Day Seventeen Of Swords Of Iron
The New York Times admits it relied on Hamas version of events at Baptist Hospital in Gaza.
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant visits Israeli navy base, Ashdod.
Terrorists based in Iraq and backed by Iran claimed responsibility for attacks on US forces in southeastern Syria. The Islamic Resistance in Iraq said that their forces used two drones to attack the al-Tanf garrison near the Jordanian and Iraqi borders, a location the terrorists use to transport weapons to Hezbollah. US Central Command said it had destroyed two one-way attack drones. “In this moment of heightened alert, we are vigilantly monitoring the situation in the region and will take necessary and proportionate action to defend US and Coalition forces,” CENTCOM said in a statement. US Defense Department officials said today that there is a “much more significant escalation against US forces and personnel in the near term” in the Middle East.
Hundreds of the journalists from across the world gathered in Israel today to watch unreleased footage of the Hamas massacre on civilian Israelis. The footage was taken from bodycams worn by the terrorists, dashcams, emergency rescue personnel & Israeli security service cameras.
At a regular White House press conference, presidential spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre was asked: "What is [Biden's] level of concern right now about a potential rise of antisemitism?"
She answered: "Muslims and those perceived to be Muslim have endured a disproportionate number of hate-fueled attacks"
President Biden said any discussions about a Gaza ceasefire can only take place if Hamas frees all hostages seized from Israel in its October 7 attack. “We should have those hostages released and then we can talk,” Biden says at a White House event, when asked if he would support a “hostages-for-ceasefire” deal. The comment indicates that the US may not support Israel’s goal of eliminating Hamas, should the 220 people kidnapped by the group be released.
Jewish middle schoolers at Manhattan Beach Unified School District (Calif.) were reportedly attacked by other students after Hamas attacks on Israel. Some students allegedly said “revenge is beautiful” and “all Jews should be killed.” The school investigated and concluded that it wasn’t hate speech, the perpetrators received no punishment, and the school made the victims sign a gag order to not discuss the incident.
U.S. Intelligence officials have reportedly told CNN that they are preparing for a major escalation in attacks by pro-Iranian forces in the Middle East against U.S. Troops and Bases, with these officials stating that while there is so far no direct evidence of the Iranian government having ordered these attacks “All of the roads are pointing in a single direction.”
Federal officials are warning that members of Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and Hezbollah could be crossing through the southern border, according to an internal Oct. 20 memo exclusively obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation. The San Diego Field Office Intelligence Division of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) sent the memo warning that due to the war between Israel and Hamas, there could be encounters of terror-tied individuals who are seeking to travel to or from the Middle East via transit across the southern border. Hamas, PIJ and Hezbollah, all of which are U.S.-designated terrorist organizations, have been committing attacks on Israel in a war that began with a surprise attack on hundreds of civilians on Oct. 7.
President Biden abruptly left the lectern at the end of an event promoting his economic policy. He told listeners that he had been called to the Situation Room. There are reports that he was meeting with staff about the release of hostages. Earlier during the even, when he was asked about the possibility of hostages' release, Biden said, "We should have those hostages released and then we can talk.”
Reports from Israel suggested that the release of about 50 hostages held by Hamas could be imminent. The Tel Aviv news channel I24 reported “sources within Gaza” as saying “the finalization of a potential deal” brokered by Qatari was under way for the release of about 50 abductees who hold dual citizenship. Officials of Red Cross are believed to on their way to receive the group, I24 said, and the release could be concluded “in the hours ahead” if there are no obstacles.
The White House said Iran is behind attacks by proxy on US troops in the Middle East after a barrage of drone and missile attacks over the weekend. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the US was increasing its military capabilities in the Middle East and warned Iran or other nations seeking to use the conflict as an excuse to attack US interests: “Don’t do it”.
In Lebanon, about 20,000 people have been internally displaced in the south of the country and elsewhere this month, a UN agency said. This coincides with increased shooting across the border by the IDF and Hezbollah. The UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM) said 19,646 people had been displaced inside Lebanon since it began tracking movements on Oct. 8 October, the day after the assault on Israel by Hamas militants.
A U.S. Department of Homeland Security official in charge of determining asylum decisions has received administrative leave after revelations of her previous employment with the PLO and a huge collection of bigoted social-media postings. Nejwa Ali has worked at the Department of Homeland Security since July 2019.
