Operation Iron Swords (Updated to 1 p.m., October 29, 2023)

Israeli Air Force night airstrikes (Hassan Aslih's Twitter account, October 27, 2023).

Israeli Air Force night airstrikes (Hassan Aslih's Twitter account, October 27, 2023).

Israeli Air Force strikes in Beit Lahia (QudsN Twitter account, October 27, 2023)

Israeli Air Force strikes in Beit Lahia (QudsN Twitter account, October 27, 2023)

IDF ground force activity in the Gaza Strip (IDF spokesman's website, October 28, 2023).

IDF ground force activity in the Gaza Strip (IDF spokesman's website, October 28, 2023).

Artillery fire targets Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip (QudsN Twitter account, October 28, 2023).

Artillery fire targets Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip (QudsN Twitter account, October 28, 2023).

A direct rocket hit by a rocket on an apartment house in Tel Aviv (QudsN Twitter account, October 27, 28, 2023).

A direct rocket hit by a rocket on an apartment house in Tel Aviv (QudsN Twitter account, October 27, 28, 2023).

Commanders of the al-Daraj and al-Tufah Battalions of the Gaza Brigade of the Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades (IDF Twitter account, October 26, 2023).

Commanders of the al-Daraj and al-Tufah Battalions of the Gaza Brigade of the Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades (IDF Twitter account, October 26, 2023).

Senior Hamas officials Musa Abu Marzouq and Bassem Na'im with Mikhail Bogdanov, Russian deputy foreign minister (QudsN Twitter account, October 26, 2023).

Senior Hamas officials Musa Abu Marzouq and Bassem Na'im with Mikhail Bogdanov, Russian deputy foreign minister (QudsN Twitter account, October 26, 2023).

