Operation Iron Swords (Updated to 1 p.m., January 7, 2024)

IDF forces in the Gaza Strip (IDF spokesperson, January 7, 2024)

IDF forces in the Gaza Strip (IDF spokesperson, January 7, 2024)

Weapons found in the hotel (IDF spokesperson, January 5, 2024)

Weapons found in the hotel (IDF spokesperson, January 5, 2024)

Some of the weapons found in the house in Khan Yunis.

Some of the weapons found in the house in Khan Yunis.

Smoke rises from central Khan Yunis (Shehab X account, January 7, 2024)

Smoke rises from central Khan Yunis (Shehab X account, January 7, 2024)

Operations resume at Shifa Hospital (ministry of health in Gaza Facebook page, January 6, 2024)

Operations resume at Shifa Hospital (ministry of health in Gaza Facebook page, January 6, 2024)

Aid for the Gaza Strip from the PA enters through the Rafah Crossing (al-Ghad TV , January 6, 2024)

Aid for the Gaza Strip from the PA enters through the Rafah Crossing (al-Ghad TV , January 6, 2024)

Attacks on Hezbollah targets (IDF spokesperson, January 6, 2024)

Attacks on Hezbollah targets (IDF spokesperson, January 6, 2024)

Rocket launch at the IDF base in Meron (Hezbollah combat information Telegram channel, January 6, 2024)

Rocket launch at the IDF base in Meron (Hezbollah combat information Telegram channel, January 6, 2024)

Nasrallah speaks (al-Manar TV, January 5, 2024)

Nasrallah speaks (al-Manar TV, January 5, 2024)

The funeral in Beirut (Palinfo, January 4, 2024)

The funeral in Beirut (Palinfo, January 4, 2024)

