Operation Iron Swords (Updated to 1 p.m., January 8, 2024)

Destruction of tunnels in the Shejaiya area (IDF spokesperson, January 7, 2024)

Destruction of tunnels in the Shejaiya area (IDF spokesperson, January 7, 2024)

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

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

Photos found in a school area documenting the weapons training of school students (IDF spokesperson, January 8, 2024)

Photos found in a school area documenting the weapons training of school students (IDF spokesperson, January 8, 2024)

Identifying terrorists in the Khan Yunis area in an area where they launched rockets at Israel.

Identifying terrorists in the Khan Yunis area in an area where they launched rockets at Israel.

Eliminating the terrorists (IDF spokesperson, January 8, 2024)

Eliminating the terrorists (IDF spokesperson, January 8, 2024)

A call for residents of the al-Maghazi refugee camp to evacuate immediately to safe locations in Deir al-Balah (Paltoday, January 8, 2024)

A call for residents of the al-Maghazi refugee camp to evacuate immediately to safe locations in Deir al-Balah (Paltoday, January 8, 2024)

Displaced persons from the Deir al-Balah area erect tents in the Rafah area (Wafa YouTube channel, January 7, 2024)

Displaced persons from the Deir al-Balah area erect tents in the Rafah area (Wafa YouTube channel, January 7, 2024)

Stalls in UNRA shelter centers in the Gaza Strip (Wafa YouTube channel, January 7, 2024)

Stalls in UNRA shelter centers in the Gaza Strip (Wafa YouTube channel, January 7, 2024)

Attacks on Hezbollah military buildings and terrorist facilities (IDF spokesperson, January 8, 2024)

Attacks on Hezbollah military buildings and terrorist facilities (IDF spokesperson, January 8, 2024)

Israeli airstrikes on targets in the Aita al-Sha'ab area (Ali Shoeib's X account, January 8, 2024)

Israeli airstrikes on targets in the Aita al-Sha'ab area (Ali Shoeib's X account, January 8, 2024)

The damaged vehicle in which al-Tawil apparently traveled (Sky News, January 8, 2024).

The damaged vehicle in which al-Tawil apparently traveled (Sky News, January 8, 2024).

The missile fired at Haifa (Islamic Resistance in Iraq Telegram channel, January 7, 2024)

