Operation Iron Swords (Updated to 1 p.m., January 16, 2024)

IDF forces in the Gaza Strip (IDF spokesperson, January 15, 2024)

IDF forces in the Gaza Strip (IDF spokesperson, January 15, 2024)

IDF forces in the Gaza Strip (IDF spokesperson, January 15, 2024)

IDF forces in the Gaza Strip (IDF spokesperson, January 15, 2024)

IDF attacks in the al-Maghazi and al-Masdar refugee camps (Wafa YouTube channel, January 15, 2024)

IDF attacks in the al-Maghazi and al-Masdar refugee camps (Wafa YouTube channel, January 15, 2024)

A direct rocket hit on an electrical appliance shop in Netivot (Israel Police Force spokesperson's unit, January 16, 2024)

A direct rocket hit on an electrical appliance shop in Netivot (Israel Police Force spokesperson's unit, January 16, 2024)

A displaced persons' tent camp in the Rafah area (al-Quds, January 14, 2024).

A displaced persons' tent camp in the Rafah area (al-Quds, January 14, 2024).

Haniyeh's speech played at the conference in Istanbul (al-Quds International Institute website, January 14, 2024)

Haniyeh's speech played at the conference in Istanbul (al-Quds International Institute website, January 14, 2024)

Khaled Mashal interviewed in Kuwait (al-Qabas, January 14, 2024)

Khaled Mashal interviewed in Kuwait (al-Qabas, January 14, 2024)

The vessel taken over by the US Navy (CENTCOM X account, January 16, 2024)

The vessel taken over by the US Navy (CENTCOM X account, January 16, 2024)

