. Video here Brief report of the speech.
Brendan O’Neill: We need to talk about the pathological distrust of Israel. About the speed and relish with which our media elites dismiss every Israeli claim about the war in Gaza. Consider the Battle of al-Shifa Hospital. Israeli officials have offered up ample proof that the hospital was used as a military base by Hamas. They’ve shown us caches of weapons, video footage of gun-toting, knife-wielding men hurrying hostages through corridors, a vast tunnel that is 10 metres down and 55 metres long. And yet it is all breezily discounted. This is not healthy scepticism of ‘war propaganda’ – it’s a dogmatic refusal to accept a single thing the Jewish State says.
The morbid disbelief of Israeli evidence has reached insane levels in recent days. When IDF commanders displayed the Kalashnikovs, ammunition, hand grenades and bullet-proof vests they found at al-Shifa, the woke media shrugged. These are just “small stashes” of weapons, said the BBC in its best haughty voice. This begs the question of how much weaponry Britain’s public broadcaster thinks it is acceptable for a fascist movement to store in a hospital. Ten guns? Twenty? ‘Those piles of Kalashnikovs’ are ‘frankly not convincing’, said the BBC’s Jeremy Bowen with superb derision. Maybe they belong to the hospital’s ‘security department’, he said.
They will never be satisfied, will they? They’re shown stashes of lethal weapons, grenades, military clothing. They’re shown videos of Hamas pushing hostages around the hospital. They’re shown a Hamas-style truck with guns in it. They’re shown a tunnel that leads to a blast door with a “gunhole for Hamas to shoot through”. And again and again they say: ‘We’re not convinced.’Full article here
Also see Brendan O’Neill on Lineker: article here
Walter Russell Mead: Even if Hamas’ initial Oct. 7 terror attack on Israel was itself a war crime, a student asked, isn’t the larger loss of civilian life in Israel’s subsequent attacks just as bad?
I turned the discussion to the history of war. One night in March 1945, U.S. planes dropped incendiary bombs over Tokyo, killing tens of thousands of Japanese civilians. Incomplete estimates from Japan put the total death toll from allied bombing raids as high as 500,000.
As for the treatment of enemy civilians, at the 1945 Potsdam Conference, the U.S. agreed to the forcible removal of 12 million Germans, again largely civilian and many children and elderly, from lands their ancestors had inhabited for centuries…
Gaza introduced Gen Z to the true horror of war. In the short run, Hamas’ propaganda machine is enlisting images of suffering Palestinians to foil Israeli efforts to break its power in Gaza.(paywall) Article here
Bob Blackman MP: We sat in stunned silence for at least two minutes. No one moved an inch. Staring ahead in shock and disbelief. More than 60 parliamentarians had just borne witness to the barbaric cruelty unleashed by Hamas on Israel that dark day. We had gathered to witness 45 minutes of raw, unedited and uncensored footage of Hamas’ attack on Oct. 7. Much of the footage had been collected from body cameras and mobile phones carried by Hamas terrorists as they rampaged through southern Israel…
Much of the footage has never been aired in the UK. It is simply too graphic. It is, though, perhaps the only way to truly understand the sheer horror and what triggered – and indeed necessitated – Israel’s war against Hamas. We learned that we had witnessed the bodies – and killings – of around 130 people. A mere 10% of those murdered that chilling day.
Simply, there will be no chance for peace as long as Hamas exists. The UK is absolutely right to support Israel in this unenviable task. Many of those sickeningly trying to justify Hamas horrors would do well to witness this footage.Article here (graphic content)
Richard Kemp: Many who call for a ceasefire may be well meaning, but in practice they are saying Israel should stop defending its population and Hamas should live to fight another day. Political leaders are playing into Hamas’ hands by virtue-signalling implications that Israel is not adhering to the laws of war and is inflicting unnecessary civilian casualties when they know that this is not true.(paywall)Article here
Yaakov Katz: While the world’s attention is focused on Gaza, Hizbullah is firing antitank missiles and rockets into Israel every day…Iran has learned a dangerous lesson in the past six weeks. It has seen that there is no price to pay for arming its terrorist proxies and encouraging them to attack Israel. Iran’s actions – including attacks on U.S. bases in Iraq and Syria by Iranian-backed militias – are met not with reprisals but gifts, like the Biden administration’s decision to issue a sanctions waiver and grant Iran access to $10 billion. This money will be used to fund even more terrorism.
Iran’s leaders see no reason to stop funding Hizbullah, Hamas or the Houthis. No one is threatening to stop the ayatollahs in Tehran or warning them that they will pay a price. What is to keep Iran from creating new terrorist proxies, training them and giving them weapons to attack Israel, the U.S. or Europe? Letting Iran’s bad behaviour go unchallenged will ultimately extract a higher price. Iran won’t stop supporting terrorist groups until it is made to. (paywall)Article here
WSJ Editorial: The (hostage) deal again shows the moral gulf between the two sides. Hamas kidnapped Israeli children as young as nine months to use as hostages and spring its jihadists who have been arrested or convicted in a fair trial for their crimes. Israel takes military risks to save its citizens. Hamas risks Palestinian civilians to save itself. (paywall)Article here