Operation Iron Swords (Updated to 1 p.m., February 29, 2024)

IDF forces in the Gaza Strip (IDF spokesperson, February 28, 2024)

IDF forces in the Gaza Strip (IDF spokesperson, February 28, 2024)

IDF forces in the Gaza Strip (IDF spokesperson, February 28, 2024)

IDF forces in the Gaza Strip (IDF spokesperson, February 28, 2024)

A fire in the al-Yassin building of Nasser Hospital in Khan Yunis (Shehab X account, February 28, 2024)

A fire in the al-Yassin building of Nasser Hospital in Khan Yunis (Shehab X account, February 28, 2024)

Zeitoun in Gaza City, on the morning of February 29, 2024 (QudsN X account, February 29, 2024).

Zeitoun in Gaza City, on the morning of February 29, 2024 (QudsN X account, February 29, 2024).

Interior ministry militants monitor prices in Rafah (QudsN X account, February 28, 2024)

Interior ministry militants monitor prices in Rafah (QudsN X account, February 28, 2024)

Interior ministry militants monitor prices in Rafah (QudsN X account, February 28, 2024)

Interior ministry militants monitor prices in Rafah (QudsN X account, February 28, 2024)

Mahmoud Abbas meets with Lazzarini (Wafa, February 28, 2024)

Mahmoud Abbas meets with Lazzarini (Wafa, February 28, 2024)

