News Digest — 6/6/24

Terrorists Who Took Part In Oct. 7 Massacre Eliminated In IDF Strike

IAF fighter jets, directed by IDF intelligence and the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) early Thursday morning (6th) conducted a precise strike on a Hamas compound embedded inside an UNRWA school in the area of Nuseirat.

The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said that Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists who belonged to the Nukhba  Forces and took part in the murderous attack on communities in southern Israel on October 7th were operating in the compound.

“The terrorists directed all their murderous activities from the area of the school while exploiting it and using it as a shelter.  Several terrorists who planned to carry out terror attacks and promote terrorist activities against IDF troops in the immediate time frame were eliminated in the strike,” the statement said.

The Palestinians claimed that 27 people were killed in the air strike and that the school served as a shelter for people who fled their homes.

The IDF statement stressed,” Before the strike, a number of steps were taken to reduce the risk of  harming uninvolved civilians during the strike, including aerial surveillance, and additional intelligence information.” 

The IDF said that the school was being used as a base for Hamas fighters and that all or most of the dead were Hamas terrorists.



11 Hurt, One Dead, In Hezbollah Drone Attack On Northern Town

At least 11 Israelis were wounded, one critically, in a Hezbollah-claimed attack with explosive-laden drones on northern Israel on Wednesday (5th), the military and medics said.

The Israel Defense Forces said it was investigating why sirens did not sound when at least two drones slammed into the Druze-majority town of Hurfeish, located several kilometers from the Lebanon border.

Lebanon’s Hezbollah terror group took responsibility for the attack, saying it launched several explosive drones at an army position in the area.

According to initial military assessments, the two drones impacted within a few minutes of each other, with the second seemingly targeting rescue crews who arrived to treat those wounded by the first.  Hezbollah has employed such a tactic several times amid the war.

The terror group said the attack was a response to recent deadly IDF strikes in southern Lebanon, including an attack on Tuesday (4th) in Naqoura that left a Hezbollah member dead.

Magen David Adom director-general Eli Bin told Channel 12 news that 11 people were wounded in the attack, including one in critical condition.  Three people were listed in moderate condition and the rest were lightly hurt, Bin added.

Galilee Medical Center in Nahariya said seven victims were brought to the medical center, three of them were moderately hurt and four others in good condition.  Another two lightly injured Israelis were brought to Ziv Hospital in Safed, the medical center said.

On Thursday morning (6th) it was announced that Sgt. Rafael Kauders, 39, fell fighting on Israel’s northern front, in the drone attack Wednesday (5th), the IDF announced.

He was seriously injured and transferred to the hospital for immediate medical treatment, where he succumbed to his wounds.  His family was notified.

Kauders, a reservist, was promoted to the rank of sergeant posthumously.   

Following the attack, the military announced that it had carried out a series of strikes against  Hezbollah targets in southern Lebanon throughout the day Wednesday (5th).

The terror group in recent months has increasingly been using explosive-laden drones, alongside  anti-tank guided missiles and barrages of rockets.

Since October 8th, Hezbollah-led forces have attacked Israeli communities and military posts along the border on a daily basis, with the group saying it is doing so to support Gaza amid the war there.

Israel has expressed openness to a diplomatic solution to the conflict, but has threatened to go to war against Hezbollah to restore security to the north of Israel, where tens of thousands of civilians are currently displaced.



Herzog: ‘World Should Not Be Surprised When Israel Retaliates Against Hezbollah’

Israeli President Isaac Herzog spoke at an official ceremony marking the 57th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem on Ammunition Hill Wednesday evening (5th).

During his address, Herzog spoke about the Hezbollah drone attack on a soccer field in the north earlier Wednesday evening (5th).  “I want to begin by speaking from here – the capital of Israel – about what is happening in the north, and the serious event that took place a while ago in Hurfeish, when a Hezbollah drone injured 11 people on a soccer field, some seriously.  From here I send a prayer for the swift and full recovery of those injured in this criminal attack.  I offer strength to the residents of the north and south, and to the soldiers who stand guard.  I say to them we are with you.  The whole country is by your side.”

