Operation Iron Swords (Updated to 1 p.m., January 23, 2024)

IDF tanks near al-Khair Hospital in west Khan Yunis (al-Arabi channel, January 23, 2024)

IDF tanks near al-Khair Hospital in west Khan Yunis (al-Arabi channel, January 23, 2024)

An al-Jazeera correspondent in the west of the city of Khan Yunis, near al-Aqsa University, reports on the fighting in the area (al-Jazeera YouTube channel, January 23, 2024)

An al-Jazeera correspondent in the west of the city of Khan Yunis, near al-Aqsa University, reports on the fighting in the area (al-Jazeera YouTube channel, January 23, 2024)

The explosion in which 21 IDF soldiers were killed (al-Jazeera YouTube channel, January 23, 2024)

The explosion in which 21 IDF soldiers were killed (al-Jazeera YouTube channel, January 23, 2024)

The Rafah Crossing (al-Shorouk, January 22, 2024).

The Rafah Crossing (al-Shorouk, January 22, 2024).

Northern Arena, Israeli Casualties, Rocket Fire

Overview[1]
  • The southern arena: There was heavy fighting in Khan Yunis, mainly in the south and west of the city. The IDF forces completed the encirclement of the area and now plan to launch raids on terrorist targets. During the operation the forces clashed with armed terrorist squads and three IDF officers were killed. Hamas accused Israel of attacking sites which had been classified as shelters for displaced persons. In the central Gaza Strip, 21 fighters were killed when two buildings collapsed as the forces prepared to demolish them to evacuate the area near the Israeli border. The Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) claimed the death toll was much higher than 21.
  • According to an unofficial estimate, since October 7, 2023, approximately 1,300 Israeli civilians and security personnel have been killed, 556 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: A senior Hamas member warned of famine in the Gaza Strip and called on international organizations to send urgent aid to the residents of the Gaza Strip. The networks of the Jawal communication company fell for the tenth time, causing the Red Crescent to claim that as a result they had lost contact with their medical teams. Senior Hamas members and Qatar’s foreign ministry reiterated yet again that any deal for the return of the hostages would be conditional upon the end of the war in the Gaza Strip.
  • The northern arena: Hezbollah claimed responsibility for five attacks against Israel. One attack, according to Hezbollah, targeted the IDF base in Miron for the second time, in response to the killings in Lebanon and Syria and [alleged] attacks on civilians in south Lebanon.
  • Judea and Samaria: A Palestinian woman armed with a knife approached an IDF position in the settlement of Psagot (east of Ramallah). Soldiers carried out procedures for detaining a suspicious individual and wounded her in the leg. The Palestinian Authority (PA) government approved a $30 million program, funded by donor countries, for the reconstruction of several cities and refugee camps that were “destroyed” by Israeli security force counterterrorism activities.
  • The pro-Iranian militias: The Islamic Resistance in Iraq claimed responsibility for launching a UAV to attack the Port of Ashdod. United States forces, in cooperation with other countries, attacked 18 Houthi targets in Yemen. The Houthis announced that the targets were open areas and former military bases and the attacks would not deter them from continuing their “activities” in the Red Sea.
The Southern Arena
  • The southern Gaza Strip: Heavy fighting continued in Khan Yunis for the past day, mainly in the south and west of the city, with the objective of dismantling the centers of Hamas rule and its military wing’s Khan Yunis Brigade. The IDF forces, operating in a densely populated area, completed the encirclement of the area and now plan to launch raids on terrorist targets. During the operation, the forces clashed with armed terrorist squads which attacked them with RPGs and anti-tank missiles. Rockets ready for launching, combat facilities, tunnel shafts and large quantities of weapons were exposed during the forces’ activity. Three IDF officers were killed in the fighting in Khan Yunis, (IDF spokesperson, January 22, 2024).
  • Palestinian media reported ongoing attacks near the Nasser Hospital in the west of the city, as well as in the Qizan Abu Rashwan area (south of Khan Yunis), where there were heavy exchanges of fire. They also reported IDF attacks in the Mawasi area, west of Rafah (Ma’an, January 23, 2024), and an IDF raid on al-Khair Hospital in west Khan Yunis, where the forces detained the medical staff (al-Arabi TV, January 23 2024).