The missile fired at Haifa (Islamic Resistance in Iraq Telegram channel, January 7, 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 the Khan Yunis area, where they expanded the activity to neighborhoods in the east of the city. In Shejaiya in the northern Gaza Strip, the forces destroyed Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terrorist facilities. The Palestinian media reported heavy fighting and airstrikes mainly in the Khan Yunis area There was sporadic rocket fire, for which the Jerusalem Brigades, the PIJ’s military-terrorist wing, claimed responsibility.
  • 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,; 121 hostages have been returned to Israel. Sources in Hamas reiterated that for the present the negotiations would not be renewed.
  • The Gaza Strip: There were reports of a dire medical situation, the result of the large number of casualties and the inability of the hospitals, some of which are closed, to admit them. There were also reports of overcrowding in the Rafah area and a shortage of supplies and humanitarian aid. The death of three journalists (one of them Ahmed Yassin’s grandson) provoked angry reactions and claims that Israel deliberately attacks media personnel.
  • The northern arena: Hezbollah continued to attack IDF positions and towns on the border. Hezbollah responded with satisfaction to the IDF spokesperson’s report of damage to the base in Mount Meron, claiming the attack on the base was the first response to the killing of Saleh al-‘Arouri. In the IDF attack in south Lebanon on January 8, 2024, a commander of Hezbollah’s elite Radwan force was killed. Due to the tense situation, the Lebanese minister of education announced the suspension of studies in schools in south Lebanon.
  • Judea and Samaria: There was a vehicle ramming attack at the Ras Biddu checkpoint near Jerusalem. A Palestinian girl was killed during the pursuit of the terrorists who carried out the attack. Mahmoud Abbas met with the President of Egypt.
  • The pro-Iranian militias: The Islamic Resistance in Iraq claimed responsibility for launching a long-range missile at Haifa a few days ago. It also announced the launch of a missile at the Golan Heights. Meanwhile, the attacks on American military bases in Syria and Iraq continued.
The Combat Arena
  • The Palestinian media reported IDF attacks had killed 73 and wounded 99 during the past day (Ma’an, January 8, 2024). They also reported heavy airstrikes in the al-Manara neighborhood in southeast Khan Yunis and heavy exchanges of fire between IDF forces and “members of the resistance” [terrorist operatives] in the area of Qizan al-Najjar, southeast of Khan Yunis. In addition, heavy exchanges of fire took place in the al-Maghazi and al-Nuseirat areas in the central Gaza Strip, where the IDF fired shells (QudsN X account, January 8, 2024).
  • The northern Gaza Strip: For several days, combined IDF forces have been operating in Shejaiya to destroy PIJ terrorist facilities. During the operation in eastern Shejaiya, a shaft was located which led to a tunnel and a missile launcher was located nearby. In northern Shejaiya, the forces found large quantities of weapons, training booklets and combat instructions for the October 7 attack, in and near the house of Ahmed Samera, director of the PIJ’s tunnel project in northern Gaza Strip (IDF spokesperson, January 7, 2024). During activities in the Daraj-Tufah neighborhoods, the forces located a strategic Hamas shaft that led to a 100-meter tunnel containing a site for the manufacture of weapons (IDF spokesperson, January 7, 2024).
The tunnel located near Ahmed Samera's house (IDF spokesperson, January 7, 2024)    The tunnel located near Ahmed Samera's house (IDF spokesperson, January 7, 2024)
The tunnel located near Ahmed Samera’s house (IDF spokesperson, January 7, 2024)
Destruction of tunnels in the Shejaiya area (IDF spokesperson, January 7, 2024)    Destruction of tunnels in the Shejaiya area (IDF spokesperson, January 7, 2024)
Destruction of tunnels in the Shejaiya area (IDF spokesperson, January 7, 2024)
IDF forces in the northern Gaza Strip (IDF spokesperson, January 7, 2024)     IDF forces in the northern Gaza Strip (IDF spokesperson, January 7, 2024)
IDF forces in the northern Gaza Strip (IDF spokesperson, January 7, 2024)
  • The central Gaza Strip: In the al-Maghazi refugee camp, a fighter jet attacked a weapons’ warehouse where long-range rockets were stored (IDF spokesperson, January 8, 2024).
  • The southern Gaza Strip: In Khan Yunis, dozens of terrorists were killed and more than 100 terrorist targets were destroyed, including observation posts, anti-tank posts, and several shafts and tunnels, as well as a Hamas operational headquarters linked to the October 7 attack and massacre. A large quantity of weapons was located, some of which were hidden in UNRWA sacks. (IDF spokesperson, January 7, 2024). In support of the fighting forces, on the night of January 7, 2024, about 30 terrorist targets were attacked in Khan Yunis, including tunnels, terrorist facilities and munitions warehouses (IDF spokesperson, January 8, 2024).
