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

IDF forces in the Gaza Strip (IDF website, January 25, 2024)

IDF forces in the Gaza Strip (IDF website, January 25, 2024)

IDF forces in the Gaza Strip (IDF website, January 25, 2024)

IDF forces in the Gaza Strip (IDF website, January 25, 2024)

Identifying terrorists in a house in the central Gaza Strip from which terrorists fired at IDF forces.

Identifying terrorists in a house in the central Gaza Strip from which terrorists fired at IDF forces.

Destroying the tunnel connecting the northern and southern Gaza Strip (IDF website, January 24, 2024)

Destroying the tunnel connecting the northern and southern Gaza Strip (IDF website, January 24, 2024)

Gazans leave Khan Yunis area and move towards Rafah (al-Jazeera YouTube channel, January 25, 2024)

Gazans leave Khan Yunis area and move towards Rafah (al-Jazeera YouTube channel, January 25, 2024)

An al-Jazeera TV correspondent reports the arrival of aid trucks (al-Jazeera YouTube channel, January 25, 2024)

An al-Jazeera TV correspondent reports the arrival of aid trucks (al-Jazeera YouTube channel, January 25, 2024)

Abbas meets with British Foreign Secretary Cameron (Wafa, January 24, 2024)

Abbas meets with British Foreign Secretary Cameron (Wafa, January 24, 2024)