IDF tanks near al-Khair Hospital in west Khan Yunis (al-Arabi channel, January 23, 2024)
IDF tanks near al-Khair Hospital in west Khan Yunis (al-Arabi channel, January 23, 2024)
An al-Jazeera correspondent in the west of the city of Khan Yunis, near al-Aqsa University, reports on the fighting in the area (al-Jazeera YouTube channel, January 23, 2024)    An al-Jazeera correspondent in the west of the city of Khan Yunis, near al-Aqsa University, reports on the fighting in the area (al-Jazeera YouTube channel, January 23, 2024)
An al-Jazeera correspondent in the west of the city of Khan Yunis, near al-Aqsa University, reports on the fighting in the area (al-Jazeera YouTube channel, January 23, 2024)
An al-Jazeera presenter reports on the activities of IDF forces in the Khan Yunis area (al-Jazeera YouTube channel, January 22, 2024)
An al-Jazeera presenter reports on the activities of IDF forces in the Khan Yunis area
(al-Jazeera YouTube channel, January 22, 2024)
  • Hamas criticized the IDF’s activities, and claimed that the IDF (“the army of occupation”) was committing a “new crime” against the displaced persons in Khan Yunis by attacking five centers which had been designated as safe. According to Hamas, the IDF had called on civilians to take shelter in the centers (Hamas Telegram channel, January 22, 2024).
  • The central Gaza Strip: On the afternoon of January 22, 2024, a serious incident occurred in which 21 IDF soldiers were killed. IDF forces were operating near Kissufim, in the area that separates the Israeli kibbutzim and moshavim from the Gaza Strip. The forces were removing buildings and facilities used by terrorists to create security conditions for the return of the residents of the south to their homes. A preliminary investigation of the incident revealed that an RPG missile was apparently launched by terrorists at a tank securing the force. Another RPG missile was fired at a building where the IDF forces were about to complete placing explosives in the building before detonating them. As a result of the RPG attacks, there were explosions in two two-story buildings, which collapsed while most of the force was inside and near them. A search and rescue operation was conducted throughout the night (IDF spokesperson, January 23, 2024).
The explosion in which 21 IDF soldiers were killed (al-Jazeera YouTube channel, January 23, 2024)
The explosion in which 21 IDF soldiers were killed (al-Jazeera YouTube channel, January 23, 2024)
  • Senior Hamas and PIJ members related to the incident.
    • Osama Hamdan, a senior Hamas member, claimed the operation proved that the “resistance” [terrorist organizations] fought “skillfully and controlled the territory.” It claimed it also proved the nature of the [alleged] “Israeli crimes” because preparing to demolish houses was a direct attack on civilians. He noted that Israel’s distress was increasing as it began to understand the “Palestinians” could not be defeated and their willpower could not be broken (al-Arabi tv X account, January 23, 2024).
    • Muhammad al-Hindi, deputy PIJ secretary general, claimed they believed Israel was lying and that the number of dead and wounded was much higher than what had been announced. He pointed out that the operation took place in an area that Israel had previously announced was clear and not in the heart of Khan Yunis, and they expected the IDF would retaliate against the “civilians” in the Gaza Strip (al-Arabi TV X account , January 23, 2024).
    • Musab al-Breem, a PIJ spokesman, also claimed that the number of dead announced by Israel was half the real number and that the blow was the political end of all those whose hands were stained with the blood of the Palestinian people (al-Mayadeen TV website, January 23, 2024).
    • The northern Gaza Strip: IDF fighters operated against terrorist targets in the Daraj-Tufah area. They raided the al-Jaabari post, a Hamas military wing center for training terrorist operatives. The fighters located an underground training facility, a military competence qualification-testing complex, a swimming pool for practicing naval raids, a simulator for firing mortar shells and personal arms at IDF forces, and the offices of the post’s commanders. All the buildings were destroyed by the forces (IDF spokesperson, January 22, 2024). Palestinian media reported IDF attacks in Gaza City, especially in the area of Shifaa Hospital (Ma’an, January 23, 2024).
A rocket launcher (IDF spokesperson, January 22, 2024)     A tunnel shaft located in the area.