Northern Arena, Israeli Casualties, Rocket Fire

Overview[1]
  • The combat arena: The IDF forces continued their integrated ground maneuver in the Gaza Strip, focusing on Gaza City and Khan Yunis. According to reports, they completed the dismantling of Hamas’ military-terrorist facilities in the northern Gaza Strip, although they continued confronting terrorist squads on the ground. The Palestinians reported battles and airstrikes throughout the Strip. The Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) claimed responsibility for launching rockets at the cities, towns and villages surrounding the Gaza Strip.
  • According to an unofficial estimate, since October 7 approximately 1,300 Israeli civilians and security personnel have been killed, 510 of them soldiers and officers; 132 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. Senior Hamas and PIJ terrorists stated that they were prepared to negotiate the issue of a hostage release deal while continuing to insist on a comprehensive ceasefire as a precondition a comprehensive ceasefire for negotiations, and not a temporary ceasefire as proposed by the mediators.
  • The Gaza Strip: Hamas warned against exploiting the difficult humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip to allow Israel to civilian bodies to manage the Gaza Strip. Senior terrorists emphasized that the future of the Strip was in the hands of the “resistance” [terrorist organizations] and the Palestinian people.
  • The northern arena: Hezbollah ramped up its attacks after launching several dozen rockets at the IDF base in Meron, allegedly in response to the killing of Saleh al-‘Arouri. In light of the IDF attacks in south Lebanon, Hezbollah called on the residents of south Lebanon to stay away from places where Israel was attacking. Hezbollah secretary general Hassan Nasrallah gave a speech emphasizing the “achievements” in the confrontation with Israel.
  • Judea and Samaria: An Israeli civilian was killed in a shooting attack northwest of Ramallah. A Border Police fighter was killed and three soldiers were wounded by an IED during a security force-operation in Jenin. A mourning tent was erected in the Jenin refugee camp in memory of Saleh al-‘Arouri.
  • The pro-Iranian militias continued attacking United States bases in Iraq and Syria. The Houthis used an unmanned vessel to attack a ship.
  • United States Secretary of State Anthony Blinken began a tour of the Middle East, arriving in Jordan after a visit to Turkey.
  • The global jihad: ISIS published a statement claiming responsibility for the January 4, 2024 attack near the grave of Qassem Soleimani in Kerman, which killed 91 people. In another statement ISIS called for killing Jews and their Christian allies everywhere.
The Combat Arena
  • The IDF forces continued their integrated ground maneuver in the Gaza Strip. A correspondent for al-Ghad TV in Rafah reported heavy air force strikes throughout the Gaza Strip, including in the Rafah area, the Khan Yunis area, in Deir al-Balah, and in the al-Nuseirat and al-Maghazi refugee camps. In Gaza City, the IDF attacked in the Saraya area, in the center of the city, and in Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip (al-Ghad TV, January 7, 2024). The Palestinian media reported 122 dead and 256 wounded over the past day (Ma’an, January 7, 2024).
IDF forces in the Gaza Strip (IDF spokesperson, January 7, 2024)   IDF forces in the Gaza Strip (IDF spokesperson, January 7, 2024)
IDF forces in the Gaza Strip (IDF spokesperson, January 7, 2024)
  • An al-Jazeera TV presenter explained the fighting centers, noting a heavy exchange of fire in Jabalia and its refugee camp (northern Gaza Strip) between IDF forces and Hamas and PIJ “fighters” [terrorist operatives]. She said that in the central Gaza Strip IDF forces had reached the al-Zuweida area, and had encircled the al-Bureij and al-Maghazi refugee camps from the west. In the Khan Yunis area, she reported heavy fighting between the IDF forces and the operatives of Hamas’ military-terrorist wing in al-Zana area, Bani Suheila and al-Khiza’a (east of Khan Yunis), the center of Khan Yunis and the Ma’an neighborhood in the south of the city (al-Jazeera YouTube channel, January 6, 2024).
Al-Jazeera TV reporter explains the fighting centers (al-Jazeera YouTube channel, January 6, 2024)
Al-Jazeera TV reporter explains the fighting centers
(al-Jazeera YouTube channel, January 6, 2024)
  • The northern Gaza Strip: The IDF forces completed dismantling Hamas military-terrorist facilities in the northern Gaza Strip. They fought terrorist squads in Beit Lahia and al-Furqan, identifying a number of terrorists who used UAVs to attack them. Remotely manned IDF aircraft eliminated the terrorists (IDF spokesperson, January 6, 2024). In the area of Beit Lahia, the forces located a compound with dozens of rocket launchers, which they destroyed (IDF spokesperson, January 7, 2024).
  • Gaza City: Fighting continued in several locations. Inside a clinic, the forces located UNRWA sacks in which Hamas terrorist operatives had hidden military vests belong to nukhba forces. In a nearby building they found RPG launchers, Kalashnikov rifles and ammunition (IDF spokesperson, January 6, 2024). At the Blue Beach Hotel near the seashore in the Rimal neighborhood in Gaza, the forces fought dozens of terrorists who barricaded themselves in the hotel and fired anti-tank missiles at the IDF forces. A Hamas facility was located in the hotel, which included seven shafts that led to tunnels and contained living quarters for terrorists. Large quantities of weapons and UAVs were found in the tunnels. Hamas terrorist operatives used the hotel for shelter and conducted above- and below-ground combat from it (IDF spokesperson, January 5, 2024).
Weapons found in the hotel (IDF spokesperson, January 5, 2024)    Weapons found in the hotel (IDF spokesperson, January 5, 2024)
Weapons found in the hotel (IDF spokesperson, January 5, 2024)
Nukhba military vests hidden in UNRWA sacks (IDF spokesperson, January 6, 2024)
Nukhba military vests hidden in UNRWA sacks (IDF spokesperson, January 6, 2024)
  • The central Gaza Strip: The forces completed the activity in the “tower neighborhood,” which had a large number of high-rise buildings and dominated the area. Hamas terrorists used the buildings as positions from which to fire anti-tank missiles and small arms at IDF forces. The forces also found rocket launchers prepared for firing, booby-trapped buildings, a large number of tunnel shafts and large quantities of explosives, as well as a warehouse and a chemical laboratory for the production of weapons. The forces destroyed the buildings, observation posts and tunnel shafts (IDF spokesperson, January 5, 2024).
  • The southern Gaza Strip: IDF fighters operating in the Khan Yunis area killed terrorists from the air and on the ground and destroyed tunnel shafts. They located a weapons warehouse containing dozens of Kalashnikov rifles, over a hundred ammunition magazines, remote-activated charges and several RPG launchers; the forces destroyed the warehouse (IDF spokesperson, January 6, 2024). Several sites were located in the area from which rockets were launched towards Israel. The positions were destroyed (IDF spokesperson, January 5, 2024).
  • The fighters operating in a school in Bani Suheila encountered large numbers of terrorists, and found intelligence information about Hamas’ Khan Yunis Brigade. In a private house, the forces located large quantities of weapons used by Hamas operatives. Some were found in a bedroom next to dolls and children’s games, including games inciting violence against Israel (IDF spokesperson, January 6, 2024).
A puzzle inciting violence against Israel (IDF spokesperson, January 6, 2024)    Some of the weapons found in the house in Khan Yunis.
Right: Some of the weapons found in the house in Khan Yunis. Left: A puzzle inciting violence against Israel (IDF spokesperson, January 6, 2024)
Smoke rises from central Khan Yunis (Shehab X account, January 7, 2024)    IDF attacks in the Hamad neighborhood in western Khan Yunis (Wafa, January 6, 2024).
Right: IDF attacks in the Hamad neighborhood in western Khan Yunis (Wafa, January 6, 2024). Left: Smoke rises from central Khan Yunis (Shehab X account, January 7, 2024)
Palestinian reactions to the fighting
  • Hamas issued a statement claiming that IDF forces had opened and destroyed 1,100 graves in the Tufah neighborhood in eastern Gaza City and took 150 recently-buried bodies to an unknown destination. The movement claimed it was a “heinous crime that expresses the brutality of the occupation.” Hamas called on the international community and human rights organizations to take responsibility, condemn the “crimes of the occupation” and prosecute those who committed them (Hamas Telegram channel, January 6, 2024).
  • Senior Hamas terrorist Sami Abu Zuhri said it was the goal of Israel and the United States to eliminate Hamas, but claimed that Hamas was too strong for Israel to break or weaken, since Hamas was an “idea” and a fundamental component of the Palestinian people. He claimed that on the ground the Palestinian “resistance” [terrorist organizations] was in excellent condition (al-Jazeera Mubasher YouTube channel, January 6, 2024).
Rocket fire from the Gaza Strip
  • Over the past few days there have been sporadic barrages of rockets which mainly attacked the cities, towns and villages surrounding Gaza. The Jerusalem Brigades, the PIJ’s military-terrorist wing, claimed responsibility for several launches:
    • On January 5, 2024, around 12:45 p.m., the Jerusalem Brigades announced the launch of a barrage of rockets targeting Nahal Oz and Alumim (Paltoday Telegram channel, January 5, 2024).
    • On January 5, 2024, around 3:50 p.m., the Jerusalem Brigades announced the launch of a barrage of rockets targeting Sderot, Nir Am and other villages surrounding Gaza (Paltoday Telegram channel, January 5, 2024).
    • On January 6 at around 6 p.m., the Jerusalem Brigades announced the launch of a barrage of rockets towards Sderot, Nir Am and other villages surrounding Gaza (Paltoday’s Telegram channel, January 6, 2024).
    • According to senior terrorist Anwar Abu Tahe, a member of the PIJ’s political bureau, on January 4, Jerusalem Brigades operatives launched a barrage of rockets at Israel from a northern area of the Gaza Strip under IDF control (al-Jazeera Mubasher YouTube channel, January 7, 2024).
Israeli casualties
  • According to an unofficial estimate, since October 7 approximately 1,300 Israeli people have been killed. According to the IDF spokesperson, 510 of them are soldiers and officers (of whom 175 have been killed since the start of the ground maneuver on October 27, 2023); 132 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.
The issue of the hostages
  • Senior Hamas terrorist Osama Hamdan said that all proposals and ideas which did not begin with the cessation of “aggression” and did not deal with the hostages as part of the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip and lifting the “siege” would not have results. He added that they were open to any idea, however, in light of the killing of Saleh al-‘Arouri, the “resistance” had to be more careful (al-Arabi YouTube channel, January 6, 2024).
  • Senior Hamas terrorist Sami Abu Zuhri said that the “resistance’s” message was that the hostages would be released alive only according to what the Palestinian “resistance” decided after Israel paid the price they demanded and only after the cessation of “aggression” against the Gaza Strip. He stated Hamas was open to all mediations, documents and initiatives, and that their main objective was the cessation of “aggression.” However, Israel had to know that such “flexibility” [sic] on the part of Hamas did not come from weakness but out of “concern for the Palestinian people.” Asked if he could confirm that Hamas did not object to resuming contacts, Abu Zuhri claimed that Hamas had not closed the door in the first place. He added that Hamas had never publicly stated that it no longer wanted efforts invested to end the “aggression” (al-Jazeera Mubasher YouTube channel).
  • Senior terrorist Anwar Abu Tahe, a member of the PIJ’s political bureau, said that negotiations and talks for a ceasefire stopped after the killing of al-‘Arouri, but he claimed the issue was not completely closed because they wanted the “aggression” to stop and were open to all mediators. Asked about the drafts presented to them recently, he said that the position of Hamas and the PIJ was one of a total cessation of “aggression” in the Gaza Strip, after which the talks would begin. He said some of the mediators had presented ideas from Israel and the United States to divide the issue into phases, which in their view was a “trap for the resistance,” because the first phase related to a two-week ceasefire and the release of prisoners, which were the heart of the campaign. He said they would not relinquish the power they had for a ceasefire of two weeks, after which Israel would resume fighting. He added that they also insisted on the withdrawal of IDF forces from the Gaza Strip. Asked whether “the day after” worried the “resistance,” he replied that it did not worry them, but given the scope of the humanitarian disaster in the Gaza Strip, the situation was painful (al-Manar TV X account, January 6, 2024).
  • Senior terrorist Ali Abu Shahin, a member of the PIJ’s political bureau and head of its media information department, stated that the situation before the killing of al-‘Arouri was one thing and the situation after it was another. He said the leaderships of the PIJ and Hamas could consult on the issue in the coming days after the funeral. He said that a day or two before the killing, Hamas and the PIJ delivered a joint document to Egypt in response to an Egyptian document. Saleh al-‘Arouri was involved in drafting the document, whose basic condition was the cessation of “aggression” and the complete withdrawal of IDF forces from the Gaza Strip. He said that only after that would it be possible to discuss the Egyptian document, which dealt only with a three-phase exchange deal that would lead to the emptying of Israeli prisons of prisoners. He reiterated that negotiations on the issue would only take place after the cessation of “aggression” (al-Mayadeen YouTube channel, January 4, 2024).

