Operation Iron Swords (Updated to 1 p.m., November 22, 2023)

IDF activity in the Gaza Strip (IDF spokesman, November 22, 2023)

IDF activity in the Gaza Strip (IDF spokesman, November 22, 2023)

The door to the tunnel after it was breached by IDF forces.

The door to the tunnel after it was breached by IDF forces.

Distribution of sacks of flour to residents and evacuees in Rafah (Wafa YouTube channel, November 21, 2023)

Distribution of sacks of flour to residents and evacuees in Rafah (Wafa YouTube channel, November 21, 2023)

Distribution of mineral water to residents in Khan Yunis (QudsN account, November 22, 2023)

Distribution of mineral water to residents in Khan Yunis (QudsN account, November 22, 2023)

Using bicycles as a means of transportation (Wafa YouTube channel, November 21, 2023)

Using bicycles as a means of transportation (Wafa YouTube channel, November 21, 2023)

The security forces leaving the refugee camp (QudsN X account, November 22, 2023)

The security forces leaving the refugee camp (QudsN X account, November 22, 2023)

Israeli security forces operating in the Tulkarm refugee camp.

Israeli security forces operating in the Tulkarm refugee camp.

Northern Arena, Israeli Casualties, Rocket Fire

Overview[1]
  • Probable release of abductees: Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) announced the details of the release deal, which includes a four-day ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, during which 50 abductees, children and women, will be released in exchange for 150 Palestinian women and children prisoners, and the introduction of humanitarian aid to the Strip. During the pause, the IDF forces will stop their military activities in the Gaza Strip. Musa Abu Marzouq, a member of the Hamas political bureau, said that the ceasefire would begin on November 23, 2023, at 10 a.m. According to a single report, the agreement will also apply to Hezbollah. The international arena reacted positively to the hostage-release deal.
  • The southern arena: The IDF’s integrated ground maneuver continued, focusing on several neighborhoods in the northern Gaza Strip. The IDF continued its operations at Shifa Hospital, exposing the route of the Hamas tunnel under the hospital. Palestinian media described the northern Gaza Strip as a “ghost town.” Senior figures of the Hamas terrorist organization continue to accuse Israel of using the “excuse” of Hamas activity in the hospitals to prevent them from functioning. According to an unofficial estimate, since October 7 approximately 1,200 Israeli civilians and security personnel have been killed, 391 of them soldiers and officers; 236 civilian and military abductees are being held by the terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip.
  • The Gaza Strip: The difficult humanitarian situation continues. UNRWA has been distributing flour and water. The media reported that the Gazans were anxiously awaiting the ceasefire.
  • The northern sector: Hezbollah continues attacking IDF posts and the Israeli cities, towns and villages along the border. IDF forces responded with artillery fire and airstrikes.
  • Judea and Samaria: Israeli security force counterterrorism activities continued, including detentions, mainly of Hamas terrorist operatives.
  • Iran: The leader of Iran again noted the “defeat” of Israel, which he claimed was using its strength against hospitals, schools and attacks on “innocent civilians.” The American Army’s Central Command reported that in response to the series of attacks on United States bases, it had attacked two facilities belonging to the pro-Iranian militias in Iraq.
The Issue of the Abductees
  • Hamas announced that after “difficult and complex negotiations,” which had lasted for many days with the assistance of Qatar and Egypt, they had arrived at a four-day humanitarian ceasefire agreement, whose terms were the following (Hamas’ Telegram channel, November 22, 2023):
    • A bilateral ceasefire, the cessation of all Israeli military operations in all areas of the Strip and the cessation of the movement of military vehicles.
    • The cessation of air traffic in the southern Gaza Strip for four days, the cessation of air traffic in the north of the Gaza Strip for six hours daily between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
    • Israel’s commitment not to attack or detain Palestinians in all areas of the Gaza Strip during the ceasefire.
    • The introduction of hundreds of trucks of humanitarian and medical aid and fuel to all areas of the Gaza Strip.
    • The release of 50 abducted women and children under the age of 19 in exchange for the release of 150 women and children under the age of 19 imprisoned in Israeli jails.
    • Freedom of movement for Gazans from the north to the south along Salah al-Din Street.
  • The PIJ announced that they had reached a “partial prisoner exchange deal” and a four-day humanitarian truce that would include the entry of hundreds of aid and fuel trucks, freedom of movement for the Gazans and a halt to detentions. The PIJ claimed “the steadfastness of the people in Gaza and the bravery of the resistance fighters [terrorist operatives] forced Israel to surrender to the deal.” The PIJ claimed the deal was “only a prelude to the release of all the prisoners and the lifting of the siege on the Gaza Strip” and the non-civilian captives [i.e. the IDF soldiers] would not be released until [all the Palestinian] prisoners [in Israeli jails] were released (PIJ Telegram channel, November 22, 2023).
  • Musa Abu Marzouq, a member of the Hamas terrorist organization’s political bureau, said that the ceasefire would begin on November 23, 2023, at 10 am. He added that every Israeli abductee would be exchanged for three Palestinians, and that 50 abductees, most of them with foreign citizenship, were also expected to be released (al-Jazeera Mubasher Telegram channel, November 22, 2023).
The Combat Arena
  • The integrated ground maneuver: The IDF forces continued their ground operations, mainly in the central and northern Gaza Strip. So far, they have exposed about 400 tunnel shafts. During the past day the encirclement of the Jabaliya area was completed, and the fighting in the Zeitoun neighborhood area intensified, with the forces’ exposing and killing terrorist squads. The IDF also invaded the Sheikh Zayid neighborhood near Beit Lahia, identifying and eliminating Hamas surveillance operatives, and an incursion into the Beit Hanoun area, where they located a large quantity of weapons in one of the houses. The fighters also battled a squad of terrorist operatives, killing some of them (IDF spokesman, November 21, 22, 2023).
IDF activity in the Gaza Strip (IDF spokesman, November 22, 2023)      IDF activity in the Gaza Strip (IDF spokesman, November 22, 2023)
IDF activity in the Gaza Strip (IDF spokesman, November 22, 2023)
  • Meanwhile, the IDF continued to expose the tunnel route under Shifa Hospital. IDF forces breached an iron door that led to the tunnel used by Hamas terrorist operatives (IDF spokesman, November 21, 2023).
The tunnel (IDF spokesperson, November 21, 2023)     The door to the tunnel after it was breached by IDF forces.
Right: The door to the tunnel after it was breached by IDF forces. Left: The tunnel (IDF spokesperson, November 21, 2023)
  • Aerial activity: Israeli Air Force aircraft continued to attack Hamas targets and assisted the ground forces. Directed by the ground forces, they eliminated terrorist squads (IDF spokesman, November 21, 22, 2023).
Attacking Hamas targets (IDF spokesman, November 22, 2023)    Attacking Hamas targets (IDF spokesman, November 22, 2023)
Attacking Hamas targets (IDF spokesman, November 22, 2023)
Attacking Hamas targets (IDF spokesman, November 22, 2023)     Attacking Hamas targets (IDF spokesman, November 22, 2023)
Attacking Hamas targets (IDF spokesman, November 22, 2023)
Israeli Air Force attack in east Rafah (QudsN X account, November 21, 2023)
Israeli Air Force attack in east Rafah (QudsN X account, November 21, 2023)

 

