On the 60th day ot the war here casualties continue to grow with three new soldiers reported killed in battle overnight Monday. There certainly does not appear to be a realistic end in sight for this war and people here are preparing to support our troops for some time to come.
The Israel Defense Forces continued to expand its activities against Hamas in Gaza over the past 24 hours, reporting this morning that troops were conducting operations in the Jabalia area. Israeli forces were targeting Hamas strongholds and destroying terror infrastructure after completing the encirclement of the Jabalia camp (rn.b. really a neighborhood, even though it is called a refugee camp) in the north of the Strip, according to the IDF. The IDF and Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) conducted a targeted raid on a Hamas Internal Security Force command and control center in Jabalia, locating observation and control materials, weapons and maps.
On Monday, troops struck buildings used by Hamas’s elite “Nukhba” unit, which led the Oct. 7th massacre in southern Israel. Soldiers also killed Hamas terrorists and destroyed rockets found in the garden of a private residence in the northern Strip. The Israeli Navy also struck “dozens” of terror targets, including compounds from which terrorists fired mortar shells at Israeli forces.
Serious activity continues to ramp up in Southern Gaza with tanks and heavy artillery being used to ferret out pockets of Hamas activity in the search for the Hamas leadership believed to be hiding there. Rocket fire from Gaza into Israel continues unabated with sirens going off today in areas around Tel Aviv as well. On the northern border, cross border skirmishes continue to escalate each day.
Israel is considering a plan to pump seawater into Hamas’s tunnel system underneath the Gaza Strip, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal on Monday, citing U.S. officials as the source. The Israel Defense Forces has assembled five large seawater pumps capable of transferring thousands of cubic meters of water per hour from the Mediterranean Sea into the tunnels, according to the report. The infrastructure was completed in the middle of November. They are located roughly one mile north of the Al-Shati Camp along northern Gaza’s coastline.
The US government is making an intense effort to persuade Israel and Hamas to resume negotiations so they can once again pause hostilities and exchange more prisoners for hostages, according to John F. Kirby, the strategic communications coordinator at the White House National Security who appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press. “We are still working it really hard, hour by hour, to see if we can get the sides back to the table and see if we can get something moving. We would like that to happen today. But honestly, I just don’t know.”
In appearances on several Sunday talk shows, Mr. Kirby emphasized that Hamas was to blame for the breakdown in talks, saying that it had not lived up to the terms of its original agreement to begin handing over captives held in Gaza.
He said Hamas had failed to produce a list of women and children who could be released in addition to the 105 hostages who were freed during the original pause in fighting. Among those still held are eight or nine Americans. Osama Hamdan, a representative for Hamas in Lebanon, said on Sunday that negotiations over the hostages would not resume until the Israeli assault stopped.
We are now entering the third month of the longest active war that Israel has ever fought which is testing our capability to engage in combat for an extended period. We pray that our active duty and reserve troops will continue to maintain their high level of morale and that we will soon see us victorious in the battle against Hamas.