Northern Arena, Palestinian Fatalities, Israeli Casualties, Rocket Fire

Overview[1]
  • The southern sector: The IDF intensified its air, ground and sea operations against the Gaza Strip, and armored forces entered the northern part of the Strip. An IDF officer was injured by a mortar shell and an IDF fighter was injured during a clash with terrorists. In response to the IDF activity, Hamas claimed the “Palestinian resistance” [Palestinian terrorist organizations] had prepared ambushes to attack IDF forces on several fronts. The military-terrorist wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) said its forces were on the front lines and confronting the “enemy forces.” The Palestinian terrorist organizations continued firing rockets at Israel, focusing on the cities in the center of the country. Several houses were damaged and several people were injured.
  • So far, over 1,400 civilian and soldier deaths have been reported; 230 civilian and soldier abductees are still being held by the terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip. Hamas claimed it was willing to exchange its captives for the Palestinian terrorist prisoners in Israeli jails.
  • The Gaza Strip: According to reports, the humanitarian situation is deteriorating. The IDF spokesman revealed that Hamas operatives used the al-Shifaa’ and other hospitals for terrorist-operational purposes while using the population as a human shield. Hamas denied the information, claiming the information about human shields was intended to prepare the ground for an Israeli attack on the hospitals.
  • The northern sector: Hezbollah continued attacking military and civilian targets on the northern border. The IDF responded with artillery and aerial attacks on Hezbollah military targets. Hezbollah officials said they would intensify their activity if Lebanon were attacked.
  • Judea and Samaria: Israeli security forces continued deterrent and counterterrorism activities. On Friday several events were held in Judea and Samaria in support of the Gaza Strip, some of them violent.
  • Iran continued supporting the Gaza Strip, warning that the war against Israel and the United States would spread to other fronts. Senior government officials engaged in extensive diplomatic activity with Arab countries and international bodies. Pro-Iranian militias continued to attack American targets in Iraq and Syria.
  • The UN General Assembly passed an Arab-drafted resolution calling for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire and a demand to provide aid to the residents of the Gaza Strip.
The Combat Arena
IDF activity
  • The IDF intensified its air, ground and sea operations, and armored forces entered the northern Gaza Strip, an area which had already been evacuated by most of its civilians. On the night of October 28, 2023, an IDF officer was injured by a mortar shell. An IDF soldier was injured in a clash with terrorists in the northern Gaza Strip (IDF spokesman, October 29, 2023).
  • Aerial activity: Airstrikes continued on Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip. Israeli Air Force aircraft carried out hundreds of sorties attacking hundreds of targets, more than 150 of them underground. The attacks destroyed combat tunnels, combat areas and terrorist facilities. Several Hamas terrorist operatives were killed (see below) (IDF spokesman, October 26-28, 2023).
Attacks on terrorist targets in the northern Gaza Strip (IDF spokesman's website, October 29, 2023).
Attacks on terrorist targets in the northern Gaza Strip (IDF spokesman’s website, October 29, 2023).
Israeli Air Force strikes in Beit Lahia (QudsN Twitter account, October 27, 2023)    Israeli Air Force night airstrikes (Hassan Aslih's Twitter account, October 27, 2023).
Right: Israeli Air Force night airstrikes (Hassan Aslih’s Twitter account, October 27, 2023).
Left: Israeli Air Force strikes in Beit Lahia (QudsN Twitter account, October 27, 2023).
  • Ground activity: During the airstrikes, combined combat teams of armored, engineering and infantry forces, accompanied by unmanned aircraft and combat helicopters, began to gradually expand the ground activity, primarily in the northern Gaza Strip, an area that for the most part had been evacuated. During the activity, dozens of Hamas targets were attacked, including anti-tank missile launching positions, squads and operational headquarters. (IDF spokesman, October 26-28, 2023).
IDF ground force activity in the Gaza Strip (IDF spokesman's website, October 28, 2023).     IDF ground force activity in the Gaza Strip (IDF spokesman's website, October 28, 2023).
IDF ground force activity in the Gaza Strip (IDF spokesman’s website, October 28, 2023).
Artillery fire targets Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip (QudsN Twitter account, October 28, 2023).    Artillery fire targets Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip (QudsN Twitter account, October 28, 2023).
Artillery fire targets Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip (QudsN Twitter account, October 28, 2023).
  • Naval activity: During the ground activity the Israeli Navy attacked Hamas targets, among them observation posts, anti-tank launching positions and military facilities, and assisted the ground forces (IDF spokesman, October 28, 2023). On the night of October 26, 2023, Israeli naval commandos and other naval forces carried out a raid in the southern Gaza Strip. They destroyed Hamas terrorist facilities and operated inside a compound used by Hamas’ naval commandos.
  • In response to the IDF’s activity, Hamas claimed that the “Palestinian resistance” [terrorist organization] had prepared ambushes to attack IDF forces on several fronts. Hamas reported it had used Kornet missiles and Yassin rockets to repel the Israeli attack (Shehab, October 28, 2023). The PIJ’s military-terrorist wing claimed that its operatives were on the front lines to confront the “enemy forces” trying to advance into the Gaza Strip (Jerusalem Brigades’ Telegram channel, October 28, 2023).
Rocket fire
  • Meanwhile, the Palestinian terrorist organizations continued firing rockets at Israel. During the past few days they have concentrated their attacks on the center of the country. Barrages were also fired at the Beersheba area. Several houses were damaged and several people were injured.
  • So far, more than 8,000 rockets and mortar shells have been launched at Israel since the beginning of the war. About 10% of them were failed launches, which fell in the Gaza Strip.
A direct rocket hit by a rocket on an apartment house in Tel Aviv (QudsN Twitter account, October 27, 28, 2023).    A direct rocket hit on an apartment house in Kiryat Ono. (QudsN Twitter account, October 27, 28, 2023)
Right: A direct rocket hit on an apartment house in Kiryat Ono. Left: A direct rocket hit by a rocket on an apartment house in Tel Aviv (QudsN Twitter account, October 27, 28, 2023).
Countering threats from the Red Sea region
  • On the morning of October 27, 2023, following an aerial threat in the Red Sea area, the Israeli Air Force intercepted several hostile projectiles. The projectiles did not enter Israeli airspace (IDF spokesman, October 27, 2023). On the same day, “a knowledgeable source” reported damage to a medical facility in Taba, near the Israel-Egypt border, injuring six people and causing property damage (al-Qahera Network, October 27, 2023). Reuters reported the damage had been caused by a rocket related to the fighting between Israel and Hamas, but no one claimed responsibility for firing it.
Eliminating the threat (IDF spokesman's website, October 27, 2023)
Eliminating the threat (IDF spokesman’s website, October 27, 2023).
Israeli casualties
  • So far, more than 1,400 civilian and soldier deaths have been reported; 230 civilian and soldier abductees are being held by the Palestinian terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip. About 30 are children and teenagers under the age of 18 and about 20 of them are elderly. Four hostages were released.
The issue of the abductees
  • Senior Hamas officials often refer to the issue of the abductees and the possibility of an exchange deal:
    • In his first public statement since the outbreak of the war, Yahya al-Sinwar, head of the Hamas political bureau in the Gaza Strip, claimed they were prepared to carry out an immediate exchange deal: the release of all prisoners in Israeli jails in exchange for the release of all the captives “in [Hamas’] hands” (al-Aqsa, October 28, 2023). He called on groups and institutions dealing with the issue of prisoners to prepare lists of the names of the male and female prisoners held by Israel (Palinfo October 28, 2023; al-Aqsa TV Telegram channel, October 28, 2023).
    • Abu Obeida, spokesman for Hamas’ military-terrorist wing, claimed an opportunity existed to formulate an agreement, but Israel was delaying the issue. He stated that the price for the release of “a large number of Israeli prisoners” was “emptying all Israeli jails of [Palestinian terrorist] prisoners.” He said if Israel wanted to resolve the issue of prisoners all at once, they were prepared, and if Israel wanted to divide it into stages, they were prepared for that as well (al-Aqsa, October 28, 2023).
    • Musa Abu Marzouq, a member of the Hamas political bureau, confirmed Hamas’ willingness to discuss the issue of the abductees. He claimed that after the IDF’s defense lines had been breached and the Gaza Division had fallen, “hundreds of Palestinian civilians” [sic] and “dozens” [sic] of fighters from “various Palestinian organizations” entered Israeli territory of Israel and abducted “dozens of people,” most of them civilians. That, he claimed, was why it had taken them time to “look for and classify them.” He claimed the issue of the abductees was the top subject Russia had raised when meeting with the Hamas delegation (al-Sharq al-Awsat, October 28, 2023). Musa Abu Marzouq said the Russians had given the delegation a list of eight people who had dual Russian-Israeli citizenship, and Hamas claimed they were trying to locate them to release them. However, he admitted Hamas was treating the hostages held in Gaza first and foremost as Israelis and not as citizens of the countries they came from (RIA news agency, October 28, 2023).