  • Naval activity: Assisting the ground forces, Israeli Navy forces attacked a number of Hamas military-terrorist targets, including Hamas facilities along the coast and a civilian structure used by snipers to attack IDF soldiers (IDF spokesman, November 22, 2023).
Attacking targets along the Gaza Strip coast (IDF website, November 22, 2023)     Attacking targets along the Gaza Strip coast (IDF website, November 22, 2023)
Attacking targets along the Gaza Strip coast (IDF website, November 22, 2023)
Reactions to Israel’s operations
  • A correspondent for al-Ghad TV in the northern Gaza Strip reported that due to IDF activity and the seclusion of the remaining residents, Beit Lahia had become a “ghost town.” He said the residents did not leave their houses because of explosions and unexploded munitions scattered in the streets and the fear of being shot at by IDF forces. He said that in Jabaliya as well, local residents rarely left their houses and mostly stayed in the UNRWA shelter facilities. He added that in recent days, the massive attacks from the air had led many residents of Jabaliya to evacuate to the southern Gaza Strip (al-Ghad TV, November 22, 2023).
  • Before the ceasefire agreement had been announced, senior figures of the Hamas terrorist organization held a press conference. Khalil al-Haya, a member of Hamas’ political bureau, said the IDF forces had turned Shifa Hospital and the Indonesian Hospital into military camps, and were [allegedly] working to end the public health system in the northern Gaza Strip. He claimed Israel’s announcement about the existence of tunnels under the Shifa Hospital was “a farce no one believes, and the lies are intended to justify the attack on the hospitals and infrastructure.” He falsely claimed they did not use any hospital for military purposes or as a headquarters, not at the Shifa medical center and not at other medical centers which had a humanitarian role (Palinfo, November 21, 2023; al-Mamlaka TV website, November 21, 2023).
Rocket fire from the Gaza Strip
  • During the past day, several dozen rockets were fired at the cities, towns and villages surrounding the Gaza Strip. One rocket launch attacked the Ashdod area and another, in the evening, attacked the cities of central Israel and the Judean plains. Since the beginning of the war, more than 10,500 rockets have been fired at Israel. About 10% of them were failed launches that fell in the Gaza Strip or in the sea.
Israeli casualties
  • According to an unofficial estimate, since October 7 approximately 1,200 Israeli civilians and security personnel have been killed, 391 of them soldiers and officers; 236 civilian and military abductees are being held by the terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip, 35 children and adolescents under the age of 18, 32 over the age of 65. Five abductees were released; four were released alive, one was extracted by IDF forces and two bodies were recovered by the IDF and brought to Israeli territory.

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The Gaza Strip
Palestinian casualties
  • The Hamas government media information bureau in Gaza reported that as of 7:00 p.m., November 21, 2023, the number of dead stood at 14,128 and the number of wounded at 33,000 (Facebook page of the Hamas government media information bureau in Gaza, November 21, 2023).
  • The PIJ issued a mourning notice for the death of preacher Sheikh Ayoub Khadoura (Abu Omar), the imam of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Mosque in Beit Lahia, who was killed along with several of his grandchildren in an Israeli attack (PIJ media information office Telegram, November 21, 2023). He was a member of the general committee for public relations and peacemaking among PIJ members (Facebook page of the committee’s northern Gaza Strip branch, March 30, 2022).
  • One of Ismail Haniyeh’s family members reported that Ismail Haniyeh’s eldest grandson, Jamal Muhammad Haniyeh, who worked for the media, was killed in an attack on his father-in-law’s house, where he lived with his wife (Arabic Post, November 21, 2023).
  • Hossein-Amir Abdollahian, the Iranian foreign minister, sent his condolences to Isma’il Haniyeh, head of Hamas’ political bureau, on the death of Ahmed Bahar, chairman of the Legislative Council, in an Israeli Air Force attack in Gaza. He wrote that the “crimes of the Zionist regime” revealed that “its face was uglier than ever.” He added that not only would Bahar’s death not undermine the will of the Palestinian people, but would make them more determined to continue on their path for the “liberation of their land, especially Jerusalem” (Fars, November 21, 2023).
The situation in the Gaza Strip
  • The Palestinian media reported the ceasefire agreement with Israel had led to great expectations on the streets of Gaza. Residents of Rafah claimed they had been living in a state of war for over 45 days and their situation was difficult because of the extensive destruction caused by the IDF attacks. There were also some who claimed they doubted Israel would adhere to the ceasefire because “they do not believe it at all” (Wafa YouTube channel, November 21, 2023).
Residents of Rafah buy food (Wafa YouTube channel, November 21, 2023)
Residents of Rafah buy food (Wafa YouTube channel, November 21, 2023)
  • UNRWA continued distributing bags of flour to residents and evacuees in Rafah (Wafa YouTube channel, November 21, 2023)
Distribution of sacks of flour to residents and evacuees in Rafah (Wafa YouTube channel, November 21, 2023)     Distribution of sacks of flour to residents and evacuees in Rafah (Wafa YouTube channel, November 21, 2023)
Distribution of sacks of flour to residents and evacuees in Rafah
(Wafa YouTube channel, November 21, 2023)
Distribution of mineral water to residents in Khan Yunis (QudsN account, November 22, 2023)     Distribution of mineral water to residents in Khan Yunis (QudsN account, November 22, 2023)
Distribution of mineral water to residents in Khan Yunis (QudsN account, November 22, 2023)
  • Given the fuel shortage, according to reports, the use of bicycles as a preferred means of transportation was increasing (Wafa YouTube channel, November 21, 2023).
Using bicycles as a means of transportation (Wafa YouTube channel, November 21, 2023)    Using bicycles as a means of transportation (Wafa YouTube channel, November 21, 2023)
Using bicycles as a means of transportation (Wafa YouTube channel, November 21, 2023)
  • The Palestinian media published a video documenting the situation at the Kamal Adwan Hospital in Beit Lahia. It showed the hospital was functioning and its power supply had not been cut off (QudsN X account, November 21, 2023)
The Kamal Adwan Hospital in Beit Lahia (QudsN X account, November 21, 2023)
The Kamal Adwan Hospital in Beit Lahia (QudsN X account, November 21, 2023)
Foreign aid for the Gaza Strip
  • On November 21, 2023, two ambulances were donated by Kuwait to the Kuwaiti Hospital in Rafah, according to reports, to help the hospital deal with the emergency situation in the Gaza Strip (Hassan Aslih’s X account, November 21, 2023).

