News Digest — 11/1/23

Israel Sends Warships To Red Sea After Aerial Attacks From Yemen

Israeli missile boats were deployed in the Red Sea on Wednesday (1st) as reinforcements, the IDF said in a statement, following long-range missile and drone attacks claimed by Yemen’s Houthis.

Images disseminated by the military appeared to show Saar-class corvettes patrolling near Eilat port in the Red Sea, which Israel sees as a new front as its war in Gaza draws retaliation from Iran-aligned pro-Hamas forces elsewhere in the region.

An aerial threat was intercepted over the Red Sea near Eilat on Tuesday night (10/31), according to the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit.  No alert was activated in the city.

No threat was posed to civilians and the threat did not enter Israeli territory, according to the IDF.

Shortly after the interception was reported, Hezam Alasad, a member of the political bureau of the Iran-backed Houthi militia, posted the word “Eilat” in Arabic and Hebrew on X (formerly Twitter).

The incident came less than 24 hours after drones and missiles fired by the Iran-backed Houthi militia towards Eilat were intercepted by the IDF.

On Tuesday afternoon (10/31), the spokesman for the Houthi’s militia branch, Yahya Saree, confirmed that the Houthis had fired “a large batch of ballistic and winged missiles and a large number of drones at various targets of the Israeli enemy” on Tuesday morning (10/31).

Saree added that the drone and missile fire Tuesday morning (10/31) was the third such attack conducted  by the Houthis and warned that the Iran-backed militia would “continue to carry out more qualitative strikes with missiles and drones until the Israeli aggression stops.”

When asked if the IDF intended to respond to the attacks by the Houthis earlier on Tuesday (10/31), IDF Spokesperson Daniel Hagari stated “the wise thing isn’t speaking to media, the wise thing is speaking with actions and protecting the security interests of Israel and to do so in the necessary time and place.” 

“There are many elements in the region working on behalf of Iran, such as the Houthis, who are trying to challenge us and divert us from the war in Gaza.  We stay focused.  We are focused on the war in Gaza,” said Hagari.



IDF Releases Names Of Givati Soldiers Killed In Action In Gaza

Two IDF soldiers, Roi Wolf and Lavi Lipshitz, both 20 years of age, were killed in battle in the northern Gaza Strip, the IDF Spokesperson said on Tuesday (10/31).

The families of the soldiers have been notified.

The deaths were announced days after Israel began its ground invasion into Gaza.  Maariv reported that the soldiers were killed by a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) thrown into the building where they were stationed.

Wolf was from Ramat Gan and Lipshitz was from Modiin, Walla reported.

So far, more than 300 soldiers have been killed in the battles since October 7.

IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari said in his statement to the media on Tuesday (10/31) that the ground maneuvers in the Gaza Strip include heavy battles.  “Our soldiers at this time are fighting on the battlefield with courage and valor,” he said.  “This fighting is dangerous and you have to understand that there are costs.  We all need resilience and courage.”



IDF Takes Command Of Hamas Military Stronghold In Western Jabalya In Gaza

IDF troops under the command of the Givati Brigade took control over a Hamas military stronghold in western Jabalya in the northern Gaza Strip on Tuesday (10/31), a military spokesperson said.

Approximately 50 terrorists were eliminated by Israeli forces.  Furthermore, Israeli fighter jets, under Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) intelligence, killed Ebrahim Biari, the commander of Hamas’ Jabalya battalion, and was one of the leaders of the October 7 massacre.  Jabalya is around 2.4 miles northeast of Gaza City.

The stronghold was used by Biari for training in preparation for terrorist operations.  There were infrastructure and terror tunnels at the place that were used for terrorists to move to the coastal area.

The fighting in the area saw Israeli forces killing many of the terrorists and destroying tunnel shafts, weapons, and military equipment.  In addition, Israeli forces on the ground located intelligence sources in the compound.

The stronghold also held many weapons used by the Hamas terrorists, the spokesman said.  Numerous terrorists were also injured in the Israeli attack.

Since the entry of IDF soldiers into Gaza, Commander Ebrahim Biari has been in charge of all fighting in the northern Gaza Strip.  Biari was also involved in sending terrorists in the attack at the Ashdod Port in 2004, in which 13 Israelis were murdered, and was responsible for directing rocket fire at Israel for two decades.

Biari’s assassination was carried out as part of an extensive attack on terrorist infrastructures of the Central Jabalya Battalion., which took over civilian buildings in Gaza.

The IDF has reiterated its calls to Gaza residents to move south for their protection.



Top Hamas Official Declares Group Not Responsible For Defending Gazan Civilians

Moussa Abu Marzouk, a prominent member of Hamas’ political bureau, has declared that the terror group that rules Gaza is not responsible for protecting the Strip’s civilians, and said that the vast tunnel network underneath the enclave is only for the protection of Hamas terrorists.

In an interview with Russia Today’s Arabic channel over the weekend, Abu Marzouk was asked why Hamas has dug 310 miles of tunnels in the territory it has ruled over since 2007, but has never built shelters for civilians to hide in during bombings.

“We built the tunnels because we have no other way of protecting ourselves from being killed in airstrikes.  We are fighting from inside the tunnels,” the Qatar-based official said, according to a segment of the interview translated and shared by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

“Seventy-five percent of the population of Gaza are refugees, and it is the UN’s responsibility to protect them,” Abu Marzouk added, referencing the UN relief agency for Palestinian ‘refugees’ from 1948 and their millions of descendants, who are also regarded by the agency as ‘refugees’ despite never being displaced during their lifetime.

