Here’s a round-up of the latest developments in the Israel-Hamas war.
Over the past six days, Israeli forces have gradually entered deeper into Gaza City, mostly in the direction of known strong-points of Hamas but also combing general areas. The focus, from the news reports, seems to be first the neighborhoods closest to the beach, cutting the city off from the sea, and approaching the areas traditionally reported as locations of the higher headquarters of Hamas inside the city. During previous operations, it was determined that the supreme leadership of Hamas is located in fortified underground offices under Shifa Hospital.
All hospitals, neighborhood clinics, and mosques in Gaza have had underground offices and storage sites built underneath them that are connected to the tunnel systems that crisscross the city underground. In previous confrontations, the IDF generally did not seek to go after hospitals, clinics, or mosques. Furthermore, except in exceptional circumstances, it did not enter them with ground troops. In 2014, one neighborhood clinic that was entered exploded on the IDF unit. The building had had bombs hidden permanently in the walls and floors, even as it was being used to treat patients in peacetime.
The movement of the IDF in Gaza is extremely slow because every building has to be checked before entry for explosive booby-traps. Most have been rigged. This includes residential buildings, public service buildings, etc.
Hamas forces are continuing to conduct raids on IDF units beyond the city perimeter by exiting from hidden tunnel openings. The IDF units are searching for these openings and destroying them.
The IDF has not published an estimate of Hamas casualties except to claim that the majority of the Palestinian fatalities are combatants and not civilians. In other words, the combatants number in the thousands. Hamas disguises its combatants as civilians by having most of them dress in civilian clothes. That way, when they are killed or wounded, they look like civilians in photos and videos taken by Hamas.
Below is a screenshot from a Hamas video of the fighting. Note the civilian clothes: jeans, T-shirts, and jackets.
As the fighting continues, there has been a slow but steady increase in IDF casualties too. By midday on November 12, 47 IDF personnel had been killed since the beginning of the ground operation in Gaza. The total number of IDF wounded has not been updated, but from occasional references in daily news reports it appears to be about ten times the number.
Hamas continues to fire rockets into Israel, though the daily average has lessened. The total to date is approximately 9,500 (of which 3,000 were fired in the first four hours). Of these, approximately 1,150 have fallen inside Gaza (including one on Shifa Hospital). For the first time, the report also explicitly mentions the launch of “tens” of explosive drones fired from Gaza.
The rate of fire has been drastically reduced over the past few days — probably for two reasons:
The advance of the IDF has brought its troops to many of the traditional launch sites, and many launchers have been destroyed.
Hamas wishes to conserve ammunition for a longer war as the stores are being used up. Hamas had considerably fewer rockets than Hezbollah.
The number of civilians leaving Gaza has grown considerably. Over the past week, nearly 200,000 have walked past the Israeli checkpoint on the eastern road leading south. However, that still leaves a couple of hundred thousand in north Gaza. All told, since the beginning of the war, the IDF has dropped approximately 1.5 million flyers urging the population to move away from probable objectives, sent six million voice messages, four million text messages, and an unpublished number of phone calls warning of impending strikes on specific buildings to the people living within the danger zone of each strike.
A topic Hamas has been harping on for almost two weeks is that the hospitals are running out of fuel and are losing the electric power critical to providing care.
However, every photograph and video taken inside the hospitals shows the electricity still working. The IDF published a conversation that proves that there are hundreds of thousands of liters of petrol in Hamas storage, including in underground stores beneath the hospitals. Furthermore, donations of medical supplies are reaching the hospitals inside Gaza City, as they are being allowed through by the IDF. Thus, on November 8, trucks carrying medical supplies arrived and unloaded in Shifa Hospital. Donations from other Arab countries have also been let in, including a second paradrop of medical supplies flown by the Jordanian air force through Israel.
Many of the hospitals in northern Gaza are being evacuated of patients and of people who came there looking for a safe haven in the knowledge that Israel does not attack hospitals. However, as the fighting has neared these hospitals, the IDF has requested that they evacuate their patients and staff because the underground floors were being used by Hamas for weapons storage, command posts, and tunnel entrances. At Rantisi Hospital, the local Hamas company commander held approximately 1,000 Gazan civilians hostage to prevent the IDF from attacking the hospital. When IDF units closed in on the hospital, he and a group of his men moved to the nearby Al-Buraq school, which had already been evacuated, where they were located and killed. Inside the school grounds the IDF found weapons stores and a manufacturing site as well as a tunnel entrance.
