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Military And Security Developments
15 Oct. 23
- The IDF struck at least 100 targets in the Gaza Strip overnight on 14-15 October. The principal targets were Hamas and PIJ sites. These included underground tunnels and missile launch pads located within civilian installations. According to Gaza’s health ministry, more than 2,300 Palestinians have been killed since the start of the conflict and approximately 9,700 have been injured. Israel’s health ministry assesses that 1,400 Israelis have been killed and over 3,000 have been injured.
- There was a further intensification of tit-for-tat clashes and attacks between the IDF and Hizballah and/or Hizballah-affiliated forces based in Lebanon and Syria over the past 24 hours. In response, the IDF announced that it will isolate an area up to 2.5 miles (4km) from Israel’s border with Lebanon, prohibiting public access. It will also perform GPS jamming, which will disrupt apps and GPS navigation systems in this area. Additionally, on 14 September, the IDF conducted a second airstrike on Aleppo International Airport (APL), putting it out of service.
The IDF will continue amassing troops and military equipment on the northern Gaza border in preparation for a combined ground, air and sea offensive. While the offensive will likely begin without warning, there is a realistic possibility it will begin within the next 48 hours. Since the first evacuation order was announced, tens of thousands of Palestinians have left northern Gaza, despite Hamas’ efforts to disrupt civilian evacuation. Evacuation operations will continue, increasing strain on humanitarian resources in southern Gaza as the ongoing blockade continues to drive food, energy and water security, despite a resumption of water supplies to Gaza on 15 October.
The extended IDF deadline for guaranteed safety along the main evacuation route from northern Gaza expired at 1300hrs (local time). There is a realistic possibility that the IDF will announce additional, albeit increasingly brief extensions. Regardless, the risk is increasing that the IDF will escalate its air campaign to lay the conditions for its ground offensive, underlining the urgent need for evacuation. Ongoing airstrikes will exacerbate severe security risks for all personnel operating in the area, damaging urban terrain and complicating egress efforts.
We continue to assess that a major escalation in fighting between the IDF and Hizballah remains unlikely in the coming 24 hours. However, the IDF’s deployment of helicopters to attack Hizballah positions inside Lebanon has slightly increased the risk of miscalculation. Small-scale ground and drone incursions by Hizballah forces, as well as tit-for-tat mortar fire, will almost certainly continue, sustaining security risks in southern Lebanon and northern Israel. The IDF exclusion zone surrounding the border will likely mitigate risks to nearby civilians. Clashes between the IDF and Hizballah-aligned forces in Syria will also likely continue over the coming days, sustaining elevated security risks in south-east Syria and northern Israel, particularly the Golan Heights.
The Egyptian authorities have begun fortifying the Rafah border crossing and surrounding areas, likely due to concerns over an influx of civilians as well as Hamas operatives if they open it. The authorities will likely continue to block foreign nationals (and Palestinians) from entering Egypt until humanitarian aid is allowed through the crossing. We continue to assess that, if the crossing is opened, large numbers of people will likely seek to cross, increasing the risk of bottlenecks an tensions with the Egyptian security forces. The UK and US authorities have advised their citizens to be ready to cross at very short notice, as any opening of the border will likely be temporary.
The IDF continued to strike targets in the Gaza Strip overnight on 13-14 October. Targets included numerous Hamas and PIJ sites, including underground tunnels and missile launch pads located on and within civilian installations. According to Gaza’s health ministry, more than 2,200 Palestinians have been killed since the start of the conflict and approximately 8,700 have been injured. Israel’s health ministry assesses that 1,300 Israelis have been killed, while more than 3,000 have been injured.
- The IDF deadline for the guaranteed safety of roads leading out of northern Gaza expired at 1600hrs (local time), though there is no indication that a ground offensive into the area is imminent. Despite the passage of the official deadline, it is likely that the IDF will give further (unofficial) time for evacuation. However, it also is highly likely that the IDF will imminently intensify its air strike campaign in northern Gaza, which will increase the already severe security risks for all personnel operating in the area.
- Various countries continue to evacuate their citizens from Israel and the Palestinian Territories, including France, Italy, Russia, Spain and the UK. However, over the past 24 hours, Australia and Germany have suspended evacuation efforts for their citizens, citing elevated security concerns. Any conflict intensification will likely further reduce the availability of commercial routes, increasing the likelihood of travel disruption, particularly at Ben Gurion International Airport (TLV).
Over the coming 24 hours, the IDF will almost certainly continue amassing troops and military hardware on the northern Gaza border in preparation for a ground offensive. There is a realistic possibility that the offensive will begin within the next 24 hours, significantly increasing physical security risks to individuals throughout northern Gaza. Evacuation efforts for Palestinians will likely continue into the south, increasing strain on humanitarian resources as the blockade continues to exacerbate food, water and energy insecurity throughout Gaza.
Although there was a small uptick in clashes and tit-for-tat fire between the IDF and Hizballah and/or Hizballah-affiliated forces in the past 24 hours, a major escalation remains unlikely. However, there is a realistic possibility that small-scale ground and drone incursions by Hizballah forces, as well as tit-for-tat mortar fire, will continue at a heightened rate in the coming 24 hours, elevating security risks in northern Israel and southern Lebanon.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the Egyptian authorities at the Rafa border crossing are currently blocking US and other foreign nationals from entering Egypt until humanitarian aid is allowed through the crossing. In the event that the crossing is opened, this will elevate security risks in the vicinity of the crossing as a large number of individuals will likely attempt to cross into Egypt. Given the escalating humanitarian situation in Gaza and the threat of an IDF ground offensive, pressure on the border crossing will likely increase over the coming 24 hours, increasing the likelihood of clashes between individuals and security forces, which will elevate bystander risks.
- Since our last update at 1400hrs (BST) on 12 October, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) targeted multiple locations across the Gaza Strip, hitting Hamas’ drone launch systems, underground facilities and other infrastructure. The IDF’s calls for people to evacuate northern Gaza within 24 hours indicates an increased likelihood of mass airstrikes following the expiration of this deadline.
- Significant civilian casualties in the event of airstrikes or a ground invasion after the evacuation order expires will elevate the likelihood of multi-front escalation.
- Calls by Hamas for a global mobilisation day on 13 October will elevate the likelihood of domestic unrest and violence impacting Israel and urban centres around the world, increasing miscalculation risks in Israel and bystander risks in protest locations this weekend.• The IDF struck more than 750 targets in Gaza overnight on 12-13 October, including underground tunnels and drone launch pads located both on the roofs of civilian buildings and within them. According to Gaza’s health ministry, more than 1,500 people have been killed since the start of the conflict and around 6,600 others have been injured. Israel’s health ministry assesses that more than 1,300 Israelis have been killed, while more than 3,000 have been injured.
- The IDF has asked civilians in northern Gaza to evacuate within 24 hours. The affected areas are Al-Zahra, Beit Lahia, Jabalia and Wahsh. The IDF has requested that residents evacuate to the south side of the Gaza River, underscoring the likelihood of heavy air strikes in the coming 24 hours. In response, Hamas, through its Gaza internal affairs and communications ministries, has instructed Gazan civilians not to evacuate.
- The IDF will conduct military exercises in training areas this weekend; explosions will therefore likely be heard in areas located far from Gaza. Entering these areas will entail severe security risks. An IDF spokesperson also announced that the Gaza Division area in Southern Israel remains closed; entry is prohibited and entails severe security risks.
- A heavy security posture in the West Bank and East Jerusalem ahead of a planned ‘day of rage’ will substantially elevate mobility disruption and bystander security risks. Violent unrest is highly likely. The security forces will limit mobility around neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem. There is a realistic possibility of limited access to Al-Aqsa.
- The IDF is continuing to reinforce its northern positions and is distributing weapons to local security teams in northern population centres. This represents a reversal of a previous policy of partial disarmament and underscores that the IDF acknowledges that these population centres represent a weak point in Israel’s northern defences. It is highly likely that northern population centres, particularly those close to the border with Lebanon, have already been completely evacuated; this will minimise the likelihood of civilian casualties in the event of limited cross-border incursions and/or skirmishes.
- Emergency numbers for additional information:
o To report information about kidnapped IDF soldiers and civilians: 1229
o To receive information about missing civilians: 105
o To receive information about missing IDF soldiers: 1111 (press 5 and then 4)
o Home Front Command telephone service centre: 104 (This service provides information about the defence policy on the home front, as well as information about traffic and roadblocks along various routes and instructions from government ministries, among other entities)
- Further deaths of foreign nationals have been confirmed in the past 24 hours. The White House national security spokesperson, John Kirby, stated that 27 US citizens are now confirmed as dead, while 14 US citizens remain unaccounted for. French President Emmanuel Macron has confirmed that 12 French citizens are confirmed as dead and that 17 citizens, including five children, are missing; Macron reported that they are likely being held hostage by Hamas militants in Gaza.
- Various countries are continuing to evacuate their citizens from Israel and the Palestinian territories, including Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain and Thailand. In the past 24 hours, the UK and US began chartering flights to evacuate their nationals from Ben Gurion International Airport (TLV). Escalating evacuation measures will likely result in additional travel disruption and delays at TLV, which remains operational at the time of writing. The IAG group, which includes British Airways and Aer Lingus, have suspended flights to Israel for three weeks due to security concerns; flights operated by KLM and Norwegian Air, among others, have been suspended. A continued intensification of the conflict will further reduce the availability of public commercial routes, increasing the likelihood of travel disruption and delays, particularly at TLV.
- Due to elevated travel demand within Israel, the transport ministry announced that trains will continue operating over the weekend. Trains will run from TLV to Beer Sheba, Nahariya and Tel Aviv this weekend. El Al also announced it will operate flights on Saturday to minimise travel disruption.
- On 12 October, the opposition leader, Yair Lapid, announced that he will not participate in the emergency government. Lapid has cited the inclusion of National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich as driving factors for his abstention, highlighting persistent tensions regarding the emergency government’s formation. Nevertheless, Lapid stated that Yesh Atid party members will not oppose the government’s confirmation in the Knesset on 13 October; they will also not oppose government policy directives during the ongoing conflict, mitigating threats to government stability and policy risks in the coming days.
- The Egyptian foreign ministry confirmed that the Rafah border crossing in Gaza is open, though significant movement restrictions remain in place. The crossing re-opened following a temporary closure due to increased IDF airstrikes against Gaza. However, a maximum of 400 individuals are permitted to cross per day. Humanitarian aid is not allowed to cross. The Egyptian authorities have called on the IDF to cease airstrikes in surrounding locations, though this is unlikely to trigger a shift in IDF strike patterns vis-à-vis Gaza. Consequently, elevated risks will impact staff and assets throughout Gaza as airstrikes continue, including those near the Rafah crossing.
There is a realistic possibility that Hamas will try to prevent the evacuation of civilians from Gaza. While the IDF is unlikely to strike medical centres, particularly hospitals, there is a realistic possibility that such facilities will be damaged during any future strikes, sustaining severe security risks for medical teams operating at hospitals in northern Gaza. Such efforts, alongside Hamas’ direction for Gazan civilians not to evacuate, will increase the likelihood of high civilian casualty numbers.
There is a realistic possibility that heavy rocket barrages will be launched from Lebanon in response to likely IDF strikes against northern Gaza. High numbers of civilian casualties will motivate Hizballah to launch greater retaliatory operations. These will likely be characterised by heavy rocket barrages launched into Israel’s northern territories; there is a realistic possibility that longer-range missiles will also be launched, elevating threats to Israel’s Central district. However, in line with increased destruction in Gaza and elevated civilian casualties, the risk of a ground intervention by Hizballah into northern Israel is growing (though this remains a less likely scenario).
Calls by Hamas for a ‘day of rage’ will likely elevate security volatility in the West Bank and East Jerusalem over the weekend, sustaining miscalculation risks. The heightened security posture of the IDF and Israel’s likely attack in northern Gaza will compound these calls, elevating the likelihood of escalation in the West Bank. Palestinian protests in the West Bank are also likely to elevate the risk of clashes, further increasing the likelihood of escalation this weekend.