Abu Marzouk claimed that it was Israel’s obligation to provide for the needs of the citizens of Gaza under the Geneva Convention, referring to the international agreement for the protection of noncombatants during armed conflict.  However Hamas has fired thousands of rockets aimed at Israeli cities over the past 20 years, in contravention of the same convention.

The Palestinian terror group also overtly targeted civilians earlier this month, when some 2,500 terrorists burst across the border into Israel by land, air and sea on Oct.7, killing over 1,400 people, mostly civilians butchered in their homes or at an outdoor music festival.  They also seized at least 245 hostages of all ages, under the cover of a deluge of thousands of rockets fired at Israeli towns and cities.

In response to the Oct. 7 massacres, Israel has vowed to destroy Hamas and its terror infrastructure above and under the ground, and to pursue every avenue to secure freedom for all of the hostages, and has urged civilians living in northern Gaza to evacuate to the south to better differentiate between combatants and civilians. 

The chief of staff of the Iranian army claimed on Tuesday (10/31) that 248 miles of Hamas tunnels run underneath the northern section of the Gaza Strip, and that some of them are broad enough for vehicles and motorcycles to pass through.

The Israeli military on Friday night (10/27) revealed that several of the tunnels lead to Hamas’ underground base, located under Gaza’s Shifa hospital, the largest in the enclave, allowing Hamas officials to reach the base without having to enter the building above the ground.

An apprehended Hamas terrorist confirmed in an interrogation that Hamas uses hospitals  and medical clinics because it knows that Israel won’t target them.  The sites can be used to pass “explosives, food, and medical equipment,” for use by the terror group.



Palestinian Authority Is Just As Bad – Nadav Shragai

Before we bring the Palestinian Authority to Gaza instead of Hamas, or be tempted to believe that the Palestinians in the West Bank are “something else,” we should look at the facts right in front of us.  If only they could, the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria – whether its Hamas, Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, or the Popular Resistance Committees – would perpetrate the same acts against the Jews in Petach Tikvah, Kfar Saba, Lod, Ramla, and Afula.

It hasn’t happened yet, but not because of a lack of desire or attempts.  It has not happened because hundreds of terrorist acts and attempted mass killings of civilians got thwarted almost daily over the past two years by the Israeli security services and the IDF.  Their nature, style and cruelty are identical.

Hallel Yaffa Ariel, a 13 year-old girl, was slaughtered in her bed in her home on the outskirts of Kiryat Arba with a knife.  Ori Ansbacher, a 19-year-old, was raped and brutally murdered in Jerusalem, and her body was mutilated.  The Fogel family from Itamar was murdered in their home.  Yoav, 10 and Elad, 4, were strangled and stabbed, and Ehud and Ruth, their parents, who tried to save their children, were stabbed repeatedly in their neck, throat, and abdomen.  The three-month-old baby, Hadas who was found because she was crying, was also killed.

A similar massacre took place in the Salomon family’s home in Halamish.  Esther Horgan was killed with a rock that crushed her skull.  Shalhevet Pas, less than a year old, was executed in her stroller by a sniper.  Kim Levengrond Yehezkel was tied up in the Barkan industrial zone and shot to death.

Abdel-Rahman Abu Arab, a member of Fatah in Jenin,  defined the October 7 massacre as a morning of joy, victory and pride, and blessed the “heroic martyrs in Gaza.”  Abbas Zaki, a member of Fatah’s Central Committee, praised Hamas for the attack and threatened to crush the skulls of all the Jews and Americans in the region.  



The Spirit Of ‘48 – Ran Baratz

• On October 7 we were thrown back in time.For a few long hours, we were taken by complete surprise and transported back to 1948, with the enemy having all the advantages and we all the disadvantages.  But in the depths of the abyss, when the people of Israel were unexpectedly thrust into a life-or-death struggle against armed savages, an indescribable valor arose, a tenacity that we had almost forgotten existed, a supreme courage that we had thought we would no longer need.

• When the moment of truth arrived, the answer emerged from the ranks.  It came in the form of soldiers from the Golani, Nahal and armored brigades who took over the battle lines, fighting until the last bullet and then some.  It came in the form of men and women, members of the rapid-response teams in their communities, who took up arms and engaged the enemy in pitched battles.  It came in the form of reservists and police officers who, upon hearing that something terrible had happened, took up arms and rushed down south on their own accord, charging into the line of fire, risking their lives to save as many as they could.

• In every Jewish community, over a history spanning hundreds of years, what occurred would have been the first day of a pogrom, leaving the Jews only with a pervasive sense of helplessness, pain and despair.  In Israel, just the opposite transpired.  The pogrom ended with unwavering counterattacks, followed by a major counteroffensive.

• And instead of feeling helpless, what we now feel is rage – the diametric opposite of the fear, helplessness and despair that characterized the Jews in the diaspora.

• On that darkest of days, it became evident that the people of Israel is not a fragile “spider’s web,” and is characterized by neither coddling nor weakness.  At the moment of truth, the warrior spirit within us stirred in a matter of minutes.

• Israel is a nation of warriors and we will not retreat in the face of adversity.  In these circumstances, no enemy can defeat us.