Operation Iron Swords (Updated to 1 p.m., March 5, 2024)

Destroying the tunnel (IDF spokesperson, March 5, 2024)

Destroying the tunnel (IDF spokesperson, March 5, 2024)

Civilian Gazans evacuate the Hamad neighborhood following the expansion of IDF activities (Wafa YouTube channel, March 4, 2024)

Civilian Gazans evacuate the Hamad neighborhood following the expansion of IDF activities (Wafa YouTube channel, March 4, 2024)

Al-Jazeera channel correspondent broadcasting from the south of Gaza City, with residents waiting next to him (al-Jazeera YouTube channel, March 5, 2024).

Al-Jazeera channel correspondent broadcasting from the south of Gaza City, with residents waiting next to him (al-Jazeera YouTube channel, March 5, 2024).

Attacks in Bint Jbeil (Fouad Khreiss' X account, March 5, 2024)

Attacks in Bint Jbeil (Fouad Khreiss' X account, March 5, 2024)

Security forces' activity in the camp (QudsN X account, March 5, 2024)

Security forces' activity in the camp (QudsN X account, March 5, 2024)

Demonstration in Birzeit (Birzeit University Facebook page, March 4, 2024)

Demonstration in Birzeit (Birzeit University Facebook page, March 4, 2024)