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The Gaza Strip
Palestinian casualties
  • The Hamas-controlled ministry of health in the Gaza Strip reported that as of the afternoon of January 2, 2024, the number of dead since the beginning of the war stood at 22,835 and the number of wounded at 58,416 (ministry of health in Gaza Facebook page, January 2, 2024).
  • The IDF spokesperson reported the death of Ismail Sarraj, the commander of the Nuseirat Battalion, and his deputy, Ahmed Wahba, in an air force attack that was carried out with intelligence guidance. Sarraj previously served as the commander of a nukhba company and dealt with rocket manufacture. His deputy, Ahmed Wahba, was appointed to the position after the previous deputy, Abd al-Rahman, was killed by IDF forces. Wahba held a variety of field and headquarters positions in Hamas and was involved in the organization’s training program (IDF spokesperson, January 6, 2024).
Right: Ismail Sarraj Left: Ahmed Wahba (IDF spokesperson, January 6, 2024)    Right: Ismail Sarraj Left: Ahmed Wahba (IDF spokesperson, January 6, 2024)
Right: Ismail Sarraj Left: Ahmed Wahba (IDF spokesperson, January 6, 2024)
  • On January 4, 2024, the IDF spokesperson announced the death of Mamdoh Lolo, a senior PIJ terrorist operative who was the head of the operational headquarters of the northern Gaza region; he died in an IDF airstrike. He was an assistant to the senior PIJ terrorists of the northern Gaza region and was in contact with senior PIJ terrorists abroad. He also initiated and led numerous terrorist attacks, including during the war (IDF spokesperson’s X account, January 4, 2024).
Mamdoh Lolo (IDF spokesperson's X account , January 4, 2024)
Mamdoh Lolo (IDF spokesperson’s X account , January 4, 2024)
  • The social networks reported the death of Muhammad Akram Shubat, Abu Sajd, the commander of the Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades’ artillery battalion in Beit Hanoun, who was killed in an aircraft attack on the morning of January 1, 2024 (X account of his cousin, Yusuf Shubat, January 1, 2024; X account of Mohamed Alzanin, 1 January 2024).
Muhammad Akram Shubat (X account of Tahrur Wa'el, January 1, 2024)
Muhammad Akram Shubat (X account of Tahrur Wa’el, January 1, 2024)
The situation in the Gaza Strip
  • An al-Jazeera correspondent cited a report sent by UN secretary general Antonio Guterres to the members of the Security Council reviewing the dire humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip. According to the report, more than half a million residents of Gaza were facing a “catastrophic” famine and that a public health catastrophe was developing in Gaza. He called on Israel to allow the supply of water, electricity and fuel to the Gaza Strip, adding that the IDF attacks had damaged the operations of 94 hospitals and clinics and 76 ambulances. He said the operations of 125 UNRWA facilities had been damaged in the attacks, and that 308 displaced persons sheltering in the facilities had been killed and 1,095 injured. He also stated that over 60% of the houses in the Gaza Strip had been damaged or destroyed and that 144 UN personnel had been killed (X account of al-Jazeera correspondent, Rami al-Ayari, January 7, 2024).
  • The ministry of health in Gaza announced that it was able to operate a number of operating rooms in Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. The ministry then called on UN agencies to deliver emergency aid, medicines, medical equipment and fuel for the continued operation of the hospital (ministry of health in Gaza Facebook page, January 6, 2024).
Operations resume at Shifa Hospital (ministry of health in Gaza Facebook page, January 6, 2024)
Operations resume at Shifa Hospital (ministry of health in Gaza Facebook page, January 6, 2024)
Aid for the Gaza Strip
  • French President Emmanuel Macron announced that in light of the critical humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, France and Jordan had jointly delivered humanitarian aid by parachute (Emmanuel Macron’s X account, January 5, 2024). It was the first time that France had participated in an operation to bring humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip.
  • A correspondent for al-Ghad TV reported the delivery of humanitarian aid from the Palestinian Authority (PA) to the Gaza Strip through the Rafah Crossing. He said that among other things the trucks brought about 1.6 million items of clothing for the displaced persons (al-Ghad TV, January 6, 2024).
Aid for the Gaza Strip from the PA enters through the Rafah Crossing (al-Ghad TV , January 6, 2024)
Aid for the Gaza Strip from the PA enters through the Rafah Crossing
(al-Ghad TV , January 6, 2024)
  • A “senior Egyptian official” at the Rafah Crossing said that on January 6, 2024, 70 trucks carrying humanitarian aid and four fuel tankers entered the Gaza Strip through the Rafah Crossing. He said the delivery and later distribution of the aid was carried out in coordination with the Palestinian Red Crescent and UNRWA. Meanwhile, the governor of northern Sinai Peninsula district reported that “thousands of trucks” were waiting in El Arish to enter the Gaza Strip (Rafah Crossing News Facebook page, January 6, 2024).
“The day after”
  • In preparation for the visit of United States Secretary of State Anthony Blinken to the Middle East, Senior terrorist Isma’il Haniyeh, head of Hamas’ political bureau, said they hoped he understood the extent of the mistakes the United States had made in supporting Israel, and would focus on stopping the “aggression.” Haniyeh stated that they also hoped the officials in the Western countries and the Islamic countries who met with Blinken would emphasize that the future of the region “depended on the Palestinian issue” [sic]. According to Haniyeh, the Palestinians would not accept the continuation of the “occupation” (Ismail Haniyeh’s Telegram channel, January 5, 2024).
  • According to a statement issued by Hamas on behalf of the Palestinian [terrorist] organizations, Israel plans to exploit the difficult humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip to create a situation in which it will establish civilian bodies with which to manage the Strip, subject to its own conditions. According to the announcement, it is a “conspiracy” whose objective is to determine the form of government in the region and complete Israel’s project of eliminating the Palestinian issue, and Hamas and the other organizations will have nothing to do with it (Hamas Telegram channel, January 6, 2024).
  • Senior terrorist Ali Abu Shahin, a member of the PIJ’s political bureau, related to “the day after” and said that in his opinion, the United States and Israel, were already convinced they would not be able to achieve the goals they set at the beginning of the war, and the Israeli government did not have a clear view of the situation or an exit plan. He claimed that the future of the Strip was in the hands of the “resistance” [terrorist organizations] and the Palestinian people, and Israel had not been able to change the situation on the ground in a way that would allow it to impose its will on the Palestinians. For Israel, the solution was to get rid of the Palestinians and uproot them from their land, which would be impossible. The Israelis, he said, assumed the “resistance” had been defeated, while the situation on the ground was that it was in excellent condition and prepared to continue fighting for months, while Israel was suffering heavy losses, was confused and unable to control the area, so that it could not impose political conditions (al-Mayadeen YouTube channel, January 4, 2024).

