Iran

Operation Iron Swords (Updated to 1 p.m., February 1, 2024)

Over the past day IDF activity focused mainly on west Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip. In the northern Gaza Strip and Gaza City the forces continued activities against squads of armed operatives. According to reports, the Palestinian organizations are discussing the offer of the hostage deal submitted to them and have not yet formulated their position. Senior Hamas members do not broadcast optimism and claim they have many comments on the proposal. Hezbollah also sent a message, through commentator Ibrahim al-Amin, who warned that Israel was trying to set a trap for Hamas with the hostage deal. The Red Crescent issued an alert regarding the condition of the two hospitals in Khan Yunis, claiming there was a shortage of food and medical equipment. Josep Borrell, the EU foreign minister, called for UNRWA's activities not to be "paralyzed." Hezbollah claimed responsibility for seven attacks. In response, Air Force planes attacked and artillery was fired at Hezbollah targets in south Lebanon. A Hezbollah operative was reported killed in an airstrike. The Israeli security forces continued their counterterrorism activities. A vehicle ramming attack was carried out against an IDF force near Kiryat Arba; no casualties were reported. Mahmoud Abbas presented the proposed Palestinian Authority (PA) reforms at a Fatah conference. Given the threats issued by the United States to respond to the killing of the three American soldiers in Jordan, the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps' stated Iran was not interested in war but was not afraid of it. The Islamic Resistance claimed responsibility for attacking Haifa Port. In reality, no such event occurred. Apparently, the Iraqi prime minister managed to convince the pro-Iranian militias not to take action against United States bases in Iraq. The Houthis continue attacking ships in the Red Sea. The commander of the American Army Central Command (CENTCOM) arrived in Riadh and met with the chief of staff of the Saudi Arabian Army.
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Operation Iron Swords (Updated to 1 p.m., January 31, 2024)

Over the past day the activity of the IDF forces continued focusing on Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, with additional activity in the northern Gaza Strip. Senior Hamas members reported that they had received the document formulated at the Paris summit for a three-phase hostage deal, during which the military operations of both sides would cease. Senior Hamas members stated they were checking the details of the proposal and claimed Hamas represented all the "organizations" in the Gaza Strip. Senior PIJ members said they had not received the document. Dealing with the claims against UNRWA continues. Sweden announced that it would stop funding the agency. The UN secretary general has been appealing to the donor countries to restore their funding for the agency. Hezbollah claimed responsibility for five attacks. Senior Hezbollah members continue threatening Israel with escalating their attacks. Three rockets were launched at Israel from Syria, falling in open areas. In response, the Israeli Air Force attacked targets near Daraa in southern Syria. The PA foreign ministry issued an announcement stating that all the details of any idea or initiative regarding the future of Gaza had to be shared with and approved by the PA. The secretary general of the Hezbollah Brigades in Iraq announced the suspension of the militia's military and security operations against the American Army.
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Operation Iron Swords (Updated to 1 p.m., January 30, 2024)

The IDF's activity in the last day focused on the Khan Yunis area, both above and below ground. The forces dismantled two battalions of the Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades' Khan Yunis Brigade, killed a large number of terrorists and damaged important terrorist facilities. East of Khan Yunis, the forces operated in a tunnel exposed under a cemetery which served as the headquarters of Hamas' military wing. The mediators expressed optimism about progress towards a hostage deal. Senior Hamas officials expressed cautious optimism and a certain flexibility regarding a ceasefire, stating they would formulate their final position in the near future. The serious accusations against UNRWA regarding the involvement of the agency's employees in the terrorist attack and massacre on October 7, 2023, continue making headlines. Hezbollah claimed responsibility for eight attacks using anti-tank missiles and rockets, including heavy Burkan and Falaq-1 rockets. In response, Israeli Air Force fighter jets attacked Hezbollah targets in south Lebanon. Hezbollah reported two deaths. Israeli security forces killed three terrorists, one an operative of Hamas' military wing and two Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) operatives who were hiding in a hospital in Jenin.
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Operation Iron Swords (Updated to 1 p.m., January 29, 2024)