Northern Arena, Israeli Casualties, Rocket Fire

Overview[1]
  • The southern arena: The IDF integrated ground maneuver continued in the northern, central and southern Gaza Strip, despite the announcement by the IDF spokesperson about the withdrawal of forces. Rocket launchers, some of which were ready to be activated, factories for the production of mortar shells and a large quantity of weapons were exposed. The Palestinian media reported heavy exchanges of fire in the northern and southern Gaza Strip. Two rocket barrages were launched from the north and central Gaza Strip at Israel, one at the Sderot area and the other at the Netivot area, where a shop was hit.
  • Terrorist attack inside Israel: Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) praised the combined stabbing and vehicle ramming attack carried out in Ra’anana and praised its perpetrators. In the attack, one woman was killed and 20 people were injured.
  • According to an unofficial estimate, since October 7, 2023, approximately 1,300 Israeli civilians and security personnel have been killed, 524 of them soldiers and officers; 132 civilian and military hostages are still being held by the terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip; 121 hostages have been returned to Israel.
  • The Gaza Strip: Medical personnel in the Gaza Strip report a shortage of medicines and gas for medical needs, mainly for chronically ill patients.
  • The northern arena: Hezbollah claimed responsibility for eight attacks on Israeli territory. In response, the IDF attacked targets in a number of villages in south Lebanon. During the morning, the IDF carried out a broad wave of attacks in the Wadi al-Salouqi region. A UNIFIL spokesman expressed concern about the growing tensions in south Lebanon.
  • Judea and Samaria: IDF forces entered Bani Na’im (east of Hebron), the home of the two terrorists who carried out the attack in Ra’anana. Local officials reported Bani Na’im was now a closed military area.
  • Iran: United States military forces seized a vessel near the coast of Somalia on which advanced Iranian weapons were found, including parts of ballistic missiles and cruise missiles sent to the Houthis. On the night of January 16, 2024, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) carried out a combined ballistic missile attack on targets in the Idlib region in northwestern Syria and the Erbil region in northern Iraq. They claimed the attacks were in response to the latest terrorist actions by ISIS in Kerman and Rask in Iran, as well as in response to the assassinations attributed to Israel of commanders of the IRGC and the “resistance axis.”[2] Iraq and the Kurdish region security council protested the attack. The United States also strongly condemned the attack.
The Southern Arena
  • The Palestinian media reported that the focal points of the fighting were the Tel al-Hawa neighborhood in Gaza City, the al-Maghazi refugee camp (central Gaza Strip , south Khan Yunis and north Rafah. They reported 132 dead and 252 wounded in the past day in IDF attacks in the Gaza Strip (Ma’an, January 16, 2024).
  • The northern Gaza Strip: The IDF announced that the forces operating in the northern Gaza Strip had left the Strip. They had operated mainly in the Zeitoun area, the al-Shati refugee camp, Shejaiya and Rimal (IDF spokesperson, January 15, 2024). In the Beit Lahia area, IDF soldiers located about 100 rocket installations and about 60 rockets ready for launching (IDF spokesperson, January 16, 2024). The Palestinian media reported heavy exchanges of fire between IDF forces and “resistance” fighters [terrorist operatives] in the northern Gaza Strip (Shehab X account, January 16, 2024). A correspondent named Mahmoud Abu Salama reported that the night of January 15, 2024, had been very difficult for the residents of the northern Gaza Strip because of heavy IDF attacks which continued throughout the night  (Shehab X account, January 16, 2024).
Rocket launchers in the Beit Lahia area (IDF spokesperson, January 16, 2024)   Rocket launchers in the Beit Lahia area (IDF spokesperson, January 16, 2024)
Rocket launchers in the Beit Lahia area (IDF spokesperson, January 16, 2024)
attack in the northern Gaza Strip (Shehab X account, January 16, 2024)       Smoke in the northern Gaza Strip from heavy exchanges of fire between IDF forces and "resistance" fighters.
Right: Smoke in the northern Gaza Strip from heavy exchanges of fire between IDF forces and “resistance” fighters. Left: IDF attack in the northern Gaza Strip (Shehab X account, January 16, 2024)
  • The central Gaza Strip: The IDF forces operating in the central Gaza Strip found a large number of factories and workshops for the production of weapons as well as warehouses where the weapons were stored. Forces operating in the Nuseirat refugee camp located a facility for the production of mortar shells, a factory for the production of rockets, and weapons that had been stockpiled in a building belonging to a humanitarian organization (IDF spokesperson, January 15, 2024).
Weapons found in the Nuseirat area (IDF spokesperson, January 15, 2024)
Weapons found in the Nuseirat area (IDF spokesperson, January 15, 2024) 
IDF forces in the Gaza Strip (IDF spokesperson, January 15, 2024)     IDF forces in the Gaza Strip (IDF spokesperson, January 15, 2024)
IDF forces in the Gaza Strip (IDF spokesperson, January 15, 2024)
IDF attacks in the al-Maghazi and al-Masdar refugee camps (Wafa YouTube channel, January 15, 2024)
IDF attacks in the al-Maghazi and al-Masdar refugee camps
(Wafa YouTube channel, January 15, 2024)
  • The southern Gaza Strip: The Palestinian media reported heavy exchanges of fire between IDF forces and “resistance” fighters in south Khan Yunis (Shehab X account, January 16, 2024). Ibrahim Qanan, a correspondent for the al-Ghad TV channel in Khan Yunis, reported that the Israeli Air Force carried out a large number of airstrikes in neighborhoods in south and east Khan Yunis, where there were heavy exchanges of fire between the IDF forces and the “resistance” (al-Ghad TV, January 16, 2024).
 An al-Ghad TV correspondent in Khan Yunis reports on the fighting in the Khan Yunis area (al-Ghad TV, January 16, 2024)    IDF attacks in the Batn al-Sameen and Qizan al-Najjar neighborhoods in south Khan Yunis (Shehab X account, January 16, 2024).
Right: IDF attacks in the Batn al-Sameen and Qizan al-Najjar neighborhoods in south Khan Yunis (Shehab X account, January 16, 2024). Left: An al-Ghad TV correspondent in Khan Yunis reports on the fighting in the Khan Yunis area (al-Ghad TV, January 16, 2024)
  • The Nitzana area: About 20 apparent drug smugglers, several of them armed, arrived at the Israeli border near the Nitzana area from Egyptian territory; IDF soldiers opened fire. A female IDF soldier was injured (DF spokesperson, January 16, 2024). The Egyptian army spokesman reported that drug smuggling south of the Nitzana crossing had been prevented and that one person had been killed in an exchange of fire and six had been captured (Egyptian army spokesman’s Facebook page, January 16, 2024).
Rocket fire targeting Israel
  • On the evening of January 15, 2024, two rocket barrages were launched at Sderot and nearby towns and villages from Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip. The PIJ’s military wing reported that at 9 p.m. (“Bahaa time,” when the PIJ under the command of Bahaa Abu al-Atta used to launch rockets) rocket barrages had been launched at Sderot and “settlements” to the north of the Gaza Strip (Paltoday Telegram channel, January 15, 2024).
  • On January 16, 2024, a barrage of about 20 rockets was launched at the Netivot area; most of them were intercepted. One of the rockets hit a shop and another fell in a nearby moshav. The rockets were launched from the area of al-Bureij and Nuseirat in the central Gaza Strip. Hamas’ military wing announced that its operatives had launched rockets at Netivot (Safa Telegram channel, January 16, 2024).
A direct rocket hit on an electrical appliance shop in Netivot (Israel Police Force spokesperson's unit, January 16, 2024)
A direct rocket hit on an electrical appliance shop in Netivot
(Israel Police Force spokesperson’s unit, January 16, 2024)
Israeli casualties
  • According to an unofficial estimate, since October 7, 2023, approximately 1,300 Israeli people have been killed. According to the IDF spokesperson, 524 of them are soldiers and officers (190 since the start of the ground maneuver on 27 October, 2023); 132 civilian and military hostages are still being held by the terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip; 121 hostages have been returned. The IDF spokesperson expressed concern for the welfare of the hostages seen in the video Hamas had published two days previously (IDF spokesperson, January 15, 2024).
Palestinian reactions to the fighting
  • Khaled Mashal, chairman of Hamas “abroad,” was interviewed for the podcast of a Kuwaiti media personality named Omar Taqi. He claimed Israel had not achieved even one of its declared goals, such as the elimination of Hamas, revoking Hamas rule of the Gaza Strip or the return of the Israeli hostages, and it also had not achieved its undeclared goal of displacing the residents of the Gaza Strip. Since, he claimed, Israel was defeated and powerless, it wanted to dismantle the “resistance’s” military structure. However, that was impossible because Hamas was an idea. Regarding the situation on the ground, the IDF forces were proud of discovering a group of tunnels out of hundreds of kilometers of undiscovered tactical and strategic tunnels. He added that despite the total destruction in the northern Gaza Strip, “resistance fighters” were still attacking Israel from among the ruins, from under the ground and from houses which had been demolished. Therefore, from a military point of view, the IDF had achieved nothing, and the scenes in the field testified to the confidence of the “resistance” operatives and their control over the battle (al-Qabas, January 13 and 14, 2024).
  • Ahsan Attaya, a member of the PIJ’s political bureau, said on the sidelines of the Forum in Support of the Palestinian Resistance held in Tunis that the condition of the Palestinian “resistance” was good and it would continue to “bravely confront Israel.” He claimed the “resistance” could not be broken and would become firmer and stronger, and everyone saw how Israel had been forced to withdraw its most important brigade, the Golani Brigade, after suffering heavy losses (al-Maghreb website, January 15, 2024).
  • Ali Abu Shahin, a member of the PIJ’s political bureau, said that if the Israeli “aggression” against the Gaza Strip continued, the “regional resistance” would accelerate its operations (al-Mayadeen TV X account, January 15, 2024).
A ceasefire and the issue of the hostages
  • Khaled Mashal said that the negotiations had stopped because Israel’s perspective was unacceptable, and the proposals were far from a complete ceasefire, they included a fraudulent attempt without a guarantee to stop the “aggression,” withdraw from the Gaza Strip and empty the prisons of Palestinian prisoners. That, he claimed, was even before the killing of Saleh al-‘Arouri, which had only complicated the situation. Netanyahu was under pressure because he could not ignore the demands of the kidnapped families and had to convey a message that he would return the hostages. He tried it on the ground and failed. Therefore, he now offered negotiations without giving up his agenda, which included continuing the “aggression” and widening the circle of war with the objective of retaining his position (al-Qabas, January 13 and 14, 2024).
  • Senior Hamas figure Osama Hamdan said they would discuss hostage deals only on the basis of a complete and final cessation of “aggression” against the Gaza Strip, and any other arrangement would be unacceptable and would not be discussed. He added that all the talk about “the day after” was an attempt to make it seem that Israel would win while the war was still being waged. He stated that any arrangements that had not been formulated by the Palestinians would be without value and have no future. In response to Israel’s statements at the International Court of Justice that Cairo was responsible for preventing the entry of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing, he said such statements required a practical Egyptian response and position, and not just media reports rejecting Israeli statements. Referring to the issue of controlling the Philadelphia Axis between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, he claimed it was a violation of Egyptian sovereignty and “direct aggression” against Egypt. He added that the statements revealed the “truth” and nature of Israel and its aggression, which [allegedly] saw no solution to its crises except through more “aggression” towards Egyptian sovereignty (Arab World Press Agency (AWP, January 16, 2024).
  • Ghazi Hamad, a member of Hamas’ political bureau in the Gaza Strip, said that the red lines that could not be crossed in the negotiations were disarming the “resistance” or imposing conditions on it; designating buffer zones in the Gaza Strip; and the question of Israel’s freedom of action in the Gaza Strip, as it has in Judea and Samaria. He claimed “all the Palestinian people” regarded those issues as red lines which could not be crossed. Regarding the hostages, he said that in light of the [temporary ceasefire], after which Israel resumed attacking “more fiercely,” they insisted that any deal be part of a comprehensive package that would lead to a final ceasefire and the withdrawal of IDF forces from the Gaza Strip. Asked whether Hamas had an accurate map of the hostages it held and those held by the other “organizations,” he claimed they tried to accomplish that during the [temporary] ceasefire, but there were a number of hostages who were being held by other “organizations” or in different locations, and the “difficult security circumstances” made it hard to reach them all. He also claimed that there were hostages who had been killed and were lying under the rubble. Israel, he said, had asked for their bodies, but it took time to search for them because the conditions in the Gaza Strip did not currently allow for the removal of the ruins (ON TV YouTube channel, January 16, 2024). On another occasion, he said that no negotiations were currently taking place for a hostage deal because Israel insisted on continuing the war (al-Arabi TV website, January 16, 2024).
  • Ahsan Attaya, a member of the PIJ’s political bureau, stated that the hostage negotiations were indirect and would be held only after the end of the “aggression” against the Gaza Strip and the withdrawal of the IDF forces. He claimed a deal could not be negotiated unless Israel left the Gaza Strip and stopped the “aggression.” He reiterated that “all the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons would be released” (al-Maghreb website, January 15, 2024).