Northern Arena, Israeli Casualties, Rocket Fire

Overview[1]
  • The southern arena: The activity of the IDF forces continued focusing on the Khan Yunis area in the southern Gaza Strip. During the operation, the forces located weapons and clashed with a large number of armed squads. The Palestinians claimed that the IDF forces had attacked an UNRWA facility in the west of Khan Yunis. In the central Gaza Strip the forces uncovered a tunnel connecting the northern and southern Gaza Strip, located 1.5 kilometers (about 9/10 of a mile) from the border with Israel.
  • 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.
  • Negotiations for a hostage deal: So far, no progress has been made on the issue of a hostage deal. Hamas members denied all reports in the international news agencies and the Israeli media about a possible exchange deal sponsored by Qatar and Egypt. Senior Hamas members reiterated that they stood by their initial conditions for any deal, the first of which was a ceasefire and the withdrawal of IDF forces from the Gaza Strip. Regarding the possibility of deporting Hamas leaders from the Gaza Strip as a condition for the ceasefire, senior Hamas members stated that such a proposal had never been presented to them by any mediator.
  • The Gaza Strip: The heavy fighting has caused residents of the Khan Yunis area to continue moving to the Rafah area. Senior figures, including the president of Egypt, claim that the humanitarian aid received by the Gaza Strip every day is insufficient.
  • The northern arena: Hezbollah claimed responsibility for six attacks against Israel. Israeli Air Force fighter planes and artillery attacked in the Yaroun area (about three kilometers north of Dovev). The Hezbollah-affiliated daily al-Akhbar published an article which claimed that the Lebanese army, Lebanon, and UNIFIL had “data” confirming Israel’s intention to escalate the fighting. A senior Hezbollah member reiterated that they regarded an attack on civilians as a red line and would respond to such an attack.
  • The Palestinian Authority: Mahmoud Abbas met with David Cameron, the British foreign minister. He said that contrary to Israel’s plans, the Gaza Strip had no security or military solution and could not be cut off from the “Palestinian state.”
  • The pro-Iranian militias: For the second time, the Islamic Resistance in Iraq claimed responsibility for launching a UAV to attack the Port of Ashdod. The Houthis attacked a ship flying the American flag.
The Southern Arena
  • The IDF forces continued their operations in the Khan Yunis area and are encircling it. The fighters raided Hamas posts and with aerial assistance fought terrorist squads which tried to attack them. During the activity the forces located dozens of Kalashnikov assault rifles, RPGs, ammunition magazines, uniforms and vests (IDF spokesperson, November 24, 2024). On the night of January 24, 2024, the forces operated in the al-Amal neighborhood. They eliminated a large number of terrorists with sniper fire and airstrikes, destroyed terrorist facilities and weapons, and located military headquarters where large quantities of weapons were located (IDF spokesperson, January 25, 2024).
IDF forces in the Gaza Strip (IDF website, January 25, 2024)     IDF forces in the Gaza Strip (IDF website, January 25, 2024)
IDF forces in the Gaza Strip (IDF website, January 25, 2024)
  • The Palestinian media reported IDF attacks continued in the west of Khan Yunis. According to reports, the IDF attacked houses near the eastern side of Nasser Hospital, and Nasser and al-Amal Hospitals (which belongs to the Palestinian Red Crescent) had been surrounded by IDF forces. Attacks were also reported in the west and east of Rafah (Ma’an, January 25, 2024).
  • The Palestinians reported a heavy exchange of fire between the members of the “resistance” [terrorist organizations] and IDF forces attempting to enter the Khan Yunis refugee camp in the west of the city. It was also reported that an Israeli Air Force aircraft had attacked the open area behind Nasser Hospital (Shehab X account , January 25, 2024). Hashem Zaqout, an al-Jazeera TV correspondent in Rafah, claimed that the IDF forces were encircling west Khan Yunis and not allowing media teams to enter the area (al-Jazeera YouTube channel, January 25, 2024 ).
Al-Jazeera TV analysis and description of the fighting in the Khan Yunis area (right) with an emphasis on extensive activity in the west of the city, where the refugee camp, al-Aqsa University and Nasser and al-Amal Hospitals (left) are situated (al-Jazeera YouTube channel, January 24, 2024 )
Al-Jazeera TV analysis and description of the fighting in the Khan Yunis area (right) with an emphasis on extensive activity in the west of the city, where the refugee camp, al-Aqsa University and Nasser and al-Amal Hospitals (left) are situated (al-Jazeera YouTube channel, January 24, 2024 )
  • The central Gaza Strip: During the past week IDF soldiers located a tunnel connecting the northern and southern Gaza Strip, located at a distance of 1.5 kilometers (about 9/10 of a mile) from the Israeli border. The tunnel was about a kilometer long and about twenty meters deep (about six stories underground). During the operation, the soldiers located anti-aircraft missiles, launchers and equipment for the manufacture and launching of rockets. Dozens of warheads and electronic components for operating rockets were also found. During the operation, the forces encountered a large number of terrorist squads planning to attack them (IDF spokesperson, January 24 and 25, 2024). Palestinian media reported an attack on  buildings in the al-Nuseirat refugee camp (Ma’an, January 25, 2024).
Attacking the terrorists (IDF website, January 25, 2024)    Identifying terrorists in a house in the central Gaza Strip from which terrorists fired at IDF forces.
Right: Identifying terrorists in a house in the central Gaza Strip from which terrorists fired at IDF forces. Left: Attacking the terrorists (IDF website, January 25, 2024)
Destroying the tunnel connecting the northern and southern Gaza Strip (IDF website, January 24, 2024)
Destroying the tunnel connecting the northern and southern Gaza Strip
(IDF website, January 24, 2024)
  • The northern Gaza Strip: Palestinian media reported attacks in the Jabalia refugee camp (Ma’an, January 25, 2024).
Claims the IDF attacked an UNRWA facility
  • On the evening of January 24, 2024, Thomas White, UNRWA director in the Gaza Strip, reported that two tanks had hit a building sheltering 800 Palestinians in Khan Yunis, and that there were nine dead and 75 wounded (UNRWA director’s X account, January 24, 2024). A correspondent for al-Arabi TV reported that shells had been fired at an UNRWA training facility in western Khan Yunis, which served as a shelter for many residents. He said the IDF had attacked the facility twice this week (al-Arabi TV, January 24, 2024).