Currently the same process is being repeated at Shifa, the most famous hospital in Gaza, which houses the largest Hamas underground area. That is where the Hamas high command was located in all previous wars, though this time it is likely that they have all fled to southern Gaza. The IDF has delayed approaching the hospital to allow its evacuation and has even offered to help move non-ambulatory patients and provide fuel for the hospital electricity generators. The offer was refused. As with a previous event, a failed rocket launch struck the hospital grounds, and Hamas tried to claim it was an Israeli bomb.
Hamas also claims Israeli has attacked ambulances. The IDF responded that the only ambulances attacked were those being used to drive Hamas combat personnel on their missions (i.e., NOT wounded). Given that Hamas combat personnel are often wearing civilian clothes, they are discovered through intensive intelligence work. Furthermore, it has been revealed that Hamas has a unit of many fake ambulances for transporting its personnel (not injured or sick) and equipment. Hamas established this unit to take advantage of Israel’s known reluctance to shoot at ambulances.
On the Lebanese border there has been a gradual escalation in Hezbollah attacks, both in the number of rockets fired and in the size of the models used (they are now much bigger, with 300-500 kilogram warheads). Hezbollah is also using exploding drones. On November 12, 22 Israelis were wounded in a Hezbollah attack, including a group of civilians working on repairing electricity infrastructure not far from the border. One was critically injured, and five more suffered less critical injuries. So far, 10 Israelis have been killed in the fighting on this front since 7 October.
Israel has responded with increased attacks of its own. Hezbollah fatalities have accumulated to least 72 (seven in Syria). The number of wounded is not known.
The group’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, has again spoken publicly and not said much. However, one of his deputies promised to escalate to all-out war if they think Hamas is on the verge of being totally defeated.
Other Lebanese and Lebanese-based Palestinian organizations have also participated in the exchange of fire and at least 10 members of these groups have been killed. There are reports of tens of thousands of Lebanese moving north, away from the border with Israel. Unlike Hamas, Hezbollah has tended to use the population as camouflage but not as human shields — so when fighting escalates, they do not attempt to compel them to stay, but let them leave.
On the Syrian border there have been only a few incidents so far, including rocket launches, etc. These have been responded to with various means including tank fire, artillery and air strikes.
An Iraqi Shiite organization located in Syria launched drones at Eilat. One hit a school and one was shot down. School was in session at the time it was hit, but because of the location of the hit, nobody was hurt. Israel responded with air strikes on targets in Syria and stated to the Assad regime that it would be held responsible for any more attacks originating in Syria.
Judea and Samaria:
In Judea and Samaria too, Palestinian attacks on Israelis have increased somewhat. However, despite calls from the Hamas leadership to escalate, they have not surged. Israeli security forces have responded with police raids to arrest terrorists.
Over the past few days, the IDF has conducted a series of raids into Jenin. The roads entering the city had bombs planted underneath them by the terrorist organizations and were then covered over with asphalt. Apparently the IDF had intelligence on this, so its raiding force advanced behind armored bulldozers that tore up the asphalt and revealed the bombs. They were then detonated safely.
So far, approximately 1,600 terrorists (approximately 930 of them from Hamas) have been arrested and approximately 183 killed in Judea and Samaria, mostly in IDF raids. Some were arrested or killed while attempting to conduct attacks on Israeli civilians or soldiers.
There has also been an increase in the number of violent altercations between Palestinian civilians and Israeli civilians over agricultural property rights (field boundaries, grazing rights).
The Houthis have continued to launch missiles and long-range explosive drones towards Israel. The rate of fire has gone down from the first few days, and over the past few days, many launches were verbal only (they were declared, but no launches actually took place). An exo-atmospheric ballistic missile was shot down by an Israeli Arrow-3 defensive missile.
Iraq and Syria — US forces:
Pro-Iranian Iraqi Shiite militias continued to attack American bases in Iraq and Syria with rockets and exploding drones. The number of American casualties is one killed (apparently from cardiac arrest caused by an attack), and at least 45 wounded. The US military has responded with air strikes on suspected militia locations.
There are still a number of people unaccounted for, but it seems that all or virtually all the bodies of Israelis killed in the initial attack inside Israel have been found. Currently there are still body parts that have not been definitely identified because they are so badly damaged (in some cases rendering DNA tests inconclusive). Some of these body parts might belong to previously identified mutilated bodies that are missing parts.
Also, some of the missing have been confirmed to be among the kidnapped Israelis in Gaza.