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Israel
Terrorist attack inside Israeli territory
  • According to the investigation of the combined terrorist attack in Ra’anana on January 15, 2024, in which a woman was killed and about 20 people were injured, the attack was carried out by two relatives, aged 44 and 25 years old, from Bani Na’im (east of Hebron) who were in Israel without permits. One of the terrorists stabbed a woman driver, stole her vehicle and escaped with it. He drove to another street, stopped, took control of another vehicle, and drove it down the street, running over several passers-by.
The terrorists who carried out the attacks, Mahmoud Ali Ziadat and Ahmed Muhammad Ali Ziadat (Ma'an , January 15, 2024)
The terrorists who carried out the attacks, Mahmoud Ali Ziadat and Ahmed Muhammad Ali Ziadat (Ma’an , January 15, 2024)
  • Hamas called the attack in Ra’anana a “commando operation,” claiming it was a “natural response” to the “massacres” perpetrated by Israel and its “ongoing aggression” in the Gaza Strip. Hamas called the terrorists “heroes of the Palestinian people” (Hamas Telegram channel, January 15, 2024).
  • The PIJ praised the “heroic operation” in Ra’anana as a “natural response” to “Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people,” adding they would continue to prepare to clash with and “resist” Israel during every “invasion” and attack against the Palestinians (PIJ Telegram channel, January 15, 2024).