Photos found in a school area documenting the weapons training of school students (IDF spokesperson, January 8, 2024)     Photos found in a school area documenting the weapons training of school students (IDF spokesperson, January 8, 2024)
Photos found in a school area documenting the weapons training of school students
(IDF spokesperson, January 8, 2024)
Eliminating the terrorists (IDF spokesperson, January 8, 2024)    Identifying terrorists in the Khan Yunis area in an area where they launched rockets at Israel.
Right: Identifying terrorists in the Khan Yunis area in an area where they launched rockets at Israel. Left: Eliminating the terrorists (IDF spokesperson, January 8, 2024)
Weapons found in UNRWA sacks (IDF spokesperson, January 7, 2024)     Weapons found in UNRWA sacks (IDF spokesperson, January 7, 2024)
Weapons found in UNRWA sacks (IDF spokesperson, January 7, 2024)
  • A correspondent named Isma’il Abu Amr reported that the IDF forces had expanded their activities in the Khan Yunis area and were already in the Jorat al-Lout and Qizan al-Najjar area, southeast of Khan Yunis, where there was a heavy exchange of fire, including IDF shelling (QudsN X account, January 8, 2024).
Isma'il Abu Amr reports from the Nasser Hospital building in Khan Yunis about the penetration of IDF forces into the southeastern area of the city (QudsN X account, January 8, 2024)     Isma'il Abu Amr reports from the Nasser Hospital building in Khan Yunis about the penetration of IDF forces into the southeastern area of the city (QudsN X account, January 8, 2024)
Isma’il Abu Amr reports from the Nasser Hospital building in Khan Yunis about the penetration of IDF forces into the southeastern area of the city (QudsN X account, January 8, 2024)
  • A correspondent for al-Ghad TV reported a tense silence in Rafah after the IDF attacks in the last day and a number of casualties. He reported a shortage of gasoline, claiming vehicles were being fueled with cooking oil (al-Ghad TV, January 8, 2024).
A call for residents of the al-Maghazi refugee camp to evacuate immediately to safe locations in Deir al-Balah (Paltoday, January 8, 2024)     An al-Ghad TV correspondent reports from Rafah (al-Ghad TV, January 8, 2024).
Right: An al-Ghad TV correspondent reports from Rafah (al-Ghad TV, January 8, 2024). Left: A call for residents of the al-Maghazi refugee camp to evacuate immediately to safe locations in Deir al-Balah (Paltoday, January 8, 2024)
Palestinian reactions to the fighting
  • Senior Hamas terrorist Osama Hamdan held a press conference in Beirut where he claimed the “resistance” [terrorist operatives] was still “holding on to its land” and continued to fight. The rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip, which Israel had pledged to stop them from being launched, continued hitting the heart of Israel every day, proving once again that “all the power” was in the hands of the “resistance” [terrorist organizations]. He claimed Israel had withdrawn from the northern area of the Gaza Strip and its forces remained only in the western outskirts of Beit Lahia. He also claimed the IDF forces had left without achieving any of their goals, they had not destroyed the forces, eliminated Hamas or rescued any hostages, but only [brought back] bodies. As for the southern Gaza Strip, Khan Yunis and the central camps, Hamdan claimed seven IDF brigades were fighting in the region, and so far, they had achieved nothing on the ground compared to Israel’s declared goals (al-Jazeera YouTube channel, January 7, 2024).
Rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip
  • The Jerusalem Brigades, the PIJ’s military-terrorist wing claimed responsibility for launching rocket barrages at Nahal Oz, Sufa and Holit (Paltoday Telegram channel, January 7, 2024). During the night, they announced that at “Bahaa’s 9 p.m.” [the time when the PIJ under the command of Bahaa Abu al-Atta used to launch rockets] they launched a barrage of rockets at Sderot, Nir Am and other towns and villages surrounding Gaza (Paltoday Telegram 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 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
  • Senior Hamas terrorist Mahmoud Mardawi said that because Hamas would not allow the ongoing killings and massacres to be used to exert pressure [on Hamas], everything related to negotiations with Israel had been stopped. He added that their requirements and conditions were clear and had been known from the beginning, and they currently were not contacting anyone about proposals or initiatives. He reiterated that after a ceasefire and Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip there would be a return to negotiations through the mediators according to the [resistance’s] agenda and the goals they set and intended to achieve (Arab World Press News Agency (AWP), January 8, 2024).

