Sherwin Pomerantz

Israel’s 86th Day of War

On the 86th day of the war soldiers from the IDF’s special force Maglan )Magellan) unit are continuing military operations in the Khan Yunis area in southern Gaza, collaborating with reconnaissance, engineering, and air force units, eliminating terrorists in face-to-face encounters. Additionally, they are working to locate and destroy the terror infrastructure in the area. During investigations of a building that allegedly serves as an educational office, cultural center, and school, Maglan troops discovered rocket launchers, documents, and tools belonging to Hamas. Large quantities of combat equipment, including rockets and ammunition, were found, including an arsenal discovered in a closet in a bedroom.

Regarding the 129 hostages being held by Hamas in Gaza, it appears that negotiations brokered by the Qataris and Egyptians aimed at creating a pause in the fighting and the release of some or all of the hostages are back in operation. An Egyptian negotiating team is reported to be in Israel today with the head of our security agency shuttling between the countries involved.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a stern warning to Iran and Hezbollah and confirmed that the Gaza war could continue for months.  “On the northern border – we are landing heavy blows against Hezbollah, eliminating many terrorists and destroying the enemy’s capabilities,” Netanyahu said in a press conference in Tel Aviv on Saturday night.

He spoke as Israel continued its military operation to destroy Hamas in Gaza even as it thwarted Hezbollah violence along its northern border, working to contain the situation from escalating into a full-fledged war.  Netanyahu said that diplomacy was the best option to restore security to that border, but noted that Israel would not hesitate to act against the Iranian proxy group Hezbollah should those options fail.

As a follow up to that statement, it was reported this morning that multiple airstrikes by Israel reportedly killed 17-19 Iranians and Iranian-proxies in Syria and at the Syria-Iraq border over the weekend. In a very rare case, the air force purportedly killed at least six Iran-backed terrorists at the Syria-Iraq border, two members of Iraqi militia groups told The Associated Press on Saturday. Although Israel has frequently attacked Iranian proxies in Syria for years, and at a faster rate during the current war, the number of cases in which Israel attacks near the Iraqi border is very small, due to diplomatic sensitivities.

Hours before the Associated Press report, the Hezbollah terrorist organization announced that four operatives within their ranks were killed by Israeli attacks around the same time, which states that they were among the six that were killed in eastern Syria. The other two were reportedly Syrian fighters, the Iraqi militia members said. Arab media also reported that airstrikes were carried out against sites identified with pro-Iranian militias in the Boukamal region of Syria near the Iraq border. Some of the reports, such as the Lebanese source Al-Mayadeen, state that the airstrikes have been attributed to Israel.

In action in the Red Sea, US Navy helicopters sank three of four small boats used by Iranian-backed Houthi militants to attack a merchant vessel there earlier today, according to an update issued by US Central Command (CENTCOM) on social media platform X. Helicopters from the USS Eisenhower and USS Gravely, responding to distress calls from the Maersk Hangzhou freighter, returned fire on the Houthi boats in self-defense and sank three of the vessels with no survivors. The fourth boat fled the area.  Clearly Iran has its proxies ramping up action there to disrupt the flow of goods through the Suez Canal in both directions.

To date 170 IDF soldiers have given their lives since the start of hostilities.  What remains amazing to all of us living here is the incredible strength and continued commitment to our mission exhibited by those who have lost loved ones.  This piece by Hadas Lowenstein, a mother of six and now a war widow, is incredibly inspirational and worth watching.  You can see it by clicking below….

We hope and pray that there will be no more widows or widowers created in this war.   May the memory of those who have lost their lives be blessed.

About the Author
Sherwin Pomerantz is a native New Yorker, who lived and worked in Chicago for 20 years before coming to Israel in 1984. An industrial engineer with advanced degrees in mechanical engineering and business, he is President of Atid EDI Ltd., a 32 year old Jerusalem-based economic development consulting firm which, among other things, represents the regional trade and investment interests of a number of US states, regional entities and Invest Hong Kong. A past national president of the Association of Americans & Canadians in Israel, he is also Former Chairperson of the Board of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies and a Board Member of the Israel-America Chamber of Commerce. His articles have appeared in various publications in Israel and the US.