Operation Iron Swords (Updated to 1 p.m., February 14, 2024)

Yahya al-Sinwar fleeing through a tunnel (IDF website, February 13, 2024)

Yahya al-Sinwar fleeing through a tunnel (IDF website, February 13, 2024)

IDF forces in the Gaza Strip (IDF spokesperson, February 14, 2024)

IDF forces in the Gaza Strip (IDF spokesperson, February 14, 2024)

IDF forces in the Gaza Strip (IDF spokesperson, February 14, 2024)

IDF forces in the Gaza Strip (IDF spokesperson, February 14, 2024)

Al-Sinwar's safehouse (IDF spokesperson, February 14, 2024)

Al-Sinwar's safehouse (IDF spokesperson, February 14, 2024)

Al-Sinwar's safehouse (IDF spokesperson, February 14, 2024)

Al-Sinwar's safehouse (IDF spokesperson, February 14, 2024)

Hassan Nasrallah speaking (al-Manar, February 14, 2024)

Hassan Nasrallah speaking (al-Manar, February 14, 2024)

Meeting of the delegations. Among the members of the Hamas delegation are members of Hamas' political bureau Khalil al-Haya, Hussam Badran, Musa Abu Marzuq, Nizar Awadallah (apparently), Izzat al-Rishq and Bassem Na'im (Hamas in Judea and Samaria Telegram channel, February 13, 2024)

Meeting of the delegations. Among the members of the Hamas delegation are members of Hamas' political bureau Khalil al-Haya, Hussam Badran, Musa Abu Marzuq, Nizar Awadallah (apparently), Izzat al-Rishq and Bassem Na'im (Hamas in Judea and Samaria Telegram channel, February 13, 2024)