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The Gaza Strip
Palestinian casualties
  • The Hamas-controlled ministry of health in the Gaza Strip reported that as 1:50 p.m., January 8, 2024, the number of dead since the beginning of the war stood at 23,084 and the number of wounded at 58,926 (ministry of health in Gaza Facebook page, January 8, 2023).
  • The death in an airstrike of Ali Salem Abu Ajwa, grandson of Hamas founder Ahmed Yassin, was reported on social media. Abu Ajwa was an operative in the Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ military-terrorist wing (X account of Hassan bin Basher al-Jaloudi, January 7, 2024; X account of Tariq Hamdi, January 7, 2024). He worked as a photojournalist for the Fourth Authority, which defines itself as “an independent Palestinian news agency” (Safa X account, January 7, 2024).
 Ali Abu Ajwa wearing a press vest (Safa X account, January 7, 2024)    Ali Abu Ajwa (Ali Abu Ajwa's X account, May 26, 2022).
Right: Ali Abu Ajwa (Ali Abu Ajwa’s X account, May 26, 2022). Left: Ali Abu Ajwa wearing a press vest (Safa X account, January 7, 2024)
  • The Palestinian media reported the death of journalists in the Gaza Strip, one of whom was Hamza al-Dahdouh, son of the journalist Wa’el al-Dahdouh. They were allegedly killed by an Israeli attack on their vehicle north of Rafah. Hamas claimed the attack on the journalists was a deliberate war crime whose objective was to threaten journalists and prevent them from reporting the “truth” and covering the “crimes.” Hamas called on human rights organizations to document the crimes against the press and prosecute Israel (Hamas Telegram channel, January 7, 2024).
  • The PIJ strongly condemned the [alleged] “continued assault on journalists and media personnel,” claiming the “crimes” would not go unpunished (PIJ media information bureau Telegram channel, January 7, 2024).
The situation in the Gaza Strip
  • Senior Hamas terrorist Osama Hamdan held a press conference in Beirut where he reviewed the situation in the Strip. He claimed so far, the number of dead had reached 29,722, including 10,000 children and 7,000 women, there were 58,166 injured people and more than 7,000 were missing. That meant 4% of the population of the Gaza Strip were dead, missing or injured. He added that more than 1.9 million Palestinians had been displaced from their homes and about 70% of the civilian facilities and infrastructure in the Gaza Strip had been destroyed. Thirty hospitals had stopped operating and 53 medical facilities had been destroyed. He claimed that “Israel’s [alleged] crimes” also included the killing of 109 media personnel, the latest of whom were Hamza al-Dahdouh, the son of Wa’el al-Dahdouh, Mustafa Thuraya and Ali Abu Ajwa (the grandson of Ahmed Yassin). He claimed it was an Israeli attempt to silence those who “report the truth.” He also claimed Israel was committing crimes by destroying archeological sites in the Gaza Strip “in a desperate attempt to erase Palestinian culture and heritage.” According to Hamdan, more than 200 archaeological and heritage sites of the 325 sites in the Gaza Strip had been destroyed, including mosques, churches, schools, museums, ancient houses and various heritage sites (al-Jazeera YouTube channel, January 7, 2024).
  • Adnan Abu Hasna, spokesman for UNRWA in the Gaza Strip, said the situation in Rafah was “on the brink of an explosion” because of the crowding in the city. He said the number of residents in Rafah, which initially had 250,000 inhabitants, had reached two million people living in tents. He said in his opinion it was a second Palestinian nakba [catastrophe] and there was currently no available space in Rafah which could accommodate more displaced persons. That was why, he said, residents erected tents wherever possible on the street. Regarding the humanitarian aid entering the Gaza Strip, he said it did not meet the needs of the residents, because what came in today was only about 6-7 % of the residents’ needs (Watan, January 7, 2024).
Displaced persons from the Deir al-Balah area erect tents in the Rafah area (Wafa YouTube channel, January 7, 2024)
Displaced persons from the Deir al-Balah area erect tents in the Rafah area
(Wafa YouTube channel, January 7, 2024)
  • It was reported that to meet the needs of the population, residents set up stalls to sell goods in UNRA shelter centers. The stall owners stated that prices were high and there was a shortage of various types of flour (Wafa YouTube channel, January 7, 2024).
Stalls in UNRA shelter centers in the Gaza Strip (Wafa YouTube channel, January 7, 2024)    Stalls in UNRA shelter centers in the Gaza Strip (Wafa YouTube channel, January 7, 2024)
Stalls in UNRA shelter centers in the Gaza Strip (Wafa YouTube channel, January 7, 2024)
  • Bassam Na’im, a senior Hamas terrorist and former minister of health in the Hamas administration, was interviewed by the Iranian Mehr News Agency.[2] He related to the public health situation in the Gaza Strip. He said the public health sector was essentially governmental, but there were also private institutions. He said the government health sector oversaw about 12 hospitals and there were 60 non-government and private hospitals. In the northern Gaza Strip, about 35 government, non-government and private hospitals were not functioning, either because of the attacks or because of Israel’s tight blockade, which prevented aid from being delivered. He claimed the medical sector in the northern Gaza Strip could not provide service to the residents. A few hospitals were still operating in the southern Gaza Strip, but some of them had been attacked and only a small amount of the medicines reached them through international organizations, so they could not provide adequate service for the 50,000 wounded Gazans. The occupancy in the hospitals in the southern Gaza Strip was more than 400%, that is, four times the maximum normal situation, and therefore they were unable to provide services. Due to the situation, many new diseases had begun to spread, including infectious diseases, dermatological problems, and childhood and other diseases. He also noted that many Palestinians were disappointed with the very limited support of countries around the globe or sometimes with indifference from some Arab and Muslim countries (Mehr Agency in Arabic, January 6, 2024).
  • Al-Arabi TV reported on a local initiative of Palestinian journalists to clean and organize Shuhadaa al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir al-Balah, due to the high number of casualties in the district and the hospital’s heavy load (al-Arabi YouTube channel, January 8, 2024).
Palestinian journalists clean and organize Reception at Shuhadaa al-Aqsa hospital in Deir al-Balah (al-Arabi YouTube channel, January 8, 2024)     Palestinian journalists clean and organize Reception at Shuhadaa al-Aqsa hospital in Deir al-Balah (al-Arabi YouTube channel, January 8, 2024)
alestinian journalists clean and organize Reception at Shuhadaa al-Aqsa hospital in Deir al-Balah (al-Arabi YouTube channel, January 8, 2024)