Northern Arena, Israeli Casualties, Rocket Fire

Overview[1]
  • The southern arena: During the past day IDF activities focused on the Hamad neighborhood in the northwest of Khan Yunis. The fighters detained dozens of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terrorist operatives who tried to escape by mingling with the civilian population evacuated by the IDF. The Israeli Air Force attacked more than 50 Hamas targets. The IDF spokesperson revealed that at least 450 UNRWA workers in the Gaza Strip were operatives of terrorist organizations, some of whom participated in the October 7, 2023 attack.
  • According to unofficial data, since October 7, 2023, approximately 1,500 Israeli civilians and security personnel have been killed, 586 of them soldiers and officers; 130 civilian and military hostages are still being held by the terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip; 123 hostages have been released.
  • Negotiations for a hostage deal: The Hamas delegation is still in Cairo for further talks regarding a ceasefire agreement and hostage deal. So far, no official announcement has been made about the status of the negotiations. Reports, sometimes contradictory, were received by the media outlets, according to which there are still gaps between the positions, especially regarding a ceasefire, the return of the displaced residents to the northern Gaza Strip and the list of Israeli hostages.
  • The Gaza Strip: “Sources” reported internal Hamas criticism of the decision made by Yahya al-Sinwar, head of the Hamas political bureau in the Gaza Strip, to launch the attack on October 7, 2023, without consulting the other leaders of the movement.
  • The northern arena: Hezbollah claimed responsibility for six attacks. On the afternoon of March 4, 2024, a barrage of rockets was launched at the cities, towns and villages of the Western Galilee. According to Hezbollah, the attack came in response to the death of three medical personnel in an IDF attack. American Mediator Amos Hochstein began a series of meetings with senior officials in Lebanon.
  • Judea and Samaria: Israeli security forces detained a terrorist operative in the Balata refugee camp in Nablus who planned, along with other terrorists, to carry out an attack in the immediate future.
  • The Palestinian Authority (PA): Mahmoud Abbas went on a three-day visit to Turkey.
  • The pro-Iranian militias: The Houthis reported damage to a ship with connections to Israel in the Gulf of Aden. It was owned by Switzerland and flying the Liberian flag. There were no casualties.
  • The United Nations: On March 4, 2024, the United Nations General Assembly convened to discuss the American veto on the proposed resolution in the Security Council for an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.
The Southern Arena
  • Palestinian media outlets reported the focus of IDF activity during the past day: in the northern Gaza Strip the IDF attacked in Jebalya, Beit Lahia and Beit Hanoun; in Gaza City, in the Zeitoun neighborhood; in the central Gaza Strip, in the Nuseirat refugee camp; in Khan Yunis, in the west of the city, in the east of the district, near the European Hospital and in Greater Abasan; in Rafah, in the city’s north and center (Wafa, Ma’an, March 5, 2024).
 An al-Jazeera TV presenter describes the IDF's activity in the southwest of Gaza City (right), and in the northwest and east of Khan Yunis (left) (al-Jazeera YouTube channel, March 4, 2024)    An al-Jazeera TV presenter describes the IDF's activity in the southwest of Gaza City (right), and in the northwest and east of Khan Yunis (left) (al-Jazeera YouTube channel, March 4, 2024)
An al-Jazeera TV presenter describes the IDF’s activity in the southwest of Gaza City (right), and in the northwest and east of Khan Yunis (left) (al-Jazeera YouTube channel, March 4, 2024)
  • The southern Gaza Strip: The IDF forces continued encircling the Hamad neighborhood in northwest Khan Yunis. They raided Hamas terrorist facilities and located large quantities of weapons while evacuating residents from the combat zones. The fighters detained dozens of Hamas and PIJ operatives who tried to escape by mingling with the evacuating civilian population (IDF spokesperson, March 5, 2024).
Civilian Gazans evacuate the Hamad neighborhood following the expansion of IDF activities (Wafa YouTube channel, March 4, 2024)    Civilian Gazans evacuate the Hamad neighborhood following the expansion of IDF activities (Wafa YouTube channel, March 4, 2024)
Civilian Gazans evacuate the Hamad neighborhood following the expansion of IDF activities (Wafa YouTube channel, March 4, 2024)
  • The central Gaza Strip: IDF forces continued to operate against armed terrorist squads and killed approximately 20 terrorists with sniper fire, tank fire and UAVs (IDF spokesperson, March 5, 2024).
  • The northern Gaza Strip: In the Beit Hanoun area the forces identified a terrorist squad operating a drone. An Israeli Air Force fighter jet attacked and killed the terrorists (IDF spokesperson, March 5, 2024). Hisham Zaqout, a correspondent for al-Jazeera TV in Rafah, reported that on the night of March 4, 2024, the IDF carried out heavy attacks in the northern Gaza Strip, which had not occurred for a long time. He reported the attacks focused on Jebalya and its refugee camp, Beit Hanoun and Beit Lahia (al-Jazeera YouTube channel, March 5, 2024).
  • On the morning of March 5, 2024, IDF forces destroyed the Hamas terrorist tunnel exposed on December 16, 2023. It branched from the northern Gaza Strip towards Israel but did not cross into Israeli territory (IDF website, March 5, 2024).
 Destroying the tunnel (IDF spokesperson, March 5, 2024)
Destroying the tunnel (IDF spokesperson, March 5, 2024)
  • Aerial activity: The Israeli Air Force continued attacking Hamas terrorist targets throughout the Strip, striking more than 50 during the past day. The targets included launch positions, munitions warehouses, tunnel shafts and other military facilities (IDF spokesperson, March 5, 2024).
Attack on a Hamas military structure (IDF spokesperson, March 5, 2024)     Attack on Hamas terrorist facilities.
Right: Attack on Hamas terrorist facilities. Left: Attack on a Hamas military structure (IDF spokesperson, March 5, 2024)
Israeli casualties
  • According to unofficial data, since October 7, 2023, approximately 1,500 Israelis have been killed. According to the IDF spokesperson, 586 of them are soldiers and officers (246 since the start of the ground maneuver on 27 October, 2023); 130 civilian and military hostages are still being held by the terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip; 123 hostages have been released.
The issue of the hostages and a ceasefire agreement
  • The Hamas delegation is still in Cairo and talks are being conducted for a ceasefire agreement and hostage deal. So far, no official announcement has been made regarding the status of the negotiations. Reports, sometimes contradictory, were received by the media outlets, according to which there were still gaps between the positions, especially regarding a ceasefire, the return of the displaced residents to the northern Gaza Strip and the list of Israeli hostages.
  • Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal, citing “Egyptian and Qatari officials,” reported that Yahya al-Sinwar had not communicated for at least a week, and people familiar with the negotiations said his last message to the Hamas leadership in Qatar was that there was no need to rush into a hostage deal. According to the sources, he hopes an Israeli attack in Rafah during Ramadan will lead to an uprising of “Palestinians” in Israel and in Judea and Samaria (The Wall Street Journal, March 4, 2024).
  • A “high level Egyptian source” announced the end of the second day of talks in Cairo, adding that they were expected to resume on March 5, 2024. According to the source, Egypt was making determined efforts to reach an agreement and truce before the beginning of Ramadan. He claimed “considerable progress had been made in negotiations for a truce,” and that Egypt was seeking to strike a fair agreement (al-Qahira al-Ikhbariya TV website, March 4, 2024).