Right: A tunnel shaft located in the area. Left: A rocket launcher
(IDF spokesperson, January 22, 2024)
  • The Palestinian media reported 195 dead and 354 wounded over the past day in IDF attacks in the Gaza Strip (Ma’an, January 23, 2024).
Palestinian reactions to the fighting
  • Senior Hamas member Osama Hamdan held a press conference in Beirut where he related to developments in the war. He said that for the past 108 days, Israel (“the Nazi occupation”) continued its “aggression and [alleged] war of extermination in the Gaza Strip.” He claimed that there were no more safe areas in the Gaza Strip, as Israel and the United States government stated, and that the nature of the third phase of the fighting, which Israel was promoting with American and Western partnership and support, was already known, and that all the phases were a continuation and escalation of the [alleged] “genocidal war, ethnic cleansing and revenge against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.” He added that the fighting continued in the north and south of the Strip, while Israel [allegedly] carried out “mass massacres in Khan Yunis, escalated all forms of attacks and destroyed civilian institutions, infrastructure, universities, mosques, hospitals, shelters, residential towers and houses.” After 108 days, Israel’s failure to achieve any goal has been exposed, and it was unable to break the willpower of the Palestinians and defeat the “resistance” [terrorist organizations] (Hamas Telegram channel in Judea and Samaria, January 22, 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, 556 of them are soldiers and officers (221 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 issue of the hostages and a ceasefire
  • During an interview, Bassem Na’im, a member of Hamas’ political bureau in Gaza, addressed the [alleged] “problem” of locating the hostages in Gaza. He claimed it was “very difficult” to provide any information about them because of the situation on the ground, which made attempts “to search for hostages” dangerous because of Israel’s incessant attacks, in addition to the fact that they were being held by different groups and in different places. Regarding their conditions for a ceasefire, he said that they had received proposals from different mediators for a temporary ceasefire, but in light of their experience from the first [temporary] ceasefire, which Israel [allegedly] violated, Hamas was now asking for a complete and comprehensive ceasefire which would allow the lifting of the blockade, the introduction of aid to the Gaza Strip, and finally, the start of a hostage deal (Russia Today website, January 21, 2024).
  • Osama Hamdan, a senior Hamas member, said that many proposals had been made and claimed there was no reason to be optimistic because Netanyahu lied to his government, the mediators and the families of the captives and blocked all initiatives. He claimed the European countries were being malicious, because everyone talked about Israel’s right to defend itself, and when the “Palestinians” faced Israeli soldiers they became terrorists. He added that following the United States would not help Europe but would bring it more problems, and claimed the American approach had not helped the Middle East overcome any problem because it only helped Israel and was “prepared to destroy the region on its behalf” (al-Jazeera channel website, January 22, 2024).
  • Muhammad al-Hindi, deputy PIJ secretary general, claimed that the statements about the hostage deal were intended for the Israeli public and their objective was to mitigate the anger of the hostages’ families, but the statements were false. He claimed that no initiative was forthcoming from Israel, and it was all just talk for the media. Three weeks previously, he claimed, they forwarded the joint Hamas-PIJ response to the document from the Egyptians, stating they were prepared for a hostage deal on the condition of a ceasefire and a complete withdrawal of IDF forces from the Gaza Strip (al-Arabi TV X account, January 23, 2024).
  • The foreign ministry in Qatar stated that mediation efforts continued and the end of the regional tensions depended on the end of the war in the Gaza Strip. According to the ministry, a peace process had to be initiated immediately, and Qatar was engaged in “serious negotiations” with the two sides. He called on the international community to exert pressure on Israel to allow the delivery of humanitarian aid to the residents of the Gaza Strip. He also noted that Qatar supported all efforts to prevent escalation in the Red Sea (al-Jazeera, January 23, 2024).