One of the ambulances donated to the Kuwaiti hospital in Rafah (Hassan Aslih's X account, November 21, 2023)
One of the ambulances donated to the Kuwaiti hospital in Rafah
(Hassan Aslih’s X account, November 21, 2023)
The operations for constructing Jordanian Hospital in Khan Yunis (Wafa, November 21, 2023)   The operations for constructing Jordanian Hospital in Khan Yunis (Wafa, November 21, 2023)
The operations for constructing Jordanian Hospital in Khan Yunis (Wafa, November 21, 2023)

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The Northern Arena
Lebanon
  • Hezbollah continued attacking IDF posts and the Israeli cities, towns and villages along the northern border with mortar shells, anti-tank missiles and rockets. Hezbollah claimed responsibility for 16 attacks carried out on November 21, 2023, (Hezbollah’s combat information unit Telegram channel, November 21and 22, 2023).
  • Hezbollah announced that in response to Israel’s attack on the aluminum factory in the al-Nabatiyeh area, and as a demonstration of support for the Palestinian people, Hezbollah operatives launched rockets at a factory affiliated with Rafael in the Shlomi area. According to reports, the factory was damaged and a fire broke out, and in the afternoon two heavy Burkan were fired at IDF military positions and vehicles in the Nurit area.
  • Events were the following (IDF spokesman, November 21, 22, 2023):
  • On November 22 at 1 a.m., a warning was received regarding a hostile aircraft in the Hanita area; it was intercepted by the Iron Dome aerial defense system (IDF spokesperson, November 22, 2023).
  • On the evening of November 21, 2023, several suspicious aerial targets were identified crossing from Lebanon territory of Lebanon towards the Western Galilee; interceptors were launched at the targets.
  • On the afternoon of November 21, 2023, several launches at Israeli territory from Lebanon were detected.
  • The IDF responded with artillery and tank fire. Israeli Air Force aircraft attacked an anti-tank launcher, terrorist facilities and a Hezbollah terrorist-operational headquarters (IDF spokesperson, November 21, 2023).
Attacking Hezbollah terrorist targets (IDF spokesman, November 22, 2023)     Attacking Hezbollah terrorist targets (IDF spokesman, November 22, 2023)
Attacking Hezbollah terrorist targets (IDF spokesman, November 22, 2023)
Attacking Hezbollah terrorist targets (IDF spokesman, November 22, 2023)
Hezbollah casualties
  • Hezbollah announced the deaths of two operatives: Ibrahim Badi’ Hamza, aka ‘Abes, from the village of Jumayjimah, who lived in Bint Jbeil in south Lebanon; and Muhammad Rabia Awda, aka Nasser, from the town of al-Khader in the Lebanon Valley (Hezbollah combat information unit Telegram channel, November 21 and 22, 2023).
Hezbollah casualties (Hezbollah combat information unit Telegram channel, November 21 and 22, 2023)       Hezbollah casualties (Hezbollah combat information unit Telegram channel, November 21 and 22, 2023)
Hezbollah casualties (Hezbollah combat information unit Telegram channel, November 21 and 22, 2023)