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The Northern Arena
Hezbollah attacks
  • Hezbollah continued attacking IDF positions and concentrations of forces on the northern border. Over the past day Hezbollah claimed responsibility for 12 anti-tank missile, rocket and Burkan rocket attacks (Telegram channel of the combat information, January 7-8, 2024).
  • IDF fighters attacked a terrorist cell in the area of Marwahin. The IDF also attacked a number of Hezbollah military-terrorist in the areas of Lavona, Majdal Zoun and Bint Jbeil in south Lebanon with fighter jets. In some instances, secondary explosions were detected, indicating the presence of weapons. The IDF also intercepted a hostile aerial target that entered Israeli territory from Lebanese territory in the Ibn Menachem area (IDF spokesperson, January 7, 2024).
 Attacks on Hezbollah military buildings and terrorist facilities (IDF spokesperson, January 8, 2024)     Attacks on Hezbollah military buildings and terrorist facilities (IDF spokesperson, January 8, 2024)
Attacks on Hezbollah military buildings and terrorist facilities
(IDF spokesperson, January 8, 2024)
 Attack on a Hezbollah launch site and infrastructure (IDF spokesperson, January 8, 2024)    Attack on a Hezbollah military compound.
Right: Attack on a Hezbollah military compound. Left: Attack on a Hezbollah launch site and infrastructure (IDF spokesperson, January 8, 2024)
  • Ali Shoeib, a correspondent for the al-Manar network, published a photo following three Israeli airstrikes on targets in the Aita al-Sha’ab area, about one and a half kilometers northeast of Shtula (Ali Shoeib’s X account, January 8, 2024).
Israeli airstrikes on targets in the Aita al-Sha'ab area (Ali Shoeib's X account, January 8, 2024)
Israeli airstrikes on targets in the Aita al-Sha’ab area (Ali Shoeib’s X account, January 8, 2024)
Hezbollah attacks the IDF base on Mount Meron
  • On January 6, 2024, Hezbollah launched a barrage of anti-tank missiles and rockets from south Lebanon at the IDF base on Mount Meron. A day after the attack, the IDF spokesperson confirmed it had caused damage to the base, but had not interrupted the functioning of the aerial defense system, since all systems were backed up (IDF spokesperson, January 7, 2024).
  • Hezbollah stated that the attack was part of the “initial response to the crime of elimination” of Saleh al-‘Arouri and his “associates” [other senior terrorist operatives] in the Dahiyeh, the Hezbollah Shi’ite stronghold in south Beirut (Telegram channel of the combat information arm, January 6, 2024).
  • The results of the attack were praised by Shi’ite figures:
    • Nabih Berri, the speaker of the Lebanese Parliament and leader of the Amal Party, said that Israel had understood the message and that Israel’s craziness of the past two days was an expression of the pain Israel was experiencing (al-Mayadeen, January 7, 2024).
    • Hashem Safi al-Din, the chairman of Hezbollah’s Executive Council, gave a speech in Nabatieh where he said that when Israel attacked Saleh al-‘Arouri it wanted to achieve a goal but also to convey a message to the “resistance.” He claimed it was both natural and necessary for them to respond, otherwise Israel would have thought that Hezbollah was weak and had been deterred. He claimed the attack on the IDF base in Mount Meron was an initial response and that there would be further responses. He also stated that the attack had sent several messages, and since it is a support site for the Israeli Air Force, which attacked in the Dahiyeh, it was a direct message. He stated that no base could hide from the “resistance’s” missiles and capabilities, and all Israeli sites were within missile range (al-Nashra, January 7, 2024).
    • Mohammad Ra’ed, chairman of the Hezbollah faction in the Lebanese Parliament, said in a speech that if Israel wanted to start a war against Lebanon, it had to know that they would “take it all the way.” He said that despite the delegations arriving in Lebanon to “open a door to the end of the war,” they would not discuss any issue unless Israel stopped its “aggression” in the Gaza Strip and against Lebanon (al-Nashra, January 7, 2024).