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The Gaza Strip
Palestinian casualties
  • Dr. Ashraf al-Qidra, spokesman for the Hamas-controlled ministry of health in Gaza, claimed that as of 1 p.m. the number of dead in the Gaza Strip stood at 8,005 and the number of wounded at 20,242 (Palinfo website, October 29, 2023).
  • On October 26, 2023, al-Qidra said they would issue a list of the names and information about Palestinians killed in Israeli attacks. He claimed the list would refute President Joe Biden’s skepticism regarding the numbers issued by the ministry. He claimed the ministry had published a list of 6,747 Palestinians who had been killed since the beginning of the war as of October 26 at 3:00 p.m., including name, gender, age and ID number. He claimed there were 281 dead who had not yet been identified (Palinfo , October 26, 2023).
The situation in Gaza
  • The spokesman for the Red Crescent in Gaza claimed the situation in the Gaza Strip was deteriorating and they were relying on donations from citizens. He claimed the lack of fuel was a health disaster because ambulance activity had ceased and ambulances would be sent [only] to “dangerous places.” He further complained that the aid that entered the Gaza Strip covered only 3% of the needs of the medical sector (Al Arabi, October 29, 2023).
  • The director of the World Health Organization (WHO) called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza for “humanitarian reasons.” He claimed the hospitals in the Gaza Strip were treating many casualties and they had to be provided with the necessary medical equipment (Ma’an, October 29, 2023).
  • UNRWA reported that thousands of residents had broken into the organization’s warehouses in the southern and central Gaza Strip, taking flour and other basic products. According to the agency, it was “troubling” and an indication that public order was beginning to disintegrate (UNRWA website, October 29, 2023).
  • Philippe Lazzarini, UNRWA commissioner general, claimed Gaza was on the brink of a humanitarian crisis. The public health system had collapsed and diseases might begin to spread. He noted [again] that the agency had enough fuel for one day, a million people had left their homes and 57 UNRWA staff members had been killed. He said so far the discourse about opening humanitarian corridors had not been successful. He claimed the concern that aid would end up in the wrong hands was inaccurate because UNRWA had a strong mechanism and knew how to transfer aid to the needy. Lazarini said there were rumors that Hamas had enough fuel for three weeks, but he did not know if that was correct (al-Jazeera, October 27, 2023).
  • The Palestinian Communications Company announced that the IDF attacks in Gaza had cut off all international communication lines, leaving the Gaza Strip with no land lines and no Internet (al-Qahera News, October 27, 2023). Hamas claimed that “disconnecting” the media and the Internet, along with the escalation of attacks from the sea, land and air on “residential neighborhoods” in Gaza, reflected Israel’s intention to continue “slaughtering and committing crimes of extermination” far from the eyes of the press and the world. It was also reported that Hamas considered Israel, the United States and the Western countries responsible (Hamas Telegram channel, October 27, 2023).
  • Palestinian Authority (PA) Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh claimed that communications, Internet and water in the Gaza Strip had been cut off “to massacre the Palestinian people.” He said, “What is happening now in Gaza is in preparation for a ground operation (al-Araby Network, October 27, 2023).
  • Ishaq Sidr, PA minister of communications, condemned Israel for attacking communications in the Gaza Strip, claiming Israel wanted to hide what was happening in the Gaza Strip from the world. He said talks were taking place with Egypt to connect the Gaza Strip to Egyptian communication networks to solve the communication problem (Sputnik website in Arabic, October 28, 2023).
An illustration of the communication outage (QudsN Twitter account, October 28, 2023)
An illustration of the communication outage (QudsN Twitter account, October 28, 2023).
  • On October 29, 2023, the al-Aqsa network reported the gradual return of communication networks and the Internet in certain parts of the Gaza Strip (Al-Aqsa, October 29, 2023).
The Rafah Crossing
  • Deliveries of humanitarian aid continue at the rate of about ten trucks a day. According to reports, a delegation of ten doctors arrived. Since the beginning of the war, 84 aid trucks have entered the Gaza Strip through the Rafah Crossing (Ma’an, October 27, 2023).
Terrorist operatives were killed:
  • Nine military-terrorist operatives who were killed by the IDF:[2]
  • Assam Abu Raqba, head of the Hamas aerial units. He was responsible for managing UAVs, aerial reconnaissance, paragliders and air defense (IDF Twitter account, October 28, 2023).
Assam Abu Raqba (IDF Twitter account, October 28, 2023)
Assam Abu Raqba (IDF Twitter account, October 28, 2023).
  • Rateb Abu Sahiban, commander of the naval force of the Gaza Brigade. He planned and commanded the naval infiltration attempt on October 24, 2023 at Zikim Beach (IDF Twitter account, October 28, 2023). A Facebook user, quoting the IDF spokesman’s announcement, wrote, “Commander Rateb Abu Sahiban al-Trabeen was killed” (Facebook page Abu Musab al-Trabeen, October 28, 2023).
Rateb Abu Sahiban (IDF Twitter account, October 28, 2023)
Rateb Abu Sahiban (IDF Twitter account, October 28, 2023).
  • Madhat Mabasher, commander of the West Khan Yunis Battalion. He took part in sniper and IED attacks (IDF Twitter account, October 27, 2023). Confirmations of the death of commander Madhat Mabasher, Abu Muhannad, were published on social media (Ahmed Mosa’s Twitter account, October 26, 2023; Eymen SIROĞLU’s Twitter account, October 26, 2023).
Madhat Mabasher (center), Shadi Barud (right), Taysir Mabasher (left) (Eymen SIROĞLU's Twitter account, October 26, 2023)    Madhat Mabasher (Ahmed Mosa's Twitter account, October 26, 2023).
Right: Madhat Mabasher (Ahmed Mosa’s Twitter account, October 26, 2023). Left: Madhat Mabasher (center), Shadi Barud (right), Taysir Mabasher (left) (Eymen SIROĞLU’s Twitter account, October 26, 2023).
  • Shadi Barud, deputy head of Hamas’ intelligence department. He was previously head of the attack department at Hamas operations headquarters, and planned the October 7, 2023 attack with Yahya al-Sinwar. In the past he was a battalion commander in the Khan Yunis sector and was involved in planning several terrorist attacks. He then held several positions in Hamas’ military intelligence, and was responsible for information security and intelligence relations (IDF Twitter account, October 26, 2023). Mourning notices were published on social media for the death of Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades commander Shadi Walid Barud, aka Abu Anas (Muhammad Muhammad’s Facebook page, October 26, 2023; Maher al-Hejazi’s Facebook page, October 26, 2023).
Shadi Barud with his children (Maher al-Hejazi's Facebook page, October 26, 2023)     Shadi Barud (IDF Twitter account, October 26, 2023).
Right: Shadi Barud (IDF Twitter account, October 26, 2023). Left: Shadi Barud with his children (Maher al-Hejazi’s Facebook page, October 26, 2023).