Hezbollah

  • Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah secretary general, met with Khalil al-Haya and Osama Hamdan, senior figures in the Hamas terrorist organization, to discuss the latest developments and the possibilities on “the resistance fronts in general”[2] and in the Gaza Strip in particular. They agreed to continue coordinating (Hezbollah combat information unit Telegram channel, November 22, 2023)
The possibility of Hezbollah’s joining the ceasefire agreement
  • The Lebanese daily Nidaa al-Watan reported that the ceasefire in the Gaza Strip would apply to south Lebanon and “Hezbollah would uphold it on the condition that Israel did.” During a UN Security Council meeting regarding Resolution 1701,[3] there was reportedly a dispute between Russia and China on the one hand, and the United States and Great Britain on the other, with France mediating between the two sides. The American representative insisted that the meeting’s summary statement would include a clear condemnation of Hezbollah, but Russia and China refused, which led to the cancellation of the press conference planned for the end of the meeting (Nidaa al-Watan, November 22, 2023).
  • A “source in Hezbollah” claimed that although Hezbollah was not part of the negotiations, the cessation of hostilities in the Gaza Strip would also apply to Lebanon and they would abide by the ceasefire agreement if Israel abided by it. According to the source, “any Israeli violation of the ceasefire will be met with a response” (al-Jazeera, November 22, 2023).
The Palestinians
  • Hamas’ military-terrorist wing announced the death of Khalil Hamed Kharaz (Abu Khal), a commander, “who was murdered by the Zionist enemy in south Lebanon.” The announcement praised his “activity” and stated that he supported and helped the “resistance” [Palestinian terrorism] inside and outside “Palestine” (Hamas Telegram channel, November 22, 2023). Since the beginning of the war, the military-terrorist wing has rarely announced the death of its operatives in the Gaza Strip.
Reactions to the death of the two journalists
  • Following the death of two members of the al-Mayadeen network, correspondent Farah Amr, and photographer Rabi’ Mamari in an IDF UAV attack in Tayr Harfa on November 21, 2023, Hezbollah’s combat information unit offered its condolences for their deaths. Earlier, the unit reported that in an initial response to their deaths, Hezbollah operatives had fired two guided missiles at a gathering site used by IDF military intelligence in Kibbutz Manara (Telegram channel of Hezbollah’s combat information unit, November 21, 2023).
  • The PIJ also issued a message of condolences on their deaths. The PIJ organization praised al-Mayadeen TV’s “service for the Palestinians and their cause” (Filastin al-Yawm TV website, November 21, 2023). In a telephone conversation with al-Mayadeen TV, Ziyad al-Nakhalah, PIJ secretary general, condemned “Israel’s crime against the channel’s staff members” (al-Mayadeen TV website, November 21, 2023).
The Lebanese army
  • Joseph Aoun, commander of the Lebanese Army, said Lebanon was facing major challenges at various levels which negatively influenced the country’s institutions, including the army. He claimed Israel was violating Lebanon’s sovereignty and using internationally-prohibited weapons (al-Sharq al-Awsat, November 21, 2023).
The Lebanese government
  • Najib Mikati, the prime minister of the Lebanese interim government, stated that they were a people who want peace, but they would not accept a violation of their sovereignty and rights. He said the international community had to prevent Israel from continuing its [alleged] “aggression and massacres” and violating international resolutions (al-Nashra, November 22, 2023).