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The Gaza Strip
Palestinian casualties
  • The Hamas-controlled ministry of health in the Gaza Strip reported that as of 11 a.m., January 16, 2024, the number of dead since the beginning of the war stood at 24,285 and the number of wounded at 61,154 (ministry of health in Gaza Facebook page, January 16, 2024). Ashraf al-Qidra, spokesman for the ministry of health in the Gaza Strip, claimed there was no nitrous oxide in any operating room in the Gaza Strip and there was a severe shortage of additional gases for medical needs. He also claimed there were 350,000 chronically ill patients in the Gaza Strip without medication. He called on international organizations to bring drugs for chronic diseases into Gaza (ministry of health in Gaza Facebook page, January 16, 2024).

The situation in the Gaza Strip

  • PIJ spokesman Musab al-Breem said that concurrent with the continuing “resistance” in all arenas, they called on the Islamic nation to fulfill its duty to the children and the Palestinian people who were subject to [an allegedly] “genocidal” war. He claimed it was necessary to strengthen the firm stand and “resistance” of the Palestinians and bring medicine, food and basic necessities into the Strip (Fars Agency, January 16, 2024).
 Displaced persons in Rafah generate electricity using solar panels (al-Quds, January 14, 2024)    A displaced persons' tent camp in the Rafah area (al-Quds, January 14, 2024).
Right: A displaced persons’ tent camp in the Rafah area (al-Quds, January 14, 2024). Left: Displaced persons in Rafah generate electricity using solar panels (al-Quds, January 14, 2024)
  • The Palestinians reported the fifth consecutive day without communication and Internet services in the Gaza Strip (Shehab, January 16, 2024).
Statements by senior Hamas officials
  • A speech recorded by Ismail Haniyeh, head of Hamas’ political bureau, was played at the “Freedom for Palestine” conference in Istanbul. The conference was at the initiative of the al-Quds International Institute and the World Federation of Muslim Scholars, in cooperation with other bodies. Haniyeh said that the “resistance” had spoken during Operation al-Aqsa Flood, it was the owner of the land, and the Palestinians would not emigrate or be silent about Israel’s “violations.” He claimed the Palestinian “resistance” was “anchored in international law,” adding that Hamas was a “national liberation movement” working with the entire Palestinian people to achieve “liberation and independence.” He also claimed that they were not hostile to the Jews but were hostile to the Zionist movement, which [allegedly] “occupied their land” and caused the displacement of the Palestinians. He claimed Zionism was one of “the most dangerous movements known to humanity,” as it had “characteristics that had not existed in any other movement throughout history.”
  • Haniyeh called for participation in the campaign through total and direct “resistance” against Israel; denouncing and criminalizing the Zionist movement in all international forums and courts; breaking the “siege” of the Gaza Strip and establishing a humanitarian coalition to aid the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip (al-Anadolu News, January 14, 2024; Hamas Telegram channel in Judea and Samaria, January 14, 2024).
Haniyeh's speech played at the conference in Istanbul (al-Quds International Institute website, January 14, 2024)
Haniyeh’s speech played at the conference in Istanbul
(al-Quds International Institute website, January 14, 2024)
  • Khaled Mashal, chairman of the Hamas movement “abroad,” was interviewed for the podcast of Kuwaiti media personality Omar Taqi. He said the following (al-Qabas, January 13 and 14, 2024):
    • The October 7, 2023, attack: Hamas fighters would not have entered the war if they had not been sure of their victory. However, the surprise was the rapid collapse of the IDF and its “resounding defeat,” which explained the [alleged] brutality of the IDF forces in their response. The October 7 attack set Israel back 75 years. Despite the destruction to which the Palestinians are exposed, they are still confident of victory and did not doubt that Operation al-Aqsa Flood was the beginning of Israel’s collapse. He alleged that after October 7, the whole world correctly received the Palestinian message regarding “their right to build a state”, even if initially they identified with the Zionist narrative.
    • Preparations for war: The decision to go to war was an exclusive Hamas decision. He claimed there had been absolute harmony and coordination before the attack between the political leadership of the movement and the military leadership in the field. The night before the attack, the Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades leadership summoned a thousand “fighters” who were informed of the start of the operation the next day and had to decide whether or not they agreed to go into battle. He claimed no one objected and everyone was eager to fight. He noted that the decision about the battle was known only to the Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades and its leadership, and only when the attack began did the “military wings” of the PIJ and other [terrorist] organizations join. He added that they had detailed maps, photos and models of the targets in the area surrounding Gaza at a depth of up to 40 kilometers. They also had photos of some of the IDF brigade commanders
    • The killing of Saleh al-‘Arouri: He [falsely] alleged Israel had been founded on killing and it achieved its goals by “dirty” means inside and outside “Palestine.” He claimed Israel was in crisis in the Gaza Strip and unable to achieve a real victory, and therefore it wanted to act elsewhere by killing al-‘Arouri to present a picture of an imaginary victory. He said there had been more than one type of reaction to the killing.
    • Hezbollah: Only after the morning of October 7, 2023, he said, did interaction and coordination with Hezbollah and others begin. The Palestinians asked the Islamic nation to fulfill its role regarding “Palestine” but they did not pose conditions. Hezbollah participated at a certain level, for which they are grateful. Without a doubt it was beneficial and its impact was primarily in diverting part of the IDF to the north and easing the pressure on the Gaza Strip. So far events had been satisfactory and good, but they were in a difficult battle and asked for more support from everyone because it as the concern of the entire [Islamic] nation.
    • Turkey and Iran: What applied to the Arab countries applied to Turkey and Iran, since Turkey is a large and influential country, and its status had grown recently. Aid, financial support and public activity in Turkey were also enormous, but they were asking for additional support. Regarding Iran, he noted that it supported Hamas financially and militarily, and Hamas thanked it and all the Arab countries that supported them, but they wanted more.
    • Yemen: He also thanked Yemen for its role in disrupting the shipping lanes and the effect that had on the Israeli economy. He also discovered that “Iraqi brains” had helped them produce missiles about 17 years ago.
Khaled Mashal interviewed in Kuwait (al-Qabas, January 14, 2024)
Khaled Mashal interviewed in Kuwait (al-Qabas, January 14, 2024)