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The Gaza Strip
Palestinian casualties
  • The Hamas-controlled ministry of health in the Gaza Strip reported that as of 11:15 a.m., January 23, 2024, the number of dead since the beginning of the war stood at 25,490 and the number of wounded at 63,354 (ministry of health in Gaza Facebook page, January 23, 2024).
The situation in the Gaza Strip
  • The Palestinian media reported the continued displacement of residents from the fighting areas in the center and west of Khan Yunis, towards the city of Rafah. Tent camps continue to be erected in Rafah and there are many reports of overcrowding in the city (Wafa YouTube channel, January 22, 2024).
 Tent camps for displaced persons in Rafah (Wafa YouTube channel, January 22, 2024)    Residents of Khan Yunis displace to the Rafah area.
Right: Residents of Khan Yunis displace to the Rafah area. Left: Tent camps for displaced persons in Rafah (Wafa YouTube channel, January 22, 2024)
  • Senior Hamas figure Osama Hamdan claimed that in light of the shortage of food in the Gaza Strip and its complete absence in many areas in the north, more than half a million Palestinians in the northern Gaza Strip were in danger of dying, were starving and had not eaten for days. He called on the World Health Organization to act immediately and declare the Gaza Strip a famine-stricken area, and press for measures to prevent the worsening of the catastrophic humanitarian situation in the Strip. He also called on UNRWA to meet its humanitarian responsibilities and fulfill its role in bringing in aid and distributing it to all areas of the Gaza Strip, especially to the north, and not to give in to Israel’s pressure and dictates. He called on all countries in the world, in coordination with the relevant UN agencies, to exert pressure on Israel and the American administration to make it possible for humanitarian aid to be brought in by land, air and sea. He also called on the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the Arab League, and the leaders of the Arab-Islamic nation, to intervene immediately and exert serious pressure to open the crossings and bring in aid, by sending convoys and air-lifting aid to prevent famine (Hamas Telegram channel in Judea and Samaria, January 22, 2024).
  • The Palestinian Jawal communications company announced that its services in the Gaza Strip were unavailable for the tenth time since October 7, 2023 (Jawal X account January 22, 2024). The Palestinian Red Crescent in the Gaza Strip reported that without Jawal communications capabilities it had lost all contact with its medical teams in the field (Ultra Palestine, January 23, 2024).
The Rafah Crossing
  • Dhia Rashwan, head of the Egyptian Information Bureau, related to Israel’s claims that weapons were being smuggled from Egyptian territory into the Gaza Strip. He claimed “the whole world knows the extent of the efforts that Egypt has invested in achieving security and stability at the border of the Gaza Strip,” adding that Egypt had full sovereignty over its territory and borders. Therefore, he said, any claim regarding smuggling through aid trucks entering the Gaza Strip from the Rafah Crossing was false, because every truck that passed through the Crossing first passed through the Kerem Shalom Crossing, which is controlled by Israel. He claimed Israel was lying “to justify the continued killing of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and to create legitimacy for occupying the Philadelphia Axis.” He emphasized that “any move in this direction will threaten Israeli-Egyptian relations (al-Shorouk, January 22, 2024).
The Rafah Crossing (al-Shorouk, January 22, 2024).
The Rafah Crossing (al-Shorouk, January 22, 2024).
The Hamas leadership
  • Sources close to the Hamas leadership said that in order to avoid Israeli surveillance and in the wake of the damage to the communication lines of the Hamas leadership, the leaders of the movement had adopted a new way of communicating with each other, and especially with the leaders of the “external” movement. According to the sources, since Hamas had lost a large number of communications tunnels, the movement had been forced to use members of the movement or associates,, who were not known to the public, to deliver handwritten messages. The messages, said the sources, were delivered to people who could contact the “external” leadership in various ways. The sources added that the “external” leadership did not make any decision without the approval of Yahya al-Sinwar and the leadership in the Gaza Strip (al-Sharq al-Awsat, January 22, 2024).
  • Bassem Na’im, a member of Hamas’ political bureau in the Gaza Strip, was asked by an interviewer whether, in light of the lawsuit filed by South Africa against Israel at the International Criminal Court and Indonesia’s intention to file another lawsuit against Israel, Hamas was willing to appear before the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the International Court of Justice for justice (ICJ) and answer questions about the events. Na’im avoided answering by claiming that not only this time, but also in 2008, 2012, 2014 and 2021, Hamas had welcomed the arrival of international investigative commissions and cooperated with all those that visited the Strip, most famously the Goldstone Commission. He said that in all cases Israel had refused to cooperate with commissions or allow them to visit Israel. Asked if Hamas knew about the existence of the Nova Festival when it carried out the October 7, 2023 attack. Naim claimed it had not. He added that organizing a huge music festival near the border of a combat zone was irresponsible and reflected the “arrogance of the Israelis” [sic]. He falsely stated the attack had been carried out from Rafah to Beit Hanoun, and had not targeted the festival. He also falsely claimed he could show many Israeli videos and reports admitting it was the Israelis who killed the festival participants (Russia Today website, January 21, 2024).
The issue of “the day after”
  • The Wall Street Journal reported that five Arab states were working on an initiative for a post-war Gaza which would pave the way for a Palestinian state in exchange for Saudi Arabian recognition of Israel and normalization between the countries. According to Saudi Arabian and Egyptian sources, the proposal has not yet been completed but has so far been met with refusal by the Israeli government, with the establishment of a Palestinian state’s being the main sticking point (The Wall Street Journal and Ynet News, January 22, 2024).
  • Sky News TV in Arabic later reported that it had a draft proposal regarding the future of the Gaza Strip, according to which talks would be held between Israel and Arab parties so that the PA could take over the management of the Strip after the war. Hamas, or any other armed organization that opposed the two-state solution, would be removed from the Strip and all heavy weapons will be collected and destroyed. Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, would be ready to establish relations with Israel and participate in the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip, provided there was a clear path to the establishment of a Palestinian state. The United States would work to bring in Arab and international forces to mediate between the Gaza Strip and Israel and between the Strip and the Egyptian border (Sky News, January 23, 2024).

