Day Twenty Of Swords Of Iron

Israeli armor and infantry made a tentative incursion into Gaza.

Merkava IV tank firing, Wikimedia

3:48 pm

Saudi newspaper Okaz warned Hezbollah against dragging Lebanon into “adventures” that will endanger the entire country and its resources. The paper editorialized that Hezbollah controls “political, military and economic decision-making” in Lebanon and its resources to the detriment of the Lebanese people. “Hezbollah imposes by armed force its control over the sea, air and land,” the article continues, “and has caused international sanctions to be imposed on Lebanon, and hostility with Arab countries, especially in the Gulf, which has led to a halt in the flow of capital and tourists.” 

Hezbollah is also blamed for Lebanon's economic crisis and collapse of the local currency, which has eroded the savings of its citizens. “In the July 2006 war, Hezbollah entered recklessly into a confrontation with Israel, resulting in a brutal war for which the Lebanese people bore the brunt, as well as the Arab countries that paid for the reconstruction,” the editorial says. “Today, if Hezbollah drags Lebanon into a new war with Israel, it will end up being a new disastrous adventure that Lebanon does not need at all at this critical stage in its history.”

In a joint statement to the UN Security Council, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Egypt and Morocco blasted Israel for civilian deaths in Gaza, saying “self-defense does not justify violations of international law, and deliberate disregard for the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.” They also condemned the displacement of Palestinians, and accuse Israel of implementing “collective punishment” against the Palestinians.

European Council President Lagarde said the European Central Bank is “very attentive” to economic risks posed by the conflict between Israel and Hamas. She said: "We are monitoring the situation, we are very attentive to the economic consequences that that could have, whether in terms of direct or indirect impact on energy prices, or the level of confidence that economic actors will continue to display.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is reportedly delaying the push by Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi to shut down Al Jazeera’s operations in Israel. According to a Ynet report, Netanyahu has yet to bring the move for approval in the security cabinet. Ynet suggested the delay is linked to the role of Qatar in diplomatic efforts to free the at least 224 hostages being held in Gaza. Al Jazeera is a state-funded Qatari outlet. 

Communications Minister Karhi  had sought Al Jazeera's ban, while Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara demanded that the move be temporary in nature and require approval of the defense minister and the war cabinet as well as immediate judicial review.

Indian nationals sentenced to death in Qatar

A court in Qatar sentened eight Indians to death on spy charges. According to Indian media reports, they were arrested on suspicion of spying for Israel on Qatar’s military submarine program. The Indian government vows in response to explore “all legal options.”

Pentagon spokesman Pat Ryder says that approximately 900 US troops are either in or on their way to the Middle East — but not Israel — as part of “efforts to deter a broader conflict and further bolster us force protection capabilities.” The US will also transfer two Iron Dome batteries to Israel. 

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the US will respond at a “time of our choosing and a manner of our choosing” to attacks on US troops in the Middle East carried out by Iranian-backed terrorists. This came a day after President Biden said Iran Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had been directly warned that the US would respond if Iran or its proxies continued to attack US troops

Air raid sirens wailed throughout central Israel, including in Tel Aviv, Bnei Brak, Petah Tikva, Lod, Rishon Lezion, Holon, Rehovot and many other cities.

The United States and Qatar have agreed to reevaluate the Gulf monarchy’s relationship with Hamas once Qatar completes its role in freeing hostages taken by the terror group, according to the Washington Post. The Washington Post cited diplomatic sources and claimed that Qatar may deport Hamas’s leaders living in Qatar, or other measures.

Secretary of State Blinken and Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani apparently came to an agreement so as to achieve the short-term objective of freeing as many hostages as possible and the long-term strategy of choking Hamas.

3:37 pm

Christians in 100 U.S. cities are delivering white roses to their local Jewish communities today in solidarity with the victims of Hamas terrorism and the increase of antisemitism around the world. “At this moment, it is imperative that Christians physically show up to support Israel and the Jewish community,” said Luke Moon, deputy director of the Philos Project, which backed the initiative. 