Northern Arena, Israeli Casualties, Rocket Fire

Overview[1]
  • The southern arena: During the past day, the fighting focused on the Lesser Abasan area, adjacent to Khan Yunis, where IDF forces cleared terrorist facilities, exposed and neutralized tunnels and clashed with armed terrorist squads. During the operation, a route was designated for the evacuation of the population and thousands of Gazans used it to leave the area. Palestinian media reported that Gazans staying at Nasser Hospital in Khan Yunis were asked by the IDF forces to leave and evacuation began. The IDF spokesperson published a video of Yahya al-Sinwar, the head of the political bureau of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, running away with his family on October 10, 2023 through an underground facility that had apparently been prepared in advance.
  • According to unofficial statistics, since October 7, 2023, approximately 1,500 Israeli civilians and security personnel have been killed, 569 of them soldiers and officers; 130 civilian and military hostages are still being held by the terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip; 123 hostages have been returned to Israel.
  • Negotiations for a hostage deal: A summit meeting was held in Cairo attended by representatives of the United States, Egypt, Qatar and Israel; Hamas did not participate. According to reports, the main differences between the two sides center on the ceasefire and a formula for the release of [a specific number of] terrorists in exchange for every Israeli hostage. It was agreed that the talks would continue at low levels. Husam Badran, a member of Hamas’ political bureau, said it was too early to talk about the details of the negotiations in Cairo, claiming their main goal was a complete ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.
  • The situation in the Gaza Strip: Various parties have expressed concern about the consequences of an Israeli military operation in Rafah. They stated that the city was full of displaced persons and it was not possible to evacuate so many people.
  • The northern arena: During the past day, Hezbollah claimed responsibility for five attacks. On the morning of February 14, 2024, a barrage of rockets was fired at the Upper Galilee. A woman was killed in Safed and eight people were injured. Arab media reported that the targets were the IDF base in Meron and the IDF Northern Command in Safed. So far, no organization has claimed responsibility for the attack. In response, a wave of IDF attacks began in south Lebanon. Hassan Nasrallah, the secretary general of Hezbollah, gave a speech in which he reiterated his claim that with the cessation of fighting in the Gaza Strip, Hezbollah’s attacks would also stop, but if Israel continued attacking, Hezbollah was prepared to expand the campaign. The prime minister of the interim Lebanese government confirmed that negotiations were being held for an arrangement in Lebanon.
  • Judea and Samaria: The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) called for expanding the borders of the campaign against Israel from the territories of Judea and Samaria to the heart of Israel. It also called on the operatives of the Palestinian Authority’s security forces to join the campaign.
  • The Palestinian Authority (PA): Mahmoud Abbas called on Hamas to complete the hostage exchange deal quickly to prevent further displacement and another disaster. He said the deal could prevent Israel from attacking Rafah. He claimed they regarded anyone who put obstacles in the way of a deal as responsible for the consequences.
  • The pro-Iranian militias: The leader of the Houthis in Yemen stated that since the sea route was important for Israel, their operations at sea had proven to be effective, and they were ready to continue and escalate the attacks on Israel.
  • The international arena: South Africa submitted an “urgent” request to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to consider whether Israel’s decision to extend the fighting to the Rafah area required intervention.
The Southern Arena
  • Palestinian media reported that IDF activity over the past day focused on several sites in the Gaza Strip. In Gaza City the Israeli Air Force attacked in the north of the city and in the Zeitoun neighborhood in the south of the city. In the central Gaza Strip there were attacks in east Deir al-Balah and al-Suwayda. In Khan Yunis the Israeli Air Force attacked the Qarara area northeast of Khan Yunis. IDF forces continued to surround Nasser Hospital and asked Gazans staying there to leave immediately, with the exception of patients and the medical staff. In Rafah the IDF and Israeli Air Force attacked throughout the city, especially near the border fence with Egypt (Wafa, February 13, 2024).
Al-Jazeera TV explains IDF attacks (al-Jazeera YouTube channel, February 13, 2024)
Al-Jazeera TV explains IDF attacks (al-Jazeera YouTube channel, February 13, 2024)
IDF forces in the Gaza Strip (IDF spokesperson, February 14, 2024)    IDF forces in the Gaza Strip (IDF spokesperson, February 14, 2024)