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The Northern Arena
Hezbollah attacks
  • Hezbollah claimed responsibility for eight anti-tank missile, rocket and Burkan rocket (whose warheads weigh between 660 and 1100 pounds) attacks and sniper fire (Hezbollah combat information Telegram channel, January 15-16, 2024).
  •   In response, an Israeli Air Force fighter jet attacked a Hezbollah operational facility in the Maroun al-Ras area and several other areas in Lebanese territory, as well as two terrorist squads. After an anti-tank missile was launched at the Malkia area, IDF forces attacked the squad that fired it (DF spokesperson, January 15, 2025). During the night an Air Force aircraft attacked a Hezbollah anti-tank missile-launcher in the Kafr Kila area, and IDF special forces attacked to remove a threat identified in the Aita al-Shaab area (IDF spokesperson, January 16, 2024). On the morning of January 16, 2024, , the IDF carried out a large-scale combined attack using fighter jets and artillery in the Wadi al-Salouqi area in south Lebanon. Dozens of Hezbollah military buildings and weapons facilities were attacked in one of the broadest IDF attacks carried out since the beginning of the fighting (IDF spokesman, January 16, 2024).
Israeli Air Force strikes.     Attacking the anti-tank missile-launcher (DF spokesperson, January 16, 2024)
Israeli Air Force strikes. Right: Attacking the anti-tank missile-launcher
(DF spokesperson, January 16, 2024)
Attack on Hezbollah's operational facility in the Maroun al-Ras area (IDF spokesperson, January 15, 2024)
Attack on Hezbollah’s operational facility in the Maroun al-Ras area
(IDF spokesperson, January 15, 2024)
 Closeup of the area (IDF spokesperson, January 16, 2024)    Map of the airstrikes against targets in Wadi al-Salouqi area.
Right: Map of the airstrikes against targets in Wadi al-Salouqi area. Left: Closeup of the area (IDF spokesperson, January 16, 2024)
  • In response to the IDF spokesperson’s announcement, which according to Hezbollah-affiliated al-Mayadeen TV implied that IDF forces were operating in Lebanese territory, al-Mayadeen stated that the report was untrue. What had “actually happened” was an attempt by three IDF soldiers from a military post on the Israel-Lebanon border to infiltrate into Lebanon. The soldiers were discovered and backtracked to their post. It was noted that Hezbollah operatives were deployed at zero range from the border fence with Israel Naqoura in the west to Mount Dov in the east (al-Mayadeen, January 16, 2024).
  • Photos were published, documenting damage in Kafr Kila, including the destruction of a three-story building. The building had reportedly been empty since the beginning of the war (Fouad Khreiss’ X account, January 15, 2024).
After the attack (Fouad Khreiss' X account, January 15, 2024)     A three-story building in Kafr Kila before the attack.
Right: A three-story building in Kafr Kila before the attack. Left: After the attack
(Fouad Khreiss’ X account, January 15, 2024)
  • According to reports, flysheets were scattered in the Kafr Kila area reading, “To the residents of South Lebanon! Hezbollah is launching rockets from this area. Terrorist actions of this type will be met with a severe response! For your safety, do not be guilty of terrorist acts in your backyards!” (Hawana Lebanon Telegram channel, January 16, 2024).
The text of the announcement (Telegram channel Hawana Lebanon, January 16, 2024)
The text of the announcement (Telegram channel Hawana Lebanon, January 16, 2024)
  • According to Hezbollah-affiliated al-Mayadeen TV, Israeli war planes carried out about 20 airstrikes in Wadi al-Salouqi, at the same time as the IDF carried out heavy artillery fire in the area (al-Mayadeen, January 16, 2024).
Attack in the Wadi al-Salouqi area (Ali Shoeib's X account, January 16, 2024)
Attack in the Wadi al-Salouqi area (Ali Shoeib’s X account, January 16, 2024)
UNIFIL
  • UNIFIL spokesman Andrea Tenenti said the situation in south Lebanon was extremely concerning and that they would continue their activities despite the Israeli attacks in the area. He said they were in contact with Israeli and Lebanese officials to ease the tension and prevent misunderstandings (al-Arabiya, January 16, 2024).
The Lebanese government
  • Najib Mikati, head of Lebanon’s interim government, said that Lebanese interests were Hezbollah’s top priority, and that Lebanon was looking for a diplomatic solution and was committed to international resolutions regarding Lebanon, but that the basis for that was a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip (al-Jazeera, January 16, 2024).
  • Lebanese Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib met in Beirut with Lisa Johnson, the incoming American ambassador. After the meeting, he expressed his satisfaction with the United States’ willingness to mediate and act to de-escalate and restore quiet and stability to south Lebanon. According to the minister, they were conducting a dialogue with the United States to ensure security and stability, especially for the residents of south Lebanon (al-Nashra, January 15, 2024).