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The Northern Arena
Hezbollah attacks
  • Hezbollah continued attacking IDF posts and concentrations of forces on the border of Israel, and claimed responsibility for five anti-tank missile and rocket attacks (Hezbollah combat information Telegram channel, January 22 and 23, 2024). One of the rocket attacks for which it claimed responsibility was on the morning of January 23, 2024, and targeted the Israeli Air Force base in Miron. According to Hezbollah, it was the second time they attacked the base, this time in response to the recent killings in Lebanon and Syria and the[alleged] repeated acts of “aggression” against civilians (Hezbollah combat information Telegram channel, January 23, 2024). The base was superficially damaged but its operational capability was not affected (IDF spokesperson, January 23, 2023)
  • Israeli Air Force fighter jets attacked a terrorist building in the Maroun al-Ras area where Hezbollah operatives were staying. After the attack there were several secondary explosions, indicating the presence of weapons. The IDF also attacked three observation posts and a terrorist structure in the Maruhin area (about a kilometer northwest of Zarit). Attacks were also carried out on targets in Chihine, Tiba, Aitaroun and Tayr Harfa (IDF spokesperson, January 22, 2024).
Attack on a Hezbollah terrorist facility of Hezbollah (IDF spokesperson, January 22, 2024)    Attack on a terrorist building in the Majdal Selm area
Right: Attack on a terrorist building in the Majdal Selm area Left: Attack on a Hezbollah terrorist facility of Hezbollah (IDF spokesperson, January 22, 2024)
Attack on an observation post in the Tayr Harfa area (IDF spokesperson, January 22, 2024)     Attack on an observation post in Maruhin.
Right: Attack on an observation post in Maruhin. Left: Attack on an observation post in the Tayr Harfa area (IDF spokesperson, January 22, 2024)
Israeli Air Force strikes in Aitaroun (Fouad Khreiss' X account, January 22, 2024)
Israeli Air Force strikes in Aitaroun (Fouad Khreiss’ X account, January 22, 2024)
  • Ali Shoeib, a correspondent for the al-Manar network, published a photo of the IDF attack in Maruhin (Ali Shoeib’s X account, January 22, 2024).
Israeli Air Force strikes in Maruhin (Ali Shoeib's X account, January 22, 2024)
Israeli Air Force strikes in Maruhin (Ali Shoeib’s X account, January 22, 2024)
  • According to reports, an airstrike was carried out on January 22, 2024, targeting a building in Majdal Selm, and about nine kilometers west of Kiryat Shmona; one person was killed and three were injured (Fouad Khreiss’ X account, January 22, 2024; LBC, January 23, 2024) Another report stated that the person killed was Haydar Hussein Ibrahim of al-Adeisa (Jezzine News, January 22, 2024). Hezbollah reported his death as an operative of the organization (Hezbollah combat information Telegram channel, January 22, 2024).
The building which was destroyed (LBC, January 23, 2024)    Rescue teams near a damaged structure in Majdal Selm (Fouad Khreiss' X account, January 22, 2024).
Right: Rescue teams near a damaged structure in Majdal Selm (Fouad Khreiss’ X account, January 22, 2024). Left: The building which was destroyed (LBC, January 23, 2024)