IDF forces in the Gaza Strip (IDF spokesperson, February 14, 2024)
  • The IDF spokesperson revealed that at the beginning of February 2024, close relatives of the senior leadership of Hamas’ military wing and Gazans close to Yahya al-Sinwar were detained on suspicion of involvement in terrorist activity. The detainees were taken for interrogation and provided information about a compound where hostages had been held at different times. The IDF spokesperson published a video recorded by tunnel security cameras on October 10, 2023. It showed Yahya al-Sinwar, head of the Hamas political bureau in the Gaza Strip, accompanied by his brother Ibrahim, fleeing with his children and one of his wives to a previously-constructed underground safehouse (IDF spokesperson, February 14, 2024).
Yahya al-Sinwar fleeing through a tunnel (IDF website, February 13, 2024)
Yahya al-Sinwar fleeing through a tunnel (IDF website, February 13, 2024)
Al-Sinwar's safehouse (IDF spokesperson, February 14, 2024)    Al-Sinwar's safehouse (IDF spokesperson, February 14, 2024)
Al-Sinwar’s safehouse (IDF spokesperson, February 14, 2024)
  • The southern Gaza Strip: During the past day the fighting focused on the Lesser Abasan area, adjacent to Khan Yunis, where the forces cleared terrorist facilities, exposed and neutralized tunnels and clashed with armed terrorist squads. The fighters detected a terrorist inside a civilian house who was armed with an RPG and fired at the force. Another terrorist was detected in the building. A fighter jet attacked the structure and killed the terrorists before they were able to harm the forces. The IDF forces designated a route for the local population to leave the area and thousands of residents were evacuated. The security forces also raided a compound beneath the cemetery in the Bani Suheila area, one of the neighborhoods in the heart of Khan Yunis. They found the bedrooms of senior Hamas members and the office of the commander of the East Khan Yunis Battalion, from where he directed Hamas’ October 7, 2023, terrorist attack and massacre (IDF spokesperson, February 13 and 14, 2024).
 IDF attacks in Khan Yunis (QudsN X account, February 14, 2024)    IDF attack on terrorists (IDF spokesperson, February 14, 2024).
Right: IDF attack on terrorists (IDF spokesperson, February 14, 2024). Left: IDF attacks in Khan Yunis (QudsN X account, February 14, 2024)
  • Palestinian media reported IDF attacks in the west and center of Khan Yunis, along with the ongoing exchanges of fire with “resistance” members [terrorist operatives]. IDF forces were also reported to have surrounded Nasser Hospital, and the forces announced that beginning in the morning [on February 14, 2024] residents staying there were to leave immediately (Shehab X account, February 14, 2024). It was reported that around 11:00 a.m., residents and Gazans staying in the hospital complex began leaving in accordance with the IDF’s instructions (QudsN X account, February 14, 2024). Saleh al-Natour, a correspondent for al-Arabi TV in Rafah, reported that the IDF forces were channeling the residents who left the hospital towards the city center, which was so far considered a relatively safe area. He claimed many residents who left the hospital said they were worried the IDF might shoot at them (al-Arabi TV, February 14, 2024).
 Residents who left Nasser Hospital undergoing identification by IDF forces (al-Arabi TV, February 14, 2024)    Residents leave the Nasser Hospital compound in Khan Yunis in accordance with IDF instructions (QudsN X account, February 14, 2024).
Right: Residents leave the Nasser Hospital compound in Khan Yunis in accordance with IDF instructions (QudsN X account, February 14, 2024). Left: Residents who left Nasser Hospital undergoing identification by IDF forces (al-Arabi TV, February 14, 2024)
  • Gaza City: After a tour of the Rimal neighborhood in western Gaza City, journalist Mahmoud Abu Salama claimed that the IDF had attacked Red Cross headquarters in Gaza City during its operations (Shehab X account, February 14, 2024).
Pictures of damage to the Red Cross headquarters in western Gaza City (Shehab X account, February 14, 2024)     Pictures of damage to the Red Cross headquarters in western Gaza City (Shehab X account, February 14, 2024)
Pictures of damage to the Red Cross headquarters in western Gaza City (Shehab X account, February 14, 2024)
Rocket fire from the Gaza Strip
  • The Mujahideen Brigades announced they had launched a barrage of rockets towards Nativ HaAsara [directly to the north of the Gaza Strip] on the morning of February 13, (Mujahideen Brigades Telegram channel, February 13, 2024). In the afternoon, they announced that joined by operatives of the military wing of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) they had launched rocket barrages at Israeli towns and villages to the east of the southern Gaza Strip (al-Mujahideen Brigades Telegram channel, February 13, 2024).
Israeli casualties