  • The Palestinian Authority (PA) foreign ministry condemned Israel’s “brutal attack” on UNRWA headquarters in Khan Yunis, in which several people had been killed and many injured. According to the foreign ministry, they viewed the attack as a practical attempt to harm UNRWA and eliminate its presence in the Gaza Strip, and an attempt by Israel to withhold basic aid from the Palestinians (PA foreign ministry X account, January 24, 2024).
  • The United States State Department and the National Security Council expressed concern about the IDF attack on the UNRWA shelter in Khan Yunis, and called for protection for the residents and UNRWA employees in the Gaza Strip (Wafa, January 25, 2024).
Gazans evacuate the UNRWA facility in west Khan Yunis after it was allegedly attacked by the IDF (al-Arabi TV, January 24, 2024)
Gazans evacuate the UNRWA facility in west Khan Yunis after it was allegedly attacked by the IDF (al-Arabi TV, January 24, 2024)
Palestinian perspective on the fighting
  • Taher al-Nunu, media advisor to Isma’il Haniyeh, head of Hamas’ political bureau, claimed that the “resistance” in the Gaza Strip was not limited to Hamas’ military wing, but included the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), the al-Mujahedeen Brigades, and other “organizations” that had united “to confront and defeat Israel” (al-Masry al-Youm, January 25, 2024). Several Palestinian terrorist organizations recently published messages claiming responsibility for launching rockets at Israel.
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 agreement
  • “Knowledgeable” Egyptian sources said a scenario was ready for a ceasefire with a preliminary phase of a month-long ceasefire. According to the sources, the proposal currently depended on the parties’ committing to it. They noted that during his visit to Cairo, Brett McGurk, the United States envoy to the Middle East, had negotiated the terms Hamas was supposed to fulfill as part of the deal. They noted that Egypt was currently more focused on “the day after” the war (al-Araby al-Jadeed, January 25, 2024). White House Spokesman John Kirby reported that Brett McGurk was in Qatar where he was holding deliberations for a possible hostage deal between Israel and Hamas (Reuters, January 24, 2024).
  • “A source in Hamas” denied all the international news agency and Israeli media reports regarding a possible [hostage] exchange deal between Hamas and Israel sponsored by Qatar and Egypt, claiming that Israel invented reports which had no basis in fact. “The source” reiterated Hamas’ well-known position, that the “aggression” had to be stopped completely and the IDF forces had to withdraw from the entire Gaza Strip before discussing a hudna (truce) or any other deal. He reiterated the “united position” of Hamas’ political bureau and military wing, claiming the coordination between them was “perfect,” they maintained the same positions and adhered to the same conditions (Quds Press, January 24, 2024).
  • Taher al-Nunu, media advisor to Isma’il Haniyeh, head of Hamas’ political bureau, again reiterated that Hamas had informed the mediators it consistently adhered to its position not to engage in any negotiations that would lead to a hostage deal before the complete and permanent cessation of “aggression” and assurance that the IDF would completely withdraw from the Gaza Strip. He claimed Hamas had received many proposals for initiatives, but it was too early to talk about the final outcome of the negotiations. He reiterated that Hamas had repeatedly informed the mediators of the need to stop the “aggression” before any discussion regarding a deal. He claimed Israel was not currently in a position to dictate terms, while it gathered up its soldiers who had been killed and wounded in the battles in Gaza [City] and Khan Yunis. In response to talks about the expulsion of Hamas leaders from the Gaza Strip as a condition for a ceasefire, al-Nunu said it was out of the question. He said the proposal had not been made by any mediating entity, and had only been published by the Israeli media. In response to Israel’s claims that it was close to releasing its hostages, al-Nunu called the claims “ridiculous” (al-Masry al-Youm, January 25, 2024).
  • Osama Hamdan, a senior Hamas member, said ideas and initiatives existed, but so far it was not possible to discuss finalizing them. He claimed Israel was trying to gain time and did not show seriousness even in relation to its own ideas. Israel, he claimed, had not met their “most minimal” demands, reiterating yet again that all understandings had to be based on a full and comprehensive ceasefire and the withdrawal of IDF forces from the entire Gaza Strip. He stated that Hamas would not agree to negotiate temporary ceasefires, only a comprehensive and permanent ceasefire. He said that at the time it was impossible to talk about points of possible agreement between the parties. Hamdan added that there was a need for international guarantees from the UN and regional countries for any agreement. Regarding the proposal that senior Hamas members leave the Gaza Strip, he said it was not a proposal but an Israeli media leak, and that Hamas would not accept such a proposal for any reason (Sky News YouTube channel in Arabic, January 25, 2024).
  • Muhammad Nizal, a member of Hamas’ political bureau, claimed Israel was escalating its “aggression” in the field to exert pressure on Hamas, and on the political level it was increasing its demands and wanted to enter into negotiations without giving guarantees and commitments for a permanent ceasefire, for the withdrawal of IDF forces from the Gaza Strip, and for an “everyone in return for everyone” hostage deal. Regarding the guarantees Hamas wanted, he mentioned Egypt and Qatar, which were involved in the negotiations, and said Hamas had also offered Turkey as a guarantor. He added that some people were also offering the United States as a guarantor for Israel. Asked about the proposal for a month-long truce and the safe departure of Hamas leaders from Gaza, he said it was an impossible scenario and out of the question. He added that no initiative had been presented to Hamas regarding the departure of the Hamas leadership from the Gaza Strip, and the movement would refuse deal based on the departure of Hamas leaders or operatives it from the Gaza Strip (al-Hadath website, January 24, 2024).