Hezbollah fatalities

  • Hezbollah reported the deaths of two operatives from south Lebanon (Hezbollah’s combat information Telegram channel, January 22, 2024).
    • Ali Saeed Yahya, aka Jawad, from al-Taybeh.
    • Haidar Hussein Ibrahim, aka Sajed, from al-Adeisa.
Hezbollah fatalities (Hezbollah's combat information Telegram channel, January 22, 2024)    Hezbollah fatalities (Hezbollah's combat information Telegram channel, January 22, 2024)
Hezbollah fatalities (Hezbollah’s combat information Telegram channel, January 22, 2024)
Hezbollah
  • Hassan Fadlallah, a member of Hezbollah’s parliamentary faction, said Hezbollah would respond to any attack on civilians by attacking the “settlements on the border.” He said they were prepared for any scenario and that stopping the “aggression” against the Gaza Strip was the only way to open the door to talks about any other solution (al-Mayadeen, January 22, 2024).
The Lebanese government
  • Lebanese Defense Minister Maurice Salim met in his office with Joanna Fronska, the UN special coordinator for Lebanon, to discuss developments in south Lebanon, among other things (al-Nashra, January 22, 20204).
  • Samir Geagea, head of the Lebanese Forces party, said the situation in the region was unclear and that Lebanon was in the eye of the storm. According to him, if the Lebanese army were deployed on the southern border of the country, the country and its residents would be spared all the events they were now witnessing. Geagea stressed that support for the Palestinian cause was one thing and achieving political achievements under the slogan of the Palestinian cause was another (Beirut News, January 22, 2024).

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Judea and Samaria
Terrorist attacks
  • On the morning of January 23, 2024, a Palestinian woman armed with a knife arrived near an IDF post in the community of Psagot (east of Ramallah). A force at the scene initiated the standard procedure for detaining suspected individuals and wounded her in the leg (Israeli media and IDF spokesperson, January 23, 2024).
Counterterrorism activities
  • The Israeli security forces continued their counterterrorism activities throughout Judea and Samaria, detaining eight wanted Palestinians. Since the beginning of the war, about 2,700 wanted Palestinians have been detained, including about 1,300 of them Hamas operatives (IDF spokesperson’s Telegram channel, January 23, 2024).
  • On the night of January 22, 2024, Israeli security forces operated in Hebron city, seizing terrorist funds intended to finance terrorist activity. In the South Hebron Mountain, the forces seized weapons, and in the Old City of Nablus and the Balata refugee camp, they detained several wanted Palestinians (IDF spokesperson’s Telegram channel, January 23, 2024).
Palestinian Authority (PA)
  • During its weekly meeting chaired by Muhammad Shtayyeh, the PA government approved the reconstruction of the Old City of Nablus and the Nur al-Shams and Tulkarm refugee camps at a total cost of $30 million, following the recent activity of the Israeli security forces, which caused extensive damage to infrastructure. As part of the plan, damaged roads, water infrastructure, buildings and schools will be repaired. Funding for the program comes from the PA donor countries (al-Quds, January 23, 2024).

