Operation Iron Swords (Updated to 1 p.m., January 3, 2024)

IDF forces in the Gaza Strip (IDF spokesperson, January 3, 2024)

IDF forces in the Gaza Strip (IDF spokesperson, January 3, 2024)

IDF forces in the Gaza Strip (IDF spokesperson, January 3, 2024)

IDF forces in the Gaza Strip (IDF spokesperson, January 3, 2024)

Smoke rises after the IDF attack on the Ma'an neighborhood in east Khan Yunis (QUDSN X account, January 3, 2024).

Smoke rises after the IDF attack on the Ma'an neighborhood in east Khan Yunis (QUDSN X account, January 3, 2024).

Israeli Air Force helicopters in the Gaza Strip (Wafa YouTube channel, January 2, 2024)

Israeli Air Force helicopters in the Gaza Strip (Wafa YouTube channel, January 2, 2024)

Israeli Air Force helicopters in the Gaza Strip (Wafa YouTube channel, January 2, 2024)

Israeli Air Force helicopters in the Gaza Strip (Wafa YouTube channel, January 2, 2024)

תמונה שמכילה רכב יבשה, בחוץ, אדם, תחבורה התיאור נוצר באופן אוטומטי

תמונה שמכילה רכב יבשה, בחוץ, אדם, תחבורה התיאור נוצר באופן אוטומטי

Trucks deliver humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip through the Rafah Crossing (al-Ghad TV , January 3, 2024)

Trucks deliver humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip through the Rafah Crossing (al-Ghad TV , January 3, 2024)

The scene of the attack in the Dahia, a Hezbollah stronghold (Wafa's YouTube channel, January 2, 2024)

The scene of the attack in the Dahia, a Hezbollah stronghold (Wafa's YouTube channel, January 2, 2024)

Gathering in front of Saleh al-Arouri's family home in the village of Aroura (al-Castel website X account, January 2, 2024).

Gathering in front of Saleh al-Arouri's family home in the village of Aroura (al-Castel website X account, January 2, 2024).

General strike in Nablus.

General strike in Nablus.