Fatalities in the incidents
  • In an aerial attack attributed to Israel on a car in Khirbet Salem in south Lebanon (about ten kilometers from the Israeli-Lebanese border), Wissam Hassan al-Tawil (Hajj Jawad), a Hezbollah commander, and another person who was in the vehicle with him were killed (Sky News, January 8, 2024). Al-Tawil was reportedly a field commander in the Radwan Force and the nephew of Hussein Hani al-Tawil, killed in Syria on October 17, 2023 (al-Jazeera and Kataib, January 8, 2024). Hezbollah officially announced his death, noting that he had been a field commander in the organization (Hezbollah’s combat information Telegram channel, January 8, 2024).
Hezbollah's notice of his death (Hezbollah's combat information Telegram channel, January 8, 2024)     The damaged vehicle in which al-Tawil apparently traveled (Sky News, January 8, 2024).
Right: The damaged vehicle in which al-Tawil apparently traveled (Sky News, January 8, 2024). Left: Hezbollah’s notice of his death (Hezbollah’s combat information Telegram channel, January 8, 2024)
Residents of South Lebanon
  • Dr. Abbas al-Halabi, the Lebanese minister of education, announced the closure of elementary schools, high schools, institutes and official and private vocational schools in the border area of south Lebanon. The directors of educational institutions in all the districts of south Lebanon and al-Nabatieh were given the decision whether to open or close them in accordance with security and military developments, so that students and teachers would not be exposed to danger (Lebanese News Agency, January 7, 2024).
Beirut Airport shutdown
  • On the evening of January 7, 2024, it was reported that a cyberattack at Rafik Hariri International Airport in Beirut disrupted the baggage systems. A message against Hezbollah and Iran appeared on the screens, signed by a group identified as the Soldiers of God (Junud al-Rab). According to the message, Rafik Hariri Airport did not belong to Hezbollah and Iran. The message also said Hezbollah would be to blame if Lebanon found itself involved in a war, and accused Hezbollah of using the airport to deliver weapons (al-Mayadeen TV correspondent Bissan Tarraf’s X account, January 8, 2024).
  • Ali Hamia, Lebanon’s Hezbollah-affiliated minister of public works and transportation, announced that the security forces were continuing their activity to locate the source of the cyberattack. He said Lebanon’s cybersecurity was seriously lacking in comparison with other countries around the globe (al-Hadath, January 8, 2024).
Two Junud al-Rab operatives, who deny any connection (lebannews Instagram account, January 7, 2024)      The message that appeared on the screens (al-Mayadeen TV correspondent Bissan Tarraf’s X account, January 8, 2024)
Right: The message that appeared on the screens (al-Mayadeen TV correspondent Bissan Tarraf’s X account, January 8, 2024) Left: Two Junud al-Rab operatives, who deny any connection (lebannews Instagram account, January 7, 2024)
Screens turned off at Beirut airport (al-Hadath X account, January 8, 2024)     Screens turned off at Beirut airport (al-Hadath X account, January 8, 2024)
Screens turned off at Beirut airport (al-Hadath X account, January 8, 2024)
  • The internal security forces reportedly went into action to implement an alternative plan which would allow normal traffic. It was later reported that the screens at the airport had resumed operation and that according to preliminary information, it was “an internal action by an employee and not an external breach” (al-Nashra, January 7, 2024).
Syria
  • According to a “security source,” the attack on the vehicle in the Albukamal area on the Syrian-Iraqi border on the morning of January 7, 2024, was carried out by a drone which launched several missiles; no casualties were reported (Iraqi al-Rabia Network, January 7, 2024).