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Iran
  • Ali Khamenei, Supreme Leader of Iran, told a conference in Tehran that Islamic countries had to cut off “the vital arteries of the Zionist regime.” He said that in the not-too-distant future, the Islamic nation would see the victory of the residents of the Gaza Strip (Fars, January 22, 2024).
  • Hossein Amir Abdollahian, Iranian foreign minister, sent a communiqué to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres protesting the continued killings of Iranian Revolutionary Guards officers attributed to Israel. Abdollahian claimed that Israel continued to violate the principles of international law and the UN Charter and was taking actions that endangered the security of the region and the world. He said Iran strongly condemned Israel’s [alleged] “acts of terrorism” intended to divert attention from “the crimes of the Israeli regime against the Palestinian people, especially in the Gaza Strip.” Abdollahian also wrote that Iran reserved the right to respond decisively to such actions at the time and place it chose. He said the UN Security Council had to strongly condemn Israel’s actions, which posed a threat to regional and global peace and security (Tasnim, January 22, 2024).
  • Abdollahian arrived in New York to participate in a Security Council meeting regarding the situation in the Gaza Strip. In New York, he met with his Russian and Lebanese counterparts (IRNA, January 23, 2024).
Pro-Iranian militias
Iraq
  • Concurrent with its activity against American bases in Iraq and Syria, the Islamic Resistance in Iraq has recently claimed responsibility for more and more attacks it claims it carried out against Israel. On January 23, 2024, the Islamic Resistance announced that they had attacked the Port of Ashdod with drones (Islamic Resistance Telegram channel, January 23, 2024). In Israel, no attack on the port of Ashdod has been reported.
  • In addition, the Islamic Resistance claimed responsibility for two rocket attacks against the Koniko base in Syria and for a drone attack on the Ain al-Assad base in western Iraq (Islamic Resistance Telegram channel, January 23, 2024).
Documentation of a missile being fired at the Ain al-Assad camp (Islamic Resistance Telegram channel, January 23, 2024)     Documentation of a missile being fired at the Ain al-Assad camp (Islamic Resistance Telegram channel, January 23, 2024)
Documentation of a missile being fired at the Ain al-Assad camp
(Islamic Resistance Telegram channel, January 23, 2024)
Yemen
  • The Pentagon issued a joint statement with Britain, Australia, Bahrain, Canada and the Netherlands, saying that on January 22, 2024, the United States and Britain had carried out a series of attacks against the Houthis in Yemen. The airstrikes reportedly targeted an underground storage site for missiles and other Houthi military assets and were intended to hit the Houthis’ ability to threaten global trade and the lives of innocent sailors (Reuters, January 23, 2024).
  • Hizam al-Assad, a member of the Houthis’ political bureau, said that the sites hit in the American and British attack had been open areas or former military bases, and that the attack would not stop them from attacking Israeli ships (al-Arabi, January 23, 2024). Yahya Saria, spokesman for the Houthi armed forces, noted that British and American planes had attacked 18 times during the night, including 12 targets in the capital Sana’a and the region, three in the al-Hudaydah Province, twice in Taiz Province, and once in the al-Bayda Province. He said the attacks would not go unpunished (Yahya Saria’s Telegram channel, January 22, 2024).
  • In another statement, Yahya Saria announced that Yemeni naval forces had attacked the M/V Ocean Jazz in the Gulf of Aden with naval missiles. He also said that they affirmed that the response to the American and British attacks was necessary, and that any attack would not go unanswered. He also reiterated that their operations against Israeli ships would not stop until the “aggression” against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip ceased (Yahya Saria’s Telegram channel, January 22, 2024).
  • In connection with the attack on the ship, correspondent Liz Friden reported on Fox News, quoting “American officials,” that the claims that the Houthis had attacked the M/V Ocean Jazz in the Gulf of Aden were not true and that it was Houthi propaganda (Liz Friden’s X account, January 22, 2024).
  • Senior Hamas figure Osama Hamdan said Hamas condemned the American administration’s designation of the Ansar Allah movement (i.e., the Houthis) as a terrorist organization. He said Hamas also condemned the continued American-British “aggression” against Yemen and the threat of escalation, seeing it as an American insistence on defending Israel and aiding “its crimes and aggression” against the Palestinians and the Arab and Islamic nation. He praised the brothers in Yemen, Lebanon and Iraq, praising their sacrifice and jihad. He stressed that the time had come to cut off the hand of Israel, which was attacking the Palestinians, their land, the holy places, and the entire region, and that the Palestinians would continue their steadfastness, struggle and resistance, and “crown the confrontation with a decisive victory” (Hamas in the West Bank Telegram channel, January 22, 2024).