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Judea and Samaria
Counterterrorism activities
  • Israeli security forces continued their counterterrorism activities throughout Judea and Samaria. Since the beginning of the war, more than 1,850 wanted Palestinians have been detained in Judea and Samaria, about 1,100 of them suspected of being Hamas terrorist operatives (IDF spokesperson, November 21, 2023). The Palestinian media reported that during the past night, Israeli security forces had detained 38 Palestinians in Judea and Samaria (Wafa, November 22, 2023).
  • The main centers of activity:
    • Balata refugee camp in Nablus: On the morning of November 21, 2023, Israeli security forces carried out a counterterrorism operation in the refugee camp, during which heavy engineering equipment and IDF forces broke through roads and roadblocks and exposed IEDs on the side of the road. Searches revealed weapons parts and ammunition, and suspects were questioned.
    • The forces detained a wanted Palestinian camp suspected of arms trafficking. During the activity, rocks and IEDs were thrown at the forces, who responded with gunfire (IDF spokesperson, November 21, 2023).
The weapons found (IDF spokesperson's X account, November 21, 2023)       The weapons found (IDF spokesperson's X account, November 21, 2023)
The weapons found (IDF spokesperson’s X account, November 21, 2023)
    • Burqa: Israeli security forces acted against popular-terrorism suspects and detained several wanted Hamas terrorist operatives. Large quantities of weapons and Hamas incitement and propaganda materials were found, and dozens of illegal vehicles were seized (IDF spokesperson, November 21, 2023).
    • Tulkarm: The Palestinians reported the activity of Israeli security forces in the Tulkarm refugee camp, during which a drone fired at the al-Balawna neighborhood of the camp, killing six Palestinians (Ma’an, November 22, 2023).
The security forces leaving the refugee camp (QudsN X account, November 22, 2023)     Israeli security forces operating in the Tulkarm refugee camp.
Right: Israeli security forces operating in the Tulkarm refugee camp. Left: The security forces leaving the refugee camp (QudsN X account, November 22, 2023)

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Iran
  • Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, meeting with Iranian sports champions and medal winners, said Israel had suffered a “knockout” in Operation al-Aqsa Storm and Hamas, which had been short of means, had succeeded in defeating a “Zionist government” with all the means at its disposal. Khamenei noted that so far, Israel had not been able to recover from the defeat it had suffered, and it was demonstrating its strength in hospitals, schools, and attacks against innocent civilians. According to him, that was like an athlete who, after his defeat, attacked the fans of the opposing team. The supreme leader thanked the Iranian athletes who expressed support and solidarity with the Palestinians, and those who refused to participate in competitions against Israeli athletes. He called for Israel to be suspended from sports competitions and said the entire world now understood why Iranian athletes refused to compete against Israeli opponents who represented a criminal and terrorist state (Tasnim, November 22, 2023).
  • Hossein-Amir Abdollahian, Iranian foreign minister, meeting with foreign ambassadors and representatives of international organizations in Tehran, said Iran was working on a variety of levels to end the war, lift the siege on the Gaza Strip, and immediately transfer humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip. He stressed the Hamas attack on October 7 had been carried out entirely based on Palestinian planning and decision. Referring to the American messages to Iran to call on the “resistance groups” [terrorist organizations] in the region to exercise restraint, Abdollahian falsely claimed Iran “has no proxies in the region.” He also said Israel had failed to record military achievements during the 46-day war in the Gaza Strip. He stressed the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and said the solution to the conflict was holding a referendum among the “real residents” of Palestine (IRNA, November 21, 2023). 