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Judea and Samaria
Terrorist attacks
  • On January 7, 2024, a vehicle ramming attack was carried out at the Ras Biddu Crossing (north of Jerusalem) in which a Border Policewoman was wounded. A Palestinian vehicle driven by a man with a woman passenger accelerated toward Border Police fighters after they had previously checked and released a Palestinian vehicle. The soldiers shot at the vehicle that was speeding up toward them, killing the man and the woman next to him. A Palestinian baby girl who was traveling in another vehicle was killed in the shooting. A knife was found in the ramming vehicle. The death of the Palestinian baby is under investigation by the police (Israeli media and Israel Police Force spokesman’s unit, January 7, 2024).
The knife found in the vehicle (Israel Police Force spokesman's unit, January 7, 2024)
The knife found in the vehicle (Israel Police Force spokesman’s unit, January 7, 2024)
  • Following the vehicle ramming attack, the PIJ issued a statement claiming that “the premeditated killing of a man and his wife and a girl in another vehicle by IDF soldiers was yet another crime,” in addition to Israel’s war crimes against the Palestinians and evidence that Israel was [allegedly] waging “genocide, ethnic cleansing and the displacement of the Palestinians. The organization called on the Palestinians to escalate the “resistance” [terrorist attacks] by all means at the disposal (PIJ’s information bureau Telegram channel, January 7, 2024)
Counterterrorism activities
  • Israeli security forces continued their counterterrorism activities throughout Judea and Samaria, detaining 13 wanted Palestinians. Since the beginning of the war in the Gaza Strip, more than 2,600 wanted Palestinians have been detained, including about 1,300 Hamas operatives (IDF spokesperson’s Telegram channel, January 8, 2024).
  • On the morning of January 8, 2024, Israeli security forces operated in ‘Azzun (east of Qalqilya). They detained wanted Palestinians, seized large quantities of weapons and destroyed IEDs found inside vehicles (IDF spokesperson’s Telegram channel, January 8, 2024). In addition, the Israeli security forces operated in other areas, including Nablus, Ni’lin (west of Ramallah) and Hussan (west of Bethlehem) (IDF spokesperson’s Telegram channel, January 8, 2024).
The moment of the controlled explosion in 'Azzun (QudsN X account, January 8, 2024)     Palestinian photo documenting the entry of the Israeli forces into 'Azzun.
Right: Palestinian photo documenting the entry of the Israeli forces into ‘Azzun. Left: The moment of the controlled explosion in ‘Azzun (QudsN X account, January 8, 2024)
Mourning tent for Saleh al-‘Arouri
  • The national and Islamic forces in the Ramallah and al-Bireh district erected a mourning tent for one day in memory of Saleh al-‘Arouri (Shehab X account, January 7, 2024). The event included a speech by senior terrorist Ismail Haniyeh, chairman of Hamas’ political bureau, and another speech, read out on behalf of Hamas in Judea and Samaria (Hurriya News, January 7, 2024). Abbas Zaki, a member of Fatah’s Central Committee, also spoke at the event, as did Qadoura Fares, chairman of Fatah’s Commission on Prisoners’ Affairs, who said al-‘Arouri had turned the prisons into training camps for leaders, revolutionaries and “a revolution” (Palinfo, January 7, 2024).
  • Laila Ghannam, governor of the Ramallah and al-Bireh district, speaking at a condolence visit to Saleh al-‘Arouri’s family in the village of ‘Aroura, stressed that all of “Palestine” was pained by the killing of Saleh al-‘Arouri at the hands of the “treacherous occupation gangs,” adding that the Palestinians had lost a “national leader who worked for Palestinian unity” (Laila Ghannam’s Facebook page, January 3, 2024).
 The mourning tent. Right: Abbas Zaki speaking. Left: Members of the Executive Committee Wassel Abu Yusuf and Ramzi Rabah, in addition to Abbas Zaki (Abbas Zaki's Facebook page, January 7, 2024)   The mourning tent. Right: Abbas Zaki speaking. Left: Members of the Executive Committee Wassel Abu Yusuf and Ramzi Rabah, in addition to Abbas Zaki (Abbas Zaki's Facebook page, January 7, 2024)
The mourning tent. Right: Abbas Zaki speaking. Left: Members of the Executive Committee Wassel Abu Yusuf and Ramzi Rabah, in addition to Abbas Zaki
(Abbas Zaki’s Facebook page, January 7, 2024)
Condolence visit by the governor of Ramallah and al-Bireh district to the village of ‘Aroura (Laila Ghannam’s Facebook page, January 3, 2024)
Condolence visit by the governor of Ramallah and al-Bireh district to the village of ‘Aroura
(Laila Ghannam’s Facebook page, January 3, 2024)
Palestinian Authority (PA)
  • Mahmoud Abbas, PA chairman, met in Cairo with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. Abbas stressed that the only solution to the current escalation was “the end of the Israeli occupation and the establishment of a Palestinian state.” Also present at the meeting were Hussein al-Sheikh, secretary of the PLO’s Executive Committee, and Majed Faraj, head of General Intelligence (Wafa, January 8, 2024).