So far, of the Israelis and non-Israelis killed and missing from the initial Hamas attack, approximately 880 civilians and approximately 370 soldiers, policemen and firefighters have been identified. In addition, 19 civilians have been killed in the rocket attacks. The total number of wounded is approximately 7,260.
The number of Israelis who have been forced to leave their homes in 64 villages and towns along the borders with Gaza and Lebanon has reached approximately 250,000.
The Gaza Health Ministry, which is controlled by Hamas in its role as the government of Gaza, claims that so far approximately 11,100 Gazans have been killed and approximately 28,000 wounded. They do not differentiate between personnel of Hamas and other terrorist organizations and civilians. They also claim that this number includes more than 4,000 children. Apart from the fact that all the numbers are propaganda-based and neither verifiable nor credible, “children” includes anyone up to the age of 18 — and since Hamas actively employs teens as combatants, this includes quite a number of terrorists. This is also true of the women and elderly who often serve in Hamas as scouts or suicide-bombers. There is a history of supposedly innocent people of all ages approaching IDF soldiers to ask for help and actually carrying suicide bomb-vests under their clothes or trying to lead the soldiers into explosive booby-traps or ambushes. The IDF spokesperson claims that the majority of the casualties are Hamas personnel or personnel of other armed groups, but has not elaborated.
Hezbollah did indeed change its mind, re-escalating after a few days of reduced attacks. It seems that the new level is very likely to become the norm unless the IDF finds a way to hit back strongly. So we will have to wait and see if Hezbollah maintains the new level of fighting and whether the IDF counter-escalates.
The IDF is still waiting for civilians to leave Gaza City, and the civilians seem to be leaving in ever-growing numbers, so the IDF will probably continue to maintain pressure but not escalate its advance into the depths of the city. The final objective has not changed: to gradually comb the city itself, street by street, house by house, and tunnel-entrance by tunnel-entrance in order to find, kill, or capture Hamas personnel. So far, Hamas seems to be willing to keep on fighting despite heavy casualties. The number of those surrendering has been very small. If so, this will be a long, arduous process and casualties on both sides will increase greatly.
Hamas seems to still be hoping to incite a major escalation in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), but so far this does not seem to be working. This is due to Israel’s escalated counter-actions and the general shock of the populace at the unfolding events — but also to the fact that the ruling Palestinian faction in Judea and Samaria, Fatah, sees Hamas as an enemy and is quite happy to see it decimated. (Of the almost 1,800 people arrested or killed by the IDF in its counter-terrorist operations in Judea and Samaria, more than 60% are Hamas personnel.)
The majority of the Arab states are making public declarations in favor of the Palestinians but in fact are doing little to nothing (depending on the state) to help them. Even humanitarian aid from the Arab states is minimal, and public demonstrations in favor of the Palestinians in the Arab states are generally fewer and smaller than those in Europe and America. Saudi Arabia has stated that the normalization process with Israeli will continue. This is while the Arab states go through the motions of caring for the Palestinians as described above in the paragraph on the emergency meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to discuss a regional response to the war.
Hamas spokesmen have voiced their frustration and disappointment in the responses of Hezbollah, Iran and its proxies in particular, but of the Muslim world in general. In both of Nasrallah’s speeches he spent considerable time making excuses for not joining the war — at least for now.
There has been some discussion abroad and in the Israeli media about “the day after” — that is, what will be done with Gaza to prevent a recurrence. The US has suggested a plan that includes handing Gaza back to the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority. Initially, when asked if Fatah would be willing to return to rule Gaza after the war, a high-ranking Fatah official said it would not, as it would be deemed to have “ridden to power on the tanks and aircraft of the IDF.” However, over the past week they seem to have changed their mind. Palestinian Authority President Mahoud Abbas has declared his willingness to re-accept authority over Gaza, but demands Israeli concessions in Judea and Samaria in return. Meanwhile, the IDF seems to have concentrated most of its efforts in the past week in and around the town of Jenin. After achieving a satisfactory conclusion there it is likely to focus on other locations of escalation.
Israel’s initial official response to this option was to say that because Fatah refused to condemn the Hamas attack, it is not a viable partner; and in any case, it is too early to make decisions or plan seriously for the day after. First we have to win the war.
Dr. Eado Hecht, a senior research fellow at the BESA Center, is a military analyst focusing mainly on the relationship between military theory, military doctrine, and military practice. He teaches courses on military theory and military history at Bar-Ilan University, Haifa University, and Reichman University and in a variety of courses in the Israel Defense Forces. A version of this article was originally published by The BESA Center.