  • According to unofficial data, since October 7, 2023, approximately 1,500 Israeli people have been killed. According to the IDF spokesperson, 569 of them are soldiers and officers (232 since the start of the ground maneuver on 27 October, 2023); 130 civilian and military hostages are still being held by the terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip; 123 hostages have been returned.
The issue of the hostages and a ceasefire agreement
  • A summit meeting was held in Cairo on February 13, 2024, attended by the representatives of the United States, Egypt, Qatar and Israel. The Israeli delegation was headed by Mossad Director David Barnea; Hamas did not participate. It was reported that the main differences centered on the issue of the ceasefire and the formula for the release of [a specific number of] terrorists in exchange for every Israeli hostage. It was agreed that the talks would continue at lower levels (Israeli media, February 14, 2024). “Informed sources” told The Wall Street Journal that William Burns, the director of the CIA, who headed the United States delegation, did not summarize his meetings with senior officials as “big steps towards an agreement between Israel and Hamas.” According to the sources, the Israeli delegation left Cairo without any rapprochement in the negotiations and senior Hamas officials had not participated in the talks at all. They reported there had been no breakthrough in the negotiations and the talks would continue in the coming days (The Wall Street Journal, February 14, 2024).
  • Before the meeting, an unnamed “senior member of Hamas ” said that the picture would become clearer in the next 24 hours, adding that the mediators were “strongly determined” to reach an understanding for a ceasefire and begin the process for a hostage deal. He claimed that the talks were progressing but still not close to a final agreement. Another “senior member of Hamas ” said Hamas was prepared to return to Cairo if the current talks progressed and said they might send a delegation led by Khalil al-Haya to hold talks with Egyptian officials (CNN, February 14, 2024)
  • Izzat al-Rishq, a member of Hamas’ political bureau and head of the Hamas’ central media information bureau, said there were many leaks in various media from “sources” regarding Hamas’ positions on the negotiations and the settlement of the Palestinian internal situation. He called for caution, stating that the positions of Hamas members were reported at the appropriate time by formal announcements issued by the movement’s leadership (Hamas Telegram channel in Judea and Samaria, February 13, 2024).
  • Husam Badran, a member of Hamas’ political bureau, said it was still too early to talk about the meeting in Cairo, adding that the Israeli media was part of the war against the Palestinians and part of the pressure exerted in the negotiations, so there was no point in commenting on the reports of the Israeli media. He claimed that in “the next few hours” they would learn the details of the meeting directly from the mediators. He claimed that if it were up to Benjamin Netanyahu and his “war cabinet,” they would certainly continue killing the Palestinians and trying to eliminate Hamas and the “resistance [Palestinian terrorist organizations],” but Netanyahu understood that after the entire period of fighting, and from “many countries,” that the elimination of Hamas and the “resistance” were impossible. Therefore, he was forced to conduct indirect negotiations, because there was no other way to release the hostages. He also claimed that without a doubt there had been a recent “relative change” in the United States’ position and that the United States wanted the war to end for its own reasons, but from a practical point of view they were not exerting any real pressure on Israel. He also claimed that the basic and most important goal of the negotiations was to reach a total and complete ceasefire, and they were determined to achieve it, regardless of how and when it would happen (al-Jazeera Mubasher YouTube channel, February 13, 2024).
  • Muhammad al-Hindi, deputy Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) secretary general, noted that after the meeting in Paris, a document was presented which was explicitly biased in Israel’s favor. They had inserted phrases into the document in their response to the document and added an appendix to clarify a number of unclear issues. Israel, on the other hand, procrastinated and finally presented a written position. He claimed the meeting in Cairo (which he called “Paris 2”) made it clear that there was procrastination, sabotage, reservations and an attempt to gain time, and Israel was doing it to carry out a military operation in Rafah. Netanyahu, he claimed, had sent the Israeli delegation to show the families of the hostages that he was doing his best to release them and to show the Americans he was operating as they demanded, while undermining the efforts [of the mediators] so as not to reach a deal. Even now, in Cairo, as in Paris, the Israeli delegation tried to avoid giving guarantees to end the war, and opposed the return of the displaced people from the north of the Gaza Strip (al-Jazeera Mubasher YouTube channel, February 13, 2024).

