Israel’s navy conducted a drill aimed toward “readiness in the northern arena” as threats from Hezbollah continue. The navy practiced countering drone threats and refueling at sea. Israeli aircraft struck Hezbollah terrorist infrastructure in Lebanon and Israel’s Arrow air defense system intercepted a ballistic missile fired by the Houthis in Yemen on February 22.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented a ‘day after’ plan to Israel’s security cabinet which aims to demilitarize Gaza and enable locals to control civil affairs. Meanwhile inside Gaza, Israeli forces have created a security corridor south of Gaza City.
Hezbollah carried out multiple rocket, drone and ATGM attacks on Israel between February 19 and 21. New reports revealed Hezbollah concerns about Hamas operations in Gaza as well as insights into Hezbollah’s decision to not launch a larger war in early October.
The Israel Defense Forces continue to redeploy reserve units from Gaza after months of war, with several reserve brigades having been withdrawn in the last two weeks. With fighting in Gaza reduced, these reservists are able to return home. In Gaza, the IDF has increased its ability to respond to rocket fire and eliminate perpetrators of rocket launches and other types of attacks.
While the IDF is in control of most of Khan Younis, the area surrounding Nasser Hospital remains a focal point of IDF operations. In the northern Gaza city of Shati, the IDF re-entered an area that it had previously taken control of from Hamas in November and continued to conduct sweeps for terrorist infrastructure.
Rockets fired from Lebanon at the northern Israeli city of Safed killed one soldier and wounded eight others. The attack is an escalation, and the Israel Defense Forces launched numerous airstrikes in retaliation. Israel’s Chief of Staff told members of northern communities who remain evacuated that the IDF would enable them to return to their homes.
Israeli farmers return to plow fields near the border of Gaza with fighting reduced in many areas and with almost no rocket fire. Israel’s Chief of Staff spoke at length about the successes and challenges the IDF faces in Gaza. This includes the need to return to areas they already took from Hamas to eliminate more terrorists. The Israeli Ministry of Defense purchased 200 new security vehicles for border communities.
Israeli special forces rescued two hostages from Rafah in southern Gaza along the border with Egypt on February 12. The successful operation follows failed attempts by the IDF to rescue hostages being held in tunnels in Khan Younis.
Hezbollah launched two barrages of rockets at Israel on February 9. The head of Israel’s air force told an Israel Defense Forces conference that “Hezbollah will continue to pay with the loss of its systems. Dozens of aircraft are now operating in the skies of southern Lebanon.” Israel carried out retaliatory strikes against Hezbollah on February 9
The Israeli Prime Minister said Israel will draft a plan “for evacuating the population and destroying the battalions” in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, the last major area held by Hamas in Gaza. IDF forces have continued to uncover weapons in Khan Younis, and they also operated in Beit Lahia in northern Gaza.
Israeli Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi visited northern Gaza to meet with key Israeli commanders and discuss Israel’s new raids into areas wherein the IDF defeated Hamas in November and December. Israel continues to find tunnels in Khan Younis and target Hamas members throughout Gaza.
Israel’s war cabinet members — including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and Minister Benny Gantz — spoke today and yesterday about the next steps in Gaza on the path to success and victory over Hamas. Israel’s Chief of Staff also discussed the IDF’s upcoming investigation into the attacks on October 7, 2023. Meanwhile in Gaza, Israeli forces continued to sweep northern Gaza and target members of Hamas.
Hezbollah continued to fire rockets at Israel on February 4 and 5, as Israel’s Minister of Defense warned that Israel’s air force is “pointing” north and as the Israel Defense Forces released new data on strikes against Hezbollah. US envoy Amos Hochstein was in Israel at the same time France’s Foreign Minister visited Jerusalem.
IDF forces operated in northern Gaza against terror threats as concerns emerged over whether Hamas seeks to infiltrate northern Gaza to reconstitute its influence. In Khan Younis, Israeli operations focused on western Khan Younis near the Mawasi humanitarian zone.
Rockets from Lebanon targeted the northern Israeli community of Arab al-Aramshe. Israel’s Defense Minister visited Haifa and warned about a potential conflict in the north. Israel’s Chief of Staff visited the Gaza border and met with a reserve battalion that had suffered losses in Gaza. The IDF also revealed more details about its operations using water in Gaza tunnels.
