Day Fifteen Of Swords Of Iron
Iraq joins Mahmoud Abbas: "There is no place for Palestinians except their land."
According to an IDF spokesman, one out of five Hamas rockets fired at Israel in the last 24 hours fell within Gaza.
IAF bombing of targets in Gaza has reportedly increased dramatically. Ground invasion is expected. IDF Chief of Staff Herzl Halevy told troops to be ready for surprises.
The Sheba Medical Center in Israel endured a cyber attack today, and was disconnected from the internet to prevent further attack. Additionally, the Israeli Health Ministry disconnected internet connections of several additional hospitals as a preventive effort. Hospitals are operating, but public websites may be down.
Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights in the Biden Administration Uzra Zeya tweeted: "My team—and the State Department —are working 24/7 to help ensure humanitarian assistance urgently reaches Palestinians in dire need. $100M in new U.S. support announced by President Biden will help meet urgent needs for clean water, food, medical care, shelter & other essentials. "Our message to Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank, and all around the world is clear: we see you, we grieve with you, and we mourn every loss of innocent life. Civilians are not to blame and should not suffer for Hamas’s horrific terrorism." During the Trump administration, Zeya resigned from the Foreign Service, citing her claim that she had been passed over for promotion because of her sex and race. She then joined former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's firm before being brought back to the State Department by Biden.IDF image shows failed Hamas rocket launches that fell within Gaza, Oct 7 - Oct 21, 2023
Hezbollah deputy leader Sheikh Naim Kassem said his group is “in the heart of the battle” and vowed that Israel will pay a high price for a ground invasion. “Do you believe that if you try to crush the Palestinian resistance, other resistance fighters in the region will not act?” Kassem said in a speech during the funeral of a Hezbollah fighter. It came after numerous drone and artillery strikes by the IDF. “We are in the heart of the battle today. We are making achievements through this battle,” he said.
Israeli Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said that Israel's plan is to “increase the attacks from today,” while speaking to reporters about tonight's bombing runs. "We will deepen our attacks to minimize the dangers to our forces in the next stages of the war. We are going to increase the attacks from today." He reiterated Israel's calls on Gazans to flee south toward the enclave's border with Egypt.
President Biden released a statement saying, “I know these conflicts can seem far away. It’s natural to ask: Why does this matter to America? Israel and Ukraine’s success is vital to our national security. History has taught us that when terrorists and dictators don’t pay a price, they cause more death and destruction."
The Palestinian Red Crescent Society reacted to the admission of humanitarian aid to Gaza: "Today’s entry … is a welcomed glimpse of hope but this minuscule aid represents a drop in the ocean.” The statement said, "We call on the international community to secure the continued flow of humanitarian aid into Gaza including through the Israeli-controlled crossings. Furthermore, without fuel entering the Gaza Strip to support generating electricity, thousands of Palestinian lives are at risk of death in hospitals. Ambulances will no longer be able to save lives. Bakeries will no longer be able to provide bread. It shall also leave the population without potable water, and risking the outbreak of diseases."
The foreign minister of Qatar said his country is coordinating with the US and other international partners for the release of hostages held by the Hamas terrorists, and to minimize escalation of the conflict. FM Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman al-Thani spoke to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in a phone call today.
With the death of a Hezbollah terrorist today, the total number of Hezbollah combatants killed since Oct. 7 rose to 14. Reuters reported that the terrorist was killed near Hula -- a Lebanese area opposite Margaliot, Israel. The latter had been attacked by anti-tank missiles, according to the IDF.
Médecins Sans Frontières said that Gaza's medical system is facing collapse. In a series of tweets, MSF said Gaza’s hospitals are “overwhelmed and lacking resources”. “We recently made a large donation of medical stock, including medicines, narcotics and medical equipment to Al Shifa hospital, the main surgical facility in the strip,” the organisation stated. “We delivered everything we had left, all our medical supplies, to Al Shifa hospital in Gaza City, two days ago. We saw hundreds of people taking shelter and it was difficult to walk inside,” Loay Harb, an MSF nurse said.Anti-Israel rally, Warsaw.
Israel issued a warning to its citizens to avoid travel to Egypt, Jordan and Morocco, citing fears that Israeli travelers will be targets of those angry at the ongoing war sparked by October 7’s deadly Hamas onslaught on Israel.
As many as 100,000 people marched in London today in support of Palestine, calling on an immediate end to the war.
Secretary of State Blinken urged all parties to keep the Rafah crossing into Gaza open to enable aid to continue coming through. The opening of the route this morning, he said, was the result of “days of exhaustive US diplomatic engagement in the region”.