  • “Egyptian sources familiar with the negotiations” reported that no progress had been made in the negotiations and there were still obstacles. According to the sources, disclosing the names and number of the Israeli hostages in the Gaza Strip who were still alive was a major obstacle which kept both sides from agreeing to a truce. The sources reported that the Hamas delegation claimed it was “difficult” to provide an accurate list in light of the continued Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip, and that some of the hostages were being held by other “organizations or parties,” making it difficult to acquire information about them. The sources reported that the mediators were determined to make every effort to achieve an agreement, claiming the negotiations had come a long way. Progress was reportedly made regarding technical details related to the duration of the truce and the ratio of the number of Palestinian prisoners to Israeli hostages in an exchange deal, and the disputed points were few but did pose obstacles. According to the sources, Egypt and the United States offered to provide guarantees regarding some technical details, and the Qatari mediator would check the lists of prisoners and hostages who would be released under the agreement (al-Sharq al-Awsat, March 4, 2024).
  • However, “Egyptian sources” knowledgeable about the negotiations in Cairo said that the Israeli and Palestinian sides still adhered to their positions and did not want to make concessions that would contribute to a solution, noting that both sides were counting on the time factor. They claimed that saying “substantial progress had been made in the negotiations” was only a means to encourage the continuation of the ongoing negotiations in the hope of reaching a deal before Ramadan (al-Araby al-Jadeed, March 4, 2024).
  • A senior Hamas member familiar with the details of the negotiations reported that there had been no breakthrough in the first meeting. He said Israel was responsible, especially Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose policy was to continue the war, and who had new conditions, the first of which was emptying all the areas adjacent to the Israel communities around the Gaza Strip of their population and leaving the rest of the northern areas of the Gaza Strip with a very small number of residents, which Hamas refused to agree to. Hamas adhered to the principle of the unrestricted, unconditional return of the displaced persons to their previous places of residence. He said he was pessimistic about reaching an agreement because the failure to reach the threshold conditions for a deal, and said that so far the Israeli intentions were to resume fighting immediately after the hostages had been released. He claimed Hamas accepted the principle of stages in the negotiations, but it was conditional and dependent on a comprehensive ceasefire before the release of the last hostage. He claimed that the reports about American pressure or attempts to facilitate reaching an agreement were untrue: the United States government, he claimed, was interested only in achieving a temporary truce to ease the pressure it faced and give Israel an opportunity to deal with its image, damaged in the West. He claimed the negotiations were currently based on Israel’s rejection of a comprehensive ceasefire and its refusal to return the displaced persons to the north. Regarding the Israeli demand for a list of the names of the hostages, he said it “proved” the extent of Israeli evasion and Netanyahu’s attempt to obtain some relief in his crisis vis-à-vis the families of the hostages (al-Araby al-Jadeed, March 4, 2024).
  • A “senior Hamas member” claimed a positive atmosphere prevailed at the talks in Cairo and the ball was still in Israel’s court. He said the mediators had informed Hamas that the United States was pressing for an agreement before the start of Ramadan, and that pressure would be applied on Israel to accept the proposed deal. He said the discussions did not deal with the specific names of Palestinian prisoners whose release had been demanded, but Hamas presented criteria for prisoners in exchange for the Israeli hostages held by Hamas. He said that to a certain extent agreement had been reached according to various criteria, and that the United States had taken it upon itself to convince Israel to agree to the criteria, which were very close to the Paris-2 framework, so that the final ratio would be one hostage for every 15 prisoners, at most. He noted that the list of prisoners would include at least 20 sentenced to life imprisonment and other serious punishment, including sick and elderly prisoners.
  • The “senior Hamas member” also said they were conducting a “serious, exhaustive discussion” about the return of displaced persons from the southern Gaza Strip to the north. He said that, despite Hamas’s request for the return of all displaced persons, that entailed dangers of overcrowding, which forced everyone to examine the technical details of their return and create a plan for the return of families according to a schedule extending through the truce, a return of more than 500 families every day. Their return would be carried out in cooperation with international organizations such as the Red Cross and UNRWA (Arab World Press News Agency (AWP), March 4, 2024).
  • Bassem Na’im, a member of the Hamas leadership in the Gaza Strip and the chairman of the political department, said that Israel still refused a comprehensive ceasefire, a complete withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and the return of the displaced before the agreement. Regarding the Israeli condition that Hamas announce the names, numbers and information about hostages “living or dead,” Na’im said that Hamas’ position was based on three points:
    • The details of the hostages were not mentioned in any documents or proposals raised during the negotiations. He claimed even the mediators, and in particular the Americans, Israel’s closest allies, said the condition of providing names had not been mentioned in the proposals. He claimed that meant the prime minister of Israel was looking for a reason to cause the negotiations to fail.
    • The presence of thousands of Palestinian in Israel, who were detained after the events of October 7, mainly from the Gaza Strip, about whom Israel refuses to provide information about, their numbers and names. He stated that they demanded to know their names and their condition.
    • Not providing free information to Israel. Na’im wondered why they should give information without compensation, especially when Israel insisted on rejecting the basic demand for a total ceasefire, a complete withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and to allow the return of the displaced persons. He claimed Hamas did not know the condition of the hostages because they were being held by many “groups” in different places, which he called “a technical matter.” He claimed Hamas needed a ceasefire to be able to respond to the request for the names, numbers and condition of the hostages (al-Sharq TV website, March 4, 2024).
  • Ali Abu Shaheen, a member of the PIJ’s political bureau, told the Houthis’ al-Masirah network that during the first stage of the negotiations, the Qatari mediator presented a series of proposals, then an Egyptian document was drawn up outlining the idea of the stages, then there was a Paris document, which Israel rejected, and then a new document was presented where they presented their view because Israel tried to empty the agreement of its content. He pointed out that Israel set traps when the return of the displaced persons to the northern Gaza Strip was raised, related only to the elderly and rejected the return of the young. Regarding the ceasefire, Israel related only to specific hours only and regarding the release of the Palestinian prisoners, initially the number was 1,500, then Israel reduced the number to 400 (al-Masirah TV website, March 4, 2024).