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The Northern Arena
Hezbollah attacks
  • Hezbollah continued attacking IDF posts and concentrations of forces on the border of Israel. Between January 4 and 7, 2024, Hezbollah claimed responsibility for 13 attacks using anti-tank missiles, rockets and Burkan rockets (with warheads weighing 300-500 kg) (Hezbollah combat information Telegram channel, January 4 to 7, 2024). The IDF responded with tank and artillery fire targeting a number of areas in Lebanese territory. In the evening, an Israeli Air Force fighter jet attacked Hezbollah’s operational headquarters in the Blida area of south Lebanon, and attacks were also carried out in the Aita al-Sha’ab and Majdal Zoun areas (IDF spokesperson, January 5, 2024). During the operation, a surface-to-air missile was launched at a remotely manned Israeli Air Force aircraft in Lebanese territory; it was not damaged and continued its mission. The missile did not cross into Israeli territory (IDF spokesperson, January 6, 2024).
  • On January 6, 2024, the attacks increased significantly. In the morning more than 40 rockets were launched from Lebanese territory targeting Israel in the Meron area. The IDF attacked a terrorist squad in Lebanese territory which had taken part in the launches. IDF forces also attacked a large number of Hezbollah terrorist targets in south Lebanon, including a rocket launching post and squads, military buildings and terrorist facility (IDF spokesperson, January 6, 2024).
Attacks on Hezbollah targets (IDF spokesperson, January 6, 2024)    Attacks on Hezbollah targets (IDF spokesperson, January 6, 2024)
Attacks on Hezbollah targets (IDF spokesperson, January 6, 2024)
Rocket launch at the IDF base in Meron (Hezbollah combat information Telegram channel, January 6, 2024)
Rocket launch at the IDF base in Meron
(Hezbollah combat information Telegram channel, January 6, 2024)
  • Ali Shoeib, a correspondent for the al-Manar network, published a video showing Israeli airstrikes against the al-Labouneh groves, about two kilometers south of Naqoura and half a kilometer north of the Lebanon-Israel border (Ali Shoeib’s X account, January 7, 2024).
Israeli airstrikes against targets in the al-Labouneh groves (Ali Shoeib's X account, January 7, 2024)
Israeli airstrikes against targets in the al-Labouneh groves
(Ali Shoeib’s X account, January 7, 2024)
  • Hezbollah announced that as part of the “initial response to the crime of killing” Saleh al-‘Arouri and his associates in the Dahiyeh, its operatives had attacked the Meron “air control base” with 62 missiles of various types, scoring direct hits. Hezbollah gave details about the location of the base and claimed it was the only center for aerial management, surveillance and control in the north of Israel, and one of the two main bases in Israel, along with the Mitzpe Ramon base in the south (Hezbollah combat information Telegram channel, January 6, 2024).
  • The al-Fajr forces, the military-terrorist wing of al-Jama’a al-Islamiyya, a Lebanese organization related to the Muslim Brotherhood, claimed responsibility for launching two rocket barrages at Kiryat Shmona on January 5, 2024. According to the announcement, the attacks caused direct hits. The wing announced it would continue to carry out its operations and renewed its promise to respond to the killing of “resistance” [terrorist] leaders and fighters (al-Jama’a al-Islamiyya website, January 6, 2024). Two of its operatives were killed in Beirut along with Saleh al-‘Arouri.
Picture attached to the claim of responsibility (al-Jama'a al-Islamiyya – Sidon X account , January 6, 2024)
Picture attached to the claim of responsibility
(al-Jama’a al-Islamiyya – Sidon X account , January 6, 2024)
  • In response to Hezbollah’s rocket attack, senior Hamas terrorist Osama Hamdan said that if the “resistance”[2] promised to respond or take action against Israel, kept its promise. He noted that the initial response was a warning about where the “resistance” and Hezbollah’s response to al-Arouri’s death could lead. According to him, the response which would satisfy the desire of every “resistance operative” was the one that would cause Israel to withdraw from the Gaza Strip and impose “new equations on Israel,” the most important of which was the cessation of Israeli “aggression” in the Gaza Strip. Asked whether Hamas’ military[-terrorist] wing in Lebanon had also participated in the “response,” he replied that he was not talking about operational aspects (al-Arabi YouTube channel, January 6, 2024).
  • Senior terrorist Anwar Abu Tahe, a member of the PIJ political bureau, said that rocket attack on Meron was a response in the heart of Israel’s air force, surveillance and espionage, and proved that there were no “rules of confrontation” when it came to defending the security of Lebanon, Palestine and of the “resistance,” whose security and capabilities were above any political, military, security or intelligence consideration (al-Manar TV X account, January 6, 2024).
Hezbollah statistical infographic
  • Hezbollah published an infographic summarizing its attacks on Israel between October 8, 2023, and January 5, 2024. According to Hezbollah, during 89 days it carried out 670 attacks on military targets on the Israel-Lebanon border, killing and wounding 2,000 Israelis and attacked 43 armored vehicles and 18 headquarters. It claimed to have fired 182 mortar shells and 98 rockets, and used 17 UAVs to attack Israeli attackers as well as 257 anti-tank missiles. Hezbollah said that due to the attacks, approximately 230,000 residents had been evacuated from 43 border villages (Hezbollah media information Telegram channel of, January 5, 2024). Some of the data was quoted by Hassan Nasrallah in his speech on January 5, 2024.
The infographic (Hezbollah combat information Telegram channel, January 5, 2024)
The infographic (Hezbollah combat information Telegram channel, January 5, 2024)

Hezbollah casualties

  • Hezbollah reported the death of six operatives, all from south Lebanon (Hezbollah combat information Telegram channel, January 5, 2024):
    • Mustafa Hassan Saad, aka Abu Hassan Nur, originally from Bint Jbeil and a resident of Burj al-Shemali.
    • Khader Ali Muhanna, aka Abu Ali Raja, from Kafr Kila.
    • Mustafa Mahmoud Jaber, aka Jawad Abbas, from Mhaibib.
    • Abbas Hussein Rimal, aka Abd al-Rasoul, from al-Adeisa.
    • Abdallah Hassan al-Asmar, aka Abu Hussein, from al-Adeisa.
    • Hasan Abd Jaafar, aka Zulfaqar, originally from Tyre and a resident of Burj al-Shemali.