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The Gaza Strip
Palestinian casualties
  • The Hamas-controlled ministry of health in the Gaza Strip reported that as of 12:15 a.m., January 24, 2024, the number of dead since the beginning of the war stood at 25,700 and the number of wounded at 63,740 (ministry of health in Gaza Facebook page, January 24, 2024).
The situation in the Gaza Strip
  • According to reports, following the expansion of the activities of the IDF forces and the heavy fighting around Khan Yunis, local residents continued to leave the area, especially near al-Aqsa University. The residents were reported fleeing towards Rafah through al-Rashid Street, the seaside road that connects the northern Gaza Strip to the south (al-Jazeera YouTube channel, January 25, 2024).
Gazans leave Khan Yunis area and move towards Rafah (al-Jazeera YouTube channel, January 25, 2024)     Gazans leave Khan Yunis area and move towards Rafah (al-Jazeera YouTube channel, January 25, 2024)
Gazans leave Khan Yunis area and move towards Rafah
(al-Jazeera YouTube channel, January 25, 2024)
Aid for the Gaza Strip
  • Egyptian President Abdelfattah el-Sisi claimed that Israel was making it difficult for humanitarian aid to enter the Strip in order to put pressure on the residents and bring about the release of the hostages. He noted that before the war, more than 600 trucks entered Gaza every day and now the number was down to 200. He said the Rafah Crossing was open for delivering aid to the Gaza Strip 24 hours a day (Egyptian Extra News network, January 24, 2024).
  • Hani al-Shaer, an al-Jazeera TV correspondent, reporting from the Palestinian side of the Rafah Crossing, related to the entry of trucks carrying food and medical equipment into the Gaza Strip. He reported the entrance of about 150 trucks per day, which he said did not meet the residents’ needs (al-Jazeera YouTube channel, January 25, 2024).
An al-Jazeera TV correspondent reports the arrival of aid trucks (al-Jazeera YouTube channel, January 25, 2024)      An al-Jazeera TV correspondent reports the arrival of aid trucks (al-Jazeera YouTube channel, January 25, 2024)
An al-Jazeera TV correspondent reports the arrival of aid trucks
(al-Jazeera YouTube channel, January 25, 2024)
Statements by senior Hamas members
  • Khaled Qadoumi, a senior Hamas member and the movement’s representative in Iran, claimed Hamas had never asked to be part of a government but it could not be ignored, because it was no longer a Palestinian faction, it was more than that. It had become a movement “within the Islamic world and the free world.” He added that Hamas was “present” in Britain and the United States and on five continents, not to mention its presence in “Palestine.” He said there were those who wanted to dictate to the Palestinian people who would decide their future, however, the Palestinian people were Hamas and Hamas was the Palestinian people. Regarding contacts between Hamas and the PA, he said that Palestinian society was one, and Operation al-Aqsa Flood had united all its ranks against Israel. Therefore, connection and contacts with the PA had not been severed, but there was nothing that could be talked about now. He also said there were contacts between the “internal” leaders of the movement “and the “external” leaders, but he did not reveal the nature of these contacts “due to their sensitivity.” He added that contacts between the Hamas leadership and Egypt and Qatar had not been cut off even for a single moment (Arab World Press News Agency (AWP), January 25 2024).
  • Referring to “the day after,” Osama Hamdan, a senior Hamas member, said that the issue of governance or leadership in the Gaza Strip was a Palestinian national matter, and the choice of the Palestinian people on the issue should be respected. He pointed out that the idea of imposing a leadership from “outside” was to be completely rejected. Regarding Egyptian, Israeli and Palestinian coordination efforts to regulate the activity of crossings in the Gaza Strip “the day after,” he claimed Hamas’ only objection was against a non-Palestinian entity’s management of activity at the crossings from the Palestinian side (Sky News YouTube channel in Arabic, January 25, 2024).
  • Muhammad Nizal, a member of the Hamas political bureau, said, regarding “the day after,” that it would not be possible for Hamas to leave the Gaza Strip, Hamas was an integral part of the Palestinian people and Hamas did not want control of the government. He claimed that Hamas’ initiatives in previous years for partnership in the government had not been accepted, for which he criticized Mahmoud Abbas and the PA. He claimed reports about a dispute between the “internal” and “external” leadership of Hamas and between the military wing and the political bureau were untrue. He said there might be “different opinions,” but the final decision rested with the political establishment, of which the military wing was an integral part. He concluded that there was no substantial disagreement within Hamas regarding the main issues (al-Hadath channel website, January 24, 2024).