The IAF struck hundreds of targets in Gaza, including tunnels where terrorists were hiding. Infantry and armor made raids on the ground to prepare for the expected wider ground offensive, according to the IDF. IDF spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said the military struck dozens of Hamas and Palestine Islamic Jihad operational command centers. There were also strikes on targets posing a threat, according to Hagari, in the areas surrounding Gaza, including dozens of mortar and anti-tank missile launch sites. He said the cross-border raids by armor and infantry against terrorists were for “preparing for our next stage,” while also seeking out information for hostages and the missing.
During a visit to IAF's Operations Command and Control Center on Oct. 22, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said, “In terms of the operational aspects of maneuvering—at the end of the day, nothing will stop the IDF. It is a combination of two things: Our aerial capabilities and ground maneuvering. This should be our last maneuvering operation in Gaza, for the simple reason that afterwards there will be no more Hamas.” Gallant added that “It may take a month, two or three, but at the end there will be no more Hamas. Prior to meeting our armed forces on the ground, the enemy [Hamas terrorists], will be faced with IAF strikes.”
On Oct. 22, one Israeli soldier was killed and three were injured in an anti-tank missile attack on a tank and engineering vehicle during a raid in the Kissufim area. The operation sought to dismantle terror infrastructure, clear the area of terrorists and weapons, and locate missing persons and bodies, according to the IDF. The fallen soldier has been identified as Cpl. Tamir Barak, 19, of the Armored Engineering Corps unit.
Since Hamas’s Oct. 7 assault, the IDF has recovered the bodies of over 1,000 terrorists, and has also captured a number of terrorists alive.
Hamas released two more hostages on Oct. 23, both women, including one dual Canadian-Israeli citizen, the International Committee of the Red Cross confirmed. “The ICRC facilitated the release of two more hostages by transporting them out of Gaza this evening,” the organization confirmed in a statement, adding: “We are glad that these persons will be soon reunited with their families and loved ones.” The Israeli government confirmed that the women were transferred to the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing. “This is not a deal, it’s an unilateral move we had no part in,” Israel’s Channel 12 reported, while citing Israeli political officials. The two women are: Nurit Yitzhak (Cooper), 80, and Canadian-Israeli Yocheved Lifshitz, 85, both from Kibbutz Nir Oz near the border with Gaza. Their respective husbands remain in Gaza
Israel has denied any involvement in negotiations for hostages' release. “Israel will not be a party to a ‘selection’ for holders of foreign passports for release,” a diplomatic source inside the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office was quoted as saying on Monday.
IDF spokesman Rear Adm. Hagari said today that the IDF confirmed that there are 222 persons still being held by Hamas. Last week, Hamas distributed a video of an Israeli holding a European passport. On video, she said, "I’m Mia Shem, 21 years old from Shoham. Currently, I’m in Gaza. I returned early Saturday morning from Sderot—I was at a party. I was seriously injured in my hand,” the woman says in the clip. She calls on Israel to “get me out of here as soon as possible.” Shem holds French citizenship and was among the women and girls kidnapped by Hamas at a music festival in the desert near Kibbutz Re’im, where Hamas gunmen murdered at least 260 festival-goers. Among 222 people hostages are 20 to 30 children and babies, as well as 10 to 20 people over sixty. There are eight or nine countries represented among the hostages.
Israeli Defense Minister Gallant visited a naval base on n Ashdod, where he conducted a situation assessment and toured the shores of Israel’s southern border with Gaza. He commened the troops for killing dozens of terrorists on Oct. 7, and confirmed that Israel's navy will play a role in the war. “I have just patrolled our coast together with the men and women of the Israeli Navy. These are the people who fought the attack conducted by Hamas two weeks ago. They struck the terrorists and their boats, and then participated in the combat taking place on land,” said Gallant. “My message to the soldiers—well done, you did an excellent job. Keep preparing for our operation, it will come soon. We are preparing thoroughly for the next step—a multilateral operation in the air, ground, and sea. Do your work, get ready. We will need you,” added the minister.
In her speech at Humboldt University, European Parliament President Roberta Metsola remarked that ""Europe stands against hate. We stand against terrorism. It is absolutely condemnable. Hamas must be stopped. Full stop."
According to an Israeli military source, Hamas may soon release approximately 50 dual-nationality prisoners. Among them are US citizens. Hamas also warned that an Israeli ground invasion would decrease the likelihood of the hostages being set free.