Northern Arena, Israeli Casualties, Rocket Fire

Overview[1]
  • The combat arena: The IDF forces continued the integrated ground maneuver in the Gaza Strip, focusing on Gaza City in the north and the Khan Yunis area in the south. The Palestinian media reported that during the night intense attacks were carried out in the central Gaza Strip, in east and west Khan Yunis, and in north Rafah.
  • According to an unofficial estimate, since October 7 approximately 1,300 Israeli civilians and security personnel have been killed, 509 of them soldiers and officers; 129 civilian and military hostages are still being held by the terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip, 16 of them women and children; 121 hostages have been returned to Israel.
  • The most prominent event was the targeted attack in Beirut which killed Saleh al-‘Arouri, deputy head of Hamas’ political bureau, who was responsible for Hamas terrorist activity in Judea and Samaria. Six other terrorists were killed with him, two them senior operatives in Hamas’ military-terrorist wing. The killing provoked many reactions among the Palestinians, Hezbollah, Iran and the pro-Iranian militias. Everyone condemned it and promised to avenge him. The Lebanese government and UNIFIL expressed concern about the escalation and expansion of the war. Hamas announced the suspension of all contacts regarding the ceasefire and the hostage deal until further notice.
  • The northern arena: Hezbollah expressed sorrow at Saleh al-‘Arouri’s death, calling it a dangerous development in the war between Israel and the “resistance axis.”[2] UNIFIL and the Lebanese government expressed concern about the expansion of the war. The prime minister of Lebanon called for a complaint to be submitted to the UN Security Council.
  • Judea and Samaria: The Israeli security forces continued their counterterrorism activities. Following the elimination of Saleh al-‘Arouri, demonstrations and protest marches took place throughout Judea and Samaria, including in the village of ‘Aroura, and a general strike was declared as a sign of mourning.
  • Iran and pro-Iranian militias responded to al-‘Arouri’s killing and said they fully supported the Palestinians.
The Combat Arena
  • The IDF forces continued the integrated ground maneuver in the Gaza Strip, focusing on Gaza City in the north and the Khan Yunis area in the south. The Palestinian media reported that intense attacks continued throughout the night in the central Gaza Strip, in east and west Khan Yunis, and in north Rafah. According to reports during the past day about 207 Palestinians were killed and 338 wounded (Ma’an, January 3, 2024).
IDF forces in the Gaza Strip (IDF spokesperson, January 3, 2024)    IDF forces in the Gaza Strip (IDF spokesperson, January 3, 2024)
IDF forces in the Gaza Strip (IDF spokesperson, January 3, 2024)
  • Gaza City: IDF forces raided the main building of Hamas’ eastern post, which had 37 structures. It was a strategic Hamas center, with operations rooms for conducting the fighting throughout the entire Gaza Strip. The post is located in the heart of a civilian population near residential buildings, schools and hospitals. Operating in the Daraj-Tufah neighborhoods, the fighters took over a terrorist facility in the house of the commander of the Gaza City Brigade, thereby enabling the special forces to enter and search the area. The soldiers clashed with terrorists at close range, killing dozens, locating and destroying tunnel shafts and uncovering large quantities of weapons and intelligence materials linking the main mosque in the area to the terrorist attack and massacre on October 7 (IDF spokesperson, January 2, 2024).
  • The central Gaza Strip: Explosions were heard and heavy exchanges of fire were reported between the IDF forces and terrorist operatives in the al-Maghazi refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip, and there was a report of IDF artillery fire to the north of the camp (QudsN account X, January 3, 2024) .
  • The southern Gaza Strip: Intense fighting continued in Khan Yunis as the forces worked to strengthen their hold on the territory. So far, the fighters have killed large numbers of terrorist operatives in face-to-face combat, and located and destroyed dozens of tunnel shafts. One of the focal points of the fighting was the Bani Suheila area near Khan Yunis, where IDF forces fought in a densely-populated urban area, killing large numbers of terrorist operatives who shot at them and attached IEDs to IDF armored vehicles. The fighting continued in Khirbat Khiza’a, where the forces attacked important areas and located a tunnel shaft inside a school. They attacked terrorist targets which included observation posts and anti-tank launching positions (IDF spokesperson, January 3, 2024). The Palestinians reported attacks in the Khiza’a region (QudsN X account, January 3, 2024).
Weapons found in a school in Khirbat Khiza'a (IDF spokesperson, January 2, 2024)   Weapons found in a school in Khirbat Khiza'a (IDF spokesperson, January 2, 2024)
Weapons found in a school in Khirbat Khiza’a (IDF spokesperson, January 2, 2024)
Destruction of the tunnel located in the Mizrachi post (IDF spokesperson, January 2, 2024)    Destruction of the tunnel located in the Mizrachi post (IDF spokesperson, January 2, 2024)

Destruction of the tunnel located in the Mizrachi post (IDF spokesperson, January 2, 2024)