Northern Arena, Israeli Casualties, Rocket Fire

Overview[1]
  • The southern arena: During the past day, IDF forces focused on western Khan Yunis and the Zeitoun neighborhood in Gaza City. The forces exposed terrorist facilities and clashed with armed squads of terrorist operatives. Palestinians reported Gazans had been attacked by IDF fighters while waiting for trucks bringing humanitarian southwest of Gaza City. The IDF spokesperson reported that during the entrance of trucks bringing humanitarian aid to the northern Gaza Strip, a riot developed when local residents looted the trucks, during which dozens of them were injured; individual residents were hit by IDF fire.
  • According to unofficial data, since October 7, 2023, approximately 1,500 Israeli civilians and security personnel have been killed, 582 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 released.
  • Negotiations for a hostage deal: Hamas members reported on the continuation of and progress in the negotiations for the hostage deal, and on Hamas’ willingness to be “flexible” on the issue of the prisoners. They noted the existing disagreements, including the demand for a comprehensive ceasefire and the return of all displaced residents to Gaza City and the northern Gaza Strip without the age limit demanded by Israel. Hamas also claimed the hostage deal was of secondary importance because its top priority was settling the humanitarian issues.
  • The Gaza Strip: According to reports, Hamas’ ministry of the interior established a “people’s defense committee” in Rafah to help enforce the law against business owners who raised prices in the markets.
  • The northern arena: Hezbollah claimed responsibility for four attacks. It was reported that Hassan Nasrallah, secretary general of Hezbollah, and Esmail Qaani, the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps’ Qods Force, met in Beirut, and Qaani gave Hezbollah a green light to escalate its attacks if the IDF began a ground operation in Rafah.
  • Syria: According to reports, two attacks on Hezbollah and its affiliated militias were carried out in Syria and attributed to Israel: an attack on two buildings near Damascus from which missiles were launched on February 28, 2024, and a UAV attack on vehicles in the al-Qusayr area on February 29, 2024.
  • Judea and Samaria: Israeli security forces continued their counterterrorism activities. The Palestinians reported the death of a Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist operative in Beit Furik, east of Nablus.
  • The Palestinian Authority (PA): Mahmoud Abbas sent communiqués to a number of presidents, prime ministers and heads of organizations stating the PA’s opposition to the Israeli government’s plan for “the day after” the war in Gaza. He claimed they were prepared to do whatever was necessary to take responsibility for controlling the Gaza Strip, Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem.
The Southern Arena
  • Palestinian media reported on IDF attacks in the Gaza Strip during the past day. In the northern Gaza Strip there were airstrikes in Beit Hanoun. In Gaza City there were airstrikes in the Zeitoun neighborhood and IDF tanks entered the area. In the central Gaza Strip, the IDF attacked in the al-Bureij and Nuseirat refugee camps. In Khan Yunis the IDF attacked in the northwest of the city and shot at Nasser Hospital. In Rafah tanks and heavy equipment operated near the municipal waste site in the east of the city, near the Sufa Crossing (Ma’an,  Wafa, February 29, 2024).
An al-Jazeera TV presenter reports on IDF activity in the Zeitoun neighborhood in Gaza (right) and in western Khan Yunis and Greater Abasan, east of Khan Yunis (left) (al-Jazeera YouTube channel, February 28, 2024)    An al-Jazeera TV presenter reports on IDF activity in the Zeitoun neighborhood in Gaza (right) and in western Khan Yunis and Greater Abasan, east of Khan Yunis (left) (al-Jazeera YouTube channel, February 28, 2024)
An al-Jazeera TV presenter reports on IDF activity in the Zeitoun neighborhood in Gaza (right) and in western Khan Yunis and Greater Abasan, east of Khan Yunis (left) (al-Jazeera YouTube channel, February 28, 2024)
IDF forces in the Gaza Strip (IDF spokesperson, February 28, 2024)    IDF forces in the Gaza Strip (IDF spokesperson, February 28, 2024)
IDF forces in the Gaza Strip (IDF spokesperson, February 28, 2024)
  • The southern Gaza Strip: IDF forces continued their activities, mainly in western Khan Yunis, where they destroyed terrorist facilities while clashing with armed terrorist operatives (IDF spokesperson, February 29, 2024).
  • According to the Palestinians, an IDF attack caused a fire in the al-Yassin outpatient clinic building in the Nasser Hospital complex in Khan Yunis (Shehab X account, February 28, 2024).
A fire in the al-Yassin building of Nasser Hospital in Khan Yunis (Shehab X account, February 28, 2024)
A fire in the al-Yassin building of Nasser Hospital in Khan Yunis
(Shehab X account, February 28, 2024)
  • Gaza City: IDF forces continued operating in the Zeitoun neighborhood in the southeastern area of the city, destroying tunnel shafts and locating weapons, including IEDs, military vests, hand grenades, rifles and ammunition magazines. In addition, five rocket launch pits were destroyed. The forces clashed with large numbers of terrorist operatives who tried to attack them (IDF spokesperson, February 29, 2024).
A lathe for manufacturing IEDs and rockets found in a warehouse (IDF spokesperson, February 29, 2024)
A lathe for manufacturing IEDs and rockets found in a warehouse (IDF spokesperson, February 29, 2024)  
an attack on a terrorist squad that approached the forces (IDF spokesperson, February 29, 2024)     Attack on a terrorist squad which shot at IDF forces.
