News Digest — 10/23/23

Iran Will Not Hesitate To Launch Missiles At Haifa, IRGC Commander Warns

Iran could launch a missile at Haifa “without hesitation” deputy chief of the IRGC Ali Fadavi said on Monday morning (23rd), threatening direct combat between Israel and the Islamic Republic.

Fadavi, the deputy commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards, said that “if it is necessary, and the order is given,” Iran will strike Israel’s northern city “without hesitation.”

Speaking to Iranian students at the University of Tehran, Fadavi replied to a question on Iran backing direct action against Israel, answering: “Some of you young people consider practical action to be a direct missile to Haifa, of course, if it’s necessary, this will be done, and it will be done without hesitation.”

He claimed that the IDF is lying about the Iron Dome’s successful interception rate, claiming it to be just 30%

“America created Israel for its security, and if it feels insecure, it will easily sacrifice it,” Fadavi added.

Earlier in the war, Fadavi threatened Israel with a “shockwave by the resistance-front if its atrocities do not stop in Gaza.”

“The resistance-front’s shocks against the Zionist regime will continue until this ‘cancerous tumor’ is eradicated from the world map,” said Fadavi.



Israel Kills 7 Hezbollah Members As Clashes Continue On Lebanese Border

Hezbollah announced that seven of its members were killed in clashes between the terrorist movement and the IDF along the Israeli-Lebanese border on Sunday (22nd).

A member of the Syrian branch of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s al-Quds Brigades was also killed amid the clashes along the border.

A number of anti-tanks missile attacks against Israeli forces were reported along the border on Sunday (22nd), with the IDF responding with airstrikes and artillery fire toward Hezbollah posts in southern Lebanon.

Additionally, a number of mortars were fired from southern Lebanon to Yiftach in northern Israel on Sunday (22nd) setting off sirens.  The rockets fell in open areas.  

Also, on Sunday (22nd), the IDF intercepted a drone that was headed from Lebanon toward Israeli territory.

Later in the day, Hezbollah affiliated al-Manar TV reported that an IDF drone conducted a targeted  strike on a vehicle in southern Lebanon with one reported injury.

Later in the evening, the IDF announced that fighter jets had struck Hezbollah infrastructure in southern Lebanon after terrorists were spotted trying to fire anti-tank missiles toward Israel.  Additionally, an anti-tank missile was fired from Lebanon toward Arab al-Aramshe in northern Israel with no injuries or damage reported. 

Amid the continuing escalation in tensions, the Defense Ministry and the IDF announced on Sunday (22nd) that they would be evacuating civilians from an additional 14 towns in northern Israel including Snit, Dan, Beit Hillel, She’ar Yashuv,Matzuva, Eilon, Goren, Granot, HaGalil, Even Menachem, Sasa, Tzivon, and Ramot Naftali.

Since the day after the war between Israel and Hamas broke out, the IDF, Hezbollah and Palestinian terror groups in Lebanon have exchanged fire daily along the Lebanese-Israeli border.  Anti-tanks missile attacks and rockets have targeted IDF soldiers and Israeli civilians along the border almost every day, with the IDF responding with artillery fire and airstrikes.



IDF Uses Iron Sting Precision Mortars For First Time Against Hamas

The precision “Iron Sting” mortar entered operational use for the first time as the IDF’s Maglan unit used the innovative weapon to target Hamas’ rocket launchers in the Gaza Strip, the IDF Spokesperson’s unit revealed Sunday (22nd) .

The Iron Sting was developed by Elbit Systems and first revealed by the Defense Ministry, IDF Ground Forces, and Elbit in 2021.  The mortar is designed for use in both open terrain and urban environments, while using its precise targeting to reduce the possibility of non-combatants being injured.

The weapon consists of a 120mm mortar that uses GPS and laser guidance to precisely hit targets.  It has a range of .6-7.4 miles and can penetrate double-reinforced concrete.

“Thanks to the precision, lethality, and expertise of the fighters, the Maglan unit in cooperation with the Air Force took out dozens of terrorists with a variety of means, one of which is the precision mortar “Iron Sting,” the head of the Commando Brigade, Col. Omar Cohen said.

“From the beginning of the war, the Commando Brigade fought fiercely against the enemy’s brutal attack and eliminated over 100 terrorists in the Gaza Strip.  Regular and reservist Maglan, Egoz, and Duvdevan units will get to any place and any enemy and eliminate them.  Together, we will win; I am sure of our soldiers and trust them.”



21 Orphaned Children Lost Both Parents In Murderous Hamas Attack

The Ministry of Welfare published Sunday evening (22nd) very difficult data according to which the heinous terrorist attack by Hamas in the communities surrounding the Gaza Strip on Saturday, October 7, left 21 children from 13 families without both parents.  The number of children who lost one parent is still unclear.

One of the 4-year-old girls of one of the families is being held hostage in Gaza.  Another one who lost her mother and father is also being held hostage in Gaza.

Since the outbreak of the attack, social workers of the Ministry and the local authorities have been working to locate all children who lost their parents and have contacted the families where the children are staying.

It was reported that professional teams will provide them with all-inclusive care that includes emotional, mental, and material service, as well as the exercise of rights in regard to all other authorities.  Also, the Ministry is working to regulate the status of these families for a period of three months, during which the situation of the children and families will be examined, and the needs that arise will be met.

Minister of Welfare Yaakov Margi said, “The fact that so many children are victims of the heinous attack by Hamas is turning our stomachs.  I instructed the relevant professionals in the Ministry to simplify the bureaucratic process and speed up the provision of services to both the children and families who are caring for them at this time.  The Ministry of Welfare is prepared to provide long-term and trauma-focused care for every boy and girl affected by this horrific attack, and in particular for the children who were left orphans.”  