IDF attacks in the Khan Yunis area (Wafa YouTube channel, January 3 2024)     Smoke rises after the IDF attack on the Ma'an neighborhood in east Khan Yunis (QUDSN X account, January 3, 2024).
Right: Smoke rises after the IDF attack on the Ma’an neighborhood in east Khan Yunis (QUDSN X account, January 3, 2024). Left: IDF attacks in the Khan Yunis area (Wafa YouTube channel, January 3 2024)
  • Aerial activity: Directed by the ground forces, an Israeli Air Force fighter jet attacked a Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) weapons production complex in Khan Yunis (IDF spokesperson, January 3, 2024).
Attacking targets in the Gaza Strip (IDF spokesperson, January 3, 2024) Israeli Air Force helicopters in the Gaza Strip (Wafa YouTube channel, January 2, 2024)     Attacking targets in the Gaza Strip (IDF spokesperson, January 3, 2024) Israeli Air Force helicopters in the Gaza Strip (Wafa YouTube channel, January 2, 2024)
Attacking targets in the Gaza Strip (IDF spokesperson, January 3, 2024)
Israeli Air Force helicopters in the Gaza Strip (Wafa YouTube channel, January 2, 2024)      Israeli Air Force helicopters in the Gaza Strip (Wafa YouTube channel, January 2, 2024)
Israeli Air Force helicopters in the Gaza Strip (Wafa YouTube channel, January 2, 2024)
  • According to an unofficial estimate, since October 7 approximately 1,300 Israeli civilians and security personnel have been killed, 509 of them soldiers and officers (175 of whom were killed since the beginning of the integrated ground maneuver on October 27, 2023); 129 civilian and military hostages are still being held by the terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip, 16 of them women and children; 121 hostages have been returned to Israel.
The Gaza Strip
Palestinian casualties
  • The Hamas-controlled ministry of health in the Gaza Strip reported that as of noon on January 3, 2024, the number of dead since the beginning of the war stood at 22,313 and the number of wounded at 57,296 (ministry of health in Gaza Facebook page, January 3, 2024).
The situation in the Gaza Strip
  • Residents of the Nuseirat refugee camp evacuated to the Deir al-Balah area and the southern Gaza Strip. They claimed they had been forced by an IDF announcement calling on them to evacuate immediately (Wafa YouTube channel, January 2, 2024).
Residents of the Nuseirat refugee camp leave for the Deir al-Balah area and the southern Gaza Strip (Wafa YouTube channel, January 2, 2024)    Residents of the Nuseirat refugee camp leave for the Deir al-Balah area and the southern Gaza Strip (Wafa YouTube channel, January 2, 2024)
Residents of the Nuseirat refugee camp leave for the Deir al-Balah area and the southern Gaza Strip (Wafa YouTube channel, January 2, 2024)
Aid for the Gaza Strip
  • A correspondent for al-Ghad TV at the Rafah Crossing reported the entry of 15 trucks carrying humanitarian aid donated by the UAE, which included food and tents for evacuated residents (al-Ghad TV, January 3, 2024).
Trucks deliver humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip through the Rafah Crossing (al-Ghad TV , January 3, 2024)     Trucks deliver humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip through the Rafah Crossing (al-Ghad TV , January 3, 2024)
Trucks deliver humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip through the Rafah Crossing
(al-Ghad TV , January 3, 2024)
Saleh al-‘Arouri killed in a targeted attack in Beirut
  • On the evening of January 2, 2024, senior terrorist Saleh al-‘Arouri, deputy head of Hamas’ political bureau, was killed in an explosion that occurred in the Dahia, the Shi’ite southern suburb of Beirut. Six other terrorists were killed, two of them senior operatives of the Hamas military-terrorist wing in Lebanon. According to the reports, the attack was carried out by a UAV which targeted Hamas offices where senior Hamas terrorists were holding a meeting (Lebanese News Agency, January 2, 2024).
The scene of the attack in the Dahia, a Hezbollah stronghold (Wafa's YouTube channel, January 2, 2024)     The scene of the attack in the Dahia, a Hezbollah stronghold (Wafa's YouTube channel, January 2, 2024)
The scene of the attack in the Dahia, a Hezbollah stronghold
(Wafa’s YouTube channel, January 2, 2024)
  • Hamas announced the death of seven of its operatives, who were “assassinated by the Zionist enemy.” The announcement called it “an act of terrorism in every sense of the word,” a violation of Lebanese sovereignty and an expansion of Israeli’s “aggression” against the Palestinians and the Muslim nation, adding that Israel would bear the responsibility for the consequences (Shehab Telegram channel, January 2, 2024).
  • The terrorists reported dead were (Shehab Telegram channel, January 2, 2024):
    • Sheikh Saleh al-‘Arouri (Abu Muhammad), deputy head of Hamas’ political bureau and in charge of the movement in Judea and Samaria.[3]