Large-scale pro-Palestine demonstrations will almost certainly take place across the Middle East region on 13 October; there is a realistic possibility of violence elevating bystander risks for staff. At the time of writing, demonstrators are mobilising in Jordan, where the army has been deployed to multiple areas along the border with Israel. This will elevate the likelihood of movement disruption impacting the King Hussein and Sheik Hussein border crossings. Demonstrations are also highly likely in Algiers (Algeria), Baghdad, Basra and Mosul (Iraq), Tehran (Iran), Beirut (Lebanon) and Tunis (Tunisia), with thousands likely to participate. Mass demonstrations will elevate the risks facing bystanders. Furthermore, participants will possibly attack assets associated with Israel and the US. Clashes between demonstrators and the security forces are also possible; the latter will possibly use tear gas in the event of unrest.
Large Palestinian solidarity marches are highly likely in multiple cities globally on 13 October. While they will likely trigger an elevated security posture in affected areas, widespread violence remains unlikely. Demonstrations are likely in Sydney (Australia), Ottawa and Toronto (Canada), Lyon, Marseille and Paris (France), Berlin, Cologne and Hamburg (Germany), Dublin (Ireland), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Cape Town (South Africa), London and Manchester (UK) and New York and Washington DC (US). The French authorities have announced a general ban on protests; the interior ministry has ordered the deportation of any foreign nationals participating in banned protests. The police in Berlin have also indefinitely banned pro-Palestinian demonstrations amid an uptick in antisemitic attacks and hate speech. While violence remains unlikely, there is a realistic possibility that the security forces will deploy tear gas and water cannons, elevating bystander risks. There is also a realistic possibility that counter-protesters will clash with demonstrators, increasing the likelihood of verbal and physical harassment, as well as isolated incidents of violence. However, an elevated security presence in affected areas will likely mitigate significant risks facing individuals therein.
Triggers and indicators for escalation (we will continue to review and update these points):
- A high-casualty incident in the West Bank due to IDF miscalculation or attacks by Israeli settlers and/or Palestinian militants
- Hamas’ call to mobilise receives substantial support from Palestinian communities on 13-15 October
- Airstrikes against Gaza inflict high casualty numbers, prompting Hizballah and/or West Bank-based militants to retaliate
- Israeli airstrikes against Syria to prevent weapons transfers prompt an escalation from Lebanon-based militants (and further Israeli airstrikes)
- US support for Israel ramps up
- Israel strikes Hamas’ leadership in Lebanon
- The IDF launches a ground operation into Gaza
- The IDF continued to strike targets in Gaza overnight on 11-12 October. Targets included PIJ sites and Nukhba forces (elite Hamas commando units which spearheaded the attack on 7 October). An IDF spokesperson stated that the strikes are being carried out in co-ordination with intelligence collected from captured Hamas militants. They also warned institutions, facilities and private residences not to shelter Hamas militants, as all such positions would be targeted in future strikes.
- IDF engineering units are continuing to work to repair the Gaza border fence and to neutralise explosives planted in its vicinity. These operations are being supported by Israeli Air Force (IAF) helicopters and drones. While such activity will help the security forces to identify and disrupt future incursions, the threat of further limited sporadic incursions remains.
- Members of a far-right extremist group, La-Familia, attempted to break into a medical department at Sheba Hospital where a Hamas militant was reportedly being treated at the time. They planned to lynch the injured militant but were stopped by the police and security guards. Three members were arrested for acting violently towards staff. Following the incident, Israel’s health ministry directed public hospitals to stop treating Hamas militants; hospitals have since delivered injured Hamas militants to the Israel Prison Service for medical treatment.
- On 11 October, the Home Front Command App released a false alert across Israel. An IDF spokesperson verified that there was no drone incursion from Lebanon; they confirmed that the alert was a human error, underscoring the mounting stress impacting the system and individuals operating therein.
- In the past 24 hours, there have been increased reports of clashes between Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank. Additionally, 56 people working with Hamas or other militant groups were arrested by the IDF in the West Bank overnight. These incidents are likely to elevate tensions ahead of Hamas’ mobilisation day (13 October), heightening the risk of escalation.
- Syrian media reported on two IAF strikes against Aleppo International Airport (ALP) and Damascus International Airport (DAM). The strikes reportedly damaged the runaways at both airports; they were likely carried out to prevent weapons transfers from Iran to Hizballah and/or Hamas. IAF airstrikes against Syria are likely to continue as the IDF monitors weapons transfers in the region. Currently, there are no indications that these incidents will prompt a major escalation.
- Emergency numbers for additional information:
o To report information about kidnapped IDF soldiers and civilians: 1229
o To receive information about missing civilians: 105
o To receive information about missing IDF soldiers: 1111 (press 5 and then 4)
o Home Front Command telephone service centre: 104 (This service provides information about the defence policy on the home front, as well as information about traffic and roadblocks along various routes and instructions from government ministries, among other entities)
- Further deaths of foreign nationals have been confirmed over the past 24 hours. The US State Department announced that at least 22 US citizens were killed in Israel while a further 20 are missing. The number of foreign nationals being held captive in Gaza by Hamas is unclear. The Canadian authorities also confirmed that at least three Canadian citizens were killed. In addition, the Thai authorities announced the deaths of 21 Thai nationals in Israel following the escalation of hostilities.
- Several countries are continuing to evacuate nationals from Israel and the Palestinian Territories, including Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain and Thailand. The Canadian authorities announced plans to evacuate citizens using military aircraft, while the UK’s foreign office intends to evacuate the families of British diplomats. On 11 October, a red alert at Ben Gurion International Airport (TLV) triggered significant delays to inbound and outbound flights. In response to elevated security risks, several airlines, including British Airways, KLM and Norwegian Air, have temporarily suspended flights servicing Israel. A continued intensification of the conflict will reduce the availability of public commercial routes, increasing the likelihood of further travel disruption and delays, particularly at TLV.
- Late on 11 October, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and opposition leader Benny Gantz agreed to form an emergency government with a dedicated war cabinet for the duration of the conflict. The war cabinet, which will comprise Netanyahu, Gantz, Defence Minister Yaov Gallant and two observers, will direct military operations as the conflict continues. It is highly likely that efforts to pass broader legislation, including controversial efforts to reform the judiciary, will be paused indefinitely. The formation of the emergency government will likely decrease threats to government stability, while the resulting policy stasis will likely decrease the risk of further domestic unrest driven by opposition to judicial reforms.
- The administration of US President Joe Biden is working with the Israeli, Egyptian and UN authorities to establish a humanitarian corridor for the delivery of aid to Gaza from Egypt. Humanitarian conditions are declining rapidly amid the ongoing blockade established by the Israeli authorities. While Egypt has reopened the Rafah border to civilian passage, no humanitarian assistance is being permitted through this crossing. Negotiations are unlikely to succeed in the coming days; the Israeli authorities have announced that no humanitarian corridor or ceasefire will be established while Hamas continues to hold hostages in Gaza.
- After an emergency meeting on 11 October, the Arab League released a statement calling for the immediate cessation of hostilities and resumption of negotiations between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). This announcement is unlikely to result in Israeli disengagement from Gaza; it will likely sustain elevated tensions between Israel and Arab League member states, including Saudi Arabia and Qatar. In particular, tensions with Saudi Arabia will likely further undermine regional efforts to normalise relations with Israel.
- Gaza’s only power station has stopped working due to a lack of fuel, leaving the strip without an electricity supply. On 11 October, the director of Al-Shifa Hospital, Gaza’s largest hospital, announced that the facility’s back-up generators have enough fuel to work for the next four days. Severely restricted access to humanitarian aid and medical services will almost certainly further exacerbate heightened humanitarian concerns and increase international pressure on Israel to establish a humanitarian corridor, likely via the Rafah crossing.
- Over the past 24 hours, pro-Israel and pro-Palestine gatherings and marches have continued to take place in multiple cities worldwide. Vigils for individuals killed by Hamas militants have been held in Kathmandu (Nepal), Manchester (UK), Sofia (Bulgaria) and Sydney (Australia). Pro-Palestine demonstrations have been reported in Amman (Jordan), Bradford (UK), Chicago (US), Johannesburg (South Africa), Sao Paulo (Brazil) and Sydney. As the conflict progresses, further protests are highly likely; they will likely disrupt movement through affected areas, though violence around most demonstrations remains unlikely. Nevertheless, clashes between pro-Palestine and pro-Israel demonstrators remain a realistic possibility, moderately elevating collateral risks facing staff and assets nearby.
- On 13 October, the UN Security Council will convene an emergency session to discuss the ongoing conflict. The meeting is unlikely to slow escalating tensions in the region significantly. Concurrently, the UN has confirmed the deaths of at least 11 UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) staff in Gaza following Israeli airstrikes; this highlights the significant risks facing staff located in Gaza, including those in the humanitarian and media sectors.
Hamas’ call for global mobilisation and protests in support of Palestinians on 13 October is likely to prompt outbreaks of domestic unrest in numerous countries globally, particularly around Israeli and US embassies. Additional planned Quran-burning protests in the Netherlands on 12 and 13 October are likely to elevate tensions, as well as the risk of violent protests in Nordic and Middle Eastern countries (see Sibylline Situation Update Brief – 17 July 2023). Security risks in Iraq will be particularly elevated due to a planned ‘million-man’ demonstration in the capital Baghdad’s Tahrir Square on 13 October in support of Palestinians. Quran burnings in the Netherlands will likely further exacerbate anti-Western sentiment among participants at the Baghdad demonstration, increasing the likelihood of protesters targeting embassies; this will elevate security risks facing staff.
Lyon, Marseille and Paris (France), Berlin and Cologne (Germany), Amsterdam, the Hague and Rotterdam (the Netherlands) and London and Manchester (UK) are the most high-risk European cities in the coming 24-48 hours with regard to pro-Palestine and anti-Israel unrest. Pro-Palestine activists are also likely to present a heightened threat to Israeli and Israeli-linked firms across Western Europe. In particular, the establishment of the Palestine Action ‘underground cell’ in the UK points to activists’ readiness to escalate their tactics in the coming days.
Hamas’ call for mobilisation is also likely to elevate domestic unrest in the West Bank, increasing bystander risks. While the IDF is likely preparing for such a scenario, the miscalculated use of force by Israeli troops remains a realistic possibility. Excessive force will increase the risks of escalation in the West Bank over the weekend. Such escalation will increase the threat of attacks against Israeli population centres in the West Bank. In this scenario, Palestinian villages face heightened threats due to likely retaliatory attacks.
An increasing number of antisemitic incidents around the world has underscored the elevated security risks facing Jewish communities and affiliated businesses. On 11 October, the UK’s security secretary, Tom Tugendhat, announced that antisemitic incidents in the UK have tripled since Hamas’ attack against Israel, with 89 anti-Jewish hate incidents reported from 7 to 10 October (a 324% increase compared to the same period in 2022). The threat of antisemitic attacks will remain especially high across Germany in the coming days. Similar reports and videos depicting increased antisemitism around the world, including in the US and Russia, underscore the increased security threats facing Jewish communities globally, including assault and harassment. Bystander security risks are likely to persist throughout the conflict, particularly around Synagogues, Jewish neighbourhoods and Jewish affiliated businesses.
11 Oct. 23.
*Lebanon-Israel: Families evacuate towns following IDF shelling; major escalation currently unlikely. On 9 October, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) shelled areas on the Israel-Lebanon border in response to an earlier engagement with militants from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad attempting to cross the border. Three Hizballah members died due to the shelling, prompting the organisation to later attack two IDF bases in Biranit and Avivim (both northern Israel), using guided missiles. The incidents have prompted civilian flight from towns in southern Lebanon, resulting in significant congestion on highways leading out of the south. Despite the escalation, it is currently unlikely that Hizballah will fully join the war and mobilise ground forces. Even so, rocket launches targeting Israeli population centres in the north of Israel, smaller-scale cross-border incidents and IDF retaliation are likely to continue, elevating security risks in the Israel-Lebanon border area. This trend will also elevate the risk of miscalculation by either side, potentially prompting a more significant response and ultimately sustaining the possibility of a currently unlikely major escalation.