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The Gaza Strip
Palestinian casualties
  • The Hamas-controlled ministry of health in the Gaza Strip reported at 11:30 a.m., February 14, 2024, that during the past day 103 Gazans had been killed and 145 wounded, bringing the number of dead since the beginning of the war to 28,576 and the number of wounded to 68,291 (ministry of health in Gaza Facebook page, February 14, 2024).
  • Three Palestinians, including the political commentator Ayman al-Rafati, were reported to have been killed in an Israeli attack on a house on al-Jala Street in Gaza City (Palinfo, February 14, 2024). Al-Rafati represented himself as a political commentator. He held a PhD in international relations and diplomacy, having studied journalism and communications at the Islamic University of Gaza (class of 2010). Since 2017 he had been the CEO of the Center for Regional Studies in Gaza. Before that, he worked as a correspondent for Quds Press and as an editor for the Ma’an news agency (Ayman al-Rafati’s Facebook page). According to social networks, he served as a regular political commentator for the Hezbollah-affiliated al-Mayadeen TV, which broadcasts from Lebanon, and was a regular guest on the channel’s interview programs (al-Mayadeen TV X account, February 14, 2024; X account of al-Mayadeen TV presenter Wafaa Saraya al-Aridi, February 14, 2024).
Al-Rafati's last interview, on February 6, in which he was represented as an expert on security and political affairs (al-Mayadeen TV X account, February 14, 2024)     Al-Mayadeen TV announces the death of al-Rafati (al-Mayadeen TV X account, February 14, 2024).
Right: Al-Mayadeen TV announces the death of al-Rafati (al-Mayadeen TV X account, February 14, 2024). Left: Al-Rafati’s last interview, on February 6, in which he was represented as an expert on security and political affairs (al-Mayadeen TV X account, February 14, 2024)
  • On February 11, 2024, the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine’s (PFLP) military wing, reported that one of its operatives, Baraa’ Muhammad Skik, was killed on February 6 in a battle with IDF forces in the Sabra neighborhood of Gaza City (Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades Telegram channel, February 11, 2024).
The situation in the Gaza Strip
  • Philippe Lazzarini, UNRWA commissioner, again expressed concern regarding the consequences of an Israeli military operation in Rafah and claimed there was currently no safe place in the Gaza Strip. He claimed Gazans in Rafah were afraid and did not know where to go if a military operation began in the city. He also noted that the city was full of displaced persons and he did not know how it would be possible to evacuate so many people (al-Quds, February 13, 2024).
  • One Gazan claimed that due to the lack of fuel and cooking gas he sold branches pruned from trees so people could light a fire and cook food (Wafa YouTube channel, February 13, 2024).
Branches for lighting fires (Wafa YouTube channel, February 13, 2024)    Branches for lighting fires (Wafa YouTube channel, February 13, 2024)
Branches for lighting fires (Wafa YouTube channel, February 13, 2024)
Crowds in Rafah (QudsN X account, February 14, 2024)     Crowds in Rafah (QudsN X account, February 14, 2024)
Crowds in Rafah (QudsN X account, February 14, 2024)