The IDF continues to degrade Hamas forces in Khan Younis, with Israel estimating that more than half of Hamas battalions in the city have been eliminated. Nonetheless, Israel’s Defense Minister met with a unit of IDF artillery to discuss the long war ahead that Israel still faces.
The IDF continues to fight Hamas in Khan Younis in southern Gaza. Israeli forces uncovered another 200 tunnel shafts. Along the border, the IDF is creating a buffer zone as part of a larger process to secure Israel’s borders with Gaza as well as Lebanon.
Israel responded to Hezbollah drone attacks with increased strikes inside Lebanon, wherein the depth of Israeli strikes has increased in the last week. One such strike in Lebanon targeted a military airstrip that Israel says was built by Iran for Hezbollah. IDF Chief of Staff Herzi HaLevi visited Khan Younis to assess IDF operations against Hamas.
Rocket fire from Hamas in Gaza decreased significantly between January 21 and 24. In Gaza, the Israel Defense Forces continued to increase pressure on Hamas in the southern city of Khan Younis. Israeli forces also found a tunnel near the Israeli border in central Gaza.
24 Israeli soldiers were killed in Gaza on January 22, the worst single day of casualties for Israel since ground operations in Gaza began on October 27. While continuing work to secure the border region and dismantle terrorist infrastructure, an IDF unit involved in this operation suffered the loss of 21 of its soldiers when an RPG impacted and caused an explosion which led to the collapse of nearby buildings on the soldiers.
The Israel Defense Forces expanded operations in southern Gaza’s Khan Younis, hometown of Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar. IDF forces also revealed a tunnel in the city where hostages were held. In other areas of Gaza, the Israeli navy carried out operations along the coast, and a training area was found in northern Gaza. Hamas members were targeted with airstrikes
The US Ambassador to Israel visited Israel’s Northern Command, where IDF commanders discussed threats from Hezbollah. Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant spoke with US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. IDF tanks found a terrorist training facility in Gaza, and the IDF wrapped up a two-day raid in the West Bank.
The youngest Israeli hostage in Gaza turned one year old this week, bringing into focus the lives of the remaining 136 hostages still held by Hamas inside Gaza, where Israeli forces have continued to uncover and dismantle terrorist infrastructure, including weapons and machines for making munitions.
The Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Herzi HaLevi discussed the likelihood for escalation in northern Israel amid continued Hezbollah attacks. As Israel’s 36th division is ending its deployment in Gaza, two airstrikes targeted terrorist cells in the West Bank.
The Israel Defense Forces released data after three months of fighting Hamas in Gaza. Israeli warplanes struck Hezbollah targets after a missile launched by the terrorist group killed two civilians inside Israel. Israel’s Defense Minister also warned of escalation in the West Bank.
The Israel Defense Forces operated in Khan Yunis in southern Gaza and in central Gaza to target Hamas terrorists. Israel estimates that Hamas used 6,000 tons of concrete to build hundreds of miles of tunnels underneath Gaza. Meanwhile at the Hague, Israel defended itself against charges of genocide brought against it by South Africa.
The Israel Defense Forces and Ministry of Defense distributed rifles to local security teams in an effort to bolster security for concerned civilians in northern and southern border-straddling communities. Meanwhile, the IDF carried out strikes on Hezbollah and continued to uproot terrorist infrastructure in Gaza.
Nine IDF soldiers were killed in Gaza, six of which died as a result of a mistaken demolition explosion. Hezbollah increased drone attacks on Israel with strikes deeper into northern Israel. Meanwhile, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant met with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
The IDF expanded some operations in Khan Yunis on January 8, using the 7th armored brigade to support paratroopers and commandos who are identifying terrorist targets. The IDF continues to find terrorist infrastructure in Khan Yunis and other parts of Gaza, and Israel’s Defense Minister vowed that fighting will continue against Hamas.
Israel dismantles terrorist infrastructure in Gaza as the intensity of the war against Hamas shifts into a new phase. Tunnels were discovered under a Gaza hotel near the beach, and the IDF revealed they had dismantled a tunnel found in November under Shifa hospital. IDF reserve unit commanders also met at IDF Southern Command to discuss lessons learned in three months of fighting in Gaza.