Israel: Hamas-linked threat group elevates cyber espionage risks to Israeli defence, energy sector. The Gaza-based threat group, ‘Storm-1133’, was linked to a series of cyber attacks against Israeli entities, with some campaigns being reportedly deployed since early 2023. The attacks are typically initiated with social engineering tactics, using fake LinkedIn profiles to send phishing messages. The messages reportedly delivered malware to the victims’ systems. The threat group targets third-party organisations with ties to Israeli organisations and employs backdoors to conduct reconnaissance and obtain strategic information. Storm-1133 is suspected to be tied to the Hamas militant group, focussing on Israeli organisations within the energy, telecommunications and defence sectors, as well on Palestinian entities affiliated with Fatah. Thus, elevating security and operational risks to these sectors. Hamas’ recent military escalation in Israel brings about a realistic possibility that cyber espionage campaigns by Storm-1133 against strategic sectors will occur in tandem with kinetic attacks
*Russia-Palestinian Territories: Palestinian president’s visit likely indicates Moscow’s efforts to bolster international image, appeal to Muslim minorities. On 9 October, Palestine’s ambassador to Russia, Abdel Hafiz Nofal, announced that preparations are underway for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to visit Moscow, though a date has not yet been set. The envoy noted there is no possibility of negotiations on an Israeli-Palestinian settlement in Moscow at this stage. Nofal emphasised that reducing tensions is the current priority, adding that the opportunity for negotiations may later arise. It is unclear if Nofal was alluding to potential future Russian involvement. During Abbas’ meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in October 2022, Abbas said he was satisfied with Moscow’s position towards Palestine and expressed his distrust of US involvement. Russia may realistically seek to fashion itself as a potential mediator in the coming weeks. However, it will also likely seek to present itself as sympathetic to the Palestinian cause in a bid to boost support from Russia’s own Muslim minority populations for the war effort in Ukraine.
- Since our last update at 1300hrs (BST) on 10 October, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) targeted multiple locations across the Gaza Strip, destroying Hamas’ early-warning air detection system. IDF strikes, as well as retaliatory rocket fire from Gaza, will persist in the coming 24 hours.
- There has been an uptick in rocket launches from Lebanon and Syria, though such operations remain limited in scale and do not yet indicate a development severe enough to change our assessment that it remains unlikely that Lebanese Hizballah will open up a second front in northern Israel.
- Significant energy shortages in Gaza are imminent, further compounding substantial humanitarian challenges ahead of a likely IDF ground offensive into the strip; such developments will increase the risk of rising unrest in the West Bank and retaliatory rocket strikes from Lebanon.
- Between 10 and 11 October, Lebanese Hizballah launched over 15 rockets and an anti-tank missile towards northern Israel; targets include the military camp of Biranit and the Galilee area. At the time of writing, no casualties have been reported. In response, the IDF targeted multiple Hizballah assets. The Galilee Medical Center in Nahariya moved inpatient wards and critical care units to its fortified underground facility for the first time since the war with Lebanon in 2006.
- Hizballah-linked Palestinian militants also launched mortar shells from Syria towards the Golan Heights; this marks the first such activity since the start of the conflict. The IDF responded with artillery fire and mortar shells. Israel captured the contested Golan Heights from Syria during the 1967 Six-Day War. Similar sporadic launches are possible in the coming 24 hours.
- The frequency and range of rocket fire from Gaza has remained largely consistent with the trends observed between 9 and 10 October; the most affected population centres lie within 30 miles (48km) of Gaza. These include cities such as Ashdod, Ashkelon, Sderot and Zikim. Since 10 October, the Israeli death toll has increased to at least 1,200; around 2,400 others have been wounded. Casualty numbers (including Palestinian and foreign national casualties) are likely to increase as more information becomes publicly available and the fighting persists.
- Several Iran-backed groups in Iraq and Yemen have threatened to target US interests if Washington DC intervenes in support of Israel. Iran-aligned Iraqi groups, including the Badr Organisation, have previously targeted US assets in Iraq, including the US embassy in Baghdad. Similar threats have been voiced by the Houthi Movement in Yemen. While these threats will sustain regional spill-over concerns, direct US involvement remains unlikely in the near term, despite the arrival of the USS Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group in the Eastern Mediterranean.
- According to IDF Navy Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, the first US aircraft carrying ammunition arrived at Israel’s Nevatim Airbase late on 10 October. Rear Admiral Hagari stated that this will enable ‘significant strikes and preparations for additional scenarios’, sustaining the likelihood of a wider offensive (including a ground operation) against Hamas and a heightened tempo of strikes against Gaza in the near term.
- The IDF has conducted strikes against 2,687 targets in Gaza since the start of hostilities on 7 October. These targets incorporate both Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) assets, including Hamas war rooms. The Islamic University of Gaza has also been targeted as an alleged ‘central training centre for Hamas engineers’. In the early hours of 11 October, the IDF struck over 70 targets in the Daraj Tuffah area and western Gaza, as well as Hamas’ aircraft detection system.
- Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir instructed the police commissioner in Sderot to prepare for a ‘Guardian of the Walls 2’ scenario, referencing the ethno-religious violent unrest in mixed Arab-Jewish cities in 2021. In May 2021, Jerusalem, Lod, Nazareth and Ramala were hotspots for outbreaks of riot-related unrest. The shooting of two Palestinians by the Israeli police in Jerusalem after clashes in the Silwan neighbourhood near the Old City and the expulsion of five Palestinian students from Israel’s Haifa University over social media posts about the conflict will sustain such tensions.
- Earlier on 11 October, Palestinian protest marches were held in several cities, including Hebron, Jenin, Jericho, Nablus, Ramallah, Tubas and Tulkarem, as well as at the Shuafat refugee camp. Several rallies resulted in clashes, including in Tubas; there were also reports of confrontations between Palestinians and the Israeli security forces at various checkpoints.
- US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan stated that 20 US citizens are still unaccounted for in Israel; it is unclear how many were taken captive by Hamas militants and are being held in Gaza. The British authorities have also announced that at least 17 UK citizens, including several children, are either dead or missing; at least one Australian national has been reported dead.
- On 10 October, Senate Democrats Jon Tester and Joe Manchin called on the Biden administration to halt USD 6 bn in assets earmarked under a deal which recently enabled a US-Iran prisoner swap. Manchin has instead called for ‘additional sanctions’ to be imposed on Iran. The growing calls to once again freeze assets come amid allegations that Iran provided money and weapons to Hamas to use in the attack. The elevated risk of further sanctions will increase compliance challenges for companies directly associated with Iranian assets and entities, as well as those reliant on related contractors and third-party suppliers.
- Several countries are continuing to evacuate nationals from Israel and the Palestinian Territories, including Austria, Brazil, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Norway, Poland, Romania, Spain, Switzerland and Thailand. In the coming days, escalating evacuation measures will likely result in additional travel disruption and delays at Ben Gurion International Airport (TLV), which remains operational at the time of writing. Several airlines have cancelled or significantly delayed flights departing Israel, including American Airlines, Air France, Delta Air Lines, Emirates, Lufthansa, Norwegian Air, United Airlines and Virgin Atlantic, increasing the likelihood of further travel disruption. A continued intensification of the conflict will reduce the availability of public commercial routes.
- The US Biden administration is working to establish a humanitarian corridor to allow the evacuation of US and Palestinian civilians from Gaza to Egypt. These reports follow the indefinite closure by the Egyptian authorities of the Rafah crossing since 10 October. Additional details are unlikely to become publicly available until the advanced stages of establishing a safe passage are reached due to the extreme sensitivity of the decision.
- On 11 October, the Palestinian health minister warned that fuel stocks for hospital generators in Gaza will run out by 12 October. In addition, the authorities estimate that the Gaza power plant, the only domestic plant serving Gaza, will stop operating at 1400hrs (local time) on 11 October. Israel’s ongoing blockade of Gaza, which has severed supplies of electricity, food and water, will almost certainly continue exacerbating heightened socio-economic and public health concerns. International organisations and NGOs will almost certainly experience increased strain on resources, elevating risks facing staff and assets; there is a realistic possibility that escalating resource scarcity will drive outbreaks of localised violence in the coming days. The UAE’s reported provision of USD 20m in aid via the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) is unlikely to alleviate current strains substantially.
- Saudi Arabia has called for an emergency meeting of the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation to discuss security and stability repercussions for the region, as well as the safety of civilians. The move underlines the sustained concerns of regional powers (particularly Gulf countries) regarding escalation leading to widespread knock-on effects.
- On 10 October, over 5,000 demonstrators attended a pro-Palestine march outside the Israeli embassy in London (UK). Similar demonstrations with varying participation levels were reported in Madrid (Spain), New York (US), Paris (France), Sydney (Australia) and Toronto (Canada). As the conflict progresses, further protests are highly likely. While they will highly likely disrupt movement through affected areas, violence remains unlikely. Nevertheless, clashes between pro-Palestine and pro-Israel demonstrators are possible; this will moderately elevate collateral risks facing staff and assets in nearby areas.
- On 11 October, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with National Unity party chairman Benny Gantz to discuss the formation of an emergency government; an announcement is likely to be made soon. Despite Ben-Gvir’s opposition, Likud (Netanyahu’s party) issued a statement expressing the unanimous support of all coalition heads for the formation of a unity government. At 2000hrs (local time), Israel’s security cabinet will convene for another meeting.
Cross-border fire exchanges between the IDF and Hizballah in southern Lebanon and northern Israel are likely to persist in the near term. Further evacuations and relocations in northern Israel are also likely to take place in accordance with directives from the Israeli health ministry and the IDF Homefront Command. In line with our previous assessments, Hizballah is unlikely to open a new front from Lebanon; its current activity is largely contained to small-scale incidents. Nonetheless, tensions will remain significantly heightened for the foreseeable future, particularly if Israel decides to engage in wide-scale attacks against Hamas beyond Gaza. Israel has threatened Hamas leaders abroad, several of whom are currently based in Lebanon. The possibility of this scenario will be sustained by Israel’s formation of a unity government (which will likely lend Israel greater domestic support for such action) and by the reported preparations of underground wards at the Rambam Healthcare Campus in Haifa (which points to an imminent escalation in hostilities).
IDF airstrikes against Gaza are likely to persist at a sustained tempo in the near term; the substantial degradation of Hamas’ early-detection capabilities will likely boost Israel’s capacity to destroy strategic assets and augment its use of airstrikes as it seeks out Hamas’ military leadership. Given Gaza’s high density and the likely use of airstrikes against any facilities and persons associated with Hamas’ leadership, such strikes will pose severe proximate physical security risks for staff and assets across Gaza. In addition to a rapid deterioration of humanitarian conditions, fuel and electricity shortages vis-à-vis the ongoing full blockade will decrease the logistical and operational capabilities of Hamas and other Gaza-based militant groups. Deteriorating conditions in Gaza will further sustain the likelihood of retaliatory cross-border fire from Lebanon into northern Israel in the near term.
Localised incidents sustaining a volatile security environment in the West Bank and Jerusalem are likely to persist, though a substantial uptick in attacks targeting the security forces and Israeli population centres remains unlikely in the near term. Most notably, Palestinian individuals reportedly fired shots towards Kiryat Arba (near Hebron), while a Molotov cocktail was thrown at an Israeli bus at a junction near Gush Etzion. Developments in Gaza and incidents between the Israeli security forces and Palestinians will continue to act as flashpoints for heightened bouts of domestic unrest, rallies and small-scale clashes. Hamas’ calls for mass mobilisation of Palestinians on 13 October have not yet yielded overt public support across the West Bank; as such, there will possibly be reduced participation at any future mobilisation. However, protests in Baghdad (Iraq) called for by the prominent Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr are likely to be well attended. Similarly, an escalation of the current conflict, including an Israeli ground operation in Gaza, will likely increase Palestinians’ participation and willingness to mobilise.
- Since our last update at 1200hrs (BST) on 9 October, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) confirmed that it has regained control of areas bordering Gaza previously infiltrated by Hamas militants. Nonetheless, the Gaza envelope will remain a highly volatile environment in the coming 24 hours.
- Airstrikes against Gaza will persist in the near term, sustaining humanitarian concerns amid a full blockade and the closure of the Rafah crossing with Egypt; these developments will sustain anti-Israel/pro-Palestine sentiment and protests globally, driving elevated targeting risks.
- The prospects for a Lebanese Hizballah ground intervention remain in line with previous assessments, though miscalculation triggered by IDF retaliation in southern Lebanon and/or an IDF ground operation in Gaza will increase the likelihood of greater Hizballah military involvement. Similarly, the prospects of Iran joining the conflict remain unchanged.
- On 10 October, an IDF spokesperson stated that Israeli forces had regained control of the Gaza border. However, there is still a realistic possibility that Palestinian militants are still active within Israeli territory, sustaining the threat of attacks across Israel.