The post Here’s What Happened in Gaza and Israel From November 7-13 first appeared on Algemeiner.com.
Protester Sets Self on Fire Outside Israeli Consulate in Atlanta
i24 News – A protester was in critical condition on Friday after setting themself on fire outside the Israeli consulate in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. authorities said. A security guard who tried to intervene was also wounded.
A Palestinian flag found at the scene was part of the protest, Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum said at a news conference. He added that investigators did not believe there was any connection to terrorism and none of the consular staff was ever in danger.
JUST IN: A pro-Palestine protester is in critical condition after they set themselves on fire in “political protest” outside of the Israeli Consulate office in Atlanta.
The protester was reportedly draped in a Palestine flag.
The protester has severe burns and unfortunately, a… pic.twitter.com/B8nUQAj2nU
— Collin Rugg (@CollinRugg) December 1, 2023
“We do not see any threat here,” he said. “We believe it was an act of extreme political protest that occurred.” Everyone inside the consulate building was said to be safe.
Anat Sultan-Dadon, Consul General of Israel to the southeastern U.S., said: “We are saddened to learn of the self-immolation at the entrance to the office building. It is tragic to see the hate and incitement toward Israel expressed in such a horrific way.”
“The sanctity of life is our highest value. Our prayers are with the security officer who was injured while trying to prevent this tragic act. We are grateful to the city of Atlanta’s law enforcement and first responders for all they do to ensure safety.”
The post Protester Sets Self on Fire Outside Israeli Consulate in Atlanta first appeared on Algemeiner.com.
Released Israeli Hostages Call for Captives to Be Freed
Israeli hostages released in the past week by Hamas in Gaza called on Saturday for the immediate release of fellow captives left behind, a day after a temporary truce that had allowed scores to come home broke down.
Tens of thousands gathered at a rally in Tel Aviv outside Israel‘s defense headquarters, where they cheered Yelena Trupanov, 50, standing on a stage just two days after being freed.
“I came to thank you because without you I wouldn’t be here. Now we must bring back my (son) Sasha, and everyone. Now.”
Similar pleas from other released hostages were shown on video.
A seven-day truce, during which Hamas had released more than 100 hostages, collapsed on Friday after Hamas breached the ceasefire.
Israel said on Saturday it had recalled a Mossad intelligence agency team from Qatar, host of indirect negotiations with Hamas, accusing the Palestinian faction of reneging on a deal that would have freed all children and women held hostage.
More than 240 people – Israelis and foreign nationals – were abducted to Gaza on Oct 7. by Hamas terrorists who burst through the border with Israel and killed 1,200 people.
The post Released Israeli Hostages Call for Captives to Be Freed first appeared on Algemeiner.com.
IDF Foils Stabbing Attack Near Nablus in West Bank, Eliminates Terrorist
i24 News – The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) reported thwarting a stabbing attack on Saturday afternoon against reserve Battalion 7037 at the X junction near Nablus in the West Bank.
According to the IDF spokesperson, the event unfolded when the forces at the roadblock became suspicious of an individual approaching the barricade.
During the questioning process, the suspect suddenly drew a knife and advanced towards the IDF personnel.
ניסיון פיגוע דקירה אירע לפני זמן קצר לעבר כוח צה”ל במילואים מגדוד 7037 שפעל בחסם בצומת האיקס סמוך לעיר שכם שבמרחב חטיבת שומרון.
הכוח חשד במחבל שהגיע לחסם והחל לתחקר אותו, המחבל שלף סכין והחל להתקדם לעבר הכוח.
הלוחמים חתרו למגע והגיבו בירי לעבר המחבל שחוסל. אין נפגעים לכוחותינו. pic.twitter.com/mEaJs58hpE
— דובר צה״ל דניאל הגרי – Daniel Hagari (@IDFSpokesperson) December 2, 2023
The soldiers, faced with the threat, engaged in contact procedures and ultimately responded by opening fire on the assailant. The spokesperson confirmed that the attacker was neutralized due to the IDF’s action.
It was also noted that there were no casualties among the IDF forces involved in the incident. According to the spokesperson, the situation at the X junction has stabilized, and IDF continues to maintain vigilance in the area to prevent further attacks.
The post IDF Foils Stabbing Attack Near Nablus in West Bank, Eliminates Terrorist first appeared on Algemeiner.com.