  • Abdollahian paid a visit to Beirut, and Hezbollah’s al-Manar TV reported that he was expected to meet with several senior Lebanese officials. At a press conference in Beirut, Abdollahian said he had heard from the leaders of the “resistance”[Palestinian terrorist organizations] in the region that their fingers would remain on the trigger until the struggle against the “occupation” yielded results and until the complete “liberation of Palestine.” He claimed the past six weeks had proven that time was not working in favor of the “Zionist regime” (ISNA, November 22, 2023).
Activity of pro-Iranian militias
Iraq and Syria
  • According to the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, in response to Israel’s activity in the Gaza Strip, they attacked the American Army base in Ayn al-Assad in Iraq and the base in al-Shadadi in Syria (Islamic Resistance Telegram channel, November 21, 2023). A “senior American official” said the attack on Ayn al-Assad had caused minor injuries and damage to infrastructure (Reuters, November 21, 2023). A senior American source told al-Jazeera that ten soldiers were wounded (al-Jazeera, November 21, 2023).
  • According to an official “American source,” in response to the Ayn al-Assad attack, an American AC-130 gunship attacked a militia vehicle involved in the attack, wounding several militants (Fox News, November 21, 2023). The American Central Command (CENTCOM) reported that it had carried out a “direct and precise” attack against two facilities belonging to pro-Iranian militias in Iraq. That was in response to attacks against American forces, which included the use of close-range ballistic missiles by Iranian-supported groups and pro-Iranian militias (CENTCOM X account, November 22, 2023).
  • It was later reported that at least five operatives of the Popular Mobilization, the umbrella organization of the pro-Iranian militias in Iraq, were killed in two airstrikes carried out by the American army south of Baghdad (Agence France-Presse, November 22, 2023).
  • Kata’ib Hezbollah (the Hezbollah Brigades) announced the deaths of eight operatives in the American attack, which, they claimed, would not go unpunished and necessitated expanding the scope of the targets (the militia’s Telegram channel, November 22, 2023). The pro-Iranian Nujaba (“noble”) movement in Iraq also issued condolences for the death of militia operative Fadel al-Maksousi, who was killed because of “American aggression.” The militia pledged to continue jihad and warned the United States that it would pay a price for its crimes (Nujaba movement Telegram channel, November 21, 2023).
  • Iraqi government spokesman Bassem al-Awadi condemned the American attack in the Jarf al-Nasr area, south of Baghdad, saying that the escalation over the past two days was dangerous and an attack on Iraqi sovereignty. Al-Awadi said the incident was a violation of the mission for which members of the international coalition were present in the country, which was to fight ISIS (Iraqi News Agency, November 22, 2023).
  • Hadi al-Amiri, chairman of the al-Fatah coalition of the pro-Iranian parties in the Iraqi parliament and head of the Badr militia, who is also a representative of the coordinating committee, claimed the attack was a blatant violation of Iraqi national sovereignty and evidence of the United States’ lies regarding the limitation of their presence in the country. The attack, he claimed, was proof that the American presence was for combat purposes only (Iraqi al-Ahed Network, November 22, 2023).
Yemen
  • John Kirby, spokesman for the American National Security Council, said that due to the hijacking of the vessel allegedly linked to Israel in international waters, the United States was considering designating the Houthis as a terrorist organization (Agence France-Presse, November 21, 2023).
  • In an interview held before the ceasefire, Muhammad al-Bukhaiti, a member of the Houthi political bureau, said the operations against Israel would continue until it stopped its aggression in the Gaza Strip, noting they were prepared for any escalation. He added they would seek to deal a powerful blow to Israel to make it agree to a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, and that they had many more ways to hurt Israel as well as the United States. He noted they were coordinating with the “axis of resistance” and accused Saudi Arabia and the UAE of intercepting Yemeni missiles fired at Israel (Sputnik, November 22, 2023).