Right: Attack on a terrorist squad which shot at IDF forces. Left: an attack on a terrorist squad that approached the forces (IDF spokesperson, February 29, 2024)
  • On the morning of February 29, 2024, QudsN TV reported the partial withdrawal of IDF forces from the Zeitoun neighborhood in Gaza City. Extensive destruction to buildings was also reported (QudsN X account, February 29, 2024). An al-Jazeera TV correspondent reported from the Zeitoun neighborhood, claiming that despite the partial withdrawal of the IDF, heavy exchanges of fire continued (al-Jazeera YouTube channel, February 29, 2024).
An al-Jazeera TV report from the Zeitoun neighborhood in Gaza (al-Jazeera YouTube channel, February 29, 2024)      Zeitoun in Gaza City, on the morning of February 29, 2024 (QudsN X account, February 29, 2024).
Right: Zeitoun in Gaza City, on the morning of February 29, 2024 (QudsN X account, February 29, 2024). Left: An al-Jazeera TV report from the Zeitoun neighborhood in Gaza (al-Jazeera YouTube channel, February 29, 2024)
  • The central Gaza Strip: IDF forces located large quantities of weapons and fought armed terrorists who tried to attack them (IDF spokesperson, February 29, 2024).
Allegations of IDF attacks on civilians near Gaza City
  • Palestinian media alleged that “hundreds of Palestinians” had been injured when IDF forces attacked them as they were waiting for trucks bringing humanitarian aid to the al-Rashid Street area, southwest of Gaza City. More than “100 people were [allegedly] killed” and “more than 1,000 were [allegedly] injured” (al-Aqsa Channel, February 29, 2024). Another report alleged that more than 150 people had been killed (Sawa, February 29, 2024).
  • The IDF spokesperson reported that during the entrance of trucks bringing humanitarian aid to the northern Gaza Strip, a mob gathered, became violent and looted the trucks, during which dozens of local residents were injured. An initial IDF investigation found that several people tried to approach an IDF tank and the forces initiated procedure for the detention of suspects. When the suspects did not comply, the forces opened fire, injuring several civilians (IDF spokesperson’s X account, February 29, 2024).
  • A correspondent for the Hamas-affiliated Shehab TV, reporting from Kamal Adwan Hospital in Beit Lahia, the northern Gaza Strip, claimed “many dead and wounded” had arrived at the hospital “after the IDF shot at them on al-Rashid Street in western Gaza City.” He claimed the hospitals in Gaza City could not admit them, so they were taken to the northern Gaza Strip  (Shehab X account, February 29, 2024).
Aerial pictures of the mobs around the trucks bringing humanitarian aid to the northern Gaza Strip (IDF spokesperson, February 29, 2024)     Aerial pictures of the mobs around the trucks bringing humanitarian aid to the northern Gaza Strip (IDF spokesperson, February 29, 2024)
Aerial pictures of the mobs around the trucks bringing humanitarian aid to the northern Gaza Strip (IDF spokesperson, February 29, 2024)
A Shehab TV correspondent reports on the dead and wounded evacuated to Kamal Adwan hospital in the northern Gaza Strip (Shehab's X account, February 29, 2024)     A Shehab TV correspondent reports on the dead and wounded evacuated to Kamal Adwan hospital in the northern Gaza Strip (Shehab's X account, February 29, 2024)
A Shehab TV correspondent reports on the dead and wounded evacuated to Kamal Adwan hospital in the northern Gaza Strip (Shehab’s X account, February 29, 2024)
  • Dr. Ashraf al-Qidra, spokesman for the Hamas-controlled ministry of health in the Gaza Strip, reported that the [alleged] “Israeli attack” killed 70 people who were waiting for humanitarian aid trucks in the southwest of Gaza City (Anadolu Agency, February 29, 2024). The Hamas government media office claimed that more than 70 people had been killed and more than 250 injured in “an [alleged] attack” while trying to receive humanitarian aid. The office claimed it was “an execution, a massacre deliberately planned by Israel,” and the United States government and the international community bore responsibility for it (Hamas media office Telegram channel, February 29, 2024).
  • The PA condemned the [alleged] “massacre carried out by the Israeli occupation army [sic]” of residents who were waiting for the arrival of aid trucks in Gaza City. It noted the importance of the immediate intervention of “the countries of the world,” especially the United States government, to stop the attacks. The PA alleged that the continuation of the [so-called] massacres “very clearly showed that Israel’s real goal is to kill Palestinian people and expel them from their land” (Wafa, February 29, 2024) .
  • The Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) claimed that more than 150 people were killed and more than 1,000 were injured, stating that responsibility for the incident lay with the United States government, the Arab regimes and the international community (PIJ Telegram channel, February 29, 2024).
Israeli casualties
  • According to unofficial data, since October 7, 2023, approximately 1,500 Israeli people have been killed. According to the IDF spokesperson, 582 of them are soldiers and officers (242 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 released.
The issue of the hostages and a ceasefire agreement
  • Hamas members related to the continuation of the negotiations for the hostage deal and progress on the issue, and claimed Hamas was willing to be “flexible” on the issue of the prisoners [sic]. They noted the existing disagreements, including the demand for a comprehensive ceasefire and the return of all the displaced residents to Gaza City and the northern Gaza Strip without the age limit demanded by Israel. Hamas also claimed the hostage deal was of secondary importance, its top priority was settling the humanitarian issues:
    • A “senior source” in Hamas stated that the talks were taking place at an accelerated pace, but the issue of the return of the displaced residents to Gaza City and the northern Gaza Strip was an obstacle to reaching an agreement. The source added that Hamas wanted a clear statement in the agreement, confirming a comprehensive and final ceasefire after the end of the first phase of the lull, as proposed in the Paris-1 and Paris-2 framework agreements. According to the source, Hamas showed “great flexibility,” but would not back down on the return of displaced residents (Arab World News Agency (AWP), February 28, 2024).
    • “Sources” familiar with the talks said that there was progress but obstacles still existed. According to the sources, Hamas wanted to reach an agreement before the month of Ramadan, and was prepared to show “some flexibility” in the negotiations (al-Sharq al-Awsat, February 28, 2024).
    • Al-Akhbar reported from “informed sources” that practical details for the hostage deal were being discussed, but many of the details could destroy the entire negotiation. According to sources, discussed were such things as the number of tents and caravans, and how they would be brought into the Gaza Strip and where they would be placed. The sources added that issues related to the provision housing, food products and medical aid, as well as the return of the residents of the northern Gaza Strip, were being given priority over the issue of the hostage deal, which had not yet been discussed in depth. That was because currently Hamas was giving priority to Palestinian civilian-related humanitarian issues. The report claimed that Israel still refused to commit to the specific number of humanitarian aid trucks it would bring into the Gaza Strip during the ceasefire. In addition, Israel opposed the return of adult men to the northern Gaza Strip, with the exception of the aged, “which Hamas views as breaking up families and is determined to oppose” (al-Akhbar, Lebanon, February 29, 2024).
    • Walid al-Kilani, who is responsible for Hamas media information in Hamas, said during an interview that there was an “agreement in principle” between Hamas and Israel for the introduction of aid, but the issue of the return of the displaced residents required further discussion. He added that Hamas was examining the document it human shields received, including the conditions introduced at the meeting in Paris, and it would provide answers in the coming days. He expressed cautious optimism and noted that Hamas was taking a positive stance in its responses, but it was currently examining the document and contacting all parties, including the Palestinian “organizations” and anyone else who was involved in the matter. Al-Kilani said that Hamas’ position was clear: a ceasefire had to be brought about before other issues could be dealt with. Regarding the current state of the negotiations, al-Kilani said there were no new Israeli conditions, the document was the same, and Hamas would reject any new document. He emphasized that the main disagreement was that Hamas wanted a complete ceasefire, while Israel wanted ceasefires or intermittent ceasefires. He claimed Hamas had shown “great flexibility” regarding the prisoners [sic] (Arab World Press News Agency (AWP), February 29, 2024).
    • Muhammad Nazzal, a member of the Hamas political bureau, said there were no contradictions in the statements made by senior Hamas members, whose positions had been made clear. He added that Netanyahu’s description of Hamas’ demands as “delusional and unrealistic” did not describe the movement’s position. According to Nazzal, the framework for an agreement achieved at the Paris-1 conference related to three stages, it was a broad and general and did not go into details. The framework for the agreement achieved at the Paris-2 was more detailed, but it related to only one phase, and the second and third phases were unknown. He reiterated Hamas’ demands yet again: Hamas demanded a permanent ceasefire, which did not have to begin during the first phase, but the agreement had to lead to it. The IDF forces had to withdraw from the Gaza Strip. They could situate themselves beyond the densely populated areas, but after that they had to leave. Food, medicine and fuel had to be brought in unconditionally and without restriction, and everything related to temporary shelter for the displaced had be brought in before reconstruction began, and finally, the displaced persons had to return to their previous places of residence. Only then would it be possible relate to a hostage deal, which is a detailed issue in itself (al-Sharq tv website, February 28, 2024).
    • On another occasion, Muhammad Nazzal said they were discussing Israel’s limitations and conditions regarding the introduction of aid to the Gaza Strip. He stated that they hoped that in the near future they would be able to bridge the gaps and understandings would be reached which will meet, even at a minimum, the needs of the Palestinian people. As for guarantees, he said they required guarantees from the three mediating parties, and when they reached an understanding regarding disputed issues, it would be possible to request guarantees from the countries that Hamas referred to in its answer, such as Turkey and Russia. However, they had not yet reached a point where it would be possible to talk about guarantees. Regarding the issue of the return of the displaced persons, and the reports that Israel opposed the return of “young people,” it had been rejected by Hamas, and they insisted all the displaced be allowed to return (al-Arabi TV YouTube channel, February 29, 2024).