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Judea and Samaria
Counterterrorism activities
  • The Israeli security forces continued their counterterrorism activities throughout Judea and Samaria, detaining 27 wanted Palestinians. Since the beginning of the war, about 2,700 wanted Palestinians have been detained, about 1,300 of them Hamas operatives (IDF spokesperson’s Telegram channel, January 16, 2024).
  • During the past day, the forces operated in the town of Idna (west of Hebron), from which the three terrorists who tried to carry out an attack in the Israeli village of Adora (January 12, 2024) left. The forces surrounded the town and detained several suspects for questioning (IDF spokesperson’s Telegram channel, January 16, 2024).
  • On January 15, 2024, following the combined attack in Ra’anana, Israeli security forces entered Bani Na’im (east of Hebron), from which the two terrorists left for the attack, questioned dozens of suspects and detained two wanted Palestinians (IDF spokesperson’s Telegram channel, January 16, 2024). The Palestinian media reported that Israeli security forces had raided the homes of the perpetrators Mahmoud Ali Ziadat (44) and Ahmad Muhammad Ali Ziadat (25). The forces mapped their homes in preparation for their demolition and questioned their families. Clashes and riots broke out (Ma’an, January 15, 2024).
Israeli security forces enter Bani Na'im (al-Jazeera TV, January 15, 2024)
Israeli security forces enter Bani Na’im (al-Jazeera TV, January 15, 2024)
  • Khalil Ziadat, mayor of Bani Na’im, reported that IDF forces had entered the town at night and detained several family members of the perpetrators. He said the town had become a closed military area and at that stage, it was impossible to enter or leave it (Bani Na’im News Facebook page, January 16, 2024).
Palestinian Authority (PA)
  • During the weekly cabinet meeting, Muhammad Shtayyeh, PA prime minister, addressed the issue of tax revenues, saying that Israel had to transfer their funds. He said they refused to accept the funds from Israel because the part designated for the Gaza Strip was not included. Referring to the issue of the International Court of Justice’s hearing on the war, Shtayyeh said that an urgent decision by the ICJ was required to stop the ongoing “aggression” against the Gaza Strip (Wafa, January 15, 2024).
  • Hussein al-Sheikh, secretary of the PLO’s Executive Committee, met with a delegation from France headed by Emmanuel Beaune, diplomatic advisor to the French president. They discussed the situation in the Palestinian arena, the war in the Gaza Strip, and ways to reach a full ceasefire in the Gaza Strip (Hussein al-Sheikh’s X account, January 15, 2024).
Hussein al-Sheikh meets with a French delegation (Hussein al-Sheikh's X account, January 15, 2024)
Hussein al-Sheikh meets with a French delegation
(Hussein al-Sheikh’s X account, January 15, 2024)