  • Rafat Abbas, commander of the al-Daraj and al-Tufah Battalion, and his deputy Ibrahim Jadba, and Tareq Maarouf, commander of combat and administrative assistance (IDF’s Twitter account, October 26, 2023). The government media information office in the Gaza Strip sent its condolences to Salama Maarouf, the chairman of the committee, on the death of his brother, Commander Tareq Omar Maarouf, Abu Omar (Maher al-Hejazi’s Facebook page, October 26, 2023).
Commanders of the al-Daraj and al-Tufah Battalions of the Gaza Brigade of the Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades (IDF Twitter account, October 26, 2023).
Commanders of the al-Daraj and al-Tufah Battalions of the Gaza Brigade of the Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades (IDF Twitter account, October 26, 2023).
    • Hassan al-Abdallah, commander of the North Khan Yunis rocket-firing unit (IDF Twitter account, October 26, 2023).
    • Taysir Mabasher, the commander of the North Khan Yunis sector battalion. In the past, he was commander of the naval force and held several positions in the munitions production system (IDF’s Twitter account, October 25, 2023). The death of Taysir Mabasher Abu al-Hassan, the commander of the refugee camp battalion in the Khan Yunis Brigade, was reported on social media (Eymen SIROĞLU’s Twitter account , 25 Oct 2023; @arkan849 Twitter account, 25 Oct 2023).
Taysir Mabasher (Right: IDF Twitter account, October 25, 2023; Left: Eymen SIROĞLU's Twitter account, October 25, 2023)      Taysir Mabasher (Right: IDF Twitter account, October 25, 2023; Left: Eymen SIROĞLU's Twitter account, October 25, 2023)
Taysir Mabasher (Right: IDF Twitter account, October 25, 2023;
Left: Eymen SIROĞLU’s Twitter account, October 25, 2023).
Using the local population as human shields
  • The IDF spokesman held a briefing for the international media, where he provided proof that Hamas made both routine and emergency use of humanitarian facilities in the Gaza Strip for its terrorist activities, using them to protect its operatives and leadership. One such facility is the Shifaa Hospital, which has 1,500 beds and a staff of about 4,000. Beneath the hospital are underground facilities used by Hamas leaders. A tunnel leads to the facility, enabling Hamas operatives to access headquarters without having to pass through the hospital. Inside the hospital is a control center of Hamas’ internal security which is manned by armed activists routinely and in emergencies. The hospital also houses headquarters from where terrorist activity is directed, including firing rockets and directing the activities of terrorist forces; the hospital is also used for storing weapons (IDF spokesperson, October 27, 2023).[3]
The locations of Hamas headquarters beneath the hospital (IDF website, October 27, 2023)      The Shifaa Hospital compound.
Right: The Shifaa Hospital compound. Left: The locations of Hamas headquarters beneath the hospital (IDF website, October 27, 2023).
  • Hamas claimed the IDF spokesman’s descriptions were false and paved the way for an attack on the hospital, where thousands of wounded, sick and displaced persons were located (Hamas’ Telegram channel, October 27, 2023). Izzat al-Rishq, a member of Hamas’ political bureau, claimed there was no basis for the statements about the presence of the Hamas leadership under the hospital and that “the lies” were a prelude to carrying out “a new massacre against the Palestinians, which will be greater than the [disproved, debunked, non-existent] ‘massacre’ at al-Ahli Hospital.”[4] Hamas called on the UN and the Islamic countries to “intervene immediately and stop the destruction of the public health system” (Izzat al-Rishq’s Telegram channel, October 27, 2023).
  • Ghazi Hamed, a member of Hamas’ political bureau, denied the IDF spokesman’ statement, calling it a “baseless claim” with no proof and part of Israeli propaganda designed to justify more massacres and causing the hospital to end its activities (al-Jazeera, October 28, 2023).
  • Hamas spokesman Abd al-Latif al-Qanua claimed that the purpose of the accusations was to threaten the hospitals in preparation for attacking them, as Israel had “with the al-Ahli Hospital and the Church of St. Porphyrius (al-Jazeera TV, October 27, 2023).
Hamas
  • Isma’il Haniyeh, head of Hamas’ political bureau, spoke on the phone with Abbas Kamel, head of Egyptian General Intelligence, to discuss the latest developments in the Gaza Strip. Kamel informed him of Egypt’s efforts to ensure a ceasefire and bring in urgent supplies. Haniya expressed his appreciation for the position of the Egyptian government and the Egyptian people (Hamas Telegram channel, October 26, 2023).
  • Isma’il Haniyeh said the front in south Lebanon indicated that the continued aggression, killing and destruction of the Gaza Strip and its residents “will throw the entire region out of control.” He claimed Israel would not be able to recover from the strategic blow and defeat it suffered. He also claimed the “new holocaust the Israeli occupation army is committing against our people” had to be stopped. He called on all world leaders to clearly state the legitimacy of the “resistance on the land of Palestine” and appealed to the Arab-Muslim nation to support them with money and weapons (Hamas Telegram channel, October 26, 2023).
  • A Hamas delegation led by Musa Abu Marzouq, a member of the Hamas political bureau, visited Russia, where members of the delegation met with Mikhail Bogdanov, Russian deputy foreign minister. The members of the delegation praised the position of Russian President Putin and Russia’s diplomatic efforts. Bogdanov expressed Russia’s support for Palestinian rights and reviewed Russia’s efforts to bring about a ceasefire and the delivery of humanitarian aid to the Strip (Hamas Telegram channel, October 26, 2023). During the delegation’s visit to Russia, Ali Bagheri, the Iranian deputy foreign minister, also met with it.
Musa Abu Marzouq and Bassem Na'im meet with the Iranian deputy foreign minister (Iranian embassy in Moscow page on the Iranian ministry of foreign affairs website, October 27, 2023)     Senior Hamas officials Musa Abu Marzouq and Bassem Na'im with Mikhail Bogdanov, Russian deputy foreign minister (QudsN Twitter account, October 26, 2023).
Right: Senior Hamas officials Musa Abu Marzouq and Bassem Na’im with Mikhail Bogdanov, Russian deputy foreign minister (QudsN Twitter account, October 26, 2023). Left: Musa Abu Marzouq and Bassem Na’im meet with the Iranian deputy foreign minister (Iranian embassy in Moscow page on the Iranian ministry of foreign affairs website, October 27, 2023).
  • The international community severely criticized Russia for hosting a delegation of terrorist operatives. Dmitry Peskov, Kremlin spokesman, responded to the criticism by claiming the members of the delegation met with officials in the foreign ministry and not with officials in the Kremlin (Reuters, October 27, 2023).
  • Husam Badran, a member of Hamas’ political bureau, said Hamas appreciated Russia’s role in the international arena, and especially the use of its veto to respond to the American position. He suggested Russia could play a greater role in stopping the “aggression” in the Gaza Strip, and exert international pressure to provide urgent aid to the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip (al-Sharq al-Awsat, October 27, 2023).