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Gaza Strip
Palestinian casualties
  • The Hamas-controlled ministry of health in the Gaza Strip reported as of 11:45 a.m. on February 29, 2024, that during the past day, 81 Palestinians had been killed and 132 wounded in IDF airstrikes. Since the beginning of the war in the Gaza Strip, 30,035 Palestinians have been killed and 70,475 wounded (Facebook page of the ministry of health in the Gaza Strip, February 29, 2024).
Hamas governance
  • The ministry of the interior of the de-facto Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip established a “popular defense committee” in Rafah to help enforce the law against business owners who raised prices in the markets (al-Jazeera, February 29, 2024). Photos that were published show committee operatives masked and armed with weapons and clubs, but without any signs of being affiliated with Hamas or other organizations. One of the committee members said in an interview that they would strike “with an iron fist” anyone who raised the prices of goods while exploiting the suffering of the Palestinian people (al-Jazeera, February 29, 2024).[2]
  • One of the operatives interviewed for an article published by Hassan Aslih said the committee had been established to help the interior ministry and the police prevent price increases in the markets and deal strictly with merchants who inflated prices (Hassan Aslih’s Telegram channel, February 28, 2024). On February 28, 2024, a large demonstration was held in Rafah protesting the high prices in the markets.
Interior ministry militants monitor prices in Rafah (QudsN X account, February 28, 2024)       Interior ministry militants monitor prices in Rafah (QudsN X account, February 28, 2024)
Interior ministry militants monitor prices in Rafah (QudsN X account, February 28, 2024)
  • The Israeli security establishment is checking with the Egyptian authorities whether a senior Hamas police officer escaped from the Gaza Strip with Egyptian approval. “Palestinian sources” in the Gaza Strip claimed Ayman al-Batniji, who until recently served as spokesman for the Hamas police, had managed to enter the lists of those allowed to exit through the Rafah Crossing, together with two of his sons, and leave with Egyptian approval (only Gazans who need to leave for medical treatment or have foreign citizenship are allowed to leave the Gaza Strip through the Rafah Crossing). The lists are supposed to be transferred to the Israeli Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), and later to the Israel Security Agency (ISA) for security evaluation. The COGAT was surprised to learn al-Batniji had left and noted in response that the Rafah Crossing was controlled by Egypt as a sovereign country and under its security jurisdiction, and since the beginning of the war, there had been serious efforts to coordinate with the Egyptian authorities to monitor and diagnose the movement of those passing through Rafah. A request for Ayman al-Batniji to leave had not forwarded to the relevant security officials in Israel (Israeli Army Radio morning news program “Yoman Haboker,” February 29, 2024).
  • Social media reported over the past two days that the name of former Hamas police spokesman in the Gaza Strip, Brigadier General Ayman Omar al-Batniji, appeared on the coordination list for exit from the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing. Web surfers posted a picture of the list with his name erased and the names of his son and daughter above it (Wattan24com Facebook page, February 28, 2024; Muhib Mohammad’s X account, February 27, 2024). It was later reported that Egypt had prevented al-Batniji from leaving the Gaza Strip and brought him and his son back from the crossing (Taghreed M Elsayid’s Facebook page, February 28, 2024; @Hasan19Hussam X account, February 28, 2024).
Hamas police spokesman Ayman al-Batniji, against the background of the line of his name that was erased on the list of those leaving the Gaza Strip (Wattan24com Facebook page, February 28, 2024)
Hamas police spokesman Ayman al-Batniji, against the background of the line of his name that was erased on the list of those leaving the Gaza Strip (Wattan24com Facebook page, February 28, 2024)