“The State of Israel will be their mother and father and will take care of them for the rest of their lives.  We will not spare any effort and resources to help them recover,” Margi concluded.



Herzog: Hamas Brought Instructions On Making Chemical Weapons To Oct. 7 Onslaught

President Isaac Herzog revealed in an interview with Sky News that Hamas had plans to use cyanide agents against Israeli civilians.

Herzog showed material recovered from a USB drive on the body of a Hamas terrorist who infiltrated into Israel on Oct. 7, which was copied from al-Qaeda and included “detailed instructions on creating chemical weapons,” including precise information for preparing a device for dispersing cyanide agents,” the President’s Office said.

“This is the material we found on the body of one of those sadistic villains.  It’s al-Qaeda material, official al-Qaeda material,” Herzog told the TV network.  When faced with ISIS, al-Qaeda, and Hamas, this is what we’re dealing with.  And in this material there were instructions, how to produce chemical weapons.”

Among other disturbing items found on gunmen who rampaged across southern communities two weeks ago were Islamic flags, documents dealing with extensive plans to target an elementary school and a youth center and kill as many people as possible, as well as manuals with instructions on how to torture and kidnap those they found.

War erupted after the onslaught, in which some 2,500 terrorists broke through the border into Israel from the Gaza Strip in a multipronged assault.  Gunmen slaughtered some 1,400 people and seized at least 212 hostages of all ages under the cover of a deluge of thousands of rockets fired at Israeli towns and cities.  

The vast majority of those killed, as gunmen seized border communities, were civilians – including babies, children and the elderly.  Entire families were executed in their homes, and over 260 were slaughtered at an outdoor festival, many amid horrific acts of brutality by the terrorists.

Additionally, Sunday (22nd), the president met with those whose family members were abducted by terrorists to the Gaza Strip, vowing to do everything he could to bring their loved ones home.

Some 80 families were represented at the 90-minute meeting, which included the President and his wife, Michal Herzog.

“We’re here to help, to embrace, to strengthen, to support, to think together about solutions,” Herzog told the group, according to his office.  “We have a national challenge, and it is an enormous one, it requires us to act calmly and responsibly.”

The president added, “We want to bring your loved ones home soon – that is the challenge.”

Herzog said that, “as the President of Israel, I pledge to you to do everything to bring your loved ones home – that is the top goal from my perspective.”

Following the brutal massacre on Oct. 7, Israel launched an offensive it says is aimed at destroying Hamas’ infrastructure and has vowed to eliminate the entire terror group that rules the Strip.  It says it is targeting all areas where Hamas operates while seeking to minimize civilian casualties.

Several reports have suggested the White House is pressuring Israel to delay a widely expected ground incursion into Gaza in order to allow for the possibility of negotiations to release further hostages.



IDF Raids Samaria Home Of Hamas’ Second-In-Command   

Israeli forces on Saturday (21st) raided the Samaria home of top Hamas commander Saleh al-Arouri and detained several of his relatives, according to French news agency AFP.

Al-Arouri, the commander of Hamas operations in Judea and Samaria and the deputy of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, is currently based in Lebanon.

Israeli forces entered al-Arouri’s home in the village of Aurora north of Ramallah at dawn, and arrested more than 20 people, including one of his brothers and nine of his nephews, according to AFP.  

Israeli forces reportedly thereafter raised a banner over the home showing al-Arouri on the backdrop of an Israeli flag and captioned: “This was the house of Saleh al-Arouri and has become the headquarters  of Abu al-Nimer – Israeli Intelligence.”

Abu al-Nimer is reportedly an alias for the Israeli intelligence officer responsible for the area.  Al-Arouri is credited with orchestrating the deep relationship between Hamas and Iran, and also played a key role in re-establishing the Palestinian terrorist group’s ties with Damascus, which were severed in 2012 during the Syrian Civil War.

He was recruited into Hamas in 1985 while studying Sharia Law at Hebron University and has served 18 years in Israeli prisons.  He was deported to Syria in 2010.

Overnight Friday (20th), the IDF arrested a total of 89 Palestinians, including 68 Hamas terrorists, during raids across Judea and Samaria.  Israeli forces also demolished  the home of the Hamas terrorist responsible for the murder of American-Israeli Elan Ganeles on Feb. 27 near Jericho.



Hamas Torture Confirmed At Israel’s Forensics Institute – Aaron Poris

At Israel’s National Center of Forensic Medicine (Abu Kabir) in Tel Aviv, forensic pathologists , including Israeli staffers as well as volunteers from abroad, were visibly disturbed by the evidence before them.  Many broke into tears throughout the day.  The forensics team showed images from their investigations.  Perhaps the most disturbing image was a completely charred mass of flesh.  Only after a CT scan could experts see what it was: two spinal cords: one belonging to an adult and one to someone young – a parent and child bound together by metal wires in a final embrace before being set alight.

Dr. Chen Kugel, the head of Abu Kabir, said, “The proportion of bodies we’ve received that are charred, is high.  Many have gunshot wounds in their hands, showing they put their hands up to their faces in defense.  Many were burned alive in their homes…We know they were burned alive because there is soot in their trachea, their throats – meaning they were still breathing when set on fire.”  Kugel explained that the age range of the victims spans from 3 months to 80 or 90 years old.  Many bodies, including babies without heads.

Dr. Nurit Bublil, head of Abu Kabir’s DNA laboratory, said, “This was not combat… Hamas celebrated burning houses with civilians inside who didn’t do anything to them.  They enjoyed grabbing an 18-year-old girl from a party, a festival, dragging her to a car, and taking her to Gaza.  And who knows what happened to her in between.”  (Media Line-Jerusalem Post)