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The Northern Arena
Lebanon
The situation on the ground
  • Hezbollah continued attacking IDF posts and Israeli towns and villages along the Lebanese border, firing mortar shells and launching anti-tank missiles and rockets from south Lebanon. Hezbollah claimed responsibility for the events (Telegram channel of Hezbollah’s combat information unit, October 26-28, 2023). So far, as of October 28, 2023, 6 p.m., Hezbollah operatives had attacked Israel 75 times since October 7. In response the IDF launched artillery fire and airstrikes against Hezbollah targets in south Lebanon.
 Hezbollah launches a missile being launched at the Tsiporen post (Telegram channel of Hezbollah's combat information unit, October 29 , 2023).    Hezbollah launches a missile being launched at the Tsiporen post (Telegram channel of Hezbollah's combat information unit, October 29 , 2023).
Hezbollah launches a missile being launched at the Tsiporen post (Telegram channel of Hezbollah’s combat information unit, October 29 , 2023).
The IDF attacks a Hezbollah target in Lebanon (IDF spokesman's website, October 29, 28, 2023)     The IDF attacks a Hezbollah target in Lebanon (IDF spokesman's website, October 29, 28, 2023)
The IDF attacks a Hezbollah target in Lebanon (IDF spokesman’s website, October 29, 28, 2023).
  • Ali Shoeib, a correspondent for al-Manar TV in south Lebanon, published pictures of the fires that broke out in the area, allegedly caused by Israeli attacks. He claimed Israel was deliberately setting fire to the area (Ali Shoeib’s Twitter account, October 26, 2023).
Hezbollah casualties
  • On October 26, 2023, Hezbollah reported the death of Tahe Hussein Tahe, aka Abu Ali Hadi, from al-Nabatiyeh in south Lebanon, killed as a “martyr on the way to Jerusalem” (Telegram channel of Hezbollah’s combat information unit, October 26, 2023).
Hezbollah fatality on October 26, 2023 (Telegram channel of Hezbollah's combat information unit, October 26, 2023)
Hezbollah fatality on October 26, 2023 (Telegram channel of Hezbollah’s combat information unit, October 26, 2023).
UNIFIL
  • According to UNIFIL, on October 28, 2023 at around 3:00 p.m., a shell landed inside the force’s headquarters in al-Naqoura but did not explode. There were no casualties but the base headquarters were damaged. UNIFIL claimed they were trying to find the source of the attack. UNIFIL emphasized that the force remained in its positions and was working with both sides, on both sides of the border, to reduce tensions and avoid serious misunderstandings (UNIFIL’s Telegram channel, October 28, 2023).
  • A Lebanese correspondent in Marjayoun reported an officer from UNIFIL’s Nepali battalion was injured when two Israeli rockets fell on the town of Houle near the Tsiporen outpost (Lebanon News Agency website, October 29, 2023).
Hezbollah
  • Hassan Izz al-Din, a Hezbollah representative in the Lebanese Parliament, announced the organization would “continue to protect the homeland and its people and do everything in its power for Palestine, and support Jerusalem, al-Aqsa and Gaza.” He claimed that Hezbollah’s activity along the southern border weakened Israel’s military and security capabilities and strengthened the Palestinians’ position in the territory of Israel, Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip (al-Nashra, October 29, 2023).
  • Ali Fiyad, a member of the Lebanese Parliament and a senior Hezbollah figure, claimed that if Israel attacked Lebanon it would pay a price “beyond anything it could imagine.” He claimed all the members of the “axis of resistance” [Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, the Palestinian terrorist organizations and the Houthis in Yemen] coordinated with one another and strove to develop the axis to make it more “effective” (al-Jazeera, October 28, 2023).
The Lebanese government
  • Najib Mikati, prime minister of the interim government in Lebanon, spoke on the phone with the British Foreign Secretary, James Cleverly, about current developments in the Gaza Strip and south Lebanon. Mikati called on the international community to exert pressure on Israel (Najib Mikati’s Twitter account, October 27, 2023).
  • Najib Mikati embarked on a round of visits to Arab countries “to strengthen Lebanon’s position and support a ceasefire in Gaza.” He held his first meetings in Qatar, where he arrived on October 28, 2023 (al-Sharq al-Awsat, October 28, 2023).
  • According to reports, Nabih Berri, the speaker of the Lebanese Parliament, was following the events in south Lebanon in the wake of the “escalation of Israeli aggression,” which harmed residential neighborhoods and Lebanese citizens and [allegedly] included “the use of illegal weapons such as phosphorus, which is prohibited under international law.” Berri strongly condemned Israel’s actions in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon and placed the responsibility on the international community. According to reports he is in close contact with various parties, including the command of the Lebanese army, the ministry of interior, civil defense and the fire services (Lebanese News Agency, October 26, 2023).
  • A Hamas delegation, led by Saleh al-‘Arouri, deputy head of Hamas’ political bureau, met with Nabih Berri. Al-‘Arouri said the “campaign” had broken the “myth of the undefeated [Israeli] army” and claimed “the Palestinian ‘resistance’ still controls the course of the battle.” He called on the countries of the world to stop the “Zionist aggression,” put an end to the crimes of the “occupation” and allow humanitarian aid to enter Gaza. Berri called what happened on October 7 “a strong slap in the face for the occupation” and said that he saluted the Palestinian people (Shehab, October 28, 2023).