Florida's Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis said he will send weapons, ammunition, and drones to Israel as the country prepares for invading Gaza. DeSantis has already sent cargo planes with healthcare supplies, drones, body armor, and helmets. 

Israeli authorities said that 808 civilian victims of Hamas’s Oct. 7 assault on southern Israel have been identified. This is approximately 84 percent of civilians believed killed during the attacks. Forensic teams have encountered difficulties in identifying scores of additional bodies that were burned or mutilated.

IDF fighter jets struck over 250 Hamas sites in Gaza over the past day, including infrastructure, command centers, tunnels, and rocket launchers.

2:59 pm

Cyprus President Nikos Christodoulides said his country may act as a staging ground for humanitarian aid to Gaza. He told the media in Brussels that he proposed this to EU leaders, as well as a “humanitarian aid corridor” linking Cyprus’ main port to Gaza. He said he has discussed the proposal with Israeli PM Netanyahu and Egyptian President El-Sissi. According to the Cypriot leader's office, the EU showed interest.

IDF spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari reiterated that no fuel is being allowed into Gaza, despite reports that the Israeli government is brokering a deal to exchange hostages for fuel. “At this point, the instruction of the political echelon is that no fuel is entering, if there is a change we will update the public,” said/ Hagari. He confirmed that Hamas's ability to operate largely “relies on fuel,” but said Hamas is stealing and stockpiling fuel. 

Hagari said the IDF will continue limited ground raids into Gaza. Overnight infantry and armor operated for hours within Gaza, attacking Hamas terrorists and outposts. Hagari says raids will be carried out “tonight as well, and it will continue all the more forcefully in the coming days.” He added that Israel is still carrying out “massive strikes” in Gaza, “from the air and sea,” focusing on killing senior Hamas members and those who participated in the October 7 massacres.

Iran/Qatar/Turkey solidarity

Iran’s foreign minister Hossein amir-Abdollahian said Hamas is ready to release hostages abducted from Israel, and that the Islamic Republic can play a role. He told  an emergency meeting of the UN General Assembly that Iran “stands ready to play its part in this very important humanitarian endeavor, along with Qatar and Turkey.” He also warned against the "uncontrollable consequences of the unlimited financial, arms and operational support by the White House to the Tel Aviv regime.”

He added, “I say frankly to the American statesman, who are now managing the genocide in Palestine, that we do not welcome to expansion of the war in the region,” and “But I warn, if the genocide in Gaza continues, they will not be spared from this fire,” Amir-Abdollahian says. “It is our home and west Asia is our region. We do not compromise with any party and any side, and we have no reservation when it comes to our home security.”

Not Bebe's fault

Israeli PM Netanahu's office director, Yossi Shelley, allegedly said  that many people are to blame for the failures that led to the October 7 Hamas massacre — but not Netanyahu. “The IDF chief of staff, the leaders of the [anti-overhaul] protest movement, former security chiefs, all those who were against us, they’re the ones who are guilty,” Shelley reportedly said, in comments carried by Channel 12 news. “Blame the leadership of the IDF — not Netanyahu.”

Israel's Foreign Ministry slammed Russia for hosting Hamas leaders: “Hamas is a terrorist organization worse than ISIS,” tweeted ministry spokesman Lior Haiat. “The hands of senior Hamas officials are stained with the blood of over 1,400 Israelis who were slaughtered, murdered, executed and burned and they are responsible for the kidnapping of over 220 Israelis including babies, children, women and the elderly.” The Russian Foreign Ministry said it discussed the release of hostages, and the evacuation of Russians and other citizens, with Hamas representatives visiting Moscow. Hamas politburo member Abu Marzouk was among the Hamas members in the Russian capital. Russia “reaffirmed its unwavering position in favor of implementing the well-known decisions of the international community,” including a two-state solution.

“Israel sees the invitation of senior Hamas officials to Moscow as an obscene step that gives support to terrorism and legitimizes the atrocities of Hamas terrorists,” he wrote, adding that Israel calls on Moscow to immediately expel the Hamas leaders.