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The Northern Arena
Hezbollah activity
  • Hezbollah continued attacking IDF posts and concentrations of forces on the border of Israel, and claimed responsibility for six anti-tank missile and rocket attacks (Hezbollah combat information Telegram channel, January 24 and 25, 2024). Hezbollah claimed all the attacks targeted IDF positions along the Lebanese border. On January 25, 2024, Hezbollah claimed responsibility for an attack using two offensive-suicide UAVs which attacked positions of an Israeli aerial defense system and Iron Dome aerial defense system launch sites near Kfar Blum (Hezbollah combat information Telegram channel, January 24-25, 2024).The IDF spokesperson stated that two hostile aerial targets had crossed from Lebanese territory and fell on Israeli territory near Kfar Blum and there had been no casualties (IDF spokesperson, January 25, 2024).
  • In response, on January 24, 2024, IDF fighter jets and artillery attacked a number of Hezbollah terrorist facilities and military buildings in the Yaroun area, about three kilometers north of Dovev (IDF spokesperson, January 24, 2024). In Lebanon it was reported that seven attacks were carried out in the Yaroun region (Fouad Khreiss’ X account, January 24, 2024).
  • On January 25, 2024, IDF warplanes attacked targets in the Tyre area, including military buildings and sites used by Hezbollah’s aerial unit, one of which was a military airstrip (IDF spokesperson, January 25, 2024).
Damage to civilian infrastructure
  • According to reports, the Meiss al-Jabal government hospital will stop providing medical services after attacks carried out by Israel damaged its electrical system. The Meiss al-Jabal municipality transferred 3,000 liters of diesel fuel to enable the hospital to continue its activities. However, Dr. Hussein Yassin, the hospital director, said he did not know how long such a small amount would last, since on normal days the hospital used about 1,000 liters of diesel per day (Telegram channel Benat Jabil, January 24, 2024).
Concern the situation will deteriorate
  • The Hezbollah-affiliated daily al-Akhbar published an article claiming that the [Lebanese] army, Lebanon and UNIFIL had data confirming Israel’s intention to escalate its attacks and force residents of south Lebanon to evacuate all the settlements on the Lebanese side of the border. Moreover, fearing escalation, UNIFIL examined the possibility of redeploying its forces. According to the article, French mediators were trying to turn the third phase of the war into the reduction of military operations in the Gaza Strip to an almost complete ceasefire, which might be able to convince Hezbollah to stop attacking Israel from south Lebanon. The mediators estimate that at the beginning of February 2024 the third phase will begin, during which Israel will withdraw from most of the Gaza Strip. It was also noted that discussions currently dealt with the possibility of stopping the military operations before dealing with implementing Resolution 1701 (al-Akhbar, January 25, 2024).
Hezbollah
  • Nabil Qaouq, a member of Hezbollah’s Central Council, speaking at a memorial ceremony held by Hezbollah for Ali Muhammad Hadraj, said that the killings carried out by Israel ignited the spirit of “resistance” in them so that they could continue the ground campaign, and that their attack on the Meron base on January 23, 2024, was a message to Israel that targeting civilians was a red line as far as they were concerned, and they would respond to any such attack. Moreover, he said every time Israel increased the pace of its attacks on civilians, it would increase the pace of their response (al-Ahed, January 25, 2024).
The Lebanese government
  • Lebanese Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib met in New York with UN Secretary-General António Guterres and stressed Lebanon’s adherence to UNIFIL’s activity and coordination with the Lebanese army, and the concern of the Lebanese authorities for its security and easing its role. He also stressed Lebanon’s willingness to implement Resolution 1701 in a comprehensive and balanced manner. The two also discussed the situation in the Gaza Strip, and Bou Habib invited Guterres to visit Lebanon (Lebanese foreign ministry X account, January 25, 2024).
Syria
  • According to “sources,” on January 23, 2024, Israel attacked a truck carrying Iranian weapons to Hezbollah through Albukamal in Syria. It was also reported that Israel’s recent airstrikes in the area had targeted forces that facilitated such transfers (al-Arabiya, January 24, 2024).