Hezbollah reported the death of six operatives, all from south Lebanon (Hezbollah combat information Telegram channel, January 5, 2024)     

Residents of south Lebanon
  • Hassan Fadalallah, a Hezbollah member of the Lebanese Parliament, toured Bint Jbeil where he met with Lebanese civilians. He claimed that the villages along the front were participating in the “resistance” by emphasizing their presence on the ground, adding that the front line was meant “to protect Lebanon and support the Gaza Strip.” He also claimed they had to “adhere to the ‘resistance’ and deter Israel,” as Hezbollah had initially responded to Israel’s “aggression” in the Dahiyeh. He said that what happened in south Lebanon was related to developments in the Gaza Strip, and Israel had no choice but to stop its “aggression,” stressing that Hezbollah would continue to support their “Palestinian brothers” (al-‘Ahed, January 6, 2024).
  • In light of the IDF attacks in south Lebanon, Hezbollah called on residents to stay away from places where Israel attacked, not to gather near them, and to leave humanitarian aid efforts to the authorities (Hezbollah combat information Telegram channel, January 7, 2024).
Hassan Nasrallah’s speech
  • Hassan Nasrallah, secretary general of Hezbollah, delivered his second speech of the week on January 5, 2024, at a memorial service for Muhammad Hussein Yaghi, one of the organization’s founders who died of an illness at the end of December 2023. His main points were the following (al-Manar TV, January 5, 2024):
  • Since the beginning of the war, Hezbollah attacked over a hundred kilometers along the front with Israel, and attacked all IDF positions along the border from Rosh HaNikra to Mount Hermon, an average of six to seven per day. Seventeen civilian settlements were attacked in response to attacks on Lebanese civilians or to kill the IDF soldiers.
  • He was proud of the mass departure of the Israeli residents of the north along the border line and claimed it was Israeli policy to hide the number of its dead and wounded as well as the real number of evacuated residents, which he claimed exerted heavy pressure on the Israeli government, which he regarded as an achievement.
  • The killing of Saleh al-‘Arouri could not go unanswered and unpunished. They do not promise revenge in the future but in effect are taking revenge as part of their campaign.
  • Regarding the situation of the residents of South Lebanon, Hezbollah does not require any resident of South Lebanon to evacuate or stay in his village. He praised the residents of the villages who were paying a direct price in the conflict, but noted that they understood that the campaign was for Lebanon as it is for the Gaza Strip, and if Israel won in the Gaza Strip, Lebanon could be next.
Nasrallah speaks (al-Manar TV, January 5, 2024)
Nasrallah speaks (al-Manar TV, January 5, 2024)
The Lebanese army
  • Joseph Aoun, commander of the Lebanese army, met in his office with UNIFIL commander Aroldo Lazaro to discuss cooperation and coordination between the army and UNIFIL, given the current situation in south Lebanon (Lebanese army X account, January 4, 2024).

The Lebanese government

  • Lebanon submitted a complaint to the UN Security Council regarding Israel’s killing of Saleh al-‘Arouri in Beirut, claiming it was “the most dangerous step” in Israel’s attacks on the country. According to the complaint, Israel used six missiles in the attack and was using Lebanon’s airspace to attack Syria (Reuters, January 5, 2024).
  • Josep Borrell, the EU foreign minister, paid a visit to Lebanon and he met with senior Lebanese government officials:
    • He met with Najib Mikati, the prime minister of the interim government in Lebanon, to discuss the latest developments in the Gaza Strip and south Lebanon, as well as EU-Lebanon bilateral cooperation. Mikati emphasized that they sought peace and stability, not war. He warned that any serious conflict in south Lebanon would drag the region into a total conflagration. He also stated that Lebanon was obligated to implement UN Security Council Resolution 1701, but that required stopping Israel from violating Lebanese sovereignty (Lebanese government X account, January 6, 2024).
    • Borrell also met with Nabih Berri, the speaker of the Lebanese Parliament, who emphasized Lebanon’s commitment to international resolutions, primarily Resolution 1701. He claimed they could begin implementing the resolution after Israel stopped its “aggression” and withdrew its forces from all “occupied Lebanese territories.” Borrell expressed concern about the ongoing fighting in Gaza and Israel’s “escalation.” He emphasized the need to stop the fighting and argued that peace had be restored to Lebanon, at which time it would be easier to discuss the full implementation of Resolution 1701 (al-Nashra, January 6, 2024).
    • Borrell held a joint press conference with Abdullah Bou Habib, the Lebanese foreign minister, where Borrell said that escalation in Lebanon had to be avoided. He also claimed the Gaza Strip could not be isolated from Judea and Samaria, and had to be part of the future Palestinian state. Bou Habib said that peace was extremely important to the Lebanese and they were committed to it, adding that only a political solution could end the violence. He stated that they wanted to avoid a war and its serious consequences, and that had agreed to act with the European Union to reduce the escalation (MTV, January 6, 2024).
    • He met with Joseph Aoun, commander of the Lebanese army, to discuss the situation in Lebanon, the Middle East and the developments in south Lebanon (Lebanese Army X account, January 7, 2024).
    • The al-Jazeera network reported from a “source in the Lebanese government” that Josep Borrell met with a Hezbollah delegation whose members told him there would be no discussion of Lebanon or the developments in south Lebanon before a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip (al-Jazeera, January 6, 2024).
Saleh al-‘Arouri’s funeral
  • On January 4, 2024, the funeral of Saleh al-‘Arouri, Azzam al-Aqra and Muhammad al-Rees was held in Beirut. It was attended by thousands of people, led by the members of Hamas’ political bureau, senior Hamas terrorists Musa Abu Marzouq, Hussam Badran, and al-‘Arouri’s deputy, Zaher Jabarin. In a recorded speech played during the funeral, senior terrorist Isma’il Haniyeh, head of Hamas’ political bureau, said that they would continue on the same path, “loyal to the blood of the martyrs in Gaza, Judea, Samaria and Lebanon” (Palinfo, January 4, 2024).
The funeral in Beirut (Palinfo, January 4, 2024)
The funeral in Beirut (Palinfo, January 4, 2024)
Syria
  • Explosions were reported in weapons and ammunition warehouses of militias operating under Iranian aegis in the areas of al-Ghabra and the al-Hamadan Airport in the rural area of Albukamal. According to reports, shortly before the explosions, trucks loaded with weapons and ammunition entered Syria from Iraq, and were apparently the target of the attack (Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, January 7, 2024). Journalist Zana al-Ali reported that “a vehicle loaded with ammunition belonging to the militias was attacked in the Albukamal area by a UAV of the international coalition forces” (North Press, January 7, 2024).