Iraqi PM Mohammed Shia al-Sudani said in Cairo that Palestinians are “facing genocide” and being targeted in hospitals. “It’s a war crime on full scale,” he said, adding that it started with the killing of unarmed people and “forcing a siege on the rest of the living”.
The UN said no further humanitarian convoys were planned until Oct. 23.
The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, told the peace summit in Cairo: “We won’t leave, we will remain on our land.”
UN Secretary-general, António Guterres, told the Cairo peace summit that the time had come for “action to end this godawful nightmare” and called for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire. “I appeal for a humanitarian ceasefire now."
UN Undersecretary General Martin Griffiths said the humanitarian situation in Gaza “has reached catastrophic levels”.
Hamas claimed 13 people were reportedly killed in an airstrike above a residential unit in the Palestinian city of Deir al-Balah. The claim has not been independently verified.
The Rafah crossing point between Egypt and Gaza was opened this morning to allow 20 Egyptian trucks carrying medical supplies across, after intense negotiations involving the US, Israel, Egypt and the UN. Under the agreement, only 20 trucks will be allowed today, with all deliveries from the Egyptian Red Crescent to go to the Palestinian Red Crescent organisation. A UN official said that the next convoy might not be allowed to cross until Oct. 23.
Hamas said it will not discuss the fate of Israeli army captives until Israel ends its “aggression” on Gaza. Hamas official Osama Hamdan said in a televised press conference: "Our stance with regards to Israeli army captives is clear: it’s related to a (possible) exchange of prisoners, and we will not discuss it until Israel ends its aggression on Gaza and Palestinians."
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy spoke to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, about several areas, including the situation in the Middle East. Writing on Telegram, he wrote: “We also discussed the situation in the Middle East and agreed on the need to ensure the protection of civilians and respect for humanitarian law.”
Samantha Woll, 40, who presided over a synagogue in the Detroit metropolitan area was found stabbed to death. Police suggest she was murdered. She had previously worked for U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.) and the re-election campaign of Attorney General Dana Nessel, both Democrats. She was the founder of the Muslim-Jewish Forum of Detroit.
Samantha Woll was found stabbed to death in Detroit, Oct. 21, 2023
Iran Dossier reported:
Following Hamas's unexpected deadly assault on Israel, evidence from the battlefield revealed the presence of drones, RPG anti-tank rocket launchers, and PGs outfitted with thermobaric warheads. Iranian media outlets cite Israeli television coverage: "Caught both intelligence agencies and the Israeli military off guard..." These might indicate the Iranian "Ghadir" version, strikingly similar to the Russian RPG-29 Vampir anti-tank rocket launcher. Such discoveries further validate reports of Iran's constant contributions to Hamas's arsenal, encompassing advancements in rocket development technology, drone capabilities, and supplies of anti-tank missiles and sniper rifles and doctrine. Iran perceives Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad as critical components in its so-called Axis of resistance" intending to encircle Israel. This axis encompasses—the pro-Iranian Shiite militias in Iraq and Syria—the Houthi rebels in Yemen, and Hezbollah in Lebanon. Since the initiation of Operation "Iron Swords," these militias have escalated their onslaught against U.S. bases. The Ghadir, an Iranian counterpart of the RPG-29, showcased in a Baghdad exhibition, mirrors the RPG-29N closely. A more rudimentary model with a unified barrel has been reported among Iranian-supported factions since 2018.
The RPG-29’s Iranian variant can launch anti-armor ammunition with specifications of a 500-meter range, weighing around 6.9 kg, traveling at a speed of approximately 225 meters per second, and boasting the capability to pierce through 500mm of armor post-reactive armor intervention. Its thermobaric ammunition variant can span a maximum of 1000 meters. Notably, thermobaric weapons are prevalent, particularly in Syria and Iraq, which Iran-backed Shiite militias use.
According to Jewish News 24, over 100,000 Israeli Civilians have requested a weapons license and a government-issued rifle since the war started on October 7th.
Israeli media cites Israeli officials who clarify that the Hamas decision to release a pair of hostages, mother and daughter Israeli-Americans, was done unilaterally by the Palestinians and that the Israeli government had not offered anything in exchange.
An employee with the Illinois comptroller's office, Sarah Chowdhury, has been fired after she posted vulgar antisemitic comments on social media during an exchange about the Hamas war. According to the office of the state comptroller, Chowdhury was “immediately fired” after she admitted to some of the posts. Chowdhury is an attorney and president of the South Asian Bar Association of chicago.