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Reactions to the Hostage Deal and the Ceasefire Agreement
  • American President Joe Biden welcomed the deal to secure the release of the abductees kidnapped by Hamas. He thanked the emir of Qatar and the president of Egypt for their efforts and expressed his appreciation to the prime minister of Israel and his government for their commitments under the deal. He added that he looked forward to talking to each of the leaders and staying in close contact with them to make sure the deal was fully implemented. As for the abducted American citizens, Biden stressed that the deal that was signed should bring home American prisoners, and that they would not stop operating until they were all released (White House website, November 22, 2023).
  • Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi welcomed the ceasefire agreement, the return of some of the abductees, and the success of the Egyptian-Qatari-American mediation. He confirmed that Egypt would continue to work to achieve peace and secure the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people (al-Qahera, November 22, 2023)
  • The Jordanian foreign ministry welcomed the efforts invested, especially those of Qatar, the United States and Egypt. The ministry stressed the importance of humanitarian aid reaching the Gaza Strip (Jordanian foreign ministry X account, November 22, 2023).
  • Hussein al-Sheikh, secretary of the PLO’s Executive Committee, said Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority (PA) leadership welcomed the humanitarian pause and appreciated the Qatari-Egyptian effort invested to achieve it. He said the PA called for a complete cessation of “Israeli aggression” against the Palestinian people (Wafa, November 22, 2023).
  • The Lebanese foreign ministry welcomed the efforts of Qatar, the United States and the other countries dealing with the issue of reaching a prisoner exchange deal and a ceasefire. He said the ceasefire was important on the way to a full and permanent ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, and they hoped it would lead to a just solution to the Palestinian issue and ensure peace and stability in the Middle East (Lebanese foreign ministry X account, November 22, 2023).
  • The UAE foreign ministry welcomed the ceasefire agreement, and Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan declared that “the ceasefire is a step in the right direction” and that “humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip must not be used as a means of collective punishment” (UAE news agency; al-Jazeera, November 22, 2023)