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Judea and Samaria
Terrorist attacks
  • On the morning of January 7, 2024, shots were fired near the British Police Junction (northwest of Ramallah), killing an Israeli civilian. IDF forces began pursuing the perpetrator of the attack and blocked several roads in the area (IDF spokesperson’s Telegram channel, January 7, 2024).

The scene of the shooting attack at the junction (Shehab X account, January 7, 2024)
The scene of the shooting attack at the junction (Shehab X account, January 7, 2024)

Counterterrorism activities

  • Since the beginning of the war, about 2,600 wanted Palestinians have been detained throughout Judea and Samaria, about 1,300 of them affiliated with the Hamas terrorist organization (IDF spokesperson, January 6, 2024).
  • In the early morning hours of January 7, 2024, Israeli security forces operated in the Jenin refugee camp. During the operation, a Border Police jeep was hit by a powerful IED. A Border Policewoman was killed and three other fighters were wounded. Israeli Air Force aircraft attacked a group of armed operatives who threw IEDs at the forces, killing six armed Palestinians (IDF spokesperson’s Telegram channel, January 7, 2024).
  • The Jerusalem Brigades’ Jenin Battalion claimed responsibility for detonating the IED in the early morning hours and noted that its operatives had engaged in battles and exchanges of fire with the Israeli security forces (Shehab X account, January 7, 2024). The Palestinian media reported seven fatalities after one of the wounded died of his injuries several hours later (Wafa, January 7, 2024). Following the events, the Palestinian organizations in Jenin declared a general strike. Al-Jazeera TV correspondent reporting from the Jenin refugee camp said operatives of the armed organizations in the camp continued to exercise caution for fear of the return of the Israeli forces or for fear that some of the forces remained on the ground (al-Jazeera YouTube channel, January 7, 2024).
The jeep that was hit (Shehab X account, January 7, 2024)    The IED being detonated.
Right: The IED being detonated. Left: The jeep that was hit (Shehab X account, January 7, 2024)
Friday Prayers
  • The Palestinian Department of Endowments in Jerusalem reported that 15,000 Muslims had participated in the Friday prayer on the Temple Mount on January 5, 2024, the largest number since the beginning of the war (Ma’an, January 5, 2024). Hamas issued an announcement in response to Israel’s security measures in the Old City of Jerusalem and around the Temple Mount, saying that the security forces’ acts of aggression against Palestinian worshippers and the fact that they had been preventing them from going to al-Aqsa Mosque for 13 consecutive Fridays were arbitrary “Nazi behavior” and a blatant attack on the holy sites and freedom of worship. Hamas called on the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the Arab League to take responsibility for defending Jerusalem and al-Aqsa Mosque from the danger of Judaization and preventing Israeli violations against the Islamic and Christian holy sites (Palinfo, January 5, 2024).
  • After Friday prayers, marches were reportedly held in a number of cities in Judea and Samaria in support of the Gaza Strip and the “resistance” and in protest of the assassination of Saleh al-‘Arouri (al-Araby al-Jadeed, January 5, 2024; Hurriya News, January 5, 2024).
March in Ramallah attended by PLO Executive Committee member Ramzi Rabah (PALDF X account, January 5, 2024)     March in the village of ‘Aroura (al-Araby al-Jadeed, January 5, 2024).
Right: March in the village of ‘Aroura (al-Araby al-Jadeed, January 5, 2024). Left: March in Ramallah attended by PLO Executive Committee member Ramzi Rabah (PALDF X account, January 5, 2024)
Mourning tent for Saleh al-‘Arouri
  • A mourning tent was erected in the Jenin refugee camp in memory of Saleh al-‘Arouri. Speaking at the scene, senior Hamas terrorist Abd al-Jabbar Jarrar said “Israel’s crimes” would not break the Palestinians’ willpower and would not weaken their desire to resist. He added that Israel was under the illusion that al-‘Arouri’s assassination would end the “resistance.” Jarrar stressed that killing al-‘Arouri would be a curse on Israel, because every time a leader was killed, he returned in the form of a rocket, bomb or plane, frightening Israel and its residents. According to Jarrar, al-‘Arouri was one of the founders of the al-Qassam Brigades in Judea and Samaria and had a large fingerprint on “resistance” activity, and Israel was witness to his actions (Hurriya News, January 5, 2024).
The mourning tent. Jarrar is the one leaning on a crutch (Shehab X account, January 5, 2024)    The mourning tent. Jarrar is the one leaning on a crutch (Shehab X account, January 5, 2024)
The mourning tent. Jarrar is the one leaning on a crutch (Shehab X account, January 5, 2024)
Palestinian Authority (PA)
  • Nabil Abu Rudeina, spokesman for Mahmoud Abbas’ office, said in a statement that Israel was escalating its aggression against the Palestinians and carrying out a “genocide” in the Gaza Strip. At the same time, Israel was engaged in the secret annexation of Judea and Samaria by increasing the number of settlements. Israel’s policy violated all international laws, and the future of the Palestinians would be determined solely by the Palestinian people and not by any other external entity. Abu Rudeina called on the American administration to intervene immediately and compel Israel to immediately stop its aggression, because its continuation would drag the region into an uncontrollable situation (Wafa, January 6, 2024).
  • PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh met with James McGoldrick, the UN coordinator for humanitarian affairs in Judea and Samaria, to discuss the dire humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip and the need to increase humanitarian aid and expedite its arrival. Shtayyeh noted that they called for the presence of UN teams in Palestinian refugee camps to monitor and prevent Israel’s activity. He said Israel was attacking the refugee camps to ignite the situation in Judea and Samaria (Muhammad Shtayyeh’s Facebook page, January 4, 2024).
  • British Foreign Secretary David Cameron spoke with Riyadh al-Maliki, PA foreign minister. Cameron criticized statements by Israeli government officials calling for the displacement of Gaza residents to a third country in violation of their rights. He also stressed the urgent need for humanitarian aid in Gaza. Al-Maliki thanked him for rejecting statements such as the “ideas” Israeli Defense Minister Gallant presented regarding the “day after,” and claimed that they were not worthy of consideration because they lacked any political logic, long-term vision, and understanding of the issue of sovereignty. The two agreed to continue working for a ceasefire (PA foreign ministry Telegram channel, January 6, 2024).