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Judea, Samaria, and the Palestinian Authority
Events
  • The Israeli security forces continued their extensive counterterrorism activities in Judea and Samaria. Since the beginning of the war in the Gaza Strip, more than 1,020 wanted Palestinians have been detained, including 700 Hamas operatives (IDF spokesman, October 28, 2023). The ministry of health in Ramallah reported 112 fatalities in Judea and Samaria since the beginning of the war. Over the weekend, ten Palestinians were killed during clashes with Israeli security forces (Wafa, October 29, 2023).
  Weapons confiscated during the activity of the Israeli security forces (IDF spokesman's website, October 29, 2023).
Weapons confiscated during the activity of the Israeli security forces (IDF spokesman’s website, October 29, 2023).
  • The following were the main events:
    • In the early morning hours of October 29, 2023, Israeli security forces demolished the home of Hassan Qatanani in the Askar refugee camp in Nablus, a Hamas operative who carried out the shooting attack on the Jordan Valley road in which the Dee family members were killed (April 7, 2023) (Israeli media, October 29, 2023). The Palestinians reported one fatality during clashes with Israeli security forces (Wafa, October 29, 2023).
    • On October 28, 2023, Israeli security forces demolished the home of senior Hamas figure Bajes Nakhleh in the Jilazoun refugee camp (north of Ramallah). Violent clashes ensued, including shooting and throwing IEDs at the forces (IDF spokesman’s Twitter account, October 28, 2023).
    • On October 28, 2023, Jewish settlers killed a Palestinian who was picking olives in al-Sawiya, near Salfit (Israeli media, October 29, 2023).
    • On the morning of October 27, 2023, security forces were working to locate IEDs in the Jenin refugee camp. During the activity there were clashes and exchanges of fire with armed Palestinians (IDF spokesman’s Twitter account, October 27, 2023). The Palestinians reported that three PIJ operatives had been killed, including Aysar al-Amer, a senior commander in the Jenin Battalion of the Jerusalem Brigades (Ma’an, October 27, 2023).
    • On the morning of October 27, 2023, security forces in Qalqilya closed a store selling inciting and terror-supporting materials. During the activity, shots were fired at the forces, which responded with gunfire at armed Palestinians and rioters. (IDF spokesman, October 27, 2023). The Palestinians reported that one Palestinian was killed (Ma’an, October 27, 2023).
Solidarity demonstrations
  • On October 27, 2023, after the Friday prayers and in the evening, events were held throughout Judea and Samaria protesting the “Israeli aggression” in the Gaza Strip. Some of the events were attended by armed men. Processions reached the traditional friction points with IDF forces and clashes broke out (al-Andalou News, October 27, 2023; al-Araby al-Jadeed, October 27, 2023). PA security forces suppressed Palestinians marching in Nablus towards Joseph’s Tomb. It was also reported that an IDF drone dropped tear gas bombs on demonstrators at a march in Ibn Rushd Square in central Hebron (Wafa, October 27, 2023).