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The Gaza Strip
Palestinian casualties
  • The Hamas-controlled ministry of health in the Gaza Strip reported at 10:45 a.m., March 5, 2024, that during the past day 97 Gazans had been killed and 123 wounded, bringing the number of dead since the beginning of the war to 30,631 and the number of wounded to 72,043 (ministry of health in Gaza Facebook page, March 5, 2024).
  • According to the spokesperson of the Palestinian Red Crescent, the public health system in the Gaza Strip is collapsing and the PA has no vehicles to help rescue casualties. He also noted that the aid currently entering the Gaza Strip did not meet the needs of the residents (al-Jazeera YouTube channel, March 4, 2024).
Aid for the Gaza Strip
  • Isma’il al-Ghul, a correspondent for al-Jazeera TV, broadcast from al-Kuwait Square in the south of Gaza City, where many local residents were waiting for the arrival of trucks brining humanitarian aid from the southern Gaza Strip. Residents complained to him that the aid packages they received only contained bottles of water and cans but no flour. The said they needed flour to make bread, especially for the month of Ramadan (al-Jazeera YouTube channel, March 5, 2024).
Dropping two pallets of food for the residents of the northern Gaza Strip (QudsN X account, March 5, 2024)    Al-Jazeera channel correspondent broadcasting from the south of Gaza City, with residents waiting next to him (al-Jazeera YouTube channel, March 5, 2024).
Right: Al-Jazeera channel correspondent broadcasting from the south of Gaza City, with residents waiting next to him (al-Jazeera YouTube channel, March 5, 2024). Left: Dropping two pallets of food for the residents of the northern Gaza Strip (QudsN X account, March 5, 2024)
Hamas governance
  • A senior Hamas policeman, who wished to remain anonymous, said that the police were not waiting for a truce to stop the “intimidation.” He claimed they had regained control over most of the areas in northern Gaza, adding that the police, the directorate of investigations and the internal security forces had not stopped working. Official presence may have disappeared, but they followed events on the ground, and all the details and all violations were recorded. He said they had no sites where they could detain criminals and lawbreakers and there were no police who could patrol in uniform so they went to work in civilian clothes, but the structure of their operations was the same as it was before the war. He said that they would put a stop to the coercion during the pacification, which some of the parties were trying to support and strengthen, and would deal with anyone who broke the law. He said breaking the law during war was more of a crime than breaking it on ordinary days (AWP, March 5, 2024).
The Hamas leadership
  • The Sky News website in Arabic reported from “sources” that there was internal Hamas criticism of the decision made by Yahya al-Sinwar, head of the Hamas political bureau in the Gaza Strip, to launch an attack on October 7, 2023, without consulting the other leaders of the movement. According to the sources, the decision to attack Israel had been made by Yahya al-Sinwar, his brother Muhammad al-Sinwar, Muhammad Deif and Marwan Issa without consulting the other members of the Hamas leadership, and the members of the political bureau knew nothing about the plan or the decision to attack (Sky News website in Arabic, March 5, 2024).
The issue of “the day after”
  • More than one source denied the reports about contacts made by Israel with the leaders of several clans in the northern Gaza Strip to have them take responsibility for administrative matters and overseeing the distribution of aid. According to “sources,” only certain clans living in their own areas were willing to cooperate with the IDF and that at least two of the known clans in the Sabra and Zeitoun neighborhoods in Gaza City cooperated “to some extent” with Israeli civil authorities. According to the sources, a larger number of clans had reestablished armed defense committees, which also included Hamas operatives, to protect their property and homes from the chaos and thefts resulting from the absence of the Hamas police. A senior member of one of the clans, who is in Cairo, claimed they were not ready to cooperate with Israel on any issue.
  • A Gazan from one of the clans expressed concern that Hamas would take revenge on clans allegedly willing to collaborate with Israel if a truce was reached in the coming days. He said some of the clans were worried about signing an agreement, because it could be an opportunity for Hamas operatives to settle accounts with them. Journalist Abd al-Hadi Kareem called the situation in the northern Gaza Strip “chaotic” and said that thugs were in control of the area. He said there were four clans known to have had power, but after Hamas took over the Gaza Strip in 2007 it weakened them (AWP, March 5, 2024).