Hamas claimed that 5,087+ Palestinians have been killed in Israeli strikes since Oct. 7. It claimed that the dead included 2,055 children. It said 15,273 people had been wounded. It said most of the fatalities had occurred in the southern Gaza Strip, to where Israel’s military has ordered Palestinians to evacuate. The claims have not been independently verified.
The IDF said troops conducted limited raids into the Gaza Strip overnight to fight Palestinians terrorists, while air raids were focused on Hamas military assembly sites. IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari said: “During the night there were raids by tank and infantry forces. These raids are raids that kill squads of terrorists who are preparing for our next stage in the war. These are raids that go deep.” Hagari also said the number of Israeli hostages has risen to 222. Many are foreign nationals, whose families have been contacted by Israel. He said: “We are working in all ways to free the hostages and bring them home,” adding that the raids inside Gaza had sought to gather information on them.
According to The Guardian, the Biden administration wants Israel to delay its ground invasion of Gaza and buy time to negotiate release of hostages held by Hamas and allow more aid in to Palestinian civilians.
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, joining the US, UK, France, Germany, Canada, and Italy to call on Israel to adhere to international law and protect civilians, but reiterated Israel’s right to defend itself against terrorism. In a statement following a conference call, the leaders’ offices said: “The leaders reiterated their support for Israel and its right to defend itself against terrorism and called for adherence to international humanitarian law, including the protection of civilians.”
Israeli PM Netanyahu thanked Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis for Greek support as the latter visited Tel Aviv. Netanyahu said: “It’s a battle against civilization. It’s civilization against barbarism. We’re on the side of civilization. We have to unite, all together, against Hamas, which is ISIS [Daesh].”
Palestinian PM Mohammad Shtayyeh said the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip are exposed to “the Israeli murder and criminal machine”.
Turkey sent two cargo planes to Egypt on Oct. 23 bearing medical equipment and supplies for Gaza, according to health minister Fahrettin Koca said. He said two more aircraft would be sent with more supplies.
Islam al-Ashqar, a 33-y.o. Dutch national, was killed by an explosion while visiting relatives at the Nusairat refugee camp in central Gaza. According to the foreign ministry of The Netherlands, she was one of 22 Dutch nationals it was trying to help leave, the broadcaster NOS said.
Israel is stepping up its attacks on on north Gaza, and warned that anyone who stayed risked being considered a terrorist sympathizer, as airstrikes continued on Oct. 22 Sunday in the south, where civilians had fled hoping to survive the war, according to The Guardian. Hamas claimed that 11 people were killed in an Israeli strike in the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis, and that Israel was bombing the southern city of Rafah. Israel also struck the West Bank, hitting a compound beneath a mosque early on Sunday that the Israeli military claimed was being used by Hamas.
Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich said his plan for Israel's war economy is a rapid response geared at maintaining keeping the economy going. “The goal is continuity of the Israeli economy. We want the economy to function as much as possible, even during the war,” Smotrich told the media. Regarding charges that 14.7 billion shekels were allocated to political interests, he said: “All of the priorities in the budget are changing in light of the wa.”
A drone infiltration alert wailed in Nir Oz and Ein HaBesor, close to the border with the Gaza Strip. The Hamas terrorists organization claimed to have launched two drones from the Gaza Strip at Israeli military positions in southern Israel. There have been numerous rocket attacks from Gazo on Israel. No deaths or damage were reported.
Early today, Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper reported that three unnamed members of Netanyahu’s cabinet are considering resigning, in response to the government and security establishment’s failure to prevent October 7 and handling of the assault’s aftermath.
