The Israeli Palestinian Conflict

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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Operation Iron Swords (Updated to 1 p.m., January 25, 2024)

The activity of the IDF forces continued focusing on the Khan Yunis area in the southern Gaza Strip. The forces located weapons and clashed with a large number of armed squads. The Palestinians claimed that the IDF forces had attacked an UNRWA facility. In the central Gaza Strip the forces uncovered a tunnel connecting the northern and southern Gaza Strip. So far, no progress has been made on the negotiations for a hostage deal. Hamas members denied all reports in the international news agencies and the Israeli media about a possible exchange deal sponsored by Qatar and Egypt. Senior Hamas members reiterated that they stood by their initial conditions for any deal, the first of which was a ceasefire and the withdrawal of IDF forces from the Gaza Strip. The heavy fighting has caused residents of the Khan Yunis area to continue moving to the Rafah area. Senior figures, including the president of Egypt, claim that the humanitarian aid received by the Gaza Strip every day is insufficient. Hezbollah claimed responsibility for six attacks against Israel. Israeli Air Force fighter planes and artillery attacked in the Yaroun area. The Hezbollah-affiliated daily al-Akhbar published an article which claimed that the Lebanese army, Lebanon, and UNIFIL had "data" confirming Israel's intention to escalate the fighting. Mahmoud Abbas met with David Cameron, the British foreign minister. He said that contrary to Israel's plans, the Gaza Strip had no security or military solution and could not be cut off from the "Palestinian state." For the second time, the Islamic Resistance in Iraq claimed responsibility for launching a UAV to attack the Port of Ashdod. The Houthis attacked a ship flying the American flag.
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Operation Iron Swords (Updated to 1 p.m., January 24, 2024)

Over the past day the activity of the IDF forces focused on the Khan Yunis area in the southern Gaza Strip. The forces increased the pressure on Hamas and attacked a large number of terrorist cells scattered throughout the area. Despite reports of the considerable activity concerning a hostage deal and the various proposals which have been put forward, serious disparities remain between the demands and no progress has been made. Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) stated that no understandings had been reached and their condition for any deal was a comprehensive ceasefire and the withdrawal of IDF forces from the Strip. Medical personnel in the Gaza Strip continue to report the movement of civilians from the battle zones in Khan Yunis to the Rafah area. Over the past day Hezbollah claimed responsibility for one attack. In response to the attack on the Israeli Air Force base in Miron on January 23, 2024, the Air Force planes attacked targets in south Lebanon, including a military asset operated by Hezbollah in collaboration with Iran. Hamas claimed responsibility for a shooting attack targeting an IDF position at the Einav Junction, east of Qalqilya. United States military forces attacked three targets of Hezbollah brigades in response to attacks on its military bases, The UN Security Council convened once again to discuss the war in the Gaza Strip.
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