- The frequency of rocket launches from Gaza has decreased compared to the first 48 hours of the conflict. However, rocket strikes are likely to continue; there is also a realistic possibility of sporadic upticks in their intensity throughout the day, sustaining security risks.
- Israel launched airstrikes against 200 targets in Rimal and Khan Younis (both Gaza) between 9 and 10 October, including military infrastructure linked to Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ). The Israeli navy also targeted Hamas-linked sites along the Gazan coast.
- On 9 October, IDF retaliatory shelling killed three Hizballah members; this followed clashes with PIJ militants attempting to cross from Lebanon into Israel. In response, Hizballah claimed that it used guided missiles to target Biranit and Avivim military outposts.
- On 9 October, a spokesperson for Hamas, Abu Ubaida, threatened that the group would start executing hostages if IDF airstrikes continue. The announcement comes in stark contrast to previous Hamas claims of humane hostage treatment. At the time of writing there are no indications that this threat has been fulfilled.
- It is increasingly likely that there will be significant numbers of civilian casualties in Gaza, as the Rafah crossing along the Gaza-Egypt border has now been closed until further notice; the IDF previously advised Gaza residents to leave the exclave via this crossing. The UN Relief Works Agency for Palestinians (UNRWA) has stated that around 137,500 individuals have been displaced over the past 24 hours and are sheltering in 85 UNRWA schools. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has recorded over 187,500 displaced persons in Gaza. The Palestinian death toll has risen to 770; around 4,000 people have been wounded, according to the health ministry in Gaza.
- An uptick in cyber attacks targeting Israeli infrastructure, businesses and affiliated companies in the last 24 hours has elevated business operation risks. The uptick is broadly consistent with our previous analysis (see Sibylline Alert – 8 October 2023) and will likely continue. In response, pro-Israel hacktivist groups will likely retaliate, elevating operational risks for pro-Palestine businesses.
- The Israeli government officially approved the mobilisation of around 360,000 reservists, though actual numbers are likely to be higher due to unofficial reservists volunteering. Some reservists living overseas have been recalled, prompting El Al Israel Airlines and Arkia to increase inbound flights to enable returns amid numerous flight cancellations by international airlines.
- Israeli coalition party heads announced that they will establish a ‘national emergency government’ following a meeting earlier on 10 October. Discussions have already been held with representatives of Benny Gantz’s National Unity opposition party. Gantz will now be included as part of the new government. The successful formation of an emergency government is likely to limit the pressure on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu amid public criticism of his conservative-religious coalition, mitigating government stability concerns in the near term.
- The European Commission (EC) announced late on 9 October that it is reviewing the EU’s assistance to Palestinians; it initially stated that it was planning to suspend aid. Ireland and Luxembourg reportedly claimed that the EC was not authorised to make such a unilateral decision. European foreign ministers are scheduled to discuss the situation later today at a meeting in Muscat (Oman) as part of the 27th EU-GCC Joint Council. These developments underscore the careful diplomatic balancing act which some European countries and organisations will likely conduct in an attempt to mitigate domestic public backlash from both pro-Israel and pro-Palestine activists.
- On 10 October, foreign ministers of Arab League members will meet in Cairo (Egypt) to discuss the ongoing armed conflict in a bid to establish de-escalation measures. The extraordinary meeting highlights sustained efforts by regional countries to maintain a diplomatic balance and to call on both sides to end hostilities. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salaman and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan have expressed the importance of defusing the current escalation; they will likely seek to pursue mediatory roles.
- US National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby announced on 9 October that Washington DC has no intention of stationing soldiers in Israel for the time being. Kirby added that the first part of additional US security assistance was on its way. This likely comprises equipment and munitions. These developments underscore continued pro-Israel support from several Western countries; this was further evidenced by a joint statement from Germany, France, Italy and the UK condemning Hamas’ attack and expressing support for Israel’s right to defend itself. While military support from many of these states remains unlikely, further such statements will increase the likelihood of these countries revising their aid for the Palestinian Territories.
- Armed clashes have resulted in the deaths of foreign nationals, including 11 US, 12 Thai, ten Nepali and two French citizens; more foreign nationals are likely to have been killed. US President Joe Biden has also confirmed that US nationals are likely among the hostages taken by Hamas to unknown locations in Gaza.
- On 9 October, thousands of people marched from Victor Hugo Square to Trocadero Square (Paris, France) in support of Israel. The rally followed a meeting between the CRIF (an umbrella organisation for French Jews), other Jewish organisations and French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin to discuss increased protections for Jewish institutions nationwide. However, around 20 anti-Semitic incidents have been registered in France since 7 October, including threats to synagogues, sustaining the possibility of physical and material attacks in the near term.
- Anti-Israel protests are planned for 13 October in Baghdad (Iraq). On 9 October, the prominent Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr called for a ‘m-man’ demonstration at Tahrir Square after Friday prayers to show support for Palestinians. Unrest will likely involve Israeli flag burnings, though there is a realistic possibility that protesters will target the US embassy. The Iraqi security forces will likely struggle to control crowds in the event of large numbers of participants. Pro-Palestine rallies are also likely in Australia, the UK and the US through 15 October.
A Lebanese Hizballah ground intervention currently remains unlikely, though IDF miscalculation in retaliatory operations in southern Lebanon and an IDF ground operation in Gaza will increase this threat. Continued rocket fire from Palestinian factions in southern Lebanon and further cross-border attempts will likely elevate the risk of IDF retaliation. Such operations will sustain elevated collateral and bystander risks in Israel-Lebanon border areas. An increase in cross-border rocket launches into northern Israel following an IDF ground operation into Gaza is highly likely.
A warning by an IDF spokesperson for the Arab Media, Avichay Adraee, that Daraj neighbourhood residents should evacuate indicates that large Israeli airstrikes in the area are likely in the coming hours. In the announcement, published on Twitter, a video shows evacuation directions heading towards Gaza City’s centre; it is therefore possible that this is a relatively safer area. However, safety cannot be guaranteed within Gaza; airstrikes are likely to continue, sustaining severe collateral and bystander risks.
The implementation and maintenance of quotas in supermarkets, as well as in shops selling basic goods, will likely persist in the coming days. Sporadic shortages of basic food (and water) supplies were also observed in several locations on 9 October. These are likely due to a shopping surge triggered by the Home Front Command’s general guideline statement urging civilians to maintain supplies sufficient to last for 72 hours. However, an IDF spokesperson emphasised that ‘there is no shortage of food or water’; significant disruption to food supplies and shortages in Israel are unlikely, overall.
Statements by Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Hosseini Khamenei that Iran is ‘willing to provide’ Palestinians with support are unlikely to signal Tehran’s readiness to enter the war. Iranian involvement at this stage is likely to focus on providing humanitarian aid; the direct supply of weapons remains a low-likelihood scenario due to heightened international scrutiny. Nonetheless, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Lebanese Hizballah reportedly deployed forces to south-western Syria on 9 October. This likely reflects continued deterrence posturing as opposed to the imminent launch of operations into Israel. Iran has significantly expanded its military footprint in Syria in recent months, including through weapons stores and training facilities.
Protests across the globe related to ongoing developments in Israel and the Palestinian Territories are highly likely to persist throughout October. In many countries, this will drive a heightened security posture near prospective gathering sites, which are likely to include Israeli/Palestinian diplomatic missions, synagogues, mosques, identifiable Jewish/Israeli or Palestinian/Arab business premises, public squares and government buildings. Protest activities will sustain the likelihood of online activism and cyber attacks targeting Israeli and/or Israeli-linked businesses.
- Since our last update at 1700hrs (BST) on 8 October, sustained rocket fire has primarily targeted southern areas, though red siren alerts were also activated in northern regions. Similar barrages are likely in the coming days, sustaining heightened security concerns around the Gaza envelope.
- A full blockade of the Gaza Strip will have a substantial security impact in the near term, exacerbating already heightened humanitarian challenges and bolstering local and regional support for Hamas; it will also drive global anti-Israel sentiment and increase targeting risks.
- The US’ decision to deploy military assets to the Eastern Mediterranean underscores the international support for Israel and will likely deter Lebanese Hizballah from launching a ground intervention; however, the threat of rocket strikes will persist, along with that of a third party entering the conflict.
MILITARY AND SECURITY DEVELOPMENTS
- At the time of writing, Israel Defense Force (IDF) ground units continue to engage Hamas militants in at least six active points, including in the Israeli city of Sderot where residents have been asked to remain indoors. As of earlier on 9 October, the IDF has reportedly located Palestinian militants in Holit, Kibbutz Alumim, Nirim and Nir Oz, among others.
- Palestinian militant rocket attacks against Israeli population centres in the Gaza envelope continue; some are targeting areas further into central Israel, including Tel Aviv and Ben Gurion International Airport (TLV). These ongoing rocket launches are primarily targeting southern cities, including Ashdod, Ashkelon and Sderot; red alert sirens were also activated in Tel Aviv, Herzliya and Jerusalem. Air defence systems remain capable of intercepting the vast majority of incoming rockets, though the threat of some rockets breaching defences persists, sustaining risks to assets and staff.
- On 9 October, there were unconfirmed reports that around 10-12 rockets were fired from southern Lebanon into northern Israeli population centres. The rockets triggered red sirens in Kibbutz Yiftah and Ramot Naftali and were reportedly intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome. Earlier on 8 October, the authorities in northern Israel advised citizens in Adamit, Arab al-Aramsha, Baram, Batza, Beit Hillel, Dishon, Elon, Hanita, Liman, Malkiah, Mashgav-Am, Margaliot, Mayan Baruch, Menara, Mitzvah, Ramot Naftali, Rosh Hankara, Shaar Yeshav, Yaraon, Yiftah and Yuval to evacuate their homes, if possible.
- Over the past 48 hours reports of Palestinian militant activity in the West Bank and East Jerusalem have increased, though the situation on this front remains relatively calm. On 8 October at approximately 2300hrs (local time), IDF soldiers engaged with militants who opened fire on Israeli communities in northern Samaria in the West Bank. Several IEDs were found in the militants’ possession. Additionally, IDF forces arrested more than 30 people in the West Bank.
- Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant ordered a complete blockade of the Gaza Strip during an assessment meeting with the IDF Southern Command. Gallant stated the blockade will also target provisions of food, water and electricity. Subsequently, Israeli Minister of Infrastructure and Energy Israel Katz announced on 9 October that he has ordered the immediate disconnection of Gaza’s water supply. Katz already ordered the immediate cessation of electricity supplies to Gaza on 7 October, though Israeli security officials estimate the supply will continue until tomorrow.
- Overnight, Israel’s air force conducted more than 500 airstrikes in the Gaza Strip. The IDF is using a ‘fire belt’ strike form to target underground facilities, involving high-density, deep strikes in areas suspected to host such facilities, increasing incidental damage risks. The Gazan Palestinian Health Ministry reports that, at the time of writing, 436 Palestinians have been killed; around 2,300 others have been injured.
- The police have updated the list of closed roads in southern Israel due to the conflict: Highway 34 between Yad Mordechai and Beit HaGadi, Highway 25 between Beit HaGadi and Nahal Oz, Highway 4 between Karmia near Mordechai and Highways 241 and 232 are blocked in all sections, including the intersections Shaar HaNegev, Urim, Gilat, Sa’ad, Ra’im, Ma’on and the fork junction (Netivot).
- US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin confirmed that the USS Gerald Ford naval strike group has been deployed to the Eastern Mediterranean to bolster regional deterrence. The group includes around 5,000 naval personnel, as well as five guided-missile cruisers and destroyers. Secretary Austin also stated that the US is augmenting its air force presence in the Middle East. The US Central Command indicated that the US is prepared to move additional resources and assets.
- Iran’s foreign ministry spokesperson, Nasser Kanani, denied claims of Iranian involvement in the 7 October Hamas attack. On 8 October, the Wall Street Journal reported that Hamas and Hizballah sources stated that Iran had spent months helping to plan the Gaza-based Palestinian militant group’s assault. According to the reporting, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) allegedly met with Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and gave them the final green light on 2 October.
- Several countries have ordered the evacuation of their nationals from Israel, including Hungary and Romania. Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto stated that the country will evacuate an additional 110 individuals, bringing the total number to 325. Romania has currently evacuated 245 nationals; over 800 Romanians have left Israel in the past few days. The UK Foreign Office has warned against all but essential travel to Israel and all travel to the Gaza Strip/Gaza envelope; evacuations of British nationals are not taking place at the time of writing.