The Bnei Brak school in Israel held an event to celebrate the 9th birthday of Ohad Zichri, an Israeli boy who is held hostage by Hamas. Ohad is among the approximately 30 children and babies held by terrorists in Gaza. His mother, Keren teaches at the school. She and the boy’s grandparents, Avraham and Ruti, were also abducted and taken to Gaza from Kibbutz Nir Oz during the Hamas invasion of October 7. “This is a virtual party for a child who is held hostage. He is not just any child, he is our child,” said principal Rachel Stein. Ohad’s father Avi said, "I just want a clue as to where they are,” Avi tells Channel 12 news. “He wears glasses. Maybe he doesn’t have them anymore.” “How are they doing? These are the thoughts going through my head,” he said. Those wishing to send birthday greetings to Ohad can contact KIDnappedBday@washington.mfa.gov.il or can sign the e-card at https://recocards.com/greeting-card/happy-birthday-ohad-66353956788
Defense Minister Gallant held a security assessment at the Kirya in Tel Aviv, with IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, Shin Bet head Ronen Bar, Mossad director David Barnea, director general of the Defense Ministry Maj. Gen. (res.) Eyal Zamir, and Maj. Gen. (res.) Nitzan Alon, who is commanding intelligence efforts to find the hostages held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip, along with other military and defense officials
A third aid convoy of trucks entered Gaza via the Rafah border crossing, according to AFP, Egyptian and Palestinian sources. More than 12 truck crossed into Gaza, which are beside the previous total of 34 trucks that entered Gaza on the weekend, according to an Egyptian Red Cross official, says The Guardian. The UN claims at least 100 trucks a day are needed to provide the basic needs of Gaza’s 2.4 million inhabitants.
According to The Guardian, an Israeli defense source said Israel will allow food, water, and medical supplies — but not fuel — to enter southern Gaza from Egypt, for Palestinian civilians of the area and those who have evacuated there, as long as the supplies do not reach the Hamas terror group.
The New York Times confesses its coverage of Gaza news relied too much on Hamas claims. The so-called newspaper of record repeatedly blamed an explosion at the Baptist Hospital of Gaza on an Israeli airstrike, a claim that was vigorously denied by Israel and the US. Hamas health ministry in Gaza blamed the blast on Israel. However, evidence emerged subsequently that the explosion was caused by a failed rocket launch from Gaza aimed at Israel by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group. That assessment was endorsed by the United States, which has said it has its own data to this effect.
NYT updated its coverage, but admitted "editors should have taken more care with the initial presentation, and been more explicit about what information could be verified.” NYT editors noted that early reports “relied too heavily on claims by Hamas, and did not make clear that those claims could not immediately be verified. The report left readers with an incorrect impression about what was known and how credible the account was.”
On Oct. 23, NYT said Hamas has not provided nor described evidence to back up its accusation that the explosion was caused by an Israeli strike. Associated Press and CNN both concluded the explosion was caused by a Hamas misfire. The IDF has distributed an intercepted conversation between Hamas officials saying the explosion was caused by a Palestinian Islamic Jihad projectile that fell short inside Gaza. Israel also provided images showing that the parking lot where the blast occurred didn’t have a crater in the ground and nearby buildings showed no structural damage. The US concluded that 100-300 people were killed at the Baptist (a.k.a. Al-Ahli) Hospital, while a European official put the toll at 50 or less. According to Hamas, 500 died -- a figure that was broadcast worldwide despite the fact that the terror group’s figure could not be independently verified.
A tent city is being erected at Kfar HaMaccabiah in Ramat Gan, Israel, for Israelis evacuated from northern and southern Israel. Approximately 1,000 will be temporarily housed there. Families from southern Israel are already there, and families from the north will arrive on Oct. 26. The camp has an air raid shelter. So far, at least 200,000 Israelis have been displaced from their homes because of the war. Approximately 100,000 were order to evacuate from 105 near the Gaza and Lebanon borders, while half left areas close to the front of their own, according to the Israeli government.
The southern city of Eilat is preparing a tent city to house tens of thousands of Israelis who have left their homes in the north and south of the country since the outbreak of the war. “Eilat has doubled in size. More than 60,000 evacuees have arrived,” Eilat Mayor Eli Lankri tells Channel 12. “Since the beginning of the war, they have been staying in our 12,000 hotel rooms, in special hospitality centers that we opened, in hostels, and in almost 4,000 Airbnb rooms in the city,” he said, according to The Guardian. "The hotels are fully booked and we are preparing for the next step, to cater for the tens of thousands more who will apparently make their way to Eilat,” he said. “We are looking at all kinds of options, including the establishment of a tent city. We are ready with the plans we prepared last week and will present them to the decision makers,” he said.
According to the IDF, 37 Hamas members were arrested. The IDF and Palestinian residents of the West Bank have clashed frequently since Oct. 7. According to the Palestinian Authority health ministry, at least 97 West Bank Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces and, in some cases, settlers since October 7.
IDF intercepted ‘suspicious target’ that entered Israeli airspace from Lebanon, thanks to Iron Dome defense system. It may have been a drone.
Israel published aerial photos of what the IDF says are Hamas rocket launching sites located on Palestinian school grounds.
October 23, 2023