“I turn from here to the international community and its leaders and stress – one cannot remain indifferent to this terrorism, from Lebanon or anywhere.  Israel has been attacked daily, for many months, by Iran’s proxies in Lebanon, in a flagrant violation of all international agreements and resolutions,” he said.

“We are prepared for very intense action in the north – we’re approaching the point where a decision needs to be made.”

“The world needs to wake up and realize that Israel has no choice but to protect its citizens and it should come as no surprise when it does so – strongly and evermore resolutely.  Do not be up in arms when the situation becomes out of control.”

“This is not the time to stand by and allow the situation in the region to escalate.  This terrorist aggression must be stopped,” Herzog said.



‘We Are Prepared For Very Strong Action,’ PM Says After Touring North; Gov’t To Extend IDF Call-Up Notices

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu toured the country’s northern border with Lebanon on Wednesday (5th) and said Israel was prepared for decisive action in the north.   Israeli towns near the border, many of which have been evacuated, have been a frequent target of rocket and drone launches from the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah.  The rockets set off massive wildfires this week, burning swaths of land across northern Israel.

“Whoever thinks that they can harm us, and we will sit idly by, is making a big mistake.  We are prepared for a very strong action in the north.  In one way or another,  we will restore security to the north,” Netanyahu said.  Meanwhile, the government was set to approve a measure that would allow the IDF to continue the emergency call-up of up to 350,000 reserve troops originally used to support the Gaza war effort.  It was unclear if this was meant as a message to Hezbollah.  The current cap for IDF call-ups, approved just after the October 7th massacre , stands at 300,000.  Thus there were some who were speculating whether this increase and extension of duration was more than just routine.

Iran-backed Hezbollah and Israel have been exchanging fire for the past eight months in parallel with the Gaza war, raising concerns that an even broader conflict could break out between the heavily armed adversaries.

The hostilities, which began in the wake of the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip following the Oct. 7 atrocities, have been their worst since they waged war in 2006, and tens of thousands of people on both sides of the border have been forced to flee their homes.

The rocket attacks have disrupted daily life in many Israeli towns and cities near the Lebanese border.  Sirens warning of incoming rockets have become a regular occurrence, forcing residents to seek safety in bomb shelters.  Schools and businesses have been forced to close intermittently, and the psychological toll on the population has been significant.



IDF Destroys Massive Rafah Tunnel, Finds Rocket Launchers In Gaza UN Post

The IDF destroyed a large tunnel in Rafah that reached the Philadelphi Corridor and destroyed ready-to-fire rocket launchers that were hidden in a UN post in Deir al-Balah, Gaza, the military announced on Wednesday (5th).

The combat teams of the 12th Brigade, the Givati Brigade, the 401st Brigade, the Yahalom Unit, and Unit 504 have been conducting precise, intelligence-based, targeted operations in the Rafah area for the past few weeks under the command of the 162nd Division, the IDF noted.

During operations, troops located several smaller tunnel shafts that led to a long tunnel route that reached as far as the Philadelphi Corridor.  The tunnel route was approximately two kilometers long and connected to several other routes in the area.

The extensive tunnel contained blast doors, which were storing weapons such as Ak-47s, anti-tank missiles, many intelligence assets, and explosives.

Additionally, the combat teams of the 7th Brigade and the Kfir Brigade began a divisional operation under the 98th Division over the past day in eastern Bureij and eastern Deir al-Balah simultaneously.

The troops operated against terrorist infrastructure above and below ground in the area and destroyed rocket launch areas.  The troops are gaining operational control of the area and killing terrorists from both the ground and the air.

Hours after the start of the operation, the 7th Brigade Combat Team located a ready-to-launch mortar shell launcher hidden under a post with a UN symbol on it near the border fence.