- Austria has halted around USD 20m in aid to Palestinian projects in the aftermath of the Hamas attack; other Western countries are considering similar measures, including Germany. German Development Minister Svenja Schulze stated the attacks mark a ‘terrible fracture’. In a sign of solidarity, the Israeli flag was raised over national and international buildings and landmarks across major cities and capitals in a show of support accompanying official statements condemning Hamas’ actions.
- Israel’s foreign ministry has instructed its foreign envoys not to travel to Israel; security measures are heightened for Jewish and Israeli institutions in several countries globally. Israeli diplomats have been requested to stay home unless a security authorisation allows otherwise, highlighting heightened security and physical safety concerns. On 8 October, clashes broke out in New York City (US) near the UN building between pro-Israel and pro-Palestine supporters. Marches in support of Israel are planned in Paris (France) and Sydney (Australia) later on 9 October.
The risk of attacks, including rocket fire and shooting incidents in Israeli cities such as Tel Aviv, will remain heightened in the coming 24 hours, sustaining severe security and bystander risks. The volatile security environment will continue to impact business operations and movement, disrupting both overland and air travel. Public transport in the Gaza envelop is unlikely to resume in the near term, with short-notice closures and cancellations of buses and trains likely throughout southern Israel, particularly in close proximity to recently evacuated urban centres. An intensification of rocket fire from southern Lebanon and/or Gaza into Israeli territory will likely increase delays, cancellations and flight rerouting to and from TLV. There is a realistic possibility of knock-on effects on airport operations and routes to and from Queen Alia International Airport (AMM) in Jordan.
A total siege of Gaza will severely impact Palestinian civilians; the Gazan authorities estimate that fuel reserves in Gaza’s only power station will last until 11 October. Palestinian sources claim that Israel has also threatened to attack the power station if fuel supplies arrive via Egypt through the Rafah border crossing. The rapidly deteriorating humanitarian outlook in Gaza will sustain the heightened likelihood of labour unrest, protests and sole-perpetrator attacks across the West Bank and in Israeli cities in the near term. A full blockade of Gaza will also likely increase support for Hamas’ calls to join the fighting against Israel, with Gaza-based Palestinian militant groups already pledging their support, including Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), Popular Resistance Committees and Fatah’s al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. The continued deterioration of humanitarian conditions in Gaza will also heighten anti-Israel sentiment and pro-Palestinian activism/unrest in the region, as well as globally, sustaining risks related to the targeting of Jewish and Israeli institutions.
The threat of a Lebanese Hizballah intervention will persist in the near term, though the threat posed by ground forces is currently limited, particularly following the US deployment to the Eastern Mediterranean. Numerous reports of rocket and artillery strikes from Lebanon into northern Israel have not increased the likelihood of Hizballah directly entering the conflict; Hizballah’s engagement is broadly on trend with our previous assessment (see Sibylline Alert – 8 October 2023; for further context see Sibylline Special Report – 18 April 2023). However, such a development remains a substantial threat; the opening of a second front would have significant security implications for northern Israel. In the short term, limited rocket launches from Lebanon will likely persist, escalating in line with the likely IDF ground operation into Gaza. Growing co-ordination and co-operation between Hamas, Hizballah and Iran via the decentralised ‘axis of resistance’ will also likely continue to drive escalation and further destabilisation in the West Bank. (Source: Sibylline)
14 Oct 23. Statement from Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III on Deployment of USS Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group to the Eastern Mediterranean. I have directed the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group (CSG) to begin moving to the Eastern Mediterranean. As part of our effort to deter hostile actions against Israel or any efforts toward widening this war following Hamas’s attack on Israel, the Strike Group includes the guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea (CG 58), guided-missile destroyers USS Gravely (DDG 107) and USS Mason (DDG 87), and Carrier Air Wing 3, with nine aircraft squadrons, and embarked headquarters staffs.
The Eisenhower CSG will join the USS Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group, which arrived earlier this week. The Ford CSG includes the USS Normandy, USS Thomas Hudner, USS Ramage, USS Carney, and USS Roosevelt. Earlier in the week, the U.S. Air Force announced deployment to the region of squadrons of F-15, F-16 and A-10 fighter aircraft.
The increases to U.S. force Posture signal the United States’ ironclad commitment to Israel’s security and our resolve to deter any state or non-state actor seeking to escalate this war. (Source: US DoD)
14 Oct 23. Palestinians flee northern Gaza as Israel masses troops for assault.
- LATEST DEVELOPMENTS:
- Latest Israeli deadline expires
- No immediate statement from either side
- Lebanon’s Hezbollah says it fires on Israeli outposts
Thousands of Palestinians fled the north of the Gaza Strip on Saturday from the path of an expected Israeli ground assault, while Israel pounded the area with more air strikes and said it kept two roads open to let people escape.
Israel has vowed to annihilate the Hamas militant group that controls Gaza in retaliation for a rampage by fighters, who stormed through Israeli towns a week ago, gunning civilians down and making off with scores of hostages. Some 1,300 people were killed in the worst attack on civilians in Israel’s history.
Israeli forces have since put the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, home to 2.3 million Palestinians, under a total siege and bombarded it with unprecedented air strikes. Gaza authorities say more than 2,200 people have been killed, a quarter of them children, and nearly 10,000 wounded.
Israel had given the entire population of the northern half of the Gaza Strip, which includes the enclave’s biggest settlement Gaza City, until Saturday morning to move south.
As that deadline approached it said it would guarantee the safety of Palestinians fleeing on two main roads until 4:00 pm (1300 GMT). That new deadline expired with no immediate announcement from either side of any change in the situation.
Troops were massing around the Gaza Strip, “getting ready for the next stage of operations,” military spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus said.
Hamas has told people not to leave and says the roads out are unsafe. It says dozens of people had been killed in strikes on cars and trucks carrying refugees on Friday, which Reuters could not independently verify. Israel says Hamas is preventing people from leaving to use them as human shields, which Hamas denies.
In Gaza City’s Tel Al-Hawa neighbourhood, in the area Israel ordered evacuated, warplanes bombed a residential area during the night hitting several houses, according to residents who took refuge at the nearby Al Quds hospital and planned to flee south in the morning.
“We lived a night of horror. Israel punished us for not wanting to leave our home. Is there brutality worse than this?”, a father of three said by telephone from the hospital, declining to give his name for fear of reprisals.
“I was never going to leave, I prefer to die and not leave, but I can’t see my wife and children die before my eyes. We are helpless.”
The Palestinian Red Crescent said it had received an Israeli order to evacuate the hospital by 4:00 pm, but would not do so because it had a humanitarian duty to keep providing services to the sick and wounded.
In Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip, where Israeli planes struck a four-storey building overnight, neighbours rushed to rescue people.
“Martyrs are stuck under the rubble and until now neither us nor the medics nor civil defence were able to take them out,” said neighbour Mohammad Sadeq.
In video seen by Reuters, a Gaza journalist accompanied an ambulance crew searching for survivors of a nighttime air strike. A paramedic could be seen walking into an alley lit by a headlamp when a huge flash from another strike burst in front of him. Medics raced into ambulances and sped off as planes roared above. One injured medic screamed: “My eyes! My eyes!”
‘RELEASE OF THE WOMEN AND CHILDREN’
The attacks on Israel have plunged the nation into deep grief and galvanised it for war, with hundreds of thousands of reservists mobilised within days.
Families of the kidnapped Israelis are terrified for their safety. Avichai Brodetz, a farmer from Kibbutz Kfar Aza whose wife and three children were taken captive to Gaza, set up a camp outside the Israeli army headquarters to focus attention on their plight.
“The first thing that needs to happen is the release of the women and children,” he told reporters.
Hamas’s armed wing said nine captives including four foreigners had been killed overnight due to Israeli air strikes. It has previously threatened to kill one hostage for every building Israel strikes without warning.
Israel’s attacks on Gaza failed to halt Hamas missile strikes deep into Israeli cities. Air raid sirens wailed in central Israel on Saturday and rockets smashed into a greenhouse in Ashkelon and wounded four people at a kibbutz.
The only route out of Gaza not under Israeli control is a checkpoint with Egypt at Rafah. Egypt officially says its side is open, but traffic has been halted for days because of Israeli strikes. Egyptian security sources said the Egyptian side is being reinforced and Cairo has no intention of accepting a mass influx of refugees.
A senior U.S. State Department official said the United States was working with Egyptian, Israeli and Qatari officials to open the crossing on Saturday to let some people out, and had been in touch with Palestinian-Americans who want to leave Gaza.
Countries and aid agencies have sent supplies to Egypt but have so far been unable to bring them into Gaza. Israel says nothing can enter through Rafah without its coordination.
The Gaza Strip is one of the most crowded areas in the world, and Israel’s evacuation order for the northern half meant those fleeing south were forced to shelter with relatives and friends, in schools or in hastily rented apartments.
Israel says the order is a humanitarian gesture to protect residents from harm while it roots out Hamas fighters entrenched in Gaza City. The United Nations says so many people cannot be safely moved inside the besieged enclave without causing a humanitarian disaster.
Hamas has vowed to fight until the last drop of blood, and says the order to leave the north of the enclave is a trick to force residents to give up their homes. Gaza City mosques have blared calls telling people to stay.
LEBANON BORDER CLASHES
The violence in Gaza has been accompanied by the deadliest clashes at Israel’s northern border with Lebanon since 2006, raising fears of war spreading to another front.
Lebanon’s armed Hezbollah movement, a close ally of Iran like Hamas, said it had fired at five Israeli outposts in the disputed Shebaa Farms border area with guided missiles and mortar bombs.
Reuters saw missiles fired at an Israeli army post and heard shelling from Israel and gunfire.
On Friday, Reuters video journalist Issam Abdallah was killed in a missile strike on the Lebanese side of the border. Lebanon’s army said the missile was launched by Israel. The Israeli military said it was investigating what happened.
The United States has firmly backed its ally Israel, but has called on it to protect civilians.
“The overwhelming majority of Palestinians had nothing to do with Hamas and Hamas’s appalling attacks,” President Joe Biden said on Friday. “And they’re suffering as a result as well.”
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, on a lightning tour of the Middle East, met Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister in Riyadh and was due to travel to the United Arab Emirates.
13 Oct 23. Israel’s Iron Dome air defense system works well – here’s how Hamas got around it.
Because of its unique national security challenges, Israel has a long history of developing highly effective, state-of-the-art defense technologies and capabilities. A prime example of Israeli military strength is the Iron Dome air defense system, which has been widely touted as the world’s best defense against missiles and rockets.
However, on Oct. 7, 2023, Israel was caught off guard by a very large-scale missile attack by the Gaza-based Palestinian militant group Hamas. The group fired several thousand missiles at a number of targets across Israel, according to reports. While exact details are not available, it is clear that a significant number of the Hamas missiles penetrated the Israeli defenses, inflicting extensive damage and casualties.
I am an aerospace engineer who studies space and defense systems. There is a simple reason the Israeli defense strategy was not fully effective against the Hamas attack. To understand why, you first need to understand the basics of air defense systems.
Air defense: detect, decide, disable
An air defense system consists of three key components. First, there are radars to detect, identify and track incoming missiles. The range of these radars varies. Iron Dome’s radar is effective over distances of 2.5 to 43.5 miles (4 to 70 km), according to its manufacturer Raytheon. Once an object has been detected by the radar, it must be assessed to determine whether it is a threat. Information such as direction and speed are used to make this determination.
The Conversation brings you analysis from scientists and medical doctors.
If an object is confirmed as a threat, Iron Dome operators continue to track the object by radar. Missile speeds vary considerably, but assuming a representative speed of 3,280 feet per second (1 km/s), the defense system has at most one minute to respond to an attack.
The second major element of an air defense system is the battle control center. This component determines the appropriate way to engage a confirmed threat. It uses the continually updating radar information to determine the optimal response in terms of from where to fire interceptor missiles and how many to launch against an incoming missile.
The third major component is the interceptor missile itself. For Iron Dome, it is a supersonic missile with heat-seeking sensors. These sensors provide in-flight updates to the interceptor, allowing it to steer toward and close in on the threat. The interceptor uses a proximity fuse activated by a small radar to explode close to the incoming missile so that it does not have to hit it directly to disable it.