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Iran
Seizure of Iranian weapons destined for the Houthis
  • The United States Army Central Command (CENTCOM) announced that the US Navy had taken control of a vessel off the coast of Somalia containing advanced Iranian weapons, including parts of ballistic missiles and cruise missiles sent to the Houthis. The announcement noted that it was the first seizure of advanced weapons supplied to the Houthis by Iran since the beginning of the attacks in the Red Sea. It was also reported that the two American soldiers reported missing had been involved in the operation. According to the announcement, this is further proof that Iran violates international law and destabilizes the region (CENTCOM X account, January 16, 2024).
Weapons seized: ballistic and cruise missile parts (CENTCOM X account, January 16, 2024)    Weapons seized: ballistic and cruise missile parts (CENTCOM X account, January 16, 2024)
Weapons seized: ballistic and cruise missile parts (CENTCOM X account, January 16, 2024)
The vessel taken over by the US Navy (CENTCOM X account, January 16, 2024)
The vessel taken over by the US Navy (CENTCOM X account, January 16, 2024)
Iranian attacks on targets in Syria and Iraq
  • On the night of January 16, 2024, the IRGC carried out a combined ballistic missile attack against targets in the Idlib region in northwestern Syria and in the Erbil area in northern Iraq. According to three separate IRGC announcements, the attacks were carried out in response to ISIS recent terrorist attacks in Kerman (January 4, 2024) and Rask (December 15, 2023), Iran, as well as in response to killings attributed to Israel of the commanders of the IRGC and the “resistance front.” The announcements stated that the targets attacked included “gathering places of commanders and main elements connected to ISIS terrorist activities in Syria” and the headquarters of the “Mossad of the Zionist regime in Iraq’s Kurdistan Region,” which was used to plan “espionage and terrorist activities in the region, especially against Iran” (Tasnim, January 16, 2024).
  • Citing “local sources” in Idlib, the al-Mayadeen network reported that Iran had attacked training camps, logistical support headquarters, and a medical center affiliated with the Islamic Movement of Eastern Turkestan, where ISIS Khorasan operatives responsible for carrying out attacks in Iranian territory are being trained (al-Mayadeen, January 16, 2024).
  • The security council of the Kurdish region announced that at least four civilians had been killed and six others wounded in the attack. It was also reported that Iran’s excuses for the attack were baseless and they rejected them since Erbil had never been a source of threat to any country. The attacks were blatant violations of the sovereignty of Kurdistan and Iraq, and the international community should not remain silent in the face of these crimes (Facebook page of the Security Council of the Kurdish region, January 16, 2024).
  • The Iraqi foreign ministry strongly condemned the Iranian aggression against Erbil, which attacked residential areas and led to civilian casualties. The ministry stated that Iraq considered it aggression against the state and against the security of the Iraqi people, and they would take all legal measures against the aggression, including filing a complaint with the UN Security Council. According to the announcement, the Iraqi prime minister decided to set up a committee, headed by the national security advisor, to investigate the incident and collect information and evidence about it. The results of the investigation will be published in Iraq and among the international community to prove the false claims of the parties behind these actions (Iraqi foreign ministry Telegram channel, January 16, 2024).
  • Matthew Miller, spokesperson for the United States Department of State, strongly condemned the attacks carried out by Iran, saying they opposed Iran’s reckless missile attacks, which destabilized Iraq. He stressed that they supported the efforts of the Iraqi government and the Kurdistan Regional government to meet the aspirations of the Iraqi people (Reuters, January 16, 2024).
Anti-Israel activities
  • The Israel Security Agency (ISA) revealed that Iran had operated a network to recruit Israelis for various missions, including gathering intelligence on members of the Israeli security establishment. It was also revealed that Iranian security agencies were using social media to promote activity vis-à-vis the families of hostages. According to the ISA, as part of the protests for the return of the hostages, Iranian security officials actively promoted hanging signs drafted by the Iranians, photographing demonstrators, and filling out “surveys” used to collect information about Israeli citizens and use them unknowingly to carry out security missions (Israeli media, January 15, 2024).
Diplomatic activity
  • Hossein Amir Abdollahian, Iranian foreign minister, spoke with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, and discussed regional developments, including in the Gaza Strip and the Red Sea. They strongly condemned the attacks by the United States and Britain in Yemen and stressed the need for an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and ensuring the delivery of humanitarian aid to the residents of the Strip. Abdollahian said that the continuation of Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip and the actions of the United States in the Red Sea increased insecurity in the region, and that the attack against Yemen was a strategic mistake for the United States (ISNA, January 15, 2024). Abdollahian also spoke with UN Secretary-General António Guterres to discuss the need to “stop the crimes of the Zionist regime in the Gaza Strip” and send humanitarian aid to the residents of the Gaza Strip, as well as the latest developments in the Red Sea. Abdollahian stressed that the attacks against Yemen were a strategic mistake that would lead to an escalation of regional tension (IRNA, January 16, 2024). 
Pro-Iranian militias
Iraq
  • The Islamic Resistance in Iraq claimed responsibility for an attack on the Koniko base in Syria (Islamic Resistance Telegram channel, January 15, 2024).
Yemen
  • The United States Army Central Command (CENTCOM) reported that on January 15, 2024, at around 4 p.m. Sana’a time, the Houthis had launched an anti-ship ballistic missile that hit the American-owned M/V Gibraltar Eagle, which was flying the Marshall Islands flag. It was also reported that at around 2 p.m. (Sana’a time), United States forces identified an anti-ship ballistic missile launched at the commercial shipping lanes of the southern Red Sea, and that the missile fell on land in Yemeni territory (CENTCOM X account, January 15, 2024).
  • According to the deputy chairman of the Houthi Ansarullah communications authority, they claimed responsibility for the attack on the American oil tanker in the Red Sea. He noted that in response to the American aggression, American ships had also become targets for them, and that the United States and Britain were on the verge of losing their navigation security in the Red Sea due to the aggression against Yemen, which was ready to expand its campaign against the United States and its allies in the region (Sputnik, January 15, 2024).
  • Yahya Sari’a, spokesman for the Houthi armed forces, said that their naval forces had attacked an American ship in the Gulf of Aden with naval missiles and that there had been a precise and direct hit. He noted that they regarded all the American and British ships participating in the aggression against Yemen as hostile targets and stressed that the response to the American and British attacks would surely come, and that any new attack would not go unpunished. He further stressed that they allowed the continued movement of trade in the Arabian and Red Seas to all destinations except Israeli ports (Yahya Saria’s Telegram channel, January 15, 2024).
  • Citing a “Yemeni naval source,” the Houthi defense ministry said that they would continue to prevent Israeli ships or ships sailing to Israel from crossing until the “aggression” on the Gaza Strip stopped. According to the “source,” except for these ships, navigation in the Arabian and Red Seas was safe and any ship in need of assistance could call through International Channel 16 or send them an email (Houthi ministry of defense Telegram channel, January 15, 2024).