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Judea and Samaria
Counterterrorism activities
  • The Israeli security forces continued their counterterrorism activities throughout Judea and Samaria, detaining 16 wanted Palestinians. Since the beginning of the war, about 2,700 wanted Palestinians have been detained, more than 1,300 of them Hamas operatives (IDF spokesperson’s Telegram channel, January 25, 2024).
  • In the early morning hours of January 25, 2024, Israeli security forces operated in the city of Jenin and its refugee camp. They detained seven wanted Palestinians and located weapons. Heavy engineering vehicles uncovered IEDs planted under the roads to attack the Israeli forces (IDF spokesperson’s Telegram channel, January 25, 2024). The Palestinians reported heavy exchanges of fire during the forces’ activity in Jenin and the detonation of IEDs against the forces (Ma’an, January 25, 2024).
  • In another activity in the village of Bir al-Basha (southwest of Jenin), two wanted Palestinians who shot at IDF forces were detained (IDF spokesperson, January 25, 2024). The Palestinians reported that the forces had surrounded the house of Wissam Khashan, a Hamas operative and released prisoner, who fought a gun battle with the forces until he was killed (QudsN X account, January 25, 2024).
Wissam Khashan, Hamas operative killed in an exchange of fire with Israeli forces in the village of Bir al-Basha (QudsN X account, January 25, 2024)
Wissam Khashan, Hamas operative killed in an exchange of fire with Israeli forces in the village of Bir al-Basha (QudsN X account, January 25, 2024)
  • The security forces operated also in the city of Nablus, where they detained two wanted Palestinians and seized a 3D printer used to manufacture weapons, and in the Bethlehem area, where they detained several wanted Palestinians (IDF spokesperson’s Telegram channel, January 25, 2024).
Palestinian Authority (PA)
  • Mahmoud Abbas, PA chairman, met in Ramallah with David Cameron, the British foreign secretary. Abbas stressed the urgency of stopping Israel’s “aggression” against the Gaza Strip, bringing in humanitarian aid, and curbing the violence in Judea and Samaria. He also said that contrary to Israel’s plans, there was no security or military solution for the Gaza Strip, and it could not be cut off from the “Palestinian state” (Wafa, January 24, 2024).
  • David Cameron said he and Mahmoud Abbas had discussed the situation in the Gaza Strip, Judea and Samaria, and he presented Abbas with Britain’s plan to provide humanitarian aid and release hostages until a permanent ceasefire had been reached, leading to a long-term political solution that would include the establishment of a Palestinian state (British foreign secretary’s X account, January 25, 2024).
Abbas meets with British Foreign Secretary Cameron (Wafa, January 24, 2024)
Abbas meets with British Foreign Secretary Cameron (Wafa, January 24, 2024)
  • Nabil Abu Rudeina, spokesman for Mahmoud Abbas’ office, said in an interview that they supported any solution that would lead to a ceasefire and the entry of aid into the Gaza Strip. After the ceasefire they would be ready to talk about all issues. Abu Rudeina said they had no faith in the United States, Israel or the West, and that Palestinian unity was necessary. He also noted that they would not accept any plan from any external source that would determine the Palestinians’ future (Sky News in Arabic, January 24, 2024).
  • Mei al-Kayla, PA minister of health, met with George Noll, head of the United States Office of Palestinian Affairs, and Chris Franklin, head of the economic department at the United States Office of Palestinian Affairs, to discuss the state of the Palestinian public health system and the challenges it was facing. Later, she briefed them on the state of health in the Gaza Strip, Judea and Samaria and reviewed the situation of the wounded Palestinians transferred from the Gaza Strip. She said the public health system in the Gaza Strip had collapsed due to IDF attacks and the severe shortage of medicines and medical equipment (ministry of health in Ramallah Facebook page, January 24, 2024).
  • According to Israeli media reports, the possibility of equipping alert teams in Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria with anti-tank missiles is being considered for defense against possible attacks, such as the attack and massacre of October 7, 2023, in the western Negev. The PA foreign ministry condemned the reports, claiming it was a dangerous increase of incitement and efforts to add fuel to the fire and cause the situation in Judea and Samaria to “explode.” It was also reported that Israel was trying to present the military force it was using against the Palestinians as a political solution to the conflict, and they called on the UN and the international community to monitor the issue and take measures to make Israel retract its decision (PA ministry of foreign affairs X account, January 24, 2024).