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The Arab Arena
Arab League
  • The permanent representatives in the Arab League met on January 22, 2024, in Cairo. At the end of the meeting, they issued a joint statement calling on the United States to adopt a position consistent with international law calling for a full ceasefire in the Gaza Strip. They also called for Israel to stop its “aggression” against the Palestinian people (Wafa, January 22, 2024).
Iraq
  • Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammad Shia’ al-Sudani spoke with British Foreign Secretary David Cameron to discuss the latest developments in the Middle East and the Gaza Strip. Al-Sudani stressed that the “aggression” in the Gaza Strip had to be stopped and that international and joint action had to prevent the conflict from escalating. According to him, the suffering of the Palestinian people now affected the entire region. He also stressed that the global coalition’s presence in Iraq had to end. Cameron stressed that Britain supported Iraq’s stability and security. He expressed appreciation for Iraq for its efforts to prevent the conflict from spreading in the Middle East (Iraqi News Agency, January 22, 2024).
The International Arena
United States
  • White House spokesperson John Kirby said Israel had every right to defend itself, but they did not want to see hospitals as war zones, and they should be protected as much as possible. He added that they supported pauses in the fighting for the release of hostages, and that they believed normalization between Saudi Arabia and Israel was still possible (Reuters, January 22, 2024).
  • In addition, Kirby said that President Joe Biden had spoken with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and discussed developments in the Gaza Strip and the Red Sea. The two stressed that aid to the Gaza Strip had to be increased and the lives of its residents had to be protected (Reuters, January 23, 2024).
  • The United States Department of the Treasury announced that the United States, Britain and Australia had imposed sanctions on Hamas’ financial networks and on entities operating in virtual currencies that transferred funds to Hamas and the PIJ. According to the announcement, the Department of the Treasury will continue, in close coordination with its allies and partners, to target Hamas, its funders and its international financial infrastructure. In addition, sanctions were imposed on ten Hamas operatives who manage assets in Hamas’ investment portfolio, on a Qatari financial entity with close ties to the Iranian regime, and on a virtual currency exchange in the Gaza Strip and its operators. At the same time, the Department of the Treasury announced that the United States had imposed sanctions on the leaders of the Kataib Hezbollah (Hezbollah Brigades) militia and Fly Baghdad for their support of the IRGC’s Qods Force (Department of the Treasury website, January 22, 2024).
Global Jihad
  • The al-Farouq Brigades, whose establishment in the Sinai Peninsula was recently announced, published a fatwa issued by Abdullah Azzam, Osama bin Laden’s mentor, regarding the war in Afghanistan and “Palestine.” According to the fatwa, the lands of “Palestine” are lands of Islamic endowment (waqf) that must be liberated by a war of jihad, which is the personal duty of every Muslim (Telegram, January 22, 2024).

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