    • Samir Fendi (Abu Amer), from the al-Rashidieh refugee camp (al-Rashidieh Facebook page, January 2, 2024). He was a commander in Hamas’ military-terrorist wing and in charge of its activities in Lebanon (Arabic Post, January 2, 2024; Watan New Agency, January 2, 2024).
    • Azzam Hasni al-Aqra, aka Abu Abdullah (Abu Amar), a commander in Hamas’ military-terrorist wing from the village of Qublan in the Nablus district. A released prisoner and one of those deported to Marj al-Zahour in December 1992, he held Hamas’ military[-terrorist] portfolio “abroad” (Arabic Post, January 2, 2024; Watan News Agency, January 2, 2024).
    • Also killed were Mahmoud Zaki Shahin, Muhammad Bshasha, Muhammad al-Rees and Ahmed Hamoud.
Killed in the targeted attack: Top row, right to left: Azzam al-Aqra, Saleh al-'Arouri, Samir Fendi. Bottom row, right to left: Mahmoud Shahin, Muhammad Bshasha, Muhammad al-Rees, Ahmed Hamoud (Palinfo, January 2, 2024).
Killed in the targeted attack: Top row, right to left: Azzam al-Aqra, Saleh al-‘Arouri, Samir Fendi. Bottom row, right to left: Mahmoud Shahin, Muhammad Bshasha, Muhammad al-Rees, Ahmed Hamoud (Palinfo, January 2, 2024).
  • “A source in Hamas” reported that in response to the killing, the Hamas military[-terrorist] wing launched a barrage of rockets at Tel Aviv. He added that Israel had been aware that the “resistance” would respond (FRANCE 24 website, January 2, 2024). In practice, no rockets were fired at Tel Aviv.
  • Meanwhile, according to reports, Hamas told the mediators that they were freezing the talks for a lull and ceasefire or a hostage deal until further notice. They claimed that during the past few days Saleh al-‘Arouri had been in contact with the mediators to reach “greater understandings” regarding a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and the hostage deal, and that he was supposed to meet with mediators next week for consultations regarding Hamas’ demands. Hamas tasked the mediators with informing the Israelis that any future negotiations would include a prior commitment to stop the targeted killings (alarabia.net website, January 2, 2024). It was also reported that Egypt had suspended mediating a hostage deal or agreement on a ceasefire, and that an Israeli security delegation had ended its visit to Cairo (al-Araby al-Jadeed, January 2, 2024).
  • Senior Hamas terrorists praised al-‘Arouri activities, reacted with rage to his killing, blamed Israel and promised that a response would come:
    • Isma’il Haniyeh, head of Hamas’ political bureau, said that Israel had carried out an “assassination and shed the blood of the Palestinian people,” but would not be able to break the “resistance” [terrorist organizations] and its actions only increased their determination. He claimed killing Saleh al-‘Arouri was “an act of terrorism in every sense of the word and a violation of Lebanon’s sovereignty” (al-Aqsa, January 2, 2024). He also spoke with Jabril al-Rajoub, the secretary of Fatah’s Central Committee, who offered his condolences on the death of Saleh al-‘Arouri. Al-Rajoub said the Palestinians had “lost one of their loyal fighting sons who dedicated their whole lives to serving the Palestinian issue” (Wafa, January 3, 2024).
    • Senior terrorist Izzat al-Rishq, a member of Hamas’ political bureau, said that the “cowardly assassinations carried out by Israel” of the leaders of the Palestinian people, inside Palestine and outside, would not succeed in breaking the will of the Palestinian people and their steadfastness, or hinder the continuation of the “courageous resistance”]. He claimed the incident once again proved Israel’s “enormous failure” to achieve any of its aggressive goals in the Gaza Strip (Hamas Telegram channel, January 2, 2024).
    • Senior Hamas terrorist Osama Hamdan, speaking from Lebanon, said that all options were open after Saleh al-‘Arouri’s “assassination,” and that the Palestinian people and the “resistance” [terrorist organizations] would provide “an appropriate response.” He called on the Western countries to stop Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people (al-Arabi network, January 3, 2024).
  • The PIJ called it a “cowardly assassination operation” by Israel, accusing Israel of trying to expand the conflict and drag the region into war in order to recover from its failure in the Gaza Strip. It said they would not let the killing go unpunished, Israel would not escape its punishment and the “resistance” would continue until Israel had been defeated (Telegram channel of the Islamic Jihad in Palestine, January 2, 2024). Ziyad al-Nakhalah, PIJ secretary general, claimed Saleh al-‘Arouri had been one of the Palestinian people’s “unique, loyal leaders” (PIJ media information bureau Telegram channel, January 2, 2024).