Limits of missile defenses
Israel has at least 10 Iron Dome batteries in operation, each containing 60 to 80 interceptor missiles. Each of those missiles costs about US$60,000. In previous attacks involving smaller numbers of missiles and rockets, Iron Dome was 90% effective against a range of threats.
So, why was the system less effective against the recent Hamas attacks?
It is a simple question of numbers. Hamas fired several thousand missiles, and Israel had less than a thousand interceptors in the field ready to counter them. Even if Iron Dome was 100% effective against the incoming threats, the very large number of the Hamas missiles meant some were going to get through.
The Hamas attacks illustrate very clearly that even the best air defense systems can be overwhelmed if they are overmatched by the number of threats they have to counter.
How Iron Dome works.
The Israeli missile defense has been built up over many years, with high levels of financial investment. How could Hamas afford to overwhelm it? Again, it all comes down to numbers. The missiles fired by Hamas cost about $600 each, and so they are about 100 times less expensive than the Iron Dome interceptors. The total cost to Israel of firing all of its interceptors is around $48 million. If Hamas fired 5,000 missiles, the cost would be only $3 million.
Thus, in a carefully planned and executed strategy, Hamas accumulated over time a large number of relatively inexpensive missiles that it knew would overwhelm the Iron Dome defensive capabilities. Unfortunately for Israel, the Hamas attack represents a very clear example of military asymmetry: a low-cost, less-capable approach was able to defeat a more expensive, high-technology system.
Future air defense systems
The Hamas attack will have repercussions for all of the world’s major military powers. It clearly illustrates the need for air defense systems that are much more effective in two important ways. First, there is the need for a much deeper arsenal of defensive weapons that can address very large numbers of missile threats. Second, the cost per defensive weapon needs to be reduced significantly.
This episode is likely to accelerate the development and deployment of directed energy air defense systems based on high-energy lasers and high-power microwaves. These devices are sometimes described as having an “infinite magazine,” because they have a relatively low cost per shot fired and can keep firing as long as they are supplied with electrical power. (Source: Google/https://theconversation.com/)
13 Oct 23. Austin: U.S. Commitment to Israel Is “Ironclad.” Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III today underscored the United States’ unwavering commitment to Israel after meeting with key leaders in Tel Aviv.
Austin condemned the “bloodthirsty, fanatical and hateful” attacks by Hamas terrorists, which killed more than 1,300 people, according to Israeli figures, including at least 27 Americans. Austin compared the onslaught to the atrocities carried out by ISIS.
“The world has just witnessed a great evil: the deadliest attack on civilians in the history of the state of Israel and the bloodiest day in Jewish history since the end of the Holocaust,” he said after meeting with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.
“So, make no mistake: The United States will make sure that Israel has what it needs to defend itself,” he said.
He added that the U.S. would continue to coordinate with Israel as it works to secure the release of hostages taken by Hamas amid the attacks.
Austin also met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and members of the Israeli War Cabinet to convey the United States’ “ironclad” support for Israel and commitment to deterring further escalation.
Austin’s visit follows days of close coordination between the U.S. and Israel.
Soon after the attacks, he announced measures to bolster U.S. presence in the region to strengthen its deterrence against further attacks. That enhanced posture includes the positioning of the USS Gerald R. Ford Strike Group in the Eastern Mediterranean and bolstering Air Force fighter presence in the region.
The carrier strike group arrived on station Tuesday. Pentagon officials announced the arrival of a squadron of Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II attack aircraft in the region yesterday.
For any country, for any group or anyone thinking about trying to take advantage of this atrocity to try to widen the conflict or to spill more blood, we have just one word: Don’t.”
The U.S. has also begun to flow military assistance to Israel and is preparing to deliver rounds to replenish Israel’s Iron Dome missile interceptors.
“We will remain in close contact with our valued partners across the region, and security assistance from the Department of Defense is already rapidly flowing into Israel,” Austin said. “We will continue to ensure that Israel has what it needs to keep itself secure.”
Additional security assistance to Israel will “flow at the speed of war,” he said.
“For any country, for any group or anyone thinking about trying to take advantage of this atrocity to try to widen the conflict or to spill more blood, we have just one word: Don’t,” Austin said.
“The world is watching,” he said. “So are we. And we aren’t going anywhere.”
This week Austin convened the 16th meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group and attended a meeting of NATO defense ministers at NATO headquarters in Brussels. The secretary has underscored the United States’ commitment to assisting Israel, while at the same time continuing to help Ukraine defend itself against Russia’s ongoing war of aggression.
He said U.S. support to Israel remains “non-negotiable.”
“Hamas attacks at a time of global challenge, but the United States is the most powerful country in the world,” Austin said while in Tel Aviv. “We remained fully able to project power and uphold our commitments and direct resources to multiple theaters.” (Source: U.S. DoD)
13 Oct 23. Prime Minister deploys UK military to Eastern Mediterranean to support Israel.
The Prime Minister has deployed UK military to the Eastern Mediterranean to support Israel and reinforce regional stability.
- Royal Air Force surveillance aircraft to begin patrols today to help partners track emerging threats to regional security.
- Royal Navy task group to deploy to eastern Mediterranean in coming days to help mitigate humanitarian crisis
- Military teams bolstered across the region as cooperation with Israel is stepped up
The Prime Minister has directed UK military assets to be deployed to the eastern Mediterranean to support Israel, reinforce regional stability and prevent escalation.
Maritime patrol and surveillance aircraft will begin flying in the region from Friday to track threats to regional stability such as the transfer of weapons to terrorist groups.
Meanwhile, a Royal Navy task group will be moved to the eastern Mediterranean next week as a contingency measure to support humanitarian efforts.
The military package, which includes P8 aircraft, surveillance assets, two Royal Navy ships – RFA Lyme Bay and RFA Argus – three merlin helicopters and a company of Royal Marines, will be on standby to deliver practical support to Israel and partners in the region, and offer deterrence and assurance.
The Prime Minister has also asked for all military teams in Israel, Cyprus and across the region to be bolstered to support contingency planning and the efforts of neighbouring countries to deal with any spill over from instability in Israel.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister spoke to the Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, today to understand the wider regional picture and underscore the importance of supporting civilians to leave Gaza.
He also thanked President al-Sisi for Egypt’s assistance in helping British nationals in the area.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “We must be unequivocal in making sure the types of horrific scenes we have seen this week will not be repeated. Alongside our allies, the deployment of our world class military will support efforts to ensure regional stability and prevent further escalation. “
Our military and diplomatic teams across the region will also support international partners to re-establish security and ensure humanitarian aid reaches the thousands of innocent victims of this barbaric attack from Hamas terrorists.
The Prime Minister is due to speak to northern European leaders about the situation in Israel at the Joint Expeditionary Force summit in Sweden on Friday. They are expected to discuss the vital need to work with partners across the Middle East to support stability, while simultaneously remaining focussed on backing Ukraine’s defence against Russia.
He will also visit British warship HMS Diamond while in Gotland, Sweden, which is on patrol in northern Europe to reinforce security in the region. While on board, the Prime Minister will hear about the capabilities of Diamond’s sister ship, HMS Duncan, which is deployed in the Mediterranean with NATO.
The package of military support, which will work alongside allies already in the region, is a significant demonstration of the UK’s support for Israel’s right to self-defence and will allow the UK to adapt to the needs of partners as the situation evolves over the coming weeks.
The step change comes after the Prime Minister spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier this week, and the Defence Secretary discussed the situation with his NATO counterparts in Brussels.
The Foreign Secretary visited Israel to see first hand the destruction Hamas terrorists have caused and to understand how the UK can support the efforts of the Israeli Government to ensure the safety and security of the Israeli people.
Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said: “The monstrous terrorist attacks committed by Hamas in recent days have proven why the UK must support Israel’s absolute right to self-defence and deter malign external interference. No nation should stand alone in the face of such evil and today’s deployment will ensure Israel does not. ”
The Royal Navy Task Group, RAF operations and our wider military support will be an undeniable display of the UK’s resolve to ensure Hamas’s terrorist campaign fails, whilst reminding those who seek to inflame tensions that the forces of freedom stand with the Israeli people.
Meanwhile, the Foreign Secretary announced that the UK will facilitate commercial flights to help vulnerable British nationals wanting to leave Israel. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
13 Oct 23. Israel calls for civilians to leave Gaza City as military amasses tanks. Israel links Gaza aid to hostage release.
- LATEST DEVELOPMENTS:
- U.N. says 400,000 Palestinians flee, ‘mass displacement continues’
- Israeli military says Gaza city civilians must evacuate
- Israel says it strikes Hamas hiding in Gaza City tunnels
- Iranian foreign minister meets head of Hezbollah, media say
Israel’s military on Friday called for all civilians of Gaza City, more than 1 million people, to relocate south within 24 hours, as it amassed tanks for an expected ground invasion in response to a devastating attack by the militant group Hamas.
The United Nations said evacuating everyone was impossible with power supplies cut and food and water in the Palestinian enclave running short after a week of retaliatory air strikes and a full Israeli blockade.
Top U.S. officials headed for urgent talks in Israel and beyond amid fears the conflict could spread, with Iran warning of a response from its allies, which include Hamas and Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Pro-Palestinian protests were planned around the world and in some places, Jewish communities feared they could be targeted after the unprecedented weekend attacks by Hamas inside Israel that killed more than 1,300 people, mostly civilians.
“We are ready to join the fight and rid the Palestinians of the Israeli atrocities,” said Muntadhar Kareem, 25, a teacher among thousands of Iraqis protesting in Baghdad.
The Israeli military pledged to operate “significantly” in coming days, a day after Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said “Now is a time for war”.
“Civilians of Gaza City, evacuate south for your own safety and the safety of your families and distance yourself from Hamas terrorists who are using you as human shields,” the military said, accusing Hamas of hiding in and under civilian buildings.
A Hamas official urged citizens not to fall for what it called “fake propaganda” and there were few signs of civilians leaving on Friday morning.
The Palestinian envoy to Japan accused the Israelis of seeking to completely destroy Gaza, where more than 1,500 Palestinians have already been killed in retaliatory attacks.
Much of the population is descended from refugees who fled or were expelled from homes in Israel at its founding in 1948.
“Today Israel is repeating this before the eyes of the world,” Gaza analyst Talal Okal told Reuters.
Israel says the horrific attack on its civilians means it must annihilate the militant group and others must get out of the way. Hamas tunnels, military compounds, senior operatives’ residences and weapons storage warehouses were among 750 military targets struck overnight, it said.
The military wing of Hamas said the latest air strikes had killed 13 among scores of people it captured from Israel and that it had fired 150 rockets at Israel in response.
The United Nations said Israel’s call for Gaza civilians to leave could not happen “without devastating humanitarian consequences”, prompting a rebuke from Israel which said it should condemn Hamas and support Israel’s right to self-defence.
A ground invasion of the narrow and densely populated Gaza Strip, home to 2.3 million people, poses serious risk, with Hamas threatening to kill its hostages.
Hours after the Israeli evacuation call, there were no signs people were leaving Gaza City, where dozens gathered at the al-Shifa Hospital, vowing to stay put.
Palestinians in southern and central areas of the enclave, where people were expected to flee to, said air strikes had hit there overnight, with central parts also hit on Friday morning. There was no immediate comment from Israel.
The U.N. humanitarian office (OCHA) said more than 400,000 people had fled their homes in Gaza and 23 aid workers had been killed. “Mass displacement continues,” it said.
The U.N. Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA) said it had moved its central operations centre and international staff to Gaza’s south and urged Israel to spare its shelters.
‘RIDDLED WITH BULLETS’
Seeking to build support for its response, Israel’s government showed U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and NATO defence ministers graphic images of children and civilians they said Hamas had killed in a weekend rampage in Israel.
“It’s simply depravity in the worst imaginable way,” Blinken said, joining others in urging Israel to show restraint while also reiterating America’s support, saying: “We will always be there by your side.”
On Friday he was due to meet Jordan’s King Abdullah and Mahmoud Abbas, head of the Palestinian Authority in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. He is also set to visit Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates – some with influence on Hamas, which is backed by Iran.
Iran’s foreign minister met the head of the powerful Hezbollah movement, Hassan Nassrallah, in Lebanon, where there have been cross-border clashes with Israel since the weekend, Lebanese media outlets reported.
“The continuation of war crimes against Palestine and Gaza will receive a response from the rest of the axis,” Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said.
The foreign minister of Turkey, which has offered mediation, talked with his counterpart from the UAE, a Turkish foreign ministry source said, and will visit Egypt on Friday.