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The Northern Arena
Hezbollah attacks
  • During the past day, Hezbollah claimed responsibility for six attacks using anti-tank missiles, rockets, Katyusha rockets and firing shells (Hezbollah combat information Telegram channel, March 4-5, 2024).
  • On the evening of March 4, 2024, about ten rockets were launched from Lebanon at the towns and villages of the Western Galilee; some of the rockets were intercepted. There were no casualties (IDF spokesperson, March 4, 2024). Hezbollah claimed responsibility for the attack on the village of Gesher HaZiv near Nahariya using Katyusha rockets. Hezbollah claimed it attacked in response to an Israeli attack on a civil defense center in al-Adeisa in which three paramedics (see below) were killed (Hezbollah combat information Telegram channel, March 5, 2024).
IDF response
  • In response to Hezbollah’s attacks, Israeli Air Force fighter jets attacked Hezbollah targets in Bint Jbeil, al-Sultaniyah, Shaihin, Aita al-Sha’ab and Seddiqine in several sorties. Among the targets attacked were military buildings and a military headquarters used by the organization (IDF spokesperson, March 4, 2024).
Attack on a military structure in the Seddiqine area (IDF spokesperson, March 4, 2024)     Attack on a military headquarters in al-Sultaniyah.
Right: Attack on a military headquarters in al-Sultaniyah. Left: Attack on a military structure in the Seddiqine area (IDF spokesperson, March 4, 2024)
 Attack in al-Sultaniyah (Fouad Khreiss' X account, March 4, 2024)
Attack in al-Sultaniyah (Fouad Khreiss’ X account, March 4, 2024)
Attacks in Bint Jbeil (Fouad Khreiss' X account, March 5, 2024)      Attacks in Bint Jbeil (Fouad Khreiss' X account, March 5, 2024)
Attacks in Bint Jbeil (Fouad Khreiss’ X account, March 5, 2024)
Lebanese casualties
  • The Lebanese civil defense organization reported that Israel had attacked the civil defense center in al-Adeisa, in south Lebanon, killing three of its paramedics (al-Nashra, March 4, 2024). Hezbollah’s combat information Telegram channel issued a mourning notice for the three paramedics, noting that they had been killed as “shaheeds on the way to Jerusalem,” similar to what Hezbollah calls fatalities from its ranks. The Lebanese health ministry condemned the Israeli attack on the civil defense center in al-Adeisa, stressing that the attacks were unacceptable and violated international laws according to which medical centers and teams had to be protected (Lebanese news agency NNA, March 4, 2024).
Attack in al-Adeisa (Fouad Khreiss’ X account, March 4, 2024)
Attack in al-Adeisa (Fouad Khreiss’ X account, March 4, 2024)
  • According to Hezbollah (Hezbollah’s combat information Telegram channel, March 4, 2024), the fatalities were:
    • Abbas Ahmad Hojeij, aka Karbala, born in 1993, from ‘Adsheet al-Quseir.
    • Ali Hassan Sweidan, aka Abu Hassan, born in 1962, from ‘Adsheet al-Quseir.
    •   Hussein Muhammad Ibrahim, aka Abu Ali, born in 1970, from al-Adeisa.
Civil defense fatalities in south Lebanon (Hezbollah's combat information Telegram channel, March 4, 2024)
Civil defense fatalities in south Lebanon
(Hezbollah’s combat information Telegram channel, March 4, 2024)
Statements by senior Hezbollah figures
  • Muhammad Raad, chairman of Hezbollah’s parliamentary faction, speaking at a memorial ceremony in the village of Malki, said they were prepared to fight Israel if it made a mistake and exceeded the rules of deterrence imposed on it by Hezbollah. He said that so far, Hezbollah had “shown tolerance” to spare Lebanon a limitless war, even if Israel lost it. He added that they calculated their steps with great precision and had not yet used all the weapons at their disposal, which was known by Israel (al-Nashra, March 5, 2024).
The Lebanese government
  • Amos Hochstein, the American envoy visiting Lebanon, held a number of meetings, including with Najib Mikati, Lebanon’s interim prime minister. The meeting was also attended by Lisa Johnson, American ambassador to Lebanon (Lebanese prime minister’s office X account, March 4, 2024). He also held a meeting in Ain el-Tineh with Nabih Berri, speaker of the Lebanese parliament, and said at a press conference that the objective of the visit was to support the diplomatic solution to end the escalation on the Lebanese border and allow Israelis and Lebanese to return to their homes. Hochstein also said a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip would not necessarily affect Lebanon (al-Nashra, March 4, 2024). Additional meetings were held with Walid Fayyad, Hezbollah-affiliated minister of energy and water (al-Nashra, March 4, 2024) and with Joseph Aoun, commander of the Lebanese army (Lebanese army X account, March 4, 2024).
  • An article published on Hezbollah’s news website noted that although Amos Hochstein’s visit ostensibly came from a neutral position and his goal was to achieve peace and quiet, he came equipped with “traps” because he intended to take advantage of Resolution 1701 for Israel and move Hezbollah northward. It was also alleged that Hochstein implicitly threatened that if the parties did not reach a land border agreement, it could trigger a very destructive war (al-Ahed, March 5, 2024).
  •  Najib Mikati, Lebanon’s interim prime minister, said Israel’s “aggression” in south Lebanon had to be stopped and Israel had to be obliged to implement international resolutions. He said the current situation required Lebanon to demand that the international community stop what was happening and deter Israel (Lebanese prime minister’s X account, March 5, 2024).