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Iran
  • Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi met in Ankara with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. At a joint press conference, Raisi said the Palestinian issue was currently the number one issue concerning the Muslim world and even the entire world. He condemned American support for Israel and expressed regret that international organizations, including the UN, were unable to prevent the continuation of Israel’s “crimes.” Raisi called for severing economic and political ties with Israel, noting that in his meeting with Erdoğan, they agreed on supporting Palestinian rights (IRNA, January 24, 2024). 
Pro-Iranian militias
Iraq
  • Saberin News, a Telegram channel affiliated with the pro-Iranian militias, reported that the Port of Ashdod had been attacked (Saberin News, January 25, 2024). At the same time, “sources in Iraq” reported that [suicide] UAVs had exploded, attacking a target in the Port of Ashdod (al-Mayadeen, January 25, 2024). It is the second time that an attack on the Port of Ashdod has been reported. Later, the Islamic Resistance in Iraq claimed responsibility for launching UAVs to attack the Port of Ashdod (Resistance Telegram channel, January 25, 2024). In both cases, no attack against the Port of Ashdod was reported.
Photo from a video documenting, according to the organization, the launch to Ashdod (Iraqi Islamic Resistance Telegram channel, January 25, 2024)
Photo from a video documenting, according to the organization, the launch to Ashdod
(Iraqi Islamic Resistance Telegram channel, January 25, 2024)
  • The Islamic Resistance in Iraq also claimed responsibility for attacking three American bases with missiles and UAVs: a base at Erbil Airport in Iraq’s Kurdish region, the Koniko base, and the Ain al-Assad base in Syria (Islamic Resistance Telegram channel, January 24, 2024).
  • Kataib Hezbollah (the Hezbollah Brigades) reported that American Army forces had attacked the headquarters of the forces in Jarf al-Nasr, al-Qaim and Erbil in Iraq, killing one and wounding several. According to the statement, the United States Army’s activity will be answered by the expansion of their operations to other areas in Iraq and the region (Kataib Hezbollah Telegram channel, January 24, 2024). According to United States Department of Defense officials, seven Kataib Hezbollah militiamen were killed in an airstrike carried out by the United States Army Central Command (CENTCOM) on January 23, 2024 (CNN, January 25, 2024).
Yemen
  • Yahya Saria, spokesman for the Houthi armed forces, reported encounters with several American destroyers and warships in the Gulf of Aden and Bab al-Mandeb while they were providing protection for two American merchant ships. He claimed that there had been a direct hit on a warship and that the two merchant ships had to turn back. He also claimed they had fired several ballistic missiles that reached their destination despite American attempts to intercept them. Saria reiterated his previous statements that the Houthi forces would continue to prevent Israeli ships from sailing in the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea until the Israeli “aggression” in the Gaza Strip stopped (Yahya Saria’s Telegram channel, January 24, 2024).
  • The United States Army Central Command (CENTCOM) announced that on January 24, 2024, at around 2:00 p.m. (Sana’a time), the Houthis fired three anti-ship ballistic missiles from areas under their control in Yemen at the American-flagged, American-owned and operated container ship M/V Maersk Detroit while the ship passed through the Gulf of Aden. It added that one missile fell into the sea and two others were intercepted by them (CENTCOM X account, January 24, 2024).
  • In light of the situation, several international container transport companies announced that their ships would stop passing in the Red Sea.