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Iran
  • Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said at the funeral ceremony of those killed in the attack near the grave of Qassem Soleimani in Kerman, that the end of Operation al-Aqsa Flood would be the end of the “Zionist regime.” He noted that although 90 days had passed since the beginning of the war, Israel was unable to confront the “resistance in Palestine,” and that the world was now more than ever on the side of “Palestine” and against the “Zionist regime.” He praised former Qods Force commander Qassem Soleimani, saying that he and the “resistance forces” had blocked the American plan to establish another “Israel” in the region (IRNA, January 5, 2024).
  • Hossein Salami, IRGC commander, said at the ceremony that Operation al-Aqsa Flood proved its ability to defeat the “Zionist regime,” which adopted a policy of “from the Nile to the Euphrates” and wanted to bury the Palestinian nation. He said there was no longer a safe place for Israel on the land of Palestine and that “the Zionist authorities had no way to escape the destructive swamp” and would be defeated whether they remained there or left (Tasnim, January 5, 2024).
  • Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian spoke with his Syrian counterpart, Faisal al-Miqdad. Al-Miqdad expressed condolences to the families of those killed in the attack in Kerman. They also discussed “the recent terrorist attacks of the Zionist regime in Syria and Lebanon, the latest developments in Palestine, and the Zionist regime’s aggression against Gaza” (ISNA, January 4, 2024).
  • The foreign minister spoke with Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, the prime minister and foreign minister of Qatar. They discussed the attack in Kerman, the implications of the killing of Saleh al-‘Arouri in Beirut on the negotiations mediated by Qatar, and the latest developments in Gaza, the Bab al-Mandeb Strait and the Red Sea. They reiterated the need for an immediate end to the “killing of Gaza residents by the Zionist regime,” preventing the “forced displacement” of Palestinians, lifting the siege and transferring humanitarian aid, medicine and food to the Gaza Strip (ISNA, January 5, 2024). Abdollahian also spoke with French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna to discuss regional developments and the possibility that the war would spread (IRNA, January 6, 2024).
  • Ismail Qaani, commander of the Qods Force, sent a letter of condolence to Ismail Haniyeh, head of Hamas’ political bureau, following the assassination of Saleh al-‘Arouri. The letter stated that “the enemy and the Zionists want to assassinate the leaders of the resistance to cover up their heavy defeat in Gaza and the West Bank” and that al-‘Arouri had reached the rank of shaheed at a time when the campaign against the enemy in Judea and Samaria was heating up (Tasnim, January 7, 2024).
Pro-Iranian militias
Iraq
  • The Islamic Resistance in Iraq claimed responsibility for several drone attacks against the American bases in Syria and Iraq, including an attack on two bases, al-Tanf and al-Shadadi in Syria; Harir base in Erbil in northern Iraq; and a base in the al-Omar oil field in Syria (Islamic Resistance Telegram channel, January 5-6, 2024).
  • According to the Nujaba movement, the attacks on January 6, 2024, were carried out as a “blood revenge” of senior militia leader Abu Taqwa, who was killed on January 4, 2024, in an American attack (Nujaba movement Telegram channel, January 6, 2024).
  • On January 7, 2024, al-Jazeera reported that the Islamic Resistance in Iraq had claimed responsibility for attacking “a base of the Zionist enemy in the Golan Heights with a drone” (al-Jazeera, January 7, 2024).
  • Mohammad Kawtharani, in charge of Hezbollah’s Iraq file, reportedly arrived in Baghdad and met with representatives of the militias in the country to begin implementing an escalation strategy of operations against the American forces in Iraq. The meeting was reportedly part of the implementation of the strategy discussed by Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah in his speech, according to which there was an opportunity to get rid of the American presence in Iraq (Jada Iran, January 6, 2024).
Yemen
  • Brad Cooper, commander of the American Navy’s Fifth Fleet, said an explosive Houthi vessel had been detonated in the Red Sea. He noted that it was a failed attack and that the vessel was not close enough to any American Navy ships or commercial ships to cause damage or casualties. He said so far there had been 25 Houthi attacks in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden and that there were no signs the attacks were going to stop (Reuters, January 4, 2024). This was the first time the Houthis had used an unmanned vessel to carry out an attack since the beginning of the war in the Gaza Strip. They had used such vessels in the past to fight the Saudi coalition forces.
  • Yahya Saria, spokesman for the Houthi armed forces, announced that they had carried out an attack against an American warship using a drone and that they had taken over a British-Israeli ship and led it to the port of Hudaydah (Houthi Armed Forces spokesman Yahya Saria’s X account, January 6, 2024). The United States Army Central Command (CENTCOM) reported that on the morning of January 6, 2024, the Houthis had launched a UAV towards the southern Red Sea. The USS LABOON intercepted the aircraft, and there were no casualties or damage reported (CENTCOM X account, January 6, 2024).
  • The British maritime security firm Ambrey announced that it had received a report of a security incident in the Bab al-Mandeb area of the Red Sea. The firm recommended that crew members minimize their movement on board (Reuters, January 6, 2024). The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) said it had received a report of six small vessels approaching a commercial vessel about 50 nautical miles southeast of the Yemeni city of Mocha. The authorities are reportedly investigating the incident and boats in the area have been advised to sail carefully and report any suspicious activity to the organization (UKMTO X account, January 6, 2024).
  • Abd al-Malik al-Houthi, leader of the Houthis in Yemen, praised the Houthis’ activity as part of their support for the Palestinians, noting that the Yemeni front had become an effective and influential front against Israel. He mentioned the ballistic missiles and drones launched by the organization and the impact of the activity on Israel’s economy and trade. Al-Houthi called on the Yemeni people to hold popular demonstrations and marches throughout the country, especially in the capital Sana’a, to express support for the Palestinians (Ansar Allah movement Telegram channel, January 4, 2024).
  • Mahdi al-Mashat, chairman of the Houthi movement’s Supreme Political Council, said during a meeting with senior officials that “the crimes against our brothers in Palestine will not go unpunished” and that their 40 million fighters were prepared for fighting. He noted that they would continue to prevent the passage of Israeli ships or ships sailing towards Israeli ports until the aggression against the Gaza Strip ceased. Referring to the American attack against Houthi forces in the Red Sea on December 31, 2023, al-Mashat stressed that the “American crime” would not go unanswered and that the United States would pay an unprecedented price for it (Yemeni presidential office Telegram channel, January 6, 2024).
  • In an interview given to the BBC, Mohammad Ali al-Houthi, a member of the Houthi political bureau, claimed that the right to protect the Red Sea rested with them and not with the United States and that the United States was only looking for allies “to add fuel to the fire.” He noted that any country that joined the American-led Operation Prosperity Guardian would lose its maritime security and its ships would become targets for them. He also attacked Bahrain, claiming that it was a defeated country that did not have complete independence, and threatened that if it acted against Yemen, it would respond accordingly. He called on all countries with access to the Red Sea to reach an agreement to remove foreign forces from the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea (al-Houthi’s X account, January 6, 2024).
  • Houthi spokesman Muhammad Abdeslam said that the Yemeni people did not threaten any country that did not attack them, and at the same time did not accept those who threatened them. He claimed what threatened the region and the countries of the Mediterranean basin was the Israeli cruelty and militarization of the sea carried out by the United States on behalf of Israel. He stressed that the United States and its allies had to give up their arrogance and understand that attempts to subdue them by force would not yield results (Houthi spokesman’s X account, January 5, 2024).
  • Izzat al-Rishq, a member of Hamas’ political bureau, referred to the establishment of the American-led Prosperity Guardian naval force, saying that the United States’ efforts on the issue, along with its opposition to all attempts by the international community to stop the war, exposed its full complicity and responsibility for the “genocide and massacre.” Al-Rishq said the American administration had to reconsider its conduct vis-à-vis the Palestinian issue and that the will of the Palestinian people and “the resistance” would not be harmed by sympathy for Israel (Izzat al-Rishq’s Telegram account, January 5, 2024).