Spanish PM Sánchez called for an international peace conference on the Middle East conflict to take place within six months with the aim of resolving the Israel-Hamas war. “From Spain, we propose that an International Peace Conference be held within six months so that the entire international community feels involved, is involved and we can definitively find a two-state solution to Israel and Palestine,” he said in Brussels. He also called for a humanitarian cease-fire in order to get aid into Gaza and for Hamas to release its at least 224 hostages.

The IDF killed three senior commanders in Hamas’s Daraj-Tuffah Battalion in an airstrike in Gaza today. The dead are battalion commander, Rifaat Abbas, deputy commander Ibrahim Jadba, and combat support commander Tarek Maarouf. According to the IDF, the Daraj-Tuffah Battalion is part of Hamas’s Gaza City Brigade, which is “considered the most significant brigade of the Hamas terrorist organization.” The IDF said, “The battalion’s operatives played a significant role in the invasion and murderous attack against Israel on October 7th.”

A war to be won

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant vowed an Israeli victory over Hamas and a “supreme effort” to return the more than 200 hostages held by the terror group. “We are in decisive moments. This is a war for our home and we will win it. It’s either us or them,” he says in a televised address. “On October 7, Hamas began a war,” he continued, “a war against the citizens of Israel, against little children, against women, against Holocaust survivors. It’s a war against civilian communities. It’s a war of murder, rape, kidnapping, looting. It’s a war intended to deter us and destroy the will of Israeli citizens to live here.” “We will win this war,” he declares. “I know this because I saw on October 7 and October 8, IDF soldiers and civilians fighting — civilians protecting their children at all cost, soldiers storming toward the gunfire.” “I saw soldiers fall in battle and division commanders lead the fighting,” Gallant says. Together “they halted the enemy’s progress deeper into Israel and prevented them from harming more citizens.” “And within 24 hours, we went on the offensive,” he says. “Israel’s campaign against Hamas in Gaza is being carried out by air, land and sea… hitting bunkers, tunnels and outposts.”

“The war is precise, lethal and powerful. It is our duty to win this war. That’s the unwritten contract between the security establishment and the citizens… It is my duty as the defense minister to lead so that we win the battle, and the citizens can live here in peace and quiet,” he continues.

The next seventy-five years

Gallant said the planned ground offensive will occur soon. “Additional stages in the war will also come, we are creating the conditions for them and we will carry them out. I am determined… to ensure the State of Israel is victorious over this tough and evil enemy — over this epitome of evil.”

Gallant said “another thing happened in this campaign that we have never seen before. We have over 200 prisoners and missing people, and we lost about 1,400 soldiers and civilians in the battle,” he said.

“As a father, grandfather and son of Holocaust survivors, I understand and am deeply saddened by the very heavy price of those who fell in battle. I am determined to make every effort to return the hostages to their families, this is my supreme obligation, along with the effort for absolute victory in the war,” he said.

“Nothing like has happened in Israel’s 75 years of existence,” he continued. “What will happen in the next 75 years depends largely on the achievements in this battle.”

Gallant says the ground operation “is close at hand” and “will begin when the conditions are ripe. The forces are ready.” He says Israel is also “ready for any eventuality” in the north. Israel is “not interested in widening the war, but will deal with it if necessary.” 

2:42 pm

The Times of Israel reported: "The brutal Hamas massacre on October 7 was preceded by months of warning signs noted by IDF surveillance soldiers and disregarded as unimportant by intelligence officials, according to eyewitness accounts given in recent days.

"At least three months prior to the attack, surveillance soldiers serving on a base in Nahal Oz reported signs that something unusual was underway at the already-tumultuous Gaza border, situated a kilometer from them.

"The activity reported by the soldiers included information on Hamas operatives conducting training sessions multiple times a day, digging holes and placing explosives along the border. According to the accounts of the soldiers, no action was taken by those who received the reports."