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The Arab Arena

Qatar

  • A recording was released of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meeting with the families of the hostages, where he said that he did not thank Qatar for its mediation efforts, claiming that it was more problematic than the UN and the Red Cross (Israeli media, January 24, 2024).
  • Following the release of the recording, Majed al-Ansari, spokesman for the Qatari foreign ministry, said they strongly condemned the statements attributed to the Israeli prime minister about Qatar’s performance in the mediation process. He noted that the remarks were destructive and irresponsible, and stressed that Qatar had been conducting successful mediation between the sides for months, which led to the release of more than 100 prisoners, along with the entry of humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip. He noted that saving innocent lives had to be the primary concern (Qatari foreign ministry spokesman’s X account, January 24, 2024).
The International Arena
Russia
  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met with representatives of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) at the UN and discussed the escalation in the Gaza Strip. According to Lavrov, there were many similarities between Russia and the Islamic world regarding problems in the Middle East. Lavrov and the representatives jointly stressed that it was necessary to declare an immediate ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinians and settle the conflict through a political-diplomatic process. They also noted the need for Palestinian unity under the PLO (Russian foreign ministry website, January 25, 2024). At a press conference, Lavrov said mediation in the Middle East had to be led by a group of regional countries, noting that everyone should cooperate under the same mediation track (RT in Arabic, January 25, 2024).

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