Today is the 41st day of the war with Hamas. The IDF has now reported 51 deaths in combat with three of those occurring in the last 24 hours. May their memories be for a blessing,
Regarding the hostages, the latest is talk about a release of 50 of the hostages, possibly as early as this weekend, primarily women and children. In return Israel would agree to observe a three day pause in the fighting and release back to Gaza a number of Palestinian security prisoners being held here. Obviously, there is some unhappiness here about stopping the fighting which would let Hamas regroup, but the pressure to bring at least some of the hostages home is mounting daily. The hostage families are currently on a five-day march from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem which began on Tuesday. Their intent is to confront the government and urge more aggressive action to get their husbands, wives, sons, daughters and siblings back home.
This morning the news outlets reported that an Israeli hostage who was 8 months pregnant at the time of the massacre has now given birth in Gaza. No other information was available
Israeli troops are now in command of Al Shifa hospital in Gaza where it is known that Hamas used the space under the hospital to operate a major command post. The IDF is also bringing in much needed medical supplies and equipment to the hospital and, for the first time, has begun to allow fuel deliveries into Gaza as well,
A large barrage of 20 rockets were launched at Israel from Lebanon overnight. While Hezbollah claims they do not want to enter the war, they continue to launch rockets at Israel. There were no injuries on the Israeli side and the IDF retaliated as appropriate. To date 80 Hezbollah terrorists have lost their lives since October 7th. On the Gaza border the volume of rockets from Gaza has dropped dramatically although Hamas still seems to be able to fire off some of them each night.
In a related incident, the German security services earlier today raided 54 Hezbollah cells in and around Hamburg zeroing in on one mosque there that is known to be a hotbed of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic activity. No further details were available.
Earlier today at the main checkpoint into Jerusalem from the south, a car carrying three Palestinian terrorists dressed as Israeli soldiers and loaded with M-16 rifles, hand guns and a large amount of ammunition was stopped by our security forces and neutralized. However, six security personnel were injured in the gunfight, one of whom is fighting for his life. It appears that the intent of the terrorists, if they were to be able to get through the checkpoint, was to enter Jerusalem and cause a significant amount of death, injury and chaos. Thankfully the security people were able to identify the potential problem and eliminate it before any further carnage was caused.
Let’s hope that we will be victorious sooner rather than later and that the hostages will return to their families at the earliest possible date. The two objectives are not mutually exclusive. May the good Lord continue to shower blessing upon all of us.