12:44 pm

Ghazi Hamad, a member of the Hamas politburo, told The Associated Press that Hamas had expected greater intervention on the part of Hezbollah.  “Hezbollah now is working against the occupation,” Hamad says at the Hamas office in Beirut. “We appreciate this. But… we need more in order to stop the aggression on Gaza… we expect more.”

Israeli President Herzog met family members of Bedouin Muslims abducted by Hamas in Gaza. Speaking in the southern town of Rahat, he said,  “We came to say that we share deeply in the grief of the entire Israeli Arab population, and the Bedouin society in particular.” He said, “This is not a war between Jews and Muslims. This is a war between the people who seek to bring light and the people who seek to bring darkness.” He added, it is “important for me to tell the entire Arab society in Israel how much I appreciate the responsibility shown across this community in these difficult days. But we must remember, this is not a political struggle. It is about our ability to live here in a Middle East of peace versus a Middle East of bloodshed and war.”

The IDF said it struck a Hezbollah cell in southern Lebanon with a drone. The terrorists were preparing to carry out an anti-tank guided missile attack against an army post on the northern border. Recently, the IDF has increased its strikes on Hezbollah cells planning to carry out missile and rocket attacks on northern Israel. Hezbollah has named 46 of its members killed so far since the beginning of the war. 

The White House denounced the “grotesque” and “antisemitic” actions of students protesting against Israel on American college campuses since the outbreak of the Gaza war. “Amidst the rise in poisonous, antisemitic rhetoric and hate crimes that President Biden has fought against for years, there is an extremely disturbing pattern of antisemitic messages being conveyed on college campuses,” White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates told The Times of Israel. “Just over the past week, we’ve seen protests and statements on college campuses that call for the annihilation of the State of Israel; for genocide against the Jewish people. Jewish students have even had to barricade themselves inside buildings,” he said. 

Muslims should feel safe, too

Biden officials stressed the importance of allowing peaceful protests while also stressing the importance of Arab, Jewish, and Muslim Americans feeling safe.

On the evening of Oct. 24, messages including “Glory To Our Martyrs,” “Divestment From Zionist Genocide Now,” and “Free Palestine From The River To The Sea” were projected onto the exterior of a campus building at George Washington University in Washington DC. At Cooper Union College in New York overnight, Jewish students were locked in the college library for 20 minutes as pro-Palestinian demonstrators pounded on the doors and shouted anti-Israel slogans.

Bates says “these grotesque sentiments and actions shock the conscience and turn the stomach. They also recall our commitment that can’t be forgotten: ‘never again.’” “Delegitimizing the State of Israel while praising the Hamas terrorist murderers who burned innocent people alive, or targeting Jewish students, is the definition of unacceptable – and the definition of antisemitism. President Biden is proud to have been an enemy of antisemitism and hate his entire life, and he always will be,” Bates adds.

The IDF announced its forces killed the deputy head of Hamas’s intelligence directorate, Shadi Barud, in a strike in Gaza. Barud is believed to have planned the October 7 attacks in southern Israel with Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar. Barud is a former battalion commander in the Khan Younis area and held other roles in Hamas's intelligence directorate, and “was responsible for planning numerous terror attacks against Israeli civilians,” the IDF adds.

The Israeli Defense Ministry says it has transferred a sum of 70 million shekels to the four local councils in the Gaza border area as well as the city of Sderot to fund the evacuation of their residents. The funds are also intended to “provide a flow of assistance” to the local councils.

The Hamas made an unverified claim that “almost 50” Israeli hostages held in Gaza  have been killed by Israeli airstrikes. Hamas frequently fabricates such statements and is also engaged in psychological warfare against the families of the hostages as well as the general population.

Rocket sirens ring out across cities in central Israel, including Tel Aviv, Rishon Lezion, Bat Yam, Givatayim, Ramat Gan, Holon and others, following a heavy barrage of rockets from Gaza.