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Iran
  • Iraj Masjedi, senior advisor to the Qods Force commander, told a conference in Tehran that the strength of the “Islamic resistance forces” was growing daily. He said the Palestinians were currently fighting with missiles, but the day would come when they would acquire “defensive weapons” [apparently referring to air defense capabilities] and capabilities that would not allow Israel to bomb them (Tasnim, January 7, 2024).
  • Mohammad Bagheri, chief of staff of the Iranian armed forces, said that Operation al-Aqsa Flood was a turning point in the sense that a group of fighters who were under full siege in the Gaza Strip, without means or contact with the outside, managed to plan and carry out such a large military operation and surprise an enemy with world-class capabilities and intelligence. He noted that the residents of the Gaza Strip continued to promote their goals, while many psychological problems were evident among the “Zionists” (Tasnim, January 8, 2024).
  • Nasser Kanani, spokesman for the Iranian foreign ministry, speaking at his weekly press conference about American Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s visit to the region, said that if the United States and Western countries really wanted to solve the problem, stop the “war crimes of the Zionist regime” and prevent the expansion of the war in the region, they had to demonstrate their will in practice. He noted that the insecurity in the region stemmed from the presence of American military forces and the unconditional support of the United States for Israel. He added that the situation in the Red Sea was also connected to developments in Gaza, and that restoring conditions to their previous state required an end to the “crimes of the Zionist regime.” Kanani also said Israel aspired to expand the war in the region and turn it into a regional and supra-regional war (Fars, January 8, 2024).
Pro-Iranian militias
Iraq
  • The Islamic Resistance in Iraq claimed responsibility for attacking a “vital target in Haifa” with an al-Arqab long-range cruise missile. According to the organization, the launch was carried out several days ago. They stated that they would continue to attack Israel, and that they promised even more. The organization released a video documenting the missile launch (Iraqi Islamic Resistance Telegram channel, January 7, 2024). Hussein al-Mousawi, spokesman for the Iraqi al-Nujaba militia, which is part of the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, referred to the missile launch and said it was a clear message that the “axis of resistance” was not giving up its strategic goals in the region and that it had the ability to reach more distant areas. He said their goal was clear: confusing the American plan in the region and diverting Israel’s attention from the Gaza Strip. He stressed that it was not a temporary target but a comprehensive system that opposed what the United States and Israel were doing (al-Mayadeen, January 7, 2024).
The missile fired at Haifa (Islamic Resistance in Iraq Telegram channel, January 7, 2024)      The missile fired at Haifa (Islamic Resistance in Iraq Telegram channel, January 7, 2024)
The missile fired at Haifa (Islamic Resistance in Iraq Telegram channel, January 7, 2024)
  • In addition, the Islamic Resistance in Iraq claimed responsibility for attacking a military target in the Golan Heights (Islamic Resistance Telegram channel, January 7, 2024).
  • At the same time, Islamic Resistance activity against American bases in Syria and Iraq continued. The Islamic Resistance claimed responsibility for attacking the American base in Qasrak and a base in the al-Omar oil field in Syria (Islamic Resistance Telegram channel, January 7, 2024).
Yemen
  • United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) said it had received a report of two small vessels approaching a commercial vessel about 50 nautical miles southeast of the Yemeni city of Mocha. It was also noted that no weapons were involved in the incident and that the ship and crew were intact (UKMTO X account, January 8, 2024).
The Arab Arena
Qatar
  • American Secretary of State Antony Blinken met in Doha with Tamim bin Hamad, Emir of Qatar. Also present at the meeting was Mohammed bin Abdulrahman, Qatari prime minister and foreign minister. The parties discussed the strategic relations between the two countries and the latest developments in the Gaza Strip, Judea and Samaria. Bin Hamad stressed that an immediate ceasefire had to be pursued, civilians had to be protected, and humanitarian aid had to be brought into the Gaza Strip. He said it was necessary to de-escalate the situation to ensure stability and security in the region (Qatar News Agency, January 7, 2024).
  • At a press conference held by Mohammed bin Abdulrahman with Antony Blinken after their meeting, Abdulrahman said they discussed the attempt to prevent the expansion of the conflict in the region. He noted that the recent events in Lebanon and Syria had been a violation of the sovereignty of the countries and that he condemned it. He noted the assassination of Saleh al-‘Arouri had complicated the negotiations for the release of the hostages. Regarding the situation in the Red Sea, he said a military solution to the situation was not the right solution. Antony Blinken said they were committed to working against the expansion of the conflict and would continue to protect maritime security in the region. He noted that Houthi attacks had caused a delay of more than 20% in international shipments (al-Jazeera, January 7, 2024).
  • Mohammed al-Khulaifi, minister of state in the Qatari foreign ministry, said they were continuing to mediate on the war in the Gaza Strip, but that there was an impression that there was hysteria on the part of Israel stemming from a limited political horizon. He said they condemned the attacks that led to a large number of fatalities. He noted it could not be considered self-defense and was a blatant violation of international laws and agreements. Regarding the Lebanese issue, al-Khulaifi said Qatar was acting as part of international and regional efforts to help Lebanon overcome the presidential vacuum (al-Modon, January 7, 2024).
Jordan
  • King Abdullah II of Jordan, meeting with Rwandan President Paul Kagame, stressed the need for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, protecting civilians and ensuring an adequate and continuous supply of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip. He expressed appreciation for the contribution of Rwanda, which sent an aid plane to the Gaza Strip. The king stressed that the consequences of continuing the war in the Gaza Strip would be disastrous for everyone, which required pressure from all countries in the world. He reiterated Jordan’s position of rejecting a solution of forced displacement of Palestinians and warned against acts of violence by “extremist settlers” against Palestinians in Judea and Samaria (Akhbar Hayat, January 7, 2024).
  • Ayman al-Safadi, Jordanian foreign minister, said the Jordanian proposal was to deal with the situation in the Gaza Strip after stopping the aggression as part of a comprehensive plan based on the unity of the Gaza Strip, Judea, Samaria and east Jerusalem. He noted that they were working on a plan that included a clear goal, timing and steps to resolve the conflict based on the two-state solution, and they were coordinating with other Arab countries and partners in the international community. He said Jordan supported South Africa’s lawsuit against Israel alleging genocide and would file a lawsuit with the tribunal to examine the issue within a few days (Petra, January 7, 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] The interview was conducted in Iran, at an unknown date. Bassam Na'im participated in the Tehran Conference on December 20, 2023.