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The Northern Arena
Hezbollah attacks
  • Hezbollah continued attacking IDF posts and concentrations of forces on the northern border. In the past day, Hezbollah has claimed responsibility for nine anti-tank missile, rocket and UAV attacks, increasing its firing of rockets. The Parag post was attacked three times after Hezbollah had detected it was manned by a new force (Hezbollah combat information Telegram channel, January 2, 2024).
UNIFIL
  • The UNIFIL deputy spokeswoman stated that they were very concerned about a possible escalation which could have unfortunate consequences for the residents on both sides of the border. She noted that they continued to urge all parties to stop their attacks (Lebanese News Agency, January 3, 2024).
Reactions to Saleh al-‘Arouri’s killing
  • Hezbollah offered its condolences to Hamas and stated that the “crime” would not go unpunished, and would only increase “resistance” in Lebanon and on all fronts. Hezbollah also stated that the killing was a serious attack on Lebanon and its sovereignty, calling it a dangerous development in the war between Israel and the “resistance axis” (Hezbollah combat information Telegram channel, January 2, 2024)
  • Hussein Jishi, a Hezbollah member of the Lebanese Parliament, said Hezbollah would respond to the killing, and as Nasrallah said in the past, that an attack on any senior figure on Lebanese soil would be met with a response. He added that Hezbollah was still trying to keep the events within the framework of “the rules of engagement,” but the Israelis were the ones pushing the boundaries (al-Araby al-Jadeed, January 2, 2024).
  • The Hezbollah-affiliated Lebanese daily al-Akhbar claimed that Israel had decided to break the rules of confrontation with Lebanon and crossed the red line established by Nasrallah several months ago. It also reported that the “crime of assassination” had opened the doors to options different from what had been acceptable so far “from a political, military and security point of view” and that Nasrallah was expected offer an explanation in the speech he would make in the evening (al-Akhbar, January 3, 2024).
  • Najib Mikati, the prime minister of the interim government in Lebanon, claimed that the explosion was an “Israeli crime” aimed at dragging Lebanon down into a new phase of conflict after the daily attacks in south Lebanon. He noted that the explosion raised complications for Lebanon and its efforts to keep the war away from its lands. He claimed Lebanon was committed to Resolution 1701, but Israel was violating it and it was clear to everyone that the decision to go to war was in Israel’s hands, and Israel had to be deterred (Mikati’s X account, January 2, 2024).
  • In a conversation Abdullah Bou Habib, the Lebanese foreign minister, Mikati demanded that an urgent complaint be submitted to the UN Security Council following the attack on Lebanese sovereignty, in the explosion that took place in Beirut, and all the “new Israeli violations” of Lebanese sovereignty (Nidaa al-Watan, January 2, 2024).