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The Northern Arena
Hezbollah attacks
  • During the past day Hezbollah claimed responsibility for five attacks, using anti-tank missiles and rockets (Hezbollah combat information Telegram channel, February 13, 2024).
  • In response to Hezbollah’s attacks, Israeli Air Force warplanes attacked a military position in the areas of Ramyeh and Rachaya al-Foukhar, from which the rockets and missiles were fired at Israel. They also attacked an observation post and other Hezbollah facilities near Houla, Qalaat Debba, Yaroun, Meiss al-Jabal, Yarine and Chihine (IDF spokesperson, February 14, 2024).
Attacks in the Ramyeh area (IDF spokesperson, February 13, 2024)
Attacks in the Ramyeh area (IDF spokesperson, February 13, 2024)
 Right: Attacks in Yarine. Left: Attacks in Chihine (IDF spokesperson, February 13, 2024)    Right: Attacks in Yarine. Left: Attacks in Chihine (IDF spokesperson, February 13, 2024)
Right: Attacks in Yarine. Left: Attacks in Chihine (IDF spokesperson, February 13, 2024)
Attacks in Ramyeh (Ali Shoeib's X account, February 13, 2024)      Attacks in Houla (Fouad Khreiss' X account, February 13, 2024).
Right: Attacks in Houla (Fouad Khreiss’ X account, February 13, 2024). Left: Attacks in Ramyeh (Ali Shoeib’s X account, February 13, 2024)
Rocket barrage targets the Upper Galilee
  • On the morning February 14, 2024, a barrage of rockets was launched at the Upper Galilee. At least eight rockets were fired at the city of Safed. A woman was killed and eight people were injured. Arab media reported that the strikes at the Upper Galilee targeted the Israeli Air Force’s air control base in Meron and the Northern Command base in Safed (al-Arabiya, February 14, 2024). In response to the rocket barrage, IDF forces attacked the sources of the rocket fire and later a wave of Air Force fighter jet attacks was initiated (IDF spokesperson, February 14, 2024).
Nasrallah’s speech
  • Hezbollah secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah gave a speech marking the anniversary of Hezbollah’s wounded operatives, entitled “The struggling wounded and prisoners.” He addressed several points (al-Manar, February 14, 2024):
    • The connection between the fighting in the Gaza Strip and the attacks from Lebanon: Hezbollah is fighting in south Lebanon, but its eyes are on the Gaza Strip. Upon the cessation of the “aggression” in the Gaza Strip, there will be a ceasefire in south Lebanon as well. If Israel resumes operations, Hezbollah will act accordingly based on “existing rules [of combat] and equations.” Anyone who threatens them with the expansion of the war will be threatened by Hezbollah in the same way. The “resistance” is prepared to confront Israel at every level. Hezbollah’s activity on the south Lebanon front is in response to its responsibility regarding faith, morality and religion, and it is the utmost national responsibility, to prevent victory from Israel, which after 130 days of fighting in the Gaza Strip has failed to achieve its goals.
    • South Lebanon front: Israel operates in south Lebanon within borders and rules because Lebanon has deterrent power. The front in south Lebanon is one of pressure, partnership and solidarity designed to weaken Israel’s security and economy until it reaches a point where it will be convinced that it must stop its “aggression” against the Gaza Strip. Israel is not in a position to impose conditions on Lebanon. The national interest of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt is for Israel to emerge from the campaign defeated and broken. In response to Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant’s statement that Israel would act in Lebanon even if there was a long-term ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, Nasrallah said Israel had to understand that if it carried out its threats, the 100,000 residents who left the north would not return because the “resistance” today was stronger and more determined than ever to confront it.
    • Attempts to achieve a political settlement: The only goal of all the delegations that arrived in Lebanon in recent months has been Israel’s security and defense, the cessation of attacks on its posts and the return of 100,000 displaced persons to their towns and villages. The Western delegations fully adopt the Israeli proposal and are conveying it as it is to Lebanon, without relating to the “aggression” against the Gaza Strip or attacks on Lebanon. Nasrallah called on Lebanese government leaders to set additional conditions for UN Resolution 1701 and not accept the resolution in its current form.
    • Residents of south Lebanon: A large number of those killed are from villages near the border in south Lebanon, and the residents of those villages suffer the most from Israel. Those who bear the main burden on the Lebanese front today are the residents of south Lebanon, and Hezbollah stands by them. He promised that the houses destroyed in south Lebanon would be rebuilt, and even better than they were.
    • Iran: The positions of power held today by the “resistance axis”[2] are with the blessing of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, which had won in days like these. Nasrallah congratulated the “brothers” in the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, saying that from the beginning they were the real support and powerful supporter of all the “resistance movements.”
    • Information security: He warned that it was forbidden to give free information to Israel through social media since Israel was looking for the information. He said attention should be paid to rumors circulating on social media, whose purpose was to frighten people. He said the cell phone was an eavesdropping device and called on all residents of the villages near the south Lebanese border, especially fighters and their families, to give up their cell phones to preserve their lives and dignity, claiming that the cell phone was a deadly agent, betraying information and killing.
Hassan Nasrallah speaking (al-Manar, February 14, 2024)
Hassan Nasrallah speaking (al-Manar, February 14, 2024)
  • After Nasrallah’s speech, to reinforce his remarks about the danger posed to Lebanese residents by the use of mobile phones and social media, the organization’s social media portfolio posted a video echoing the message (Simia Telegram channel, February 14, 2024).
Video warning against locating cell phones. Right: Map of everyday locations. Left: A poster that reads, "Your phone indicates your location" (Simia, February 14, 2024)     Video warning against locating cell phones. Right: Map of everyday locations. Left: A poster that reads, "Your phone indicates your location" (Simia, February 14, 2024)
Video warning against locating cell phones. Right: Map of everyday locations. Left: A poster that reads, “Your phone indicates your location” (Simia, February 14, 2024)
Proposal for a settlement
  • Najib Mikati, Lebanon’s interim prime minister, said they were working towards ensuring long-term stability in south Lebanon and that contacts were being held on the issue. He noted that on the sidelines of the Munich Conference (the annual national security conference held in Munich every year since 1963), in which he would take part, he would hold meetings on the issue with international officials, including the American mediator, Amos Hochstein. He said they now had two options: permanent stability or a war that meant loss for all sides. Regarding the French initiative, he said they appreciated France’s efforts to support Lebanon, but they had not received any official document from them, but rather a number of ideas to which they were asking for an answer (NAA, February 13, 2024).
  • Based on “political sources,” the Hezbollah-affiliated al-Akhbar elaborated on the French proposal, according to which a team representatives from the United States, France, Lebanon and Israel would be established to oversee the implementation of the security agreements. The agreements would be implemented in three stages: the first stage will be indefinite and related to the cessation of military activity on both sides, while giving UNIFIL a role in accordance with Resolution 1701. The second phase will last three days, during which Hezbollah positions will be dismantled, and operatives and launchers will be withdrawn to a distance of ten kilometers from the border, in exchange for the cessation of Israeli air force flights over Lebanese territory, and at the same time, the deployment of 15,000 Lebanese army soldiers throughout the border area. The third phase will last ten days and will include negotiations aimed at demarcating the land border in accordance with Resolution 1701. The “sources” reported that there was a dispute between the United States and France over who would lead the political settlement in Lebanon. According to the sources, the United States does not support the French proposal and insists on playing the main role in determining the framework for a solution. It was also noted that Hezbollah refused to maintain any contact unless the war in the Gaza Strip stopped, and that senior Lebanese officials, including Nabih Berri, speaker of the Lebanese Parliament, informed France that there was no such thing as security arrangements between Lebanon and Israel, and that Lebanon regarded the proposal as a violation of Resolution 1701 (al-Akhbar, February 14, 2024).