Sderot Mayor: ‘We Need To Control Gaza For Many Years To Come’

The city of Sderot situated near the Gaza border, has been targeted by Hamas for years on end. During the Oct. 7th massacre, terrorists invading the city managed to take over the Sderot police station, and Israeli forces had to demolish the building with engineering vehicles in order to eliminate them.  Sderot Mayor, Alon Davidi gave a special interview to the Israel National News Jerusalem Conference in New York City about how his city reacted to the war.

“ Without winning against Hamas nothing will change,” he predicted.  “This is not just for the residents of Sderot, the heroes of the south.  For all the bombing of Gaza, we still have been targeted by more than seventy rockets over the past month.  Still, residents say they could continue to suffer, if only the government would continue with the goals of the war – destroying Hamas and recovering the hostages.  I think though, that we need to change the situation in the south and north of Israel.”

“Hamas does not care for the people of Gaza, only for destroying Israel, and I think if we want to see a change, we will need to control Gaza for many years to come.”

Alon dismissed outright the reports of the US-backed ceasefire plan that would include Israel withdrawing from Gaza.  “We cannot sign this deal.  It would be crazy to allow it.”  

He shared some of his personal memories of the massacre, saying, “We were going around and collecting the bodies, and I realized that I knew these people, that they were my friends.  We were in shock.  None of us dreamed that it would happen.”

He gave special mention to the bravery of the Sderot Police, whose battle for their station saved the rest of the city: “Most of the terrorists went to try and conquer the police station.  The first battles against the terrorists were not held by the IDF, but by residents of Sderot and the south in general, civilian city coordinators, and the Israel Police in Sderot and the south.  Many officers were killed defending the station, but had the terrorists gone elsewhere, many hundreds of others would have been killed instead.”

Alon concluded by addressing the unique connection between the USA and Israel.  “This country loves the people of Israel, and the USA supports Israel.  The fact that the people here are pushing for the war to end is because they don’t understand – we can’t stop the war.  This isn’t a war for Israel, it’s a war for good against bad.”



IDF Establishes New Counterterrorism Unit In The Gaza Border Area

The ceremony for the establishment of the Gaza Envelope LOTAR (counterterrorism) Unit in the Gaza Division took place Monday (3rd), in the presence of the commanding officer of the Gaza Division. 

Also attending the ceremony were BG Avi Rosenfeld, the commanding officer of the Gaza Envelope LOTAR Unit, LTC. (res.) A., security officers, civilian security coordinators of the communities, and the soldiers of the division.

In accordance with the directive of the Chief of the General Staff and as part of the lessons learned from the initial investigations on the ground from the events of the 7th of October, it was decided to establish the unit whose purpose is to provide a quick and available response to terrorist incidents in the Gaza Envelope area.  The new unit is part of the “Mashiv Haruach” administrative work of the Border Protection Corps and the Chief Infantry and Paratroopers Officer Headquarters, whose purpose is to improve and rehabilitate the communities defense forces.

The Unit’s force will consist of reserve soldiers, veterans of elite units who live in the communities near the Gaza Strip or its surroundings and will be on standby for activation in the area.  The soldiers of the unit will undergo dedicated training and will eventually be trained as skilled soldiers to the area’s challenges.

So far, hundreds of soldiers who are in the selection process have applied for the first training session that will be held in the coming weeks.

LTC. (res.) A., who serves as commanding officer of the Gaza Envelope LOTAR Unit, said, “The formation of the unit in this period contains within it the essence of the story of the State of Israel – from destruction to revival.”

(A.) emphasized “the blow we received on October 7th, the regaining of our composure, the social cohesion, the transition to operating and working together, the beginning of rehabilitation and building the future so that it will be a better and safer place.”

“For this reason we have gathered here, in the heart of an area that has been damaged and suffered so much, where we lost our best people, and now we are bringing about the construction of a unit that will serve as a sectoral anchor and a magnet for all those who have the defense of the homeland and the desire to continue contributing to the country in front of their eyes.”