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Israel, Judea and Samaria
Counterterrorism activities
  • The Israeli security forces continued their counterterrorism activities in Judea and Samaria, detaining 21 wanted Palestinians. Since the beginning of the war, about 3,450 wanted Palestinians have been detained, including about 1,500 Hamas operatives (IDF spokesperson’s X account, March 5, 2024).
  • On the morning of March 5, 2024, Israeli security forces operating in the Balata refugee camp in Nablus detained Muhammad Tanji, a key terrorist operative who, along with other operatives, planned to carry out an attack in the immediate future (IDF spokesperson’s X account, March 5, 2024). According to the Palestinians, Muhammad Tanji, aka Zankaluni, was detained in the Balata refugee camp. Adel Abu Leil was detained along with him. One Palestinian was wounded (Ma’an, March 5, 2024).
 Security forces' activity in the camp (QudsN X account, March 5, 2024)    Israeli security forces enter the Balata refugee camp in Nablus.
Right: Israeli security forces enter the Balata refugee camp in Nablus. Left: Security forces’ activity in the camp (QudsN X account, March 5, 2024)
Detonation of a locally manufactured IED during an Israeli security force activity in the Balata refugee camp (QudsN X account, March 5, 2024)
Detonation of a locally manufactured IED during an Israeli security force activity in the Balata refugee camp (QudsN X account, March 5, 2024)
  • During the past day, the Israeli security forces also operated in the village of Dan (northwest of Jenin), where they demolished the house of Abdullah Massad, who participated in the shooting attack in Hawwara on August 19, 2023, in which a father and son were killed. Iin Yatta, south of Hebron, they detained a wanted Palestinian and seized funds intended to finance terrorism; and in Ein as-Sultan and Aqbat Jaber (near Jericho), they detained a wanted Palestinian and seized an improvised Carlo submachine gun (IDF spokesperson’s X account, March 5, 2024).
Solidarity with the Gaza Strip
  • On March 4, 2024, students held a demonstration at Birzeit University north of Ramallah in support of the Gaza Strip and the “resistance” [terrorist organizations] (Birzeit University Facebook page, March 4, 2024).
Demonstration in Birzeit (Birzeit University Facebook page, March 4, 2024)     Demonstration in Birzeit (Birzeit University Facebook page, March 4, 2024)
Demonstration in Birzeit (Birzeit University Facebook page, March 4, 2024)
Palestinian Authority (PA)
  • Mahmoud Abbas, PA chairman, arrived in Ankara for an official three-day visit. He is expected to meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and senior Turkish government officials. He was accompanied on the visit by Hussein al-Sheikh, secretary-general of the PLO’s Executive Committee, his diplomatic advisor Majdi al-Khalidi, his son Yasser Abbas, and Fayed Mustafa, the PA’s representative in Turkey. Mustafa said the official visit was particularly important because of the war in the Gaza Strip, Israel’s conduct in the political arena, and the need to strengthen bilateral relations (Wafa, March 4, 2024).