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The Arab Arena
Jordan
  • Jordanian Prime Minister Bisher al-Khasawneh said they were dealing with the events in the Gaza Strip as if they were happening within their own borders, and the deployment of the Jordanian army along the border was due to many considerations, including the need to deal with attempts to infiltrate Jordanian territory. He also said an escalation in Judea and Samaria that would include violence by settlers or attacks on Islamic holy sites was a red line for Jordan and such an occurrence could lead to the forced displacement of the Palestinians, which they would consider equivalent to declaring war on Jordan, which would do everything possible to prevent such a scenario from materializing. Referring to the state of the Jordanian Hospital erected in the Gaza Strip, al-Khasawneh claimed they had received messages from Israel that they had to evacuate it, but did not respond (Petra, November 21, 2023).
Egypt
  • Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said that forcibly uprooting the Palestinians to the Sinai Peninsula would violate Egyptian sovereignty and was completely unacceptable. He noted they had taken decisive measures against displacement, and would not hesitate to take all measures to protect their borders. Referring to developments in the Red Sea, Madbouly said failure to immediately stop military operations would contribute to the deterioration of the security situation in the region. He also said they were working in full coordination with the Arab countries, especially Jordan (Akhbar al-Youm, November 21, 2023).
The International Arena
BRICS[4] forum conference
  • The BRICS Forum held a virtual emergency conference on the fighting in the Gaza Strip. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman condemned Israel’s actions in the Gaza Strip and called for humanitarian aid to be brought in. He stressed that Saudi Arabia demanded the start of a serious and comprehensive peace process for the establishment of a Palestinian state and called on all countries to stop exporting weapons to Israel (al-Arabiya, November 21, 2023). Russian President Vladimir Putin called for a political solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, noting that BRICS could play a key role in the process. He added that humanitarian pauses were the right step towards peace and stressed that it was important not to drag more countries into the conflict (Reuters, November 21, 2023).
  • Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said that the organization’s countries had to sever their political, economic, and military ties with Israel, work to lift the siege on the Gaza Strip, transfer humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip, and recognize the right of the Palestinian people to defend itself and liberate the occupied territories. He said continued cooperation with Israel, especially in the military and economic spheres, meant helping to continue “the crimes and the killing of women and children.” Raisi said the roots of the war lay in the continuation of the occupation rather than the Hamas attack on October 7 (Tasnim, November 21, 2023). 
Conference of Arab and Islamic foreign ministers
  • In Russia, a summit of Arab and Islamic foreign ministers was held. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at the conference that the priorities now were to stop the attacks, release the hostages, and improve the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip. He said the amount of aid entering the Gaza Strip was insufficient. Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan said they aspired to cooperate with Russia to stop Israel’s activity in the Gaza Strip. He stressed that the humanitarian disaster in the Gaza Strip could not be justified on the grounds of self-defense and that the war had to be stopped immediately (Sputnik, November 21, 2023).
European Union
  • The European Commission said that in its examination of the financial aid they provided to the Palestinians, no evidence had yet been found that the money reached purposes for which it was not transferred. Therefore, they would continue to transfer the aid funds (the European Commission X account, November 21, 2023).

[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] The resolution was passed by the Security Council after the Second Lebanon War. It called for a ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah, the deployment of an armed UN force and Lebanese army forces to keep Hezbollah from operating in south Lebanon; it also called for Hezbollah's disarmament.
[4] A basically economic forum of countries, founded by Brazil, Russia, India and China, later joined by South Africa. The organization then invited six other countries to join: Iran, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Ethiopia, Argentina, and Egypt. In addition, 16 other countries applied to join the organization, including Algeria, Cuba, Nigeria, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Palestinian Authority.