The US and some European governments are urging Israel to delay its ground operations in Gaza, citing fears that an invasion will forestall further releases of Hamas-held hostages for the foreseeable future, a "senior diplomatic official" told The Times of Israel. The report said that the governments recognize that an invasion is likely but are not telling Israel not to launch one, "but rather hold off to try and see if additional diplomatic efforts can succeed".
Israeli Staff Sgt. (res.), Omer Balva, 22, was killed overnight in an anti-tank missile attack launched from Lebanon into Israeli territory. He was a commander in the 9203rd Battalion of the Alexandroni Brigade from Herzliya. He was a dual Israeli-American citizen. He grew up in Rockville, Maryland.
“The IDF is ready for all scenarios in the various sectors and will continue to act for the security of Israeli citizens,” the Israeli military said on Oct. 21. Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said that the Lebanese Hezbollah terrorists have been paying “a heavy price” for its missile, rocket, and shooting attacks against Israeli military sites, troops, and towns in northern Israel in recent days.
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The Rafah crossing point between Egypt and Gaza saw 20 Egyptian trucks carrying medical supplies across the border, following a week of negotiations between Israel, Egypt, United States, and the United Nations. According to The Guardian, a UN official said another convoy may be allowed to pass on Oct. 23. Israel demanded proof that the aid will not be seized or diverted by Hamas terrorists before any more aid deliveries will be allowed. Fuel, needed by Gazan hospitals and desalination plant, has not been allowed to pass.
British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly tweeted that the aid crossing into Gaza “cannot be a one-off” as he calls for further humanitarian access.
The Iraqi prime minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani declared, “There is no place for Palestinians except their land,” who also demanded an immediate ceasefire. The official wants a “lifting the siege fully on the Gaza strip” and the establishment of a reconstruction fund for the enclave. Al-Sudani said Palestinians are “facing genocide” and alleged that Israel is targeting hospitals. “It’s a war crime on full scale,” he said, that commenced with the killing of unarmed civilians and “forcing a siege on the rest of the living.” “Gaza today is a test, a new test for the new world order that have failed over and over and over in applying what they called for” in justice and freedom, he said, according to The Guardian. “Hasn’t the time come yet to put an end to this occupation?”
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said “innocent civilians have left their homes and from our point of view we must respond,” in reference to Gazans. “We would like to be the starting dialogue point between Mediterranean countries and the European Union.” She called the situation in Gaza a “a conflict for civilization” Dialogue should include discussions about terrorism, which has especially weakened Muslim countries. Hamas “chose terrorism instead of dialogue”, she said.
Natalie Raanan, 17, and her mother, Judith, 59, are two Israeli-Americans who had been abducted by Hamas but were released following negotiations. They were transferred through the Rafah crossing into Egypt, where they were met by Israeli security forces.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said, “There are innocent victims on both sides,” and “Collective punishment” must be prohibited. “Hamas is a terrorist organization,” he said, adding that Hamas is “not the Palestinian people”.
Kuwaiti Crown Prince Sheikh Meshal al-Ahmad al-Sabah said the war in Gaza was caused by the inaction by the international community; He called for the opening of humanitarian corridors.
The Egyptian government organized a summit in Cairo on Oct. 20, where Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told the conferees, “We won't leave, we will remain on our land”.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’s speech:
Excellencies, Let’s be clear. The grievances of the Palestinian people are legitimate and long.We cannot and must not ignore the wider context for these tragic events: the long-standing conflict and 56 years of occupation with no end in sight. But nothing can justify the reprehensible assault by Hamas that terrorized Israeli civilians. And those abhorrent attacks can never justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people. International humanitarian law – including the Geneva conventions – must be upheld. That includes protecting civilians and not attacking hospitals, schools and UN premises that are currently sheltering half a million people. Excellencies, Our near-term goals must be clear:
Immediate, unrestricted and sustained humanitarian aid for besieged civilians in Gaza. Immediate and unconditional release of all hostages. And immediate and dedicated efforts to prevent the spread of violence which is increasing the risk of spillover. To advance all these efforts, I appeal for a humanitarian ceasefire now.
Excellencies, Our sustained collective efforts and resources have never been needed more. As we focus on ending the bloodshed, we cannot lose sight of the only realistic foundation for a true peace and stability: a two-State solution. Israelis must see their legitimate needs for security materialised, and Palestinians must see their legitimate aspirations for an independent State realized, in line with United Nations resolutions, international law and previous agreements. The time has come for action. Action to end this godawful nightmare. Action to build a future worthy of the dreams of the children of Palestine, Israel, the region and our world.
October 21, 2023