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The Arab Arena
Jordan
  • Ayman al-Safadi, Jordanian foreign minister, said at a joint press conference with the Greek foreign minister that Jordan’s position continued to be consistent and clear since the beginning of the war in the Gaza Strip, namely the immediate cessation of the “aggression.” Al-Safadi said the time had come for the Security Council and the international community to take responsibility and make a decision to stop the “aggression.” He also stressed the need for no Israeli presence in the Gaza Strip and that any future approach had to strive for a comprehensive solution to the conflict based on the two-state solution (al-Mamlaka, January 15, 2024).
Qatar
  • Mohammed bin Abdulrahman, Qatar’s prime minister and foreign minister, said in a speech given at the World Economic Forum in Davos that the situation in the Red Sea was the most dangerous and that it affected the entire world, not just the region. He noted that the military approach would not solve the crisis and that there were many options, and if Iran and the countries of the region agreed, it would have an impact on regional security. Regarding the Gaza Strip, he said they had to strive to end the war quickly and release the hostages and Palestinian prisoners. He said the situation in Judea and Samaria was no less bad than the situation in the Gaza Strip and that there was no serious response from the international community to the situation (al-Jazeera, January 16, 2024).
Egypt
  • On January 15, 2024, demonstrations were held in Cairo against the Egyptian government, demanding the opening of the Rafah Crossing and the lifting of the siege on the Gaza Strip. The demonstrators chanted, “The cheaper the Arab blood, the more every president will fall” (Telegram, January 15, 2024).
The demonstration in Cairo (Telegram, January 15, 2024)
The demonstration in Cairo (Telegram, January 15, 2024)
The International Arena
United Nations
  • António Guterres, the UN secretary-general, said reports of sexual violence perpetrated by Hamas on October 7, 2023, should be thoroughly investigated and those guilty should be brought to justice. He said nothing could justify deliberately killing and kidnapping civilians or firing rockets at civilian targets. Guterres called for the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages and allowing them to receive visits by the Red Cross. On the other hand, he said that nothing could justify the [alleged] collective punishment of the Palestinian people and that he was deeply troubled by the clear violation of international law. He said all problems had one solution and that was to reach an immediate humanitarian ceasefire (UN website, January 16, 2024).
Global Jihad
Detention in Belgium
  • On January 13, 2024, police in Antwerp, Belgium, detained a 19-year-old man who had planned to attack a Jewish institution in connection with the war in the Gaza Strip. The detainee reportedly purchased weapons to carry out the attack (UNN, January 16, 2024).
Outlawing Hizb ut-Tahrir in Britain
  • Britain’s Home Secretary James Cleverly decided to designate Hizb ut-Tahrir as a terrorist organization and outlaw it in the country. Parliament is expected to approve the decision, which will take effect at the end of the week. If the decision is approved, anyone who belongs to the radical Islamic movement or displays symbols affiliated with it will face a prison sentence of up to 14 years. The movement, which was established in East Jerusalem in 1952 and has established branches around the world, promotes the vision of establishing an Islamic Caliphate and establishing Sharia throughout the world through jihad alongside anti-Semitic statements and calls for the killing of Jews and the destruction of Israel. Senior Hizb ut-Tahrir officials expressed support for the October 7, 2023, massacre, and the party held several demonstrations in London, where calls for “jihad” were heard as well as calls for Muslim countries to invade Israel. The movement had served as a platform for radicalism, and many of its members later joined more radical Islamic terrorist organizations, mainly al-Qaeda and ISIS (al-Jazeera, January 15, 2024).
ISIS operatives attempt to escape from al-Sina’a prison in Syria
  • The Kurdish forces in Syria (SDF) reported that on the morning of January 16, 2024, the al-Sina’a prison in northeastern Syria, where ISIS operatives are held, had been attacked with missiles. Several prisoners were reportedly lightly wounded and dozens of ISIS operatives tried to escape following the attack. According to the report, the Kurdish forces thwarted the escape attempt (SDF website, January 16, 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, the Shi'ite Houthis in Yemen and the pro-Iranian militias in Iraq.