Condemnation of Sec-General Guterres

President Isaac Herzog condemns the widely panned remarks by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at the Security Council meeting on Oct 24, where he said Hamas’s murderous October 7 onslaught “didn’t occur in a vacuum” and was brought on by decades of Israeli military rule, "occupation", and other policies in the West Bank and Gaza.

Herzog told French television channel BFMTV on Oct. 25: “I heard the comments of the secretary-general of the United Nations Guterres,” he said. “In a way, he alluded as if the source of all this evil has to do with the [Israeli-Palestinian] conflict. I absolutely reject his words, because there was a sort of implication or even consent for atrocities, for terror. The problem with the conflict is terror. The most inherent problem that derails the peace process between the Israelis and the Palestinians has to do with terror.” Herzog said Israel continues to observe international law, including when it told civilians to leave northern Gaza. He accuses Hamas of preventing civilians from leaving.

Hamas representatives are in Moscow, according to Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova. “I can also say and confirm that representatives of the relevant Palestinian movement are on a visit to Moscow,” Zakharova told the Russian RIA Novosti outlet. RIA Novosti earlier reported that Hamas politburo member Moussa Abu Marzuk was leading the delegation, while Zakharova says that Iranian deputy foreign minister Ali Bagheri Kani is in Moscow as well.

Hamas terrorists abducted to dual Israeli/Hungarian nationals, ages 8 and 15, from the home of their father in a kibbutz near the border with Gaza during Hamas’s deadly Oct. 7 rampage. The mother has been contacted by Israeli authorities. 

9:21 am

On Oct. 24, the foreign affairs committee of the Israeli Knesset sent a letter to UN Secretary-General Guterres deploring his remarks about Hamas terrorism. 


8:09 am

An IDF airstrike killed the head of Hamas’s Khan Younis rocket array, Hassan al-Abdullah. The strike came after Shin Bet and military intelligence operatives gathered information on al-Abdullah’s whereabouts. The IAF jets also killed other Hamas terrorists and destroyed several Hamas sites.

Israeli Justice Minister Yariv Levin and Interior Minister Moshe Arbel met today with legal and judicial officials to discuss stripping citizenship and residency from people who “deal in terror, support terror, incite terror, or identify with a terror activity,” according to a joint statement. “Given the current situation, it was agreed to immediately advance legislation that would view carrying out the above activities at a time of war as sufficient grounds to rescind citizenship or residency,” the statement read/

In the central Israeli town of Petah Tikvah, a building was damaged by a Hamas rocket attack. A fire brigade arrived there to control a resulting fire. Rescue teams are seeking any dead or wounded or trapped. 

Hamas claims that more than 7000 Gazans have been killed so far since Oct. 7. The figures have not been independently verified, and may included Hamas terrorists killed in Israel and Gaza, and the alleged victims of a blast caused by a missile misfired from Gaza that struck the Baptist Hospital in Gaza. Israel killed 1,500 Hamas terrorists inside Israel on and after October 7.

Warning sirens are heard in Tel Aviv, Holon, Rishon Lezion and surrounding communities, following a barrage of rockets from Gaza. Residents report explosions, apparently from Iron Dome interceptors. According to Magen David Adom rescue service says there are no immediate reports of injuries

7:02 am

Benny Gantz, a former general from PM Netanyahu's opposition who joined the emergency war cabinet, said, “The battle against Gazan terror will continue within the strip’s territory - going deep, anywhere and at any time required to ensure security for the communities that will be restored and will rebuild the region.” Gantz said, “The (ground) manoeuvre will be but one stage of a long process that will include defensive, diplomatic and social aspects that will take years.”

Palestinian Red Crescent Society said that 12 trucks from the Egyptian Red Crescent have entered Gaza through the Rafah crossing point from Egypt, bearing food, water, and medical supplies. Since the weekend, 74 trucks have been received. So far, no fuel has been allowed to cross. The IDF has shared aerial views of significant fuel stores held by Hamas despite the ban. Israel is concerned about the possible diversion of fuel deliveries by Hamas, a concern validated by the White House. 