Right: A procession in Hebron (QudsN Twitter account, October 27, 2023). Center: A march in Ramallah (QudsN Twitter account, October 27, 2023). Left: A march in Tulkarm (@quds_feed Twitter account, October 27, 2023).
Right: A procession in Hebron (QudsN Twitter account, October 27, 2023). Center: A march in Ramallah (QudsN Twitter account, October 27, 2023). Left: A march in Tulkarm (@quds_feed Twitter account, October 27, 2023).
 Dispersal of the march to Joseph's Tomb (QudsN Twitter account, October 27, 2023).    Night march in Nablus (QudsN Twitter account, October 27, 2023).
Right: Night march in Nablus (QudsN Twitter account, October 27, 2023). Left: Dispersal of the march to Joseph’s Tomb (QudsN Twitter account, October 27, 2023).
Palestinian Authority
  • Mahmoud Abbas, chairman of the Palestinian Authority, called on Arab leaders to convene an emergency Arab summit to “stop the cruel aggression against our people.” He also called on the countries of the world to exert pressure on Israel to stop its activities. Abbas said the Gaza Strip would remain an inseparable part of the Palestinian state and they would rebuild everything Israel had destroyed (Wafa, October 28, 2023).

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Iran
  • Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said in an interview with al-Jazeera TV on October 28, 2023, that Israel’s failure to invade the Gaza Strip over the weekend was the second victory since the beginning of Operation al-Aqsa Storm. He added that since Hamas’ “action” on October 7, Israel had not attained any real achievements. He said the “resistance” groups in Palestine and the region were independent, made their own decisions and did not receive instructions from Iran. Raisi added that the United States’ demand that Iran not take any action, while providing extensive aid to Israel, was unacceptable. He said the United States was aware of Iran’s capabilities and knew it could not be attacked.
  • In interviews with American media, the Iranian foreign minister warned that the war against Israel would spread to other fronts if Israel continued its attacks in Gaza and if the United States continued its unequivocal support for Israel (NPR, Bloomberg, October 27, 2023).
  • Hossein Salami, commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), said Israel had no ability to fight Hamas, which was superior in ground fighting. He warned that if the Israelis launched a ground campaign, Gaza would become their burial place. Salami also said that one operation by Iran was enough to break Israel (Tasnim, October 28, 2023).
  • Ramadan Sharif, IRGC spokesman, warned in an interview that if Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip continued, the region could “explode.” He claimed Iran was monitoring the transfer of American missiles to Israel and Israel’s supporters had to know that hands that did not reach Israel might reach the American forces waging the war. Sharif also said that supporters of Israel, especially the United States, should know that the continued killing of Palestinians would make the Muslims lose patience. 
  • At the same time, senior Iranian officials are working in the diplomatic sphere:
    • Iranian Foreign Minister Abdollahian met with UN Secretary-General António Guterres and stressed the need for an immediate cessation of the fighting in the Gaza Strip (Fars, October 27, 2023).
    • Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi spoke with Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad. Raisi stressed the need for a firm, united, clear position of Muslim countries in support of the Palestinians, especially in view of the support of Western countries, especially the United States, for Israel (Fars, October 28, 2023). 
    • Ali Bagheri, Iranian deputy foreign minister, met in Moscow with a Hamas delegation headed by Musa Abu Marzouq, a member of the Hamas political bureau. The meeting was held at the Iranian embassy in Moscow in the presence of Iranian Ambassador to Russia Kazem Jalali. Abu Marzouq expressed appreciation for Iran’s support for the Palestinians and the “resistance,” calling the October 7 Hamas attack “a divine miracle which cannot be compared to previous wars against the Zionist regime.” He said Iran’s top priority was an immediate ceasefire, the transfer of aid to the residents of the Gaza Strip and the lifting of the siege of the Gaza Strip, adding that Iran was working towards that end on several levels (IRNA, October 27, 2023).
    • An Iranian delegation headed by Ibrahim Azizi, deputy chairman of the Majles National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, met in Baghdad with Hadi al-Amiri, head of the Badr Organization. Azizi claimed the Hamas attack was a response to the “crimes committed by the Zionist regime” in Palestine for 75 years. He said the front of Muslim countries could take a united position in light of the situation, and Israel had to know that if the “war crimes” did not stop, more fronts might open (Fars, October 27, 2023).
    • The delegation continued its visit to Lebanon and met with Nabih Berri, speaker of the Lebanese parliament, and Na’im Qassem, deputy secretary general of Hezbollah. In the meeting with Berri, Azizi warned that if Israel did not stop its attacks in the Gaza Strip, it would suffer heavy losses. Qassem said at the meeting that the Americans and Israelis did not know what the future would hold for them if the “aggression on the Gaza Strip” continued (Fars; al-Manar, October 27, 2023).
Activity of pro-Iranian militias
Syria, Iraq
  • The attacks against American Army targets in Syria and Iraq continued, including rocket fire and the use of drones. The Islamic Resistance in Iraq claimed responsibility for the attacks (the Islamic Resistance’s Telegram page, October 26-28, 2023). Among the bases in Iraq that were attacked was a base near Erbil Airport, Ain al-Assad in western Iraq. In Syria, the bases attacked included the al-Tanf base, al-Omar oil field and Kharab al-Jir airbase, al-Shadadi, south of al-Hasaka.
  • The United States announced that American forces in Iraq had shot down a drone a few kilometers from the Ain al-Assad base and there were no casualties (Reuters, October 27, 2023).
  • Following the attacks in Iraq and Syria, American President Joe Biden handed a letter to United States House Speaker Mike Johnson stating that the United States was prepared to take additional action following the attacks (Reuters, October 28, 2023). Lloyd Austin, United States Secretary of Defense, said that on President Biden’s orders, American military forces carried out self-defense strikes on two facilities in eastern Syria used by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and affiliated groups. According to him, the strikes were carried out in response to ongoing attacks on American forces in Iraq and Syria by Iranian-backed militias (United States Department of Defense website, October 27, 2023).
  • Iraqi Prime Minister Muhammad Shia’ al-Sudani held two meetings over the past few days, one with the leaders of the Islamic Resistance in Iraq and the other with the Iraqi resistance coordination committees. The objective of the meetings was to stop militia attacks against American bases in the country. Al-Sudani claimed the continuation of the attacks would push the Americans to respond, and it was not inconceivable that their response would be against one of the militia leaders involved in the attacks (al-Araby al-Jadeed, October 28, 2023).
  • Muqtada al-Sadr, chairman of the Al-Sadr faction in Iraq and leader of the Shi’ite faction that opposes Iran’s presence in Iraq, called on the Iraqi government and parliament to close the American embassy in Iraq due to the United States support for Israel’s activity against the Gaza Strip. That, he said, had to be done with a commitment to protect the American diplomatic staff from attacks by militias that sought to undermine Iraq’s security (Sadr’s Twitter account, October 27, 2023).
Demonstration in support of the Palestinians in Iraq, near the Jordanian border (al-Sumaria, October 27, 2023).
Demonstration in support of the Palestinians in Iraq, near the Jordanian border (al-Sumaria, October 27, 2023).
Yemen
  • On October 27, 2023, the Egyptian military spokesman announced the fall of an unidentified drone near Taba Hospital, wounding six people. He noted that the incident was being investigated by a special committee (Facebook page of the Egyptian Armed Forces Spokesman, October 27, 2023). The spokesman later said the investigation found that several unmanned aerial vehicles were flying from the southern Red Sea to the north, and one of them was attacked outside Egyptian airspace, causing shrapnel to fall in the Nuweibaa area. Another aircraft fell in Taba. He said they would increase their efforts to defend Egyptian airspace (Facebook page of the Egyptian Armed Forces Spokesman, October 27, 2023).
  • Following the events, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi called on all sides to respect Egypt’s sovereignty and status in the region. He stressed that Egypt would continue to play a positive role in the confrontation between Israel and Hamas (Reuters, October 28, 2023).
  • In light of the report that several missiles and drones had been launched from Yemen towards Israel, Hizam al-Assad, a member of the Houthi movement’s political bureau in Yemen, tweeted the word “Eilat.” The Saberin News Telegram channel, which is affiliated with the pro-Iranian militias in Iraq, reported that several ballistic missiles and drones had been launched from Yemen towards Israel (Saberin News, October 27, 2023).