During the past day IDF forces operated in the northern, central and southern Gaza Strip. A summit meeting was held in Paris to draw up a hostage deal. The meeting was described as "constructive," but reportedly, significant gaps remain. information revealed about the report submitted by Israel indicates that 12 UNRWA employees actively participated in the terrorist attack and massacre on October 7, 2023, including ten Hamas operatives and one operative from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ). Hezbollah claimed responsibility for the unusually high number of 12 attacks. IDF forces attacked Hezbollah terrorist targets from the air and with artillery.. An article in a Lebanese media outlet noted that Hezbollah considered Israel's attack on one of its airports to be a declaration of military escalation, and as a message to Israel, Hezbollah escalated its attacks and broadened the variety of weapons it used. Two terrorist attacks were carried out, one a combined attack near the naval base in Haifa and the other a stabbing attack near Tekoa in Gush Etzion. For the first time, a pro-Iranian militia attacked an American Army base on the Syrian-Jordanian border. Three soldiers were killed and 34 were wounded. ISIS claimed responsibility for an attack on a church in Istanbul, stating it was in response to the call of ISIS leaders to attack Jews and Christians everywhere.
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Operation Iron Swords (Updated to 1 p.m., January 28, 2024)

The fighting continued, mainly in the Khan Yunis area, where IDF forces extended their presence. They confronted armed terrorist squads, located munitions stockpiles, shafts and tunnels. Meanwhile, Israel opened a secure humanitarian corridor for residents from the combat zone to move towards the west. The Palestinian media reported heavy fighting in the Khan Yunis area and clashes in the northern and central Gaza Strip. Western spokesmen reported that Hamas and Israel, under the aegis of the United States and Qatar, were close to reaching a deal for the release of the hostages. Hamas stated that the proposals, which include a two-month temporary ceasefire in exchange for a new hostage deal, did not meet their "basic requirements .Palestinian Authority (PA) foreign ministry claimed Israel was ignoring the UN's warnings about the dire humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip . Following information provided by Israel to UNRWA about the 12 agency employees who took an active part in the October 7, 2023, terrorist attack and massacre, UNRWA announced the immediate termination of the employment of those staff members and the opening of an independent investigation of experts. Several countries announced they were suspending the agency's funding. Hezbollah claimed responsibility for 16 attacks over the weekend. The International Criminal Court in The Hague has issued an interim ruling regarding South Africa's "genocide" petition in the Gaza Strip. Although the tribunal did not call on Israel to stop the fighting, it adopted the South African "genocide" narrative and issued several interim orders to Israel and called for the return of the Israeli hostages.
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Iran and the Policy of Targeted Killings Attributed to Israel: Between Threats and Constraints

Since early December 2023, eight IRGC officers have been killed in operations attributed to Israel in Syria. Following the deaths of the IRGC operatives, and especially after the targeted killing of Mousavi and five IRGC officers in Damascus, senior Iranian officials threatened a harsh response against Israel. Although the possibility of a harsher response from Iran in the future cannot be ruled out, at this stage, there is a discrepancy between the intensity of the threats made by senior Iranian officials against Israel and their actual implementation. The gap reflects Iran's dilemma vis-à-vis the targeted killing policy attributed to Israel. Against the backdrop of continued targeted killings attributed to Israel, there are growing voices in Iran calling for a direct response against Israel and for abandoning the policy of "strategic patience," which is intended to reduce the risk of a military confrontation with Israel and the United States amid the ongoing war in Gaza. In recent days, Iranian commentators and media have warned that the continuation of the current policy, which avoids a significant direct response against Israel, compromises Iranian deterrence, reflects weakness, and may be interpreted by Iran's enemies as apathy and inability to respond to ongoing damage to its national security. Although at this stage, there has been no apparent change in Iran's policy of response, the continued targeted killings attributed to Israel, along with the intensification of internal criticism in Iran in light of the gap between the belligerent statements against Israel and the relatively restrained responses, may increase the pressure on the Iranian leadership to intensify its responses against Israel, even at the cost of taking risks of further escalation.
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