An Al Jazeera correspondent is mourning the loss of his entire immediate family after they were killed in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza, the Qatar-based network said in a statement. Wael al-Dahdouh, Al Jazeera’s bureau chief in Gaza, had fled with his family to the Nuseirat camp in central Gaza after Israel warned those in the northern half of the territory to leave immediately. “The Israeli army said this area is safe so my family came to this house,” al-Dahdouh told reporters. “But death followed them … the airstrikes followed them.”

There are reports that Hamas has sought to prevent Gazans from fleeing south, as requested by Israel. 

Palestinian foreign minister Riyad al-Maliki said Israel must agree to a ceasefire that would permit humanitarian aid to enter Gaza. His remarks come as EU leaders ready a call for “humanitarian corridors and pauses” of the shelling in Gaza to allow food, water and medical supplies to reach Palestinians. In The Hague, al-Maliki described the EU proposal as unacceptable, saying it would not ensure aid could come in and water and electricity supplies be reinstated.


Israeli troops and armor attacked Hamas targets in a brief ground raid in the Gaza Strip, according to the IDF, which said the operation was “preparation for the next stages of combat” and that “the soldiers have since exited the area and returned to Israeli territory”. Radio reports indicated the raid as a “relatively large” ground incursion.

UK government ministers are holding an emergency committee meeting to secure “pauses” in the conflict between Israel and Hamas after a tank raid of Gaza. Deputy PM Oliver Dowden is chairing a Cobra conference with representatives of the Foreign Office, Ministry of Defence, and Cabinet Office today. He said there was “some success” in delivering food, water, and medicines to civilians in Gaza, but that international negotiations were continuing to try to reach those still in need. A UK air force plane landed in Egypt on Oct. 25, delivering aid. The UK wants pauses in fighting which would allow aid agencies to deliver water filters, medical kits, and other non-lethal aid. However, the UK has resisted calls for a total ceasefire. “The reason why we don’t support a wider ceasefire is one just has to understand the position of people in Israel,” Dowden told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. “If it had been the case in the UK that a group of terrorists had entered and indiscriminately sought to murder over 1,000 people, there would be demands that we remove this threat."

The EU is about to call for “humanitarian corridors and pauses” of Israeli shelling in Gaza to allow food, water and medical supplies to reach Palestinians. An official declaration will be issued after a summit of leaders of the bloc’s 27 members in Brussels today. 

The UN said that it expects its fuel supply in Gaza to run out today. The agency has been sharing its supplies in order to allow trucks to distribute aid, and for the operation of hospitals, bakeries and water desalination. 

According to the IDF, there are 224 hostages being held by the Hamas terrorists since the Oct. 7 cross-border raid. Four hostages have been released so far. Babies, young children, women, and elderly are among those abducted by Hamas.

The World Health Organization has supplies on standby across the border from Gaza in Egypt. The supplies could provide surgical interventions for 3,700 trauma patients, basic and essential health services for 110,000 people and medical equipment for 20,000 patients suffering from chronic diseases. “Without fuel, medicines, and health supplies, Gaza’s hospitals are on the precipice of an unimaginable humanitarian catastrophe,” the agency wrote on social media. “WHO calls for immediate and uninterrupted access into and across Gaza, so that its ailing health system can be urgently revived.” WHO called for an immediate ceasefire.

60+ trucks carrying aid have been allowed by Israel to enter from Egypt, according to the Associated Press. Aid workers say this is insufficient and accounts for a tiny fraction of what was being brought in before the war, the news agency notes.

5:27 am

Israeli troops and armored vehicles attacked Hamas targets in a brief ground raid in the Gaza Strip, according to the IDF. The military said the operation was “preparation for the next stages of combat” and that “the soldiers have since exited the area and returned to Israeli territory”. Local radio reported the raid as a “relatively large” ground incursion, suggesting it was the biggest since Israel started massing forces outside Gaza before an anticipated invasion.


October 25, 2023

Topic tags:
Swords of Iron Israel Gaza Hamas terrorism