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The Northern Arena
Hezbollah attacks
  • During the past day, Hezbollah claimed responsibility for four attacks by launching anti-tank missiles and rockets, and firing artillery shells (Hezbollah’s combat information Telegram channel, February 28-29, 2024).
IDF retaliatory attacks
  • In response, Israeli Air Force fighter jets attacked Hezbollah’s military infrastructure in several locations in south Lebanon, including Kafra, Seddiqine , Ibl al-Saqi, Bint Jbeil, Yarin and Jabal Blat. They also attacked the launcher from which the rockets were fired at Kiryat Shmona. The forces also fired artillery at the Houla area (IDF spokesperson, February 28-29, 2024).
  • The al-Mayadeen network reported Israeli airstrikes in south Lebanon and several wounded following attacks in Seddiqine (al-Mayadeen, February 29, 2024). The Lebanon 24 news website reported that two people had been killed in an attack in Kafra and several others had been wounded (Lebanon 24, February 29, 2024).
 Attack on military infrastructure in the Seddiqine area (IDF spokesperson, February 28, 2024)    Attack on military infrastructure in the Kafra area.
Right: Attack on military infrastructure in the Kafra area. Left: Attack on military infrastructure in the Seddiqine area (IDF spokesperson, February 28, 2024)
Attack on military infrastructure in the Yarin area (IDF spokesperson, February 28, 2024)    Attack on military infrastructure in the Bint Jbeil area.
Right: Attack on military infrastructure in the Bint Jbeil area. Left: Attack on military infrastructure in the Yarin area (IDF spokesperson, February 28, 2024)
Attack in Kafra (Rabih Darido's X account, February 28, 2024)      Attack in Bint Jbeil (Ali Shoeib’s X account, February 28, 2024).
Right: Attack in Bint Jbeil (Ali Shoeib’s X account, February 28, 2024). Left: Attack in Kafra (Rabih Darido’s X account, February 28, 2024)
Hezbollah – Iran
  • “Exclusive sources” revealed that Hezbollah secretary general Hassan Nasrallah and Esmail Qaani, commander of the IRGC’s Qods Force , met in Beirut on February 26, 2024. According to the report, Qaani gave Hezbollah a green light to escalate its operations if the IDF began a ground operation in Rafah, for fear that south Lebanon would be next. They also noted that Nasrallah had asked Qaani to send Lebanon short- and medium-range ballistic missiles, UAVs, and surveillance and communications systems, and that Qaani had complied with his request and ordered to open the IRGC’s weapons depots in Syria for Hezbollah. According to “Iranian sources,” Qaani arrived in Beirut because of “Iranian anger” over the rocket fire at the Israeli base in Safed on February 14, 2024.[3] According to the report, the attack was not coordinated with Iran and contradicted its position, which called for “a policy of strategic patience” (Arabi Post, February 29, 2024). Hezbollah did not claim responsibility for the attack and, according to Lebanese media, its operatives did not carry out the launches.
The Lebanese government
  • Najib Mikati, Lebanon’s interim prime minister, said during a cabinet meeting that the meeting was held following Israel’s continued “aggression” against south Lebanon and other Lebanese areas. He said Lebanon was renewing its demand that the international community and representatives of the various countries with which they were in contact exert pressure on Israel to stop the attacks and the violation of Lebanese sovereignty, and the demand to implement Resolution 1701. He also said they greatly appreciated the French and American efforts to defend Lebanon and trusted their efforts to curb the “aggression” (Lebanese prime minister’s office X account, February 28, 2024).
Syria
  • According to a “Syrian military source,” on February 28, 2024, at around 9:35 p.m. (Syrian time), Israel attacked several points in the Damascus area from the Golan Heights. According to the statement, the Syrian air defense systems responded to the missile fire and shot down some of them, and only material damage was cause (SANA, February 28, 2024).
  • The Sham network, which is affiliated with the Syrian opposition, published documentation of the “Israeli airstrikes in Syria” and reported that they were carried out against a military post belonging to the Assad forces and Iranian militias in the Yalda area, south of Damascus (Sham Network, February 28, 2024).
  • According to a report by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the airstrikes were carried out against two buildings on an agricultural farm and a training center of the Syrian militias: the first building is located on the Babbila – al-Sayyida Zaynab road near Suleimani Park, and the second building between al-Hujeira and al-Sayyida Zaynab, in the rural area of Damascus. It was noted that two Hezbollah-affiliated militia operatives had been killed and six wounded. In addition, fires broke out and several persons were reported missing (Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, February 29, 2024).
Fire that broke out following the attack (Sham, February 28, 2024)
Fire that broke out following the attack (Sham, February 28, 2024)
  • On the morning of February 29, 2024, a car was reportedly attacked in the al-Qusayr area in Syria, near the Lebanese border. Initial information indicated that it had been attacked by a UAV. Explosions reportedly heard around Damascus most likely originated from the firing of the air defense systems (Radio Sham Telegram channel, February 29, 2024). Al-Mayadeen reported that it was an Israeli aircraft (al-Mayadeen, February 29, 2024).
  • According to another report, the attack was carried out against a vehicle near al-Nahriyeh, about 4 kilometers southwest of al-Qusayr and about 5 kilometers northeast of the Syria-Lebanon border (Syria TV X account, February 29, 2024). It was also reported that the vehicle that was attacked belonged to Hezbollah (Thiqa News Agency, February 29, 2024). One person was later reported killed (al-Watan, February 29, 2024).