The U.S. military is placing no conditions on its security assistance to Israel, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said, adding Washington expected it to “do the right things”. Austin was due to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel on Friday.
SAFETY CONCERNS PROMPT SECURITY MEASURES
The United States and Japan were among countries offering charter flights for their citizens wanting to leave Israel while police in Paris used tear gas and water cannon to break up a banned rally in support of the Palestinians.
Some Jewish schools in Amsterdam and London were set to close temporarily due to safety concerns and police in New York and Los Angeles stepped up their presence around synagogues and Jewish community centres.
The Arab American Anti-Discrimination Committee advocacy group, said on Thursday that FBI agents had visited mosques and U.S. residents with Palestinian roots in a “troubling trend”.
Gazans have suffered economic collapse and repeated Israeli bombardment under a blockade since Hamas seized power there 16 years ago.
Talks to create a Palestinian state collapsed a decade ago and Israel’s right-wing government has cracked down in the West Bank and talked of seizing more land. Palestinian leaders say this left the population with no hope, strengthening extremists.
In 2021 the Israeli military wrongly said that its ground forces had begun a ground offensive inside Gaza before blaming a miscommunication for the announcement, which was reported by some international news media but not Reuters.
Israeli news media said it may have been part of a deception to trick Hamas and Islamic Jihad fighters into giving away their locations. (Source: Reuters)
12 Oct 23. Israeli cyber security professionals band together amid Gaza war. As Israeli children listened to their teacher over Zoom, the image of a gun-toting man in fatigues appeared on the screen, according to a screenshot shared with Reuters. In another case, a video showed a billboard in the central Israeli city of Holon displaying images of rockets and a burning Israeli flag.
Israeli information security professionals are banding together to provide free cybersecurity services to Israeli companies amid a spike in hacktivist activity sparked by the war in Gaza, volunteers said.
Reuters could not independently verify the school incident. The screenshot was provided by Yossi Appleboum, the chief executive of cybersecurity company Sepio. Appleboum said he received the screenshot via a person in direct contact with the children’s families.
In a statement, Zoom said that it was “deeply upset” to hear about the disruption, and that it had offered its help to enable schools in Israel to continue operating remotely.
The video of the hacked billboard was first posted to the Telegram messaging service on Thursday morning. Check Point (CHKP.O), an Israel-based cybersecurity firm, said the billboard was one of at least two such public displays to have been hacked with “pro-Hamas and anti-Israel content”. Reuters was able to verify the location of the video as Holon.
Israel’s tech industry is – like the country as a whole – in flux, with many professionals being called up for military duty. The changeover has left new openings for mischief.
A disparate group of hacktivists claiming to act in support of the Palestinian people have attempted intrusions and sabotage efforts. Websites have been knocked offline and hackers have occasionally made off with stolen data, but the damage has so far been modest.
Ohad Zaidenberg, an Israeli IT specialist, is leading a group of volunteers to help Israeli companies that are being actively targeted.
“The Israeli cyber community is vast – and the mobilization is both effective and moving,” he said.
The organizers of the volunteers are drawing the line on members taking vigilante action against Hamas, said Omri Segev Moyal, the chief executive of the Israeli cybersecurity firm Profero.
Moyal, who runs a popular Facebook group for Israeli cybersecurity professionals, said he had already removed a couple of posts calling for digital action against the Palestinian group. He said he could understand the impulse – “people are mad” – but he believed vigilante action would backfire.
Moyal said Profero had been approached by the family of one of the people who went missing with a request to hack into the victim’s iCloud and phones in an effort to locate them.
“We refused,” he said. “We think it’s actually going to cause damage to the victims.” (Source: Reuters)
12 Oct 23. Austin’s Upcoming Trip to Israel Underscores U.S. Commitment Following Attacks. Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III will travel to Israel on Friday to meet with Israeli leaders and underscore the United States’ unwavering commitment to support Israel following the recent deadly attacks by Hamas terrorists, Defense Department officials announced today.
Austin is expected to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and members of the Israeli War Cabinet to discuss Israel’s operational planning and objectives and security assistance needs in response to the series of attacks launched early Saturday.
“This is sending quite a clear signal of the depth of U.S. commitment to Israel’s security,” a senior Pentagon official said.
“What is quite clear is the commitment of this administration and our Cabinet to support the Israeli people as they work to restore security to their people,” the official said.
Austin’s visit follows days of close coordination between the U.S. and Israel.
Soon after the attacks, he announced measures to bolster U.S. presence in the region to strengthen its deterrence against further attacks. That enhanced posture includes the positioning of the USS Gerald R. Ford Strike Group in the Eastern Mediterranean and bolstering Air Force fighter presence in the region.
The carrier strike group arrived on station Tuesday. Pentagon officials announced the arrival of a squadron of Air Force A-10Thunderbolt II attack aircraft in the region today.
“We are continually adjusting and monitoring our posture in in the region to ensure we are positioned in support of Israel’s defense,” the Pentagon official said.
“The United States is unequivocal in its support for the defense of Israel and is sending a warning to any entity that would consider taking advantage of this conflict and this war to escalate violence. One word, quite simply, ‘don’t,'” the official said.
In addition to increasing its force presence in the region, the U.S. has also begun to flow military assistance to Israel and is preparing delivery of rounds to replenish Israel’s Iron Dome missile interceptors.
“We will continue to be responsive to Israel’s requests for air defense, artillery, ammunition and precision-guided munitions,” the Pentagon official said. “Secretary Austin’s commitment to responding expeditiously to Israel’s request is a high priority for his national security team.”
Make no mistake: We can and will stand by Israel even as we stand by Ukraine.”
Austin this week convened the 16th meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group and attended a meeting of NATO defense ministers at NATO headquarters in Brussels. The secretary has underscored the United States’ commitment to assisting Israel, while at the same time continuing to help Ukraine defend itself against Russia’s ongoing war of aggression.
Thank you to our allies & partners for another great meeting of the UDCG. Since Russia’s cruel invasion, this group has rallied to support Ukraine’s brave defenders.
The U.S. will continue to lead efforts to coordinate security assistance to meet Ukraine’s battlefield needs. pic.twitter.com/Xro2xF5LyT
— Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III (@SecDef) October 12, 2023
“Our support for Israel is rock solid,” Austin said earlier today in Brussels. “We are working urgently to get Israel what it needs to defend itself, including munitions and Iron Dome interceptors. And we will do so even as we continue to support the people of Ukraine as they fight against Russian aggression.
“Make no mistake: We can and will stand by Israel even as we stand by Ukraine,” he said. (Source: US DoD)
12 Oct 23. Israel says no exceptions to Gaza siege unless hostages freed.
- Red Cross says fuel for hospital generators could run out in hours
- Gazans made homeless by bombing shelter in schools
Israel said on Thursday there would be no humanitarian exceptions to its siege of the Gaza Strip until all its hostages were freed, after the Red Cross pleaded for fuel to be allowed in to prevent overwhelmed hospitals from “turning into morgues”.
Israel has vowed to annihilate the Hamas movement that rules the Gaza Strip in retribution for the deadliest attack on Jewish civilians since the Holocaust, when hundreds of gunmen poured across the barrier fence and rampaged through Israeli towns on Saturday.
Public broadcaster Kan said the Israeli death toll had risen to more than 1,300 since Saturday. Most were civilians gunned down in their homes, on the streets or at a dance party. Scores of Israeli and foreign hostages were taken back to Gaza; Israel says it has identified 97 of them.
The full scale of the killings has emerged in recent days after Israeli forces reclaimed control of towns, finding homes strewn with bodies. They say they found women who had been raped and killed, and children who were shot and burned.
Israel has responded so far by putting Gaza, home to 2.3 million people, under total siege and launching by far the most powerful bombing campaign in the 75-year history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, destroying whole neighbourhoods.
Gaza authorities say more than 1,200 people have been killed and more than 5,000 people have been wounded in the bombing. The sole electric power station has been switched off and hospitals are running out of fuel for emergency generators.
The International Committee of the Red Cross said fuel powering emergency generators at hospitals could run out within hours.
“The human misery caused by this escalation is abhorrent, and I implore the sides to reduce the suffering of civilians,” ICRC regional director Fabrizio Carboni said in a statement on Thursday.
“As Gaza loses power, hospitals lose power, putting newborns in incubators and elderly patients on oxygen at risk. Kidney dialysis stops, and X-rays can’t be taken. Without electricity, hospitals risk turning into morgues.”
Israeli Energy Minister Israel Katz said there would be no exceptions to the siege without freedom for Israeli hostages.
“Humanitarian aid to Gaza? No electrical switch will be lifted, no water hydrant will be opened and no fuel truck will enter until the Israeli hostages are returned home. Humanitarian for humanitarian. And nobody should preach us morals,” Katz posted on social media platform X.
NO DECISION ON GROUND ASSAULT
At the hospital in Khan Younis, the main city in the south of the Gaza Strip, a woman tried to calm a weeping girl whose house had been hit. The girl kept screaming “my mother, I want my mother”.
“She is looking for her mother. We don’t know where she is,” said the woman who took the girl in her arms.
In Gaza’s Al Shati refugee camp, residents were sifting through rubble with their bare hands looking for survivors and bodies. Rescue workers say they lack fuel and equipment to dig victims out of collapsed buildings.
The United Nations says at least 340,000 Gazans have been made homeless in the past four days. Nearly 220,000 of them are sheltering in 92 U.N.-run schools.
At one school turned into a shelter, Hanan Al-Attar, 14, said her family had rushed out of their home with nothing but the clothes on their backs as bombs fell nearby. Her uncle went back to fetch some clothes and was killed when the house was hit.
“They are bombing the houses on top of civilians, women, and children,” said her grandfather.
Across the barrier in Ashkelon, southern Israel, cars and buildings were damaged by fresh rocket strikes from Gaza. Workers swept up debris.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken landed in Israel on Thursday on a trip to show solidarity with Israel, help prevent the war from spreading and push for the release of hostages, including American citizens.
He will also visit Jordan on Friday to meet King Abdullah and Mahmoud Abbas, head of the Palestinian Authority that operates limited self-rule in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
Abbas, whose Fatah movement lost control of the Gaza Strip to its Hamas rivals in 2007, has not condemned the attacks on Israel, has blamed the escalation on the neglect of Palestinian grievances, and has called for Palestinians outside Gaza to resist the Israeli military.
Israel formed a new unity war government on Wednesday, bringing opponents of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu into his cabinet.
It has called up hundreds of thousands of reservists in preparation for what could be a ground assault on Gaza. No decision to invade has yet been made “but we’re preparing for it”, military spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Richard Hecht said early on Thursday.
The war has torn up diplomacy in the region, just as Israel was preparing to reach an agreement to normalise ties with Saudi Arabia, the richest Arab power, and months after Riyadh resumed ties with its regional rival Iran, sponsor of Hamas.
Tehran has celebrated the Hamas attacks but denied being behind them. U.S. President Joe Biden said a deployment of military ships and aircraft closer to Israel should be seen as a signal to Iran to stay out of the conflict. (Source: Reuters)
09 Oct 23. U.S. Helps Israel Defend Against Hamas Attacks. The Hamas attack on Israel out of Gaza is at a different level than in the past, a senior defense official said today. Hundreds of Israelis have been killed in the attacks that also killed 11 Americans, President Joe Biden said in a written release. Hamas terrorists have also kidnapped people in Israel and taken them to Gaza.
“While we are still working to confirm, we believe it is likely that American citizens may be among those being held by Hamas,” Biden said. “I have directed my team to work with their Israeli counterparts on every aspect of the hostage crisis, including sharing intelligence and deploying experts from across the United States government to consult with and advise Israeli counterparts on hostage recovery efforts.”
The senior defense official said the unprecedented Hamas attack is notable for its violence. “I want to differentiate this from other times we have seen conflicts between Israel and Hamas in Gaza,” the official said. “This is ISIS-level savagery that we have seen committed against Israeli civilians — houses burned to the ground, young people massacred at music festivals.”
Since the attack on Saturday, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III has been working to make clear that the U.S. unequivocally supports Israel’s right to defend itself. Austin and the rest of the National Security Council have been calling allies and partners throughout the Middle East and Europe with this message. “We’re also making very clear to adversaries or those that might be entertaining entering this conflict to escalate it that they should think twice and not take advantage of the instability,” the official said.