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The Arab Arena
  • Following the Cairo summit (October 21, 2023), at the end of which no concluding statement was issued, apparently due to disagreement between the sides, the foreign ministers of Egypt, Jordan, the UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait and Morocco issued a joint statement condemning terrorism, killing and harming civilians, and violations of international law as part of the fighting by all sides, including attacks on civilian infrastructure and facilities. The foreign ministers also condemned “forced displacement and the policy of collective punishment.” The ministers further stressed the importance of the immediate release of “hostages and civilian detainees.” The foreign ministers made it clear that the right to self-defense guaranteed in the UN Charters did not justify gross violations of international law or deliberate neglect of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people. They called for action to allow safe and rapid access to humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip (UAE Foreign Ministry website, October 26, 2023).
Jordan
  • Ayman al-Safadi, Jordanian foreign minister, met in New York with his Iranian counterpart, Hossein-Amir Abdollahian, to discuss efforts to stop the fighting in the Gaza Strip and deliver humanitarian aid to the Strip. The two also discussed the danger facing the entire region if the fighting spread. He stressed that all efforts had to be made to stop the war and for the security of civilians (Petra, October 26, 2023).
Demonstration in Amman (al-Jazeera, October 27, 2023)
Demonstration in Amman (al-Jazeera, October 27, 2023.)
Saudi Arabia
  • Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan spoke with his Egyptian counterpart, Sameh Shoukry, and his Jordanian counterpart, Ayman al-Safadi, to discuss developments in the Gaza Strip and ways to cooperate to stop the escalation and displacement of the Palestinians (Twitter account of the Saudi foreign ministry, October 28, 2023).
  • The Saudi foreign ministry issued a statement saying that Saudi Arabia was monitoring the Israeli military escalation and condemned any Israeli ground operation because of the risk to the lives of Palestinians. According to the announcement, the operation was a violation of international law and would have severe consequences for regional stability and security (Twitter account of the Saudi foreign ministry, October 28, 2023).
Qatar
  • Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abd al-Rahman al-Thani met with UN Secretary-General António Guterres. The prime minister noted that Qatar strongly condemned the killing of civilians and the “indiscriminate” attacks on the Gaza Strip. He stressed that humanitarian aid had to be brought into the Gaza Strip and called on the international community to intervene immediately and comply with the UN General Assembly resolution for a humanitarian pause in the Gaza Strip. He thanked Guterres for his role in mobilizing international efforts to calm the situation with Qatari mediation (Twitter account of the Qatari Foreign Ministry, October 28, 2023). Guterres expressed his appreciation for Qatar’s role in mediating the release of the abductees in the Gaza Strip (UN secretary-general’s Twitter account, October 28, 2023).
  • During her visit to the Middle East, Barbara Leaf, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, met with al-Thani. During the meeting, al-Thani condemned any harm to civilians and claimed “the killing of innocent civilians and collective punishment” were unacceptable for any reason. He stressed the importance of coordinating regional and international efforts (Qatar News Agency, October 27, 2023).
  • The Washington Post quoted four diplomats as saying that the United States and Qatar had agreed to review Qatar’s ties with Hamas after the international hostage crisis had been resolved. It was also reported that the agreement was forged during a meeting held between American Secretary of State Blinken and Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad. It was noted that it had not yet been decided whether, as a result of the reassessment, Hamas leaders would be removed from the country (Washington Post, October 26, 2023).
United Arab Emirates
  • UAE President Mohammed bin Zayed met in Abu Dhabi with British Secretary of State for Defense Grant Shapps to discuss efforts to de-escalate the situation in the Gaza Strip (UAE News Agency, October 27, 2023).
The International Arena
United Nations General Assembly
  • The UN General Assembly convened for an emergency session on the fighting in the Gaza Strip. On October 27, 2023, a proposal drafted by Arab countries calling for an immediate humanitarian pause and a demand to provide access to the Gaza Strip and provide protection to civilians was approved with a great majority. The proposal passed with 120 votes in favor, 45 abstentions and 14 votes against (Reuters, October 27, 2023).
  • Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian Authority’s representative to the UN, described Israel’s activity as “barbaric activity conducted against civilians” and hospitals in a state of dysfunction due to lack of aid. Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman al-Safadi, speaking on behalf of the Arab League, said the children of Palestine had to be protected, called for an end to the fighting, and claimed that Israel completely ignored international law (al-Jazeera, October 26, 2023).
  • Hossein-Amir Abdollahian, Iranian foreign minister, said in his speech that Iran did not welcome the spread of the war in the region, but if the “genocide” in Gaza continued, the fire would not spare the Americans either. He said Hamas was prepared to release abducted civilians and the world had to support the release of 6,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. According to him, Iran was ready to play a role as a mediator alongside Qatar and Turkey. Abdollahian added that Hamas was a Palestinian “liberation movement” fighting against the occupation in accordance with its legitimate right under international law (IRNA, October 26, 2023).
  • Egyptian President el-Sisi praised the “Arab decision” approved by the UN General Assembly to stop the violence in the Gaza Strip (el-Sisi’s Facebook page, October 28, 2023). The foreign ministry noted that Egypt held the Israeli government accountable for violating the UN General Assembly resolution calling for a humanitarian pause (Facebook page of the Egyptian foreign ministry, October 28, 2023).
  • Hamas also praised the General Assembly resolution and called on the UN to implement the resolution immediately, allowing the opening of crossings and the entry of aid and fuel into the Gaza Strip (Hamas Telegram channel, October 27, 2023).
Council of the European Union
  • On October 26, 2023, the Council of the European Union held a discussion on the Middle East. The Council reportedly reaffirmed its statement of October 15, 2023, in which it condemned Hamas “in the strongest terms” for its brutal and indiscriminate terrorist attacks throughout Israel. The council also said Hamas’ use of civilians as human shields was an “atrocity.” The council stressed Israel’s right to defend itself in accordance with international law and reiterated its call on Hamas to “immediately release all abductees without preconditions.” At the same time, the council expressed concern over the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip and called for the opening of humanitarian corridors and the establishment of pauses for humanitarian needs (European Council website, October 27, 2023).
United States
  • Barbara Leaf, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, is making a round of visits to the Middle East to discuss efforts to prevent the spread of the conflict in the Middle East and humanitarian solutions to protect civilians (American Department of State website, October 25, 2023).
  • The United States Treasury Department announced the imposition of additional sanctions on senior Hamas and IRGC figures following the attack on Israel. According to the announcement, the sanctions target assets in Hamas’ investment portfolio and individuals who make it easier for companies belonging to Hamas to evade the sanctions (Reuters, October 27, 2023).
Turkey
  • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan posted a poster on his Twitter account calling for participation in a demonstration on October 28, 2023, at Istanbul-Ataturk Airport in support of the Palestinians (Erdoğan’s Twitter account, October 27, 2023). In a speech at the demonstration, he condemned the “war crimes Israel is committing in the Gaza Strip.” He said they knew Israel would get angry when he said Hamas was not a terrorist organization, but nevertheless they expressed their position. He further said they were preparing to declare to the entire world that Israel was a “war criminal” (al-Anadolu News, October 28, 2023).
Demonstration in support of the Palestinians sponsored by President Erdoğan (JustAsitis, October 28, 2023).
Demonstration in support of the Palestinians sponsored by President Erdoğan (JustAsitis, October 28, 2023).
  • The Turkish Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying it condemned the accusations made by several Israeli officials. According to the statement, these are efforts by officials who cannot tolerate the truth and the facts, and hoped to whitewash the painful truth about the “massacre” taking place against civilians in the Gaza Strip (Turkish Foreign Ministry’s Twitter account, October 29, 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] Hamas and its military-terrorist wing do not issue mourning notices or information about their fatalities.
[3] It was not the first time Hamas used hospitals for terrorist purposes. For further information, see the ITIC report, "Hamas and the Other Terrorist Organizations in the Gaza Strip Use Medical Facilities and Ambulances for Military-Terrorist Purposes."
[4] The hospital parking lot was damaged by a failed PIJ rocket launch but Hamas continues accusing Israel of attacking the hospital.