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Israel, Judea and Samaria
Counterterrorism activities
  • The Israeli security forces continued their counterterrorism activities. On the night of February 28, 2024, they detained ten wanted Palestinians in Judea and Samaria. In Jenin, the forces detained a wanted Palestinian and uncovered IEDs planted under the roads. An aircraft attacked an armed operative who was identified in the area. In Yatta (south of Hebron), the forces detained six wanted Palestinians, questioned many suspects and seized weapons. In Qalqilya, they detained two wanted Palestinians, and in Abu Qash (north of Ramallah), they detained another wanted Palestinian (IDF spokesperson, February 28, 2024).
  • The Palestinians reported that in an Israeli security force activity in the town of Beit Furik, east of Nablus, Bashar Nihad Hanani from Beit Furik had been killed (Wafa, February 29, 2024). The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and its military-terrorist wing, the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, issued a mourning notice for Hanani, 18 years old, noting that he was a PFLP operative (Palestine Online X account, February 29, 2024).
  • The PA ministry of health in Ramallah reported the death of Ibrahim Mahamid, who died of his wounds after being wounded by Israeli security forces in the Nur al-Shams refugee camp in Tulkarm on October 19, 2023, while trying to evacuate his son (Wafa, February 29, 2024).
Death of Palestinian prisoner
  • The Palestinian prisoners’ affairs commission and the Palestinian prisoners’ club reported the death of a prisoner, cancer patient Aasef al-Rifa’i, 22 years old, from the village of Kafr Ein, northwest of Ramallah, who had been detained since September 24, 2022. They accused Israel of neglect and procrastination in treating him. It was noted that he was the 11th Palestinian prisoner in Israeli jails to die since the beginning of the war (Wafa, February 29, 2024). The Fatah movement in the Ramallah and al-Bireh district declared a general strike following his death (Telegram channel of the Odeh channel of Fatah’s information and culture commission, February 29, 2024).
Palestinian Authority (PA)
  • Mahmoud Abbas, PA chairman, met with UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini. Abbas said that he opposed the campaign led by the Israeli government against the agency, which, he claimed, was aimed at eliminating the issue of the Palestinian refugees. He noted the importance of UNRWA’s role and renewed his call on countries that had taken a stand against it to reverse their decision. He also stressed the need to immediately stop the ongoing Israeli “aggression” against the Palestinians, allow the opening of humanitarian corridors to the Gaza Strip and provide aid (Wafa, February 28, 2024).
Mahmoud Abbas meets with Lazzarini (Wafa, February 28, 2024)
Mahmoud Abbas meets with Lazzarini (Wafa, February 28, 2024)
  • Mahmoud Abbas sent communiqués to a number of presidents, prime ministers and heads of organizations, stressing the PA’s opposition to the Israeli government’s plan for “the day after” the war in the Gaza Strip. According to the communiqué, the plan violated international law and confirmed the Israeli government’s intention to resettle the Gaza Strip and annex the Palestinian territories. It was also noted that the Gaza Strip was an integral part of the “State of Palestine,” and that they were prepared to do whatever was necessary to take responsibility for controlling the Gaza Strip, Judea, Samaria and east Jerusalem, and were prepared to act to achieve security, peace and stability in the region within the framework of a comprehensive peace (Wafa, February 29, 2024).
  • Riyadh al-Maliki, PA foreign minister, said the present time was not the time for a government of which Hamas would be a part because in such a case it would be boycotted by several countries, as had happened in the past. He noted they did not want to be in such a situation, they wanted to be accepted and fully involved in the international community. Later, when the situation was suitable, they would be able to consider that option. He said they believed Hamas supported the idea of establishing a technocratic government, and once the situation stabilized, they might be able to think of elections that would determine the form of government that would later rule the “State of Palestine” (Agence France-Presse, February 28, 2024).