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Judea and Samaria
Counterterrorism activities
  • The Israeli security forces continued their counterterrorism activities in Judea and Samaria. The Palestinian media reported that during the past day, 18 Palestinians had been detained in Judea and Samaria. The detentions focused on Hebron, Nablus, Jericho and Qalqilya (al-Quds, February 14, 2024).
  • On the night of February 13, 2024, Israeli police forces operated in Hebron to locate illegal weapons. They seized an M-16 rifle, ammunition, weapon parts and military equipment. A Palestinian was detained and taken for further questioning by the Israeli security forces (Israel Police Force spokesman’s unit, February 14, 2024). On the afternoon of February 14, 2024, violent clashes broke out in Beit Ummar (north of Hebron) between local residents and IDF forces. Five Palestinians were reported wounded by IDF gunfire (Ma’an, February 14, 2024).
  • On the afternoon of February 13, 2024, Israeli security forces operating in the Jenin refugee camp detained Omar al-Fayed, a senior operative in Hamas’ military-terrorist wing in Jenin, who was involved in several shooting attacks and planned to carry out additional attacks in the near future. During the operation, two fighters were superficially wounded by Palestinian gunfire (IDF spokesperson, February 13, 2024). The Palestinians reported that Special Forces had detained former prisoner Omar Hussein al-Fayed, 36 years old, during a raid on his home in the Jenin refugee camp (al-Arabi TV, February 13, 2024).
Omar al-Fayed (al-Aqsa TV X account, February 13, 2024)
Omar al-Fayed (al-Aqsa TV X account, February 13, 2024)
  • In a statement, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) called for moving the campaign from Judea and Samaria to the heart of Israel. It stressed that Israel (“the Zionist enemy”) sought to eliminate uprisings in Judea and Samaria by escalating “its [alleged] crimes and the crimes of the settlers” and strengthening the settlements. It called for uniting the efforts of the Palestinian people in Judea and Samaria to confront Israel, stressing that it was “an urgent national mission” which needed the participation of the PA’s security services. According to the statement, transferring the campaign to the heart of Israel would contribute to expanding the campaign’s borders (PFLP website, February 13, 2024).
Solidarity with the Gaza Strip
  • On the evening of February 13, 2024, a march was held in Ramallah in support of the Gaza Strip and the “resistance” (Hurriya News, February 13, 2024).
The march in Ramallah (Palestine Post X account, February 13, 2024)
The march in Ramallah (Palestine Post X account, February 13, 2024)
Palestinian Authority (PA)
  • Mahmoud Abbas, PA chairman, called on Hamas to complete the hostage exchange deal rapidly to prevent uprooting and another disaster in Rafah because, he claimed, the consequences would be no less severe than the nakba of 1948. According to Abbas, such a deal could prevent Israel from attacking Rafah, an attack that could cause thousands of deaths. Mahmoud Abbas called on the American administration and “Arab brothers” to act seriously to complete the deal as quickly as possible, to spare the Palestinian people the consequences of the war. He stressed that they viewed anyone who placed obstacles in the path of the deal as responsible for the consequences, since things were no longer tolerable, and it was time for everyone to take responsibility (Wafa, February 14, 2024).
  • According to an “official Palestinian source,” Qatar has given Mahmoud Abbas Hamas’ approval to form a technocratic government. It was noted that Hamas’ initial agreement to join the PLO depended on it being based on a clear political horizon and leading to the establishment of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders (Sky News in Arabic, February 13, 2024). Hussein al-Sheikh, secretary of the PLO’s Executive Committee, confirmed that they were working to create a climate suitable for internal Palestinian dialogue and the establishment of a technocratic government. He stressed that Hamas’ joining the PLO was welcome and that the Arab League was preparing a joint initiative that would include ending the war, finding a political solution, and helping to rebuild Palestinian institutions (al-Sharq, February 13, 2024).