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Judea and Samaria
Counterterrorism activities
  • The Israeli security forces continued their counterterrorism activities throughout Judea and Samaria. During the night, 18 wanted Palestinians were detained. Since the beginning of the war in the Gaza Strip, more than 2,570 wanted Palestinians have been detained, of whom about 1,300 are Hamas operatives (IDF spokesperson’s Telegram channel, January 3, 2024).
  • In the early morning of January 3, 2024, Israeli security forces began security operations in Tulkarm’s Nur Shams refugee camp. During the operation, dozens of suspects were taken for questioning, six wanted Palestinians were detained and military equipment was seized. An aircraft attacked armed Palestinians who threw IEDs at the forces (IDF spokesperson’s Telegram channel, January 3, 2024). The Palestinian media reported extensive security activity in Tulkarm, its refugee camp and the Nur Shams refugee camp. There were reports of heavy exchanges of fire between armed Palestinians and the Israeli security forces, as well as the detonation of IEDs against the forces. Palestinian medical officials reported three wounded. Heavy damage to infrastructure was also reported. It was also claimed that the Israeli forces had detained about 100 residents for questioning (Wafa; al-Ghad TV, January 3, 2024).
Detonation of an IED during an Israeli security force activity in the Nur Shams refugee camp (Shehab X account, January 3, 2024)      Israeli security forces’ activity in the Nur Shams refugee camp in Tulkarm (QudsN X account, January 3, 2024).
Right: Israeli security forces’ activity in the Nur Shams refugee camp in Tulkarm (QudsN X account, January 3, 2024). Left: Detonation of an IED during an Israeli security force activity in the Nur Shams refugee camp (Shehab X account, January 3, 2024)
  • Operating in Qalqilya, Israeli security forces detained four wanted Palestinians and seized weapons (IDF spokesperson’s Telegram channel, January 3, 2024). The Palestinian media reported that four Palestinians had been wounded in clashes with Israeli security forces (Ma’an, January 3, 2024).
  • On January 2, 2024, operatives of the PA’s security services detained an al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades operative of the Balata Battalion at Rafidia Hospital in central Nablus while he was receiving treatment after being wounded in the Balata refugee camp during a memorial ceremony for several dead operatives (Quds Press, January 2, 2024). Social media reported that the detainee’s name was Saleh Awad (QudsN X account, January 2, 2024).
Saleh Awad (@Karamomar96 X account, January 2, 2024).
Saleh Awad (@Karamomar96 X account, January 2, 2024).
Reactions to Saleh al-‘Arouri’s killing
  • Fatah and the Palestinian organizations declared a national day of mourning and a general strike on January 3, 2024. They also called on the “resistance” to “set fire to the ground under the feet of the occupation” (Shehab, January 2, 2024).
  • “Rage marches” were held throughout Judea and Samaria in the evening and night. Young men gathered in front of Saleh al-‘Arouri’s home in his native village of Aroura, condemning killing and calling for a response. Other incidents took place in Ramallah, in the Jenin refugee camp, and in the al-Arroub refugee camp north of Hebron, where clashes also broke out with IDF forces at the entrance to the camp (al-Araby al-Jadeed, January 2, 2024; Wafa, January 2, 2024; al-Jazeera TV’s YouTube channel, January 3, 2024).
A march in Jenin (Wafa, January 2, 2024)     A march in Ramallah (al-Araby al-Jadeed, January 2, 2024).
Right: A march in Ramallah (al-Araby al-Jadeed, January 2, 2024). Left: A march in Jenin (Wafa, January 2, 2024)
A march in Nablus (QudsN X account, January 2, 2024)      Gathering in front of Saleh al-Arouri's family home in the village of Aroura (al-Castel website X account, January 2, 2024).
Right: Gathering in front of Saleh al-Arouri’s family home in the village of Aroura (al-Castel website X account, January 2, 2024). Left: A march in Nablus (QudsN X account, January 2, 2024)
  • On January 3, 2024, a general strike was held in the PA territories, declared by Fatah and the Palestinian organizations as a sign of mourning for the death of Saleh al-‘Arouri. The strike included commercial establishments, banks, schools, universities and public institutions (Wafa, January 3, 2024).
General strike in Ramallah (QudsN X account, January 3, 2024)     General strike in Nablus.
Right: General strike in Nablus. Left: General strike in Ramallah
(QudsN X account, January 3, 2024)
  • PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh conveyed his condolences to the Palestinians and Hamas. He condemned al-‘Arouri’s killing and said it was a crime consistent with the identity of those responsible. He warned of the risks and consequences of the killing (Palestinian TV, January 2, 2024).
  •  Fatah issued a statement condemning al-‘Arouri’s killing and noted his aspiration to achieve Palestinian national unity and overcome the dispute that had destabilized the internal Palestinian home (Wafa, January 3, 2024). Jibril al-Rajoub, Fatah secretary, said the killing of al-‘Arouri was a last will and testament for them to end the internal Palestinian rift (al-Arabis YouTube channel, January 2, 2024).