Austin spoke to Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on Saturday and Sunday. Austin is getting operational updates and learning what equipment and capabilities Israel needs to defend itself, the official said.
The United States is “surging” support to Israel, including air defense capabilities and munitions. “We remain in constant, ongoing contact with our counterparts in Israel to determine, and then support, their most urgent requirements,” the official said. “The bottom line is we are working as fast as possible to provide critically needed munitions of various types and other equipment.”
Defense Department officials are also working with U.S. industry to expedite the shipment of military equipment that the Israelis had already ordered. “We’re also working across the DOD enterprise, including with U.S. Central Command, to assess what munitions and other equipment are in U.S. inventories that we can be made, that can be made quickly available to Israel,” the official said.
The United States is also bolstering U.S. presence in the region. Austin ordered the USS Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group to the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. The aircraft carrier has an embarked airwing and accompanying cruisers and destroyers. The force will conduct maritime and air operations in order to assure allies and partners throughout the region and ensure regional stability. The strike group is prepared for the full range of missions.
Austin also ordered more Air Force F-35, F-15, F-16 and A-10 fighter aircraft to squadrons in the region.
“These posture increases were intended to serve as an unequivocal demonstration in deeds, and not only in words, of U.S. support for Israel’s defense and serve as a deterrent signal to Iran, Lebanese Hezbollah, and any other proxy across the region who might be considering exploiting the current situation to escalate conflict,” the senior defense official said. “Those adversaries should think twice.”
Iran is in the picture, but there is no proof of active involvement by that country. “Iran has provided support for years to Hamas and Hezbollah,” the official said. “We’ve long discussed Iran’s role in a equipping, training and providing guidance to militant groups. I’m not talking about any specific intelligence in here. But we’ve been very clear for years about Iran’s role in fomenting instability and inciting violence across the region.” (Source: US DoD)
09 Oct 23. Iran and Hezbollah declare support for Hamas against Israel. Officials say Iran provided military training, logistical assistance and ms of dollars in weapons to Palestinian militant group Hamas’ before its surprise assault on Israel.
“What I can say without a doubt is that Iran is broadly complicit in these attacks,” US Deputy National Security Adviser Jonathan Finer said on 9 October in an interview with CBS News.
“Iran has been Hamas’s primary backer for decades. They have provided them weapons. They have provided them training. They have provided them financial support. We are very clear about a role for Iran.”
Suspicions of Iranian involvement have been fanned by Tehran’s public declarations of support for Hamas. Yahya Rahim Safavi, former commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, said it would support Hamas “until the liberation of Palestine and Jerusalem”.
Safavi is also a top advisor to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who said: “We kiss the hands of those who planned the attack on the Zionist regime”, despite denying direct Iranian involvement in a rare speech televised on 10 October.
Tehran aims to disrupt Saudi-Israel relations. Iran has a long history of supplying anti-Israeli militant groups with weapons, including Hezbollah and Hamas.
In talks with the Taliban in Afghanistan, Iranian foreign minister Hossein Amirabdollahian called for Islamic countries to unite in support for “the oppressed people of Palestine and Al-Aqsa Mosque”. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
08 Oct 23. Israel-Palestinian Territories: Severe security risks, air travel disruption following major armed escalation. On 7 October, Palestinian Hamas militants launched a combined ground, air and sea assault, covered by a heavy rocket barrage on Israeli towns in the Gaza envelope (see Sibylline Alert – 7 October 2023). In response, Israel declared the actions an ‘act of war’, beginning Israeli Air Force airstrikes in Gaza while deploying Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to regain control over the Gaza envelope area. The current estimated combined death toll of Palestinians and Israelis is over 1,100, with at least 150 civilians and soldiers, including foreign nationals, kidnapped by Hamas. At the time of writing, IDF ground units continue to engage Hamas militants in at least six active points, including within the Israeli city of Sderot. Elevated risk of attacks, including rocket attacks and shootings in Israeli cities, including Tel Aviv, will remain in the coming weeks. Risks of Incidental damage and harm to non-combatants in the Gaza and Gaza envelope areas remain severe. Fighting will substantially heighten operational risks for staff and assets in Israel and the Palestinian Territories, as well as drive air and ground travel disruption. (Source: Sibylline)
09 Oct 23. US-Israel: Naval strike group deployment signals high support for Israel; additional military aid likely. On 8 October, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin confirmed that the USS Gerald Ford naval strike group had been deployed to the Eastern Mediterranean to bolster regional deterrence. The group includes around 5,000 naval personnel, as well as five guided-missile cruisers and destroyers. Austin also stated that the US is augmenting the Air Force’s presence in the Middle East. US Central Command (CENTCOM) indicated that the US is prepared to move additional resources and assets to the region. It remains possible that the US will restock Israel’s short-range missiles or permit access to the US munitions stockpile based in Israel. Also on 8 October, Israeli Ambassador to the US, Michael Herzog, confirmed that US nationals are among those held hostage in Gaza. It is highly likely that Congress will seek to provide additional military aid to Israel in the short term. However, the House must first elect a new speaker to provide further appropriations. (Source: Sibylline)
09 Oct 23. How Hamas duped Israel as it planned devastating attack.
- Hamas gave impression economy was in focus, says source
- Even in plain sight, Hamas trained for attack, says source
- Israel misread training as posturing, source adds
- ‘This is our 9/11,’ says army spokesman, ‘They got us.’
-A careful campaign of deception ensured Israel was caught off guard when the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas launched its devastating attack, enabling a force using bulldozers, hang gliders and motorbikes to take on the Middle East’s most powerful army.
Saturday’s assault, the worst breach in Israel’s defences since Arab armies waged war in 1973, followed two years of subterfuge by Hamas that involved keeping its military plans under wraps and convincing Israel it did not want a fight. (Source: Reuters)
BATTLESPACE Comment: Sources suggest that videos on X show that Hamas UAVs dropped explosive charges on each Watchtower on the Gaza fence and detonated them in tandem thus blinding all EO/IR sensors and cameras.
10 Oct 23. U.S. Flowing Military Supplies to Israel, as Country Battles Hamas Terrorists. The United States is flowing military supplies to Israel as the country battles against Hamas terrorists, President Joe Biden said today.
“We stand with Israel,” the president said during an announcement at the White House.
The Hamas attack has been exceptionally brutal with hundreds of Israeli civilians killed and thousands wounded in the surprise attack out of Gaza that began Saturday.
“There’s still so many families desperately waiting to hear the fate of their loved ones, not knowing if they are alive or dead or hostages,” the president said.
Hamas gunmen also kidnapped civilians and now leaders of the group have threatened to execute them. “The brutality of Hamas, its bloodthirstiness, brings to mind the worst rampages of ISIS,” Biden said. “This is terrorism.”
“We will make sure Israel has what it needs to take care of its citizens, defend itself and respond to this attack,” he continued.
Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today and Biden assured him that the U.S. response to the events will be swift, decisive and overwhelming.
“My team has been in near constant communication with our Israeli partners and partners all across the region and the world from the moment this crisis began,” the president said. “We’re surging additional military assistance, including ammunition, and interceptors to replenish Iron Dome. We are going to make sure that Israel does not run out of these critical assets to defend its cities and its citizens.”
Biden said that he will ask Congress “to take urgent action to fund the national security requirements of our critical partners. This is not about party or politics; this is about the security of our world, security of the United States of America.”
The United States has also enhanced its military force posture in the region to strengthen deterrence. DOD has moved the USS Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group to the eastern Mediterranean and bolstered fighter aircraft presence in the region.
These moves are not to deter Hamas, but any country or group that may think of taking advantage of the instability and confusion to pursue their own ends. “To any country, any organization, anyone thinking of taking advantage of the situation, I have one word: Don’t,” Biden said. “Our hearts may be broken but our resolve is clear.”
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said there are U.S. citizens among the hostages Hamas has taken. “We are working with the Israeli government and with our regional partners on every aspect of the hostage crisis, including sharing intelligence and deploying experts from across the U.S. government to advise the Israeli government and coordinate with them on hostage recovery efforts,” he said during a White House news conference. “As the President … said, there is no higher priority than the safety and well-being of American citizens being held hostage overseas.”
Sullivan said military supplies are already flowing into Israel with interceptors for the Iron Dome missile defense shield leading the way. “We will be flowing in additional Iron Dome interceptors so that have the capabilities they need to sustain their Iron Dome defense systems,” he said. “We’re also looking at other ways that we can help augment their air defense capabilities.”
Sullivan said that Iran “is complicit in this attack, in a broad sense,” meaning Iran has long funded and trained and supplied the terror group.
Iranian leaders “have provided capabilities, they have provided support, and they have had engagement in contact with Hamas over years and years,” he said. “All of that has played a role in contributing to what we have seen now. As to the question of whether Iran knew about this attack in advance, or helped plan or direct this attack? We do not, as of the moment … have confirmation.” (Source: US DoD)
09 Oct 23. IDF: Israeli aircraft conduct over 2,000 airstrikes in Gaza Strip. Airpower has been the predominant initial response to the bloody incursions by Hamas into Israel, with the IDF seeking to degrade Hamas’ military presence in the enclave. Israel to Hamas’ extensive incursions into Israel over the weekend 7 October, which has resulted in the deaths of more than 700 Israeli’s and other nationals, has seen its military focus on the utilisation of air assets to strike at known and opportune targets in the neighbouring Gaza Strip enclave.
Beginning in the morning of 7 October, the Hamas militant organisation conducted a series of raids into Israel, with widespread reports of indiscriminate killings or kidnappings of hundreds of civilians, as well as an unknown number of Israeli soldiers. Kidnapped Israeli’s have reportedly been taken across Israel’s border with Gaza, with their exact whereabouts unknown.
Apparently caught off guard, the Israeli Defense Force has since been attempting to catch up and match the operational tempo of Hamas fighters. Hamas’ incursions began on the 50th anniversary of the start of the Yom Kippur war, which saw a coalition of Arab nations unsuccessfully attempt to invade Israel.
While ground operations continue inside Israel to find and eliminate Hamas fighters still at large, the country’s Air Force has been tasked with degrading Hamas’ military infrastructure, along with other Islamist groups operating in the Gaza Strip, such as Islamic Jihad.
According to an IDF statement on X, formerly known as Twitter, between Saturday (7 October) and Monday morning (9 October), over 1,200 targets were hit by Israeli aircraft across the Gaza Strip, including weapons storage and manufacturing sites, command and control centers, rocket launchers and more.
Air strikes on 9 October were carried out against a range of targets, including a “weapons compound” and an “entry point to an underground terror tunnel in the Gaza Strip”, purportedly used by “senior operatives of the Hamas terrorist organisation”.
In addition, an “operational command centre belonging to Islamic Jihad”, which the IDF was located inside a mosque in the Zeitan neighbourhood, and another Hamas command centre in Khan Younis, were struck by Israeli fighter jets. The locating of sites of military significance by Hamas inside civilian areas in the Gaza Strip was “deliberate”, the IDF stated.
Also, on the morning of 9 October, the IDF said that an aircraft struck a vehicle belonging to the Hamas that approached the security fence in the Gaza Strip travelling towards Israeli territory.
In the hours since, Israeli airstrikes have continued on Gaza, with the IDF reporting that rockets fired from Gaza targetted Ashkelon.
A freelance contributor to Army Technology, Joe Charlaff, also reported sirens sounding in Jerusalem, as rockets attacks from Hamas operating in the Gaza Strip continue.
By the evening of 9 October, the IDF stated that it had “doubled” the number of the 1,200 airstrikes carried out in the first 48 hours of operations, indicating that up to 2,500 strikes had been conducted on targets in the Gaza Strip.
Israel now engaged in “war” with Hamas
In a video posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, in the afternoon of 9 October, IDF spokesperson Major Doron Spielman said that the IDF was “now engaged in a war with Hamas terrorists”.
In the same timeframe, the IDF stated on X that it had “neutralised a number of terrorist infiltrators” who had crossed the Lebanon border into Israel. The IDF’s Homefront Command has since commanded Israeli citizens living near the country’s border with Lebanon to “remain in their homes”.
Large tracts of Lebanon are controlled by the Hezbollah militant organisation. Both Hamas and Hezbollah have strong links to Iran and are actively supported by the regime in Tehran.
It should be noted that the UK maintains a small presence of military personnel in Lebanon through the UNIFIL mission, where it is assisting the civilian government with security programmes. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
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