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Iran
  • Hossein Salami, IRGC commander, told a meeting in Tehran that there was no doubt about the IRGC’s victory in a military confrontation with Iran’s enemies. He said that if there was a cyber war, the IRGC would defeat the enemy because it had experience, and if there was a naval war, they would hit a similar number of ships and even higher than the number of ships hit by the enemy (Tasnim, February 13, 2024).
  • Isma’il Haniyeh, chairman of Hamas’ political bureau, and a delegation of the movement’s leadership met in Qatar with Hossein-Amir Abdollahian, Iranian foreign minister, and members of a high-level delegation from Iran. The two delegations discussed the latest developments in the war in the Gaza Strip on the political and ground levels and reviewed Iran’s diplomatic efforts to stop the [alleged] “genocide of the Palestinian people” in the Gaza Strip and support Palestinian rights. The meeting stressed the need to stop “Israel’s aggression and crimes against the residents of Gaza and the West Bank” and to send humanitarian aid to the residents of the Gaza Strip. Haniyeh stressed the position of Hamas and the “resistance,” according to which any agreement had to ensure a ceasefire, the IDF’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and the completion of a “serious exchange deal.” He said the basis for regional stability was ending the “occupation” and granting the Palestinian people rights to their land and holy places (Hamas Telegram channel in Judea and Samaria, February  13, 2024).
Meeting of the delegations. Among the members of the Hamas delegation are members of Hamas' political bureau Khalil al-Haya, Hussam Badran, Musa Abu Marzuq, Nizar Awadallah (apparently), Izzat al-Rishq and Bassem Na'im (Hamas in Judea and Samaria Telegram channel, February 13, 2024)    Meeting of the delegations. Among the members of the Hamas delegation are members of Hamas' political bureau Khalil al-Haya, Hussam Badran, Musa Abu Marzuq, Nizar Awadallah (apparently), Izzat al-Rishq and Bassem Na'im (Hamas in Judea and Samaria Telegram channel, February 13, 2024)
Meeting of the delegations. Among the members of the Hamas delegation are members of Hamas’ political bureau Khalil al-Haya, Hussam Badran, Musa Abu Marzuq, Nizar Awadallah (apparently), Izzat al-Rishq and Bassem Na’im (Hamas in Judea and Samaria Telegram channel, February 13, 2024)
Pro-Iranian militias
Iraq
  • Explosions were reported due to a rocket attack on the American base in the al-Omar oil field in eastern Deir ez-Zor in Syria (al-Mayadeen, February 13, 2024). The Islamic Resistance has recently rarely claimed responsibility for such attacks.
Yemen
  • The Houthis reported an attack by American and British forces in the al-Hudaydah area in western Yemen (al-Masirah, February 13, 2024).
  • Abd al-Malik al-Houthi, leader of the Houthis in Yemen, said in a speech that the sea was valuable for Israel and that their operations at sea had proven effective, since in recent weeks, no ship connected to Israel had passed through the Red Sea, noting that it was a “real achievement.” However, he stressed that they would not attack undersea cables or internet cables that reached countries in the region. He claimed the United States, Britain and Israel were preparing to carry out a “mass massacre” in Rafah, and stressed that it was necessary to continue operating against Israel because of its preparations for ground attacks in Rafah. He said they were eager to continue their actions and escalate them (al-Masirah, February 14, 2024).
  • Dhaifullah al-Shami, spokesman for the Houthi government, said they had information that the UAE intended to recruit mercenaries to attack ships in the Arabian and Red Seas to interfere with Yemen’s position. He reiterated that military operations in the Red and Arabian Seas were directed only against Israeli, American and British ships, and stressed Yemen’s legitimate right to respond to violations of its sovereignty “by all available means and capabilities.” He claimed that since the beginning of Operation al-Aqsa Flood, Yemeni naval forces had carried out 34 operations, attacking 17 Israeli, 14 American and three British ships (al-Masirah Network, February 14, 2024).
  • According to “sources,” the al-Arabiya network reported that at the end of January 2024, American Coast Guard forces had taken control of a ship in the Arabian Sea region carrying weapons that left a port in Iran and was sailing to the coast in southern Oman or Yemen. The American forces captured the ship’s crew and seized the cargo that they claimed was destined for the Houthis (al-Arabiya, February 13, 2024).
The Arab Arena
Jordan
  • During his visit to Washington, King Abdullah II of Jordan met with American Secretary of State Antony Blinken. King Abdullah said the war in the Gaza Strip had to end and the expansion of the conflict in the region had to be prevented. He stressed that they rejected any attempt to uproot Palestinians, and claimed that expanding the IDF’s activity in the Gaza Strip, especially in the Rafah area, would have severe humanitarian and security consequences. He noted that military solutions would not work and that there was no alternative to a comprehensive political solution (al-Mamlaka, February 14, 2024).
Egypt
  • Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi met in Cairo with CIA Director William Burns and reviewed developments in the current situation. The meeting stressed that consultations and coordination had to continue to achieve a ceasefire, protect civilians and implement the two-state solution in a way that would strengthen efforts to establish security and stability in the region. Burns conveyed to el-Sisi President Biden’s appreciation for Egypt’s efforts to bring about calm in the Gaza Strip, a ceasefire and a hostage deal (Egyptian presidential website, February 13, 2024).
  • El-Sisi also met with Mohammed bin Abdulrahman, Qatari prime minister and foreign minister. They reviewed efforts to reach a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and protect civilians from the deteriorating situation in the Gaza Strip. They stressed the great danger of expanding IDF operations in Rafah and warned of the severe consequences of such a step (Egyptian presidential website, February 13, 2024).
  • Dhiaa Rashwan, chairman of Egypt’s State Information Service, said that the continued “harassment” of Egypt by Israeli government officials was part of a series of events carried out since October 7, 2023. He stressed that in a situation where its national security and land were threatened or the Palestinian cause was eliminated, Egypt would not be satisfied with symbolic actions and the matter would not end only with the expulsion of an ambassador. He said there was not a single person in Egypt who disagreed with the government’s position on Israeli “aggression” and therefore the government had freedom of action (ONE TV, February 13, 2024).
The International Arena
South Africa
  • South Africa has submitted an “urgent” request to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to consider whether Israel’s decision to expand fighting to the Rafah area required the court’s intervention to prevent further human rights violations. According to the statement, South Africa was concerned that an attack in Rafah would lead to death and destruction in violation of the Genocide Convention (South African presidential website, February 13, 2024).
France
  • France announced that it had imposed sanctions on 28 “extremist settlers involved in violence against Palestinian residents of the West Bank.” According to the French foreign ministry’s statement, the measure was instituted following an increase in settler violence against the Palestinians in recent months. It was also reported that France was working to implement the sanctions by other European countries (French foreign ministry website, February 14, 2024). France’s announcement was published after the United States and Britain also announced sanctions against “settlers who acted violently.”
Russia
  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the United States and its partners insisted on distancing Russia from any initiative to restore stability in the Middle East. He claimed the “events” [terrorist attack and massacre] of October 7, 2023, should not justify the collective punishment of the Palestinians, and they proposed holding a Palestinian meeting with the participation of all the organizations to overcome the internal schism. Lavrov expressed pessimism about the possibility of achieving stability in the Gaza Strip soon, given Israel’s uncompromising position regarding the continuation of the operation and its extension to the Rafah area (RT, February 13, 2024). According to a Kremlin spokesman, Russia was ready to support any action leading to the release of Israeli hostages and a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip (Reuters, February 13, 2024).
  • Jamil Mazhar, PFLP deputy secretary-general, said the “organization” had received an invitation from Russia to participate in a meeting with all the “Palestinian organizations” to be held in Moscow on February 29, 2024. He stressed that they supported any call for such a discussion, especially that of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (Sputnik, February 13, 2024).

[1] Click https://www.terrorism-info.org.il/en to subscribe and receive the ITIC's daily updates as well as its other publications.
[2] Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, the Palestinian terrorist organizations and the Houthis in Yemen.