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The Arab Arena
Egypt
  • Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry spoke with French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna about developments in the Gaza Strip and international efforts to secure humanitarian aid. Shoukry confirmed Egypt’s total rejection of all measures and declarations encouraging the Palestinians to leave their lands. He stressed the necessity of fully implementing UN Security Council Resolution 2720.[3] They also discussed developments in the Lebanese arena and the threats in the Red Sea, and warned of the dangers that the conflict would spread and stability would be undermined (al-Qahera, January 6, 2024).
Qatar
  • Mohammed bin Abdulrahman, Qatari prime minister and foreign minister, spoke with Najib Mikati, Lebanon’s interim prime minister, to discuss the latest developments and the situation in the Gaza Strip and the Palestinian territories. Abdulrahman stressed the danger of attempts to lead Lebanon into a regional war and the need for the international community to act to stop Israel’s violations (Qatari foreign ministry X account, January 5, 2024).
The International Arena
United States
  • The American Department of State is offering up to $10 million for providing information about five people who fund Hamas or information that would help disrupt Hamas’ financial mechanisms. The money will reportedly be paid, inter alia, for information on Hamas’ sources of income, donors and institutions facilitating its transactions (American Department of State website, January 5, 2024).
  • American Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke by phone with Catherine Colonna, French foreign minister. The two discussed the importance of measures to prevent the conflict in the Gaza Strip from spreading, reduce tensions in the West Bank, and avoid escalation in Lebanon and Iran. They stressed the importance of minimizing harm to civilians in the Gaza Strip and reaffirmed the urgency of international coordination to ensure the arrival of humanitarian aid to the residents of the Gaza Strip. Blinken called for an immediate end to the Houthis’ illegal attacks on commercial shipping in the Red Sea (American Department of State website, January 4, 2024).
  • Blinken arrived on a tour to the Middle East. He began the tour in Turkey, where he met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and discussed developments in the Gaza Strip. Blinken stressed the need to prevent the conflict from escalating, ensure the release of hostages, increase humanitarian aid and reduce civilian casualties. He also stressed the need to work for a broad and lasting regional peace that would ensure Israel’s security and promote the establishment of a Palestinian state (Reuters, January 6, 2024). He also met with Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan (Turkish foreign ministry X account, January 6, 2024).
  • In Amman, Blinken met with King Abdullah II of Jordan. King Abdullah stressed Jordan’s rejection of the forced expulsion of Palestinians in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip and the attempts to separate the Gaza Strip from Judea and Samaria. He said the violent acts against Palestinians and the violations at the Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem carried out by the extremist settlers were unacceptable and had to be dealt with before it led to an explosion in the situation in the region (Petra News Agency, January 7, 2024). Blinken also met with Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman al-Safadi (al-Mamlaka, January 7, 2024).
France
  • French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna addressed the issue of the day after the war, saying that the Gaza Strip was Palestinian, and its future did not depend on Israel. She also said the principles of international law had to be respected, and that the calls to settle the residents of Gaza outside the Strip were irresponsible (CNN, January 5, 2024).
India
  • Two ships were reportedly attacked on the evening of January 4, 2024, in the Indian Ocean, and no one claimed responsibility for the attack. The identities of the two ships were also not revealed (al-Mayadeen, January 5, 2024).
Global Jihad
ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack in Iran
  • ISIS issued a statement claiming responsibility for the attack on January 4, 2024, near the grave of Qassem Soleimani, commander of the IRGC’s Qods Force in Kerman, on the memorial day marking four years since his death. A total of 91 people were killed in the attack. ISIS noted that it was a suicide bombing attack carried out by two suicide bombers who blew themselves up 20 minutes apart. It was noted that the attack killed and wounded about 300 people. The statement ended with the words, “Let the infidel [Shi’ite] rejectionists know that the jihad fighters are ambushing them and their plans” (Telegram, January 4, 2024).
The two perpetrators of the attack (Telegram, January 4, 2024)    ISIS's claim of responsibility for the attack in Iran.
Right: ISIS’s claim of responsibility for the attack in Iran. Left: The two perpetrators of the attack (Telegram, January 4, 2024)
ISIS spokesman calls for attacks on Jews and their allies everywhere
  • On January 4, 2024, ISIS’s al-Furqan Foundation published a statement made by ISIS spokesman Abu Hudhaifa al-Ansari, who called for attacking Jews and their Christian allies and Arab regimes everywhere, against the background of the war in the Gaza Strip. He noted that the struggle against the Jews was a religious rather than a national one, and that “Muslims must fight the Jews because they are Jews, infidels who do not believe in Allah, who fought the prophets, showed hostility to the Muslims, and defiled al-Aqsa Mosque and Palestine.”
  • He called on the Palestinians to fight for the application of Sharia, not for national or other ideology, and not in cooperation with the Khomeinist-Ikhwani alliance (i.e., the collaboration between the Iranian regime and Hamas). He slandered the Shi’ites and said the Iranian regime wanted the Palestinians to be nothing more than a pawn in its hands. He spoke out against Iran and Hezbollah against the backdrop of the war in Gaza, which, he claimed, proved that the “rejectionist infidels” (Shi’ites) exploited the Palestinian factions for their own interests, not the other way around.
  • He added that the campaign against the Jews was more against their allies than against the Jews themselves, including the Arab regimes, and called to attack the Christians in the United States and Europe (the “Crusaders”) and the Arab regimes, and to help Muslims financially for their brothers in “Palestine” (Telegram, January 4, 2024).
Audiotape of Abu Hudhaifa al-Ansari's statement (Telegram, January 4, 2024)
Audiotape of Abu Hudhaifa al-Ansari’s statement (Telegram, January 4, 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] UN Security Council Resolution 2720 of December 22, 2023, was approved by 13 of the 15 council members (Russia and the United States abstained). The resolution calls for increased humanitarian assistance to the Gaza Strip, including the supply of fuel, food and medical supplies. It also demands that all border crossings into the Gaza Strip be opened for the entry of humanitarian aid, including the Kerem Shalom Crossing, and that the hostages be released and humanitarian access to them be allowed.