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Iran
  • Hossein Amir Abdollahian, Iranian foreign minister, went to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia to attend an emergency meeting of the foreign ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on the issue of the war in the Gaza Strip (Tasnim, March 5, 2024).
Pro-Iranian militias
Yemen
Damage to a ship linked to Israel
  • Yahya Saria, spokesman for the Houthi armed forces, reported that the Houthis had fired naval missiles at the Israeli ship MSC SKY. They also launched ballistic missiles and UAVs at several American warships in the Red Sea. He said the Houthis would continue to prevent the passage of Israeli ships and ships passing through Israeli ports, and that they would escalate their activities until the siege on the Palestinians and the Gaza Strip was halted (Yahya Saria’s Telegram channel, March 4, 2024).
  • The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) said it had received a report of an incident about 91 nautical miles southeast of Aden, Yemen. According to the report, two explosions were recorded, the first far from the tanker, but the second damaged it and the ship’s crew reported smoke and fire on board. No casualties were reported in the incident (UKMTO X account, March 4, 2024). British maritime security firm Ambrey reported the incident. According to the report, an Israeli-linked ship flying the Liberian flag was attacked and damaged. The report further stated that the ship had sent a distress signal after it was attacked and that it was unclear whether it was hit directly or by explosions nearby (Reuters, March 4, 2024).
  • The United States Central Command (CENTCOM) reported that on March 4, 2024, between 3:50 and 4:15 p.m. (Sana’a time), the Houthis fired two anti-ship ballistic missiles from Yemen at the Swiss-owned MSC Sky II, flying the Liberian flag. One of the missiles hit the vessel, causing damage, but there were no casualties and the ship continued on its way (CENTCOM X account, March 5, 2024).