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Iran
  • Senior Iranian officials reacted to Saleh al-Arouri’s assassination:
    • Hossein Amir Abdollahian, Iranian foreign minister, said that “the hostile activity of the Zionist regime’s terror machine” in other countries posed a real threat to regional peace and security (IRNA, January 3, 2024).
    • Mohammad Reza Ashtiani, Iranian minister of defense, blamed the United States for al-‘Arouri’s assassination, saying it had violated the regional balance and that it would bear the consequences of the terrorist attack (Tasnim, January 3, 2024).
    • Nasser Kanani, spokesman for the Iranian foreign ministry, said al-‘Arouri’s blood would increase the “resistance” and motivation to fight against the “Zionist occupiers,” not only in Palestine but throughout the region and among ” freedom-seekers around the world” (Fars, January 2, 2024).
    • Ali Akbar Velayati, advisor to the Iranian Supreme Leader for international affairs, issued a letter of condolence in which he said that the “barbaric actions and crimes” showed the “weakness and despair of the Zionist regime,” which had failed on all fronts in the face of the “resistance of the militant groups and the brave Palestinian people” (Fars, January 2, 2024).
Pro-Iranian militias
  • The pro-Iranian militias also responded to Saleh al-‘Arouri’s assassination. The Nujaba movement in Iraq said that it was another death as part of the great battle against Israel and the United States, and that they would continue to fully support all the goals of the Palestinians, especially Hamas (the militia’s Telegram channel, January 2, 2024).
  • Muhammad Abdeslam, spokesman for the Houthi movement, called it “a cowardly act of treacherous aggression” against Lebanon. He said they would continue to support the Palestinian and Lebanese “resistance” and conveyed his condolences to Hamas (Abdeslam’s Telegram channel, January 2, 2024).
Iraq
  • The Islamic Resistance in Iraq claimed responsibility for a drone attack on the Ramilan base in Syria (Islamic Resistance Telegram channel, January 2, 2024).
Yemen
  • Al-Jazeera TV reported that the Houthis attacked a cargo ship in the Red Sea sailing towards Israel. According to the Yemeni source, the ship did not heed the warnings and was therefore attacked. The Yemeni army has not yet officially claimed responsibility for the incident (Tasnim, January 3, 2024).
  • The American Army Central Command (CENTCOM) reported that on the evening of January 2, 2024, the Houthis had launched two anti-ship ballistic missiles towards the southern Red Sea. It was noted that no damage was reported to any ship in the area at the time of the attack (CENTCOM X account, January 3, 2024).
  • British maritime security firm Ambrey reported that a container ship flying the flag of Malta had reported detecting three explosions 24 kilometers southwest of Yemen. The company also said the ship had called a naval coalition warship on the radio, noting that apparently three missiles had been launched from Yemen (Reuters, January 2, 2024).
The International Arena
  • Khaled al-Qaddoumi, Hamas’ representative in Tehran, introduced as Hamas spokesman for South Asia, spoke at a seminar entitled “The al-Aqsa Flood” held on January 2, 2024, by the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He noted that Hamas was grateful to Pakistan for its support of the Palestinian cause. He stressed that the Palestinians would continue to fight until their freedom was achieved and urged the Muslim nation to implement the resolutions of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Palestine (Islamabad Post website, January 2, 2024).
Khaled al-Qaddoumi speaking (chairman of the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Facebook page, January 2, 2024)     Participants in the event.
Right: Participants in the event. Left: Khaled al-Qaddoumi speaking (chairman of the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Facebook page, January 2, 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.
[3] For further information about Saleh al-'Arouri, see the November 2023 ITIC report, "Profile of Saleh al-Arouri, a Senior Hamas Terrorist."