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The Arab Arena
Egypt
  • Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi said they hoped to reach a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip in the coming days and that Egypt was determined to alleviate the suffering of the residents of the Gaza Strip. He noted that they were making sure that the Rafah crossing would be a way to provide aid to the Gaza Strip and transport the wounded, saying Egypt had never closed the crossing. He stressed that Egypt would continue to support the Palestinian cause until an independent Palestinian state within the 1967 borders was recognized (al-Qahera, February 28, 2024).
The International Arena
France
  • French President Emmanuel Macron spoke with Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Macron said they were prepared to work to achieve conditions for peace in the Middle East and that France was prepared to work alongside Saudi Arabia to stop the spread of the conflict in the region. They stressed the need to urgently reach a ceasefire agreement in the Gaza Strip (Agence France-Presse, February 29, 2024). They also agreed to provide $200 million to support the Palestinian people. They called for the opening of all land crossings into the Gaza Strip and noted the need for continued mediation efforts to achieve a truce and release the hostages (Qatar News Agency, February 29, 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] For further information on the activities of the de-facto Hamas administration during the war, see the ITIC's Information Bulletin from February 20, 2024, “Hamas Governance in the Gaza Strip: Activity, Institutions, Administration and Public
[3] On the morning of February 14, 2024, a barrage of rockets was fired at Israel’s Upper Galilee. At least eight rockets were fired at the city of Safed. The rocket fire killed a woman and wounded eight people. Arab media reported that the barrages towards the Upper Galilee were directed, inter alia, at the Israeli Air Force air traffic control base in Meron and the Northern Command base in Safed (al-Arabiya, February 14, 2024). Hezbollah did not claim responsibility for the rocket launch. Sources described as "knowledgeable" reported that it was not Hezbollah that attacked the Israeli base (al-Nashra, February 14, 2024).