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The Arab Arena
Egypt
  • Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry met in Cairo with Sigrid Kaag, the UN coordinator for humanitarian affairs and reconstruction of the Gaza Strip. He stressed the need for an immediate ceasefire, especially before the month of Ramadan, so that humanitarian aid could be increased (al-Youm al-Sabaa, March 4, 2024).
The International Arena
United Nations General Assembly
  • On March 4, 2024, the UN General Assembly convened to discuss the American veto on the Security Council resolution for an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip. Robert Wood, the American alternate representative to the United Nations, said the draft resolution they vetoed would not have achieved lasting peace or a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip. He noted that achieving these goals was their job and they were committed to drafting a resolution on their behalf in the coming days. Vanessa Frazier, Malta’s representative to the United Nations, said on behalf of non-permanent members of the Security Council that the draft resolution vetoed by the United States had been carefully drafted and comprehensively addressed the situation on the ground. She regretted the veto, stressing that the immediate and unconditional release of hostages had to be a top priority and that they were concerned about Israel’s intention to launch a ground military operation in Rafah (UN website, March 4, 2024).
  • Riyadh Mansour, the PA’s representative to the UN, alleged that the famine in the Gaza Strip was not an unfortunate result of the war, but rather a way of fighting by Israel, and that they called on members of the Security Council not to vote against resolutions aimed at stopping the [alleged] “atrocities” in the Gaza Strip. He claimed Israel flouted international resolutions, should be sanctioned, and the supply of weapons or money to it should be stopped (Palestinian mission to the UN X account, March 4, 2024).
UNRWA
  • The IDF spokesperson revealed that according to intelligence, more than 450 operatives of the Hamas and PIJ military-terrorist wings were employed as UNRWA employees in the Gaza Strip, including teachers and educational supervisors. He revealed four names of employees who took an active part in the October 7, 2023 attack and massacre, and possibly in the  kidnapping of women (IDF spokesperson, March 4, 2024).

Four UNRWA employees who were incriminated (IDF spokesperson, March 4, 2024)

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