Bill and Joe discuss the latest updates from Israel’s defensive war in Gaza, including a potentially dwindling supply of ammunition for Hamas and its subsequent cooperation with other Palestinian terror groups; Egypt “fortifying” its border (but only above-ground and only because they want to keep Gazans out); whether Yahya Sinwar is still hiding out in a tunnel somewhere under Khan Younis (“with pneumonia”); the possibility and consequences of a ceasefire during Ramadan; and why Israel is indeed “winning” but will only win if it to continues its ground operation in Gaza, including in Rafah.
“Hezbollah has spent nearly two decades amassing a massive arsenal of short-range projectiles. Israel’s defensive systems are insufficient to contend with this threat, and the mobility of this portion of Hezbollah’s arsenal will likewise render Israeli standoff firepower ineffective against it — leaving Israel with no option but to launch an overwhelming, massive, and immediate ground invasion”
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.
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Forces continue to redeploy reserve units from Gaza after months of war, with several reserve brigades having been withdrawn in the last two weeks.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.
In the final part of its narrative strategy, Hezbollah sets demands for the international community, but which are designed to advance Hezbollah’s goal of gradually and slowly achieving Israel’s destruction.
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
Israel targeted two high-ranking Hezbollah commanders in an airstrike in Nabatieh. While the details and outcome remain uncertain, the location of the strike and nature of the targets suggest Israel’s patience is wearing thing with Hezbollah’s ongoing attacks.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Bill and Joe catch up on the latest news from the Middle East, including U.S. pressure on Israel (led by Secretary of State Blinken) to come to a permanent ceasefire in Gaza while the U.S. also considers withdrawing its own troops from Syria; Israeli casualties in Gaza (including suffering the recent historic loss of 24 IDF reservists); Israeli strikes inside Lebanon; and, yes, more Houthi drama.
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
An airstrike in the Syrian capital of Damascus killed five IRGC military advisors, including General Sadegh Omidzadeh. The strike is the second against Iranian advisors in Syria in the past four weeks.
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.
Bill and Joe discuss stats released this week by the IDF pertaining to its operations in Gaza and why escalation at Israel’s northern border with Lebanon is “just a matter of time.”
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.
Israeli forces killed three gunmen that infiltrated northern Israel from Lebanon on Sunday morning. The trio were claimed by an unknown group calling itself Islamic Azz Brigades.
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.
Joe just returned from Israel and joins Bill to share insights from his trip which included a sobering visit to Nir Oz, one of the kibbutz communities along the Gaza border that was brutally attacked by Hamas on October 7, 2023.
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.
Israel Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said Israel is determined to return Israeli civilians to communities near Israel’s northern border with Lebanon and that the window for diplomatic solutions for reducing the Hezbollah threat is closing. The IDF also carried out a multi-day raid near Tukaram in the West Bank and eliminated a Palestinian Islamic Jihad operative.
The IDF says it is in a high state of readiness in the wake of the killing of Hamas deputy leader Saleh al-Arouri in Lebanon on January 2. Israel did not take responsibility for the killing, but pro-Iranian groups like Hezbollah have blamed Israel. Meanwhile, Red Sea tensions increased with the Houthis continuing to target commercial ships.
Israel revealed details about a Hamas headquarters that was uncovered and destroyed in northern Gaza. The extensive tunnel system linked several houses and the tunnels included electricity and sewage systems. In southern Gaza, the IDF continued to expand operations. Hezbollah attacks targeted numerous communities in northern Israel, and the Israeli air force carried out retaliatory airstrikes against Hezbollah.