Israel’s Operation Swords of Iron Update 10/11
Ari Cicurel – Assistant Director of Foreign Policy
Yoni Tobin – Policy Analyst
Zachary Schildcrout – Policy Analyst
On October 7, Hamas launched an unprovoked and unprecedented multi-pronged attack on Israel by land, air, and sea. JINSA issued a NatSec Brief with an early assessment of the war on October 8 and an update yesterday. JINSA also held a webinar on October 9 with JINSA President and CEO Michael Makovsky, Senior Fellow John Hannah, IDF MG (ret.) Yaacov Ayish, IDF MG (ret.) Yaakov Amidror, and IDF MG (ret.) Amikam Norkin. Below are updated information and analysis, which JINSA will continue to produce throughout the conflict.
Last 24 Hours
Attacks Against Israel
- According to the IDF, at least 4,500 rockets have been fired from Gaza since Saturday.
- Rockets struck Ashkelon, Ashdod, and Sderot, and other areas in southern Israel, a drone infiltration alert sounded in kibbutz Nir Oz near the Gaza border, and rocket alert sirens were reported in Arab al-Aramshe on the Lebanon border.
- The al-Quds Brigades of Palestinian Islamic Jihad claimed credit for a rocket barrage north of Tel Aviv.
- On Tuesday, fifteen rockets were launched at the Western Galilee from Lebanon, of which four were intercepted by Iron Dome and the remaining eleven landed in open areas. Hamas took credit for the rocket fire.
- Hezbollah claimed an anti-tank guided missile attack from Lebanon against an IDF armored vehicle that caused no casualties.
- Another anti-tank missile was launched from Lebanon at an Israeli army post on the northern border on Wednesday.
- Several mortars were fired from Syria into Israel late Tuesday.
- According to IDF spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, Palestinians in Gaza “haven’t crossed the fence in the last two days,” and infiltrators “intended to occupy the area, not raid and return to Gaza.”
- The IDF stated that it launched strikes on 450 targets in a 24-hour period over Tuesday night and Wednesday and that it has struck 2,687 Hamas targets in total since the war began.
- The Israeli Air Force struck over 70 Hamas targets in the Gaza City neighborhood of at-Tuffah, which the IDF referred to as a “terrorist nest.” The IDF also reported that it launched munitions at a Palestinian Islamic Jihad building.
- The IDF bombed the Islamic University of Gaza, which it says “serves as a central training center for Hamas engineers.”
- The IDF used an M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System to target a Hamas site in the Gaza Strip for the first time since 2006.
- After the attacks from Lebanon, the IDF destroyed two observation posts with tanks and struck a third Hezbollah outpost with a helicopter.
- Reports emerged that the IDF responded to mortar fire from Syria with artillery and mortar shells.
- According to IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari’s statements on October 11, Israel killed eighteen terrorists in a 24-hour span in a number of Israeli communities adjacent to Gaza, including Kfar Aza, Mefalsim, Zikim, Rei’m, and Ashkelon.
- The IDF claimed that it killed Hamas Minister of Economy Jawad Abu Shamala and Hamas Senior Politburo member Zakariya Abu Moamma, the group’s head of internal affairs, with drone strikes in Gaza.
- The IDF also says that it struck the house of Hamas spokesman Abu Obeida and launched airstrikes at Hamas military commander Mohammed Deif’s home in Khan Younis in Gaza. The reports claim that Deif’s brother, son, and great-niece were killed in the strike.
- The IDF stated Tuesday that it killed three terrorists near Ashkelon using both its ground infantry and aerial assets, and Israeli Police announced Wednesday that its forces had killed two Palestinians who launched fireworks and threw rocks at police officers in the Silwan neighborhood of East Jerusalem.
- Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant is scheduled to hold a video briefing with NATO defense ministers on Thursday.
Casualties and Hostages
- The Israeli Health Ministry announced Wednesday that over 1,200 people in Israel have died and another 3,700 injured in the war.
- IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari stated Wednesday that 169 Israeli soldiers have been killed.
- The Hamas attack killed numerous foreign nationals, including at least fourteen American nationals, twenty Thai nationals, seventeen British nationals, ten Nepalese nationals, seven Argentinian nationals, eight French nationals, four Russian nationals, three Chilean nationals, two Ukrainian nationals, two Peruvian nationals, a Canadian national, a Cambodian national, and a Brazilian
- At least three Israelis were wounded after strikes on Wednesday against Sderot, Ashkelon, and Ashdod.
- According to the Gaza Health Ministry on Wednesday, 1,055 people have been killed and 5,184 have been injured in the Gaza Strip since Saturday.
- The Palestinian Ministry of Health stated on Wednesday that twenty-one people have been killed and an additional 130 wounded in the West Bank.
- According to an IDF press release on October 10, at least fifty Israelis are confirmed to either be missing or to have been taken hostage, and IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari stated Wednesday that at least sixty Israelis are being held hostage.
- Foreign nationals also remain missing, including as of October 10, at least twenty American nationals, twenty French nationals, fifteen Argentinian nationals, six Russian nationals, three Canadian nationals, five Philippines nationals, three Austrian nationals, three Brazilian nationals, two Italian nationals, one Chilean national, two Paraguayan nationals, two Peruvian nationals, two Sri Lankans, two Tanzanians, and one Irish national.
- Israel’s Kan public broadcaster announced it will open a new channel, Channel 26, to list the names of Israelis killed in attacks and the ongoing war.
- Hamas spokesman Ghazi Hamad told BBC News that Hamas received backing for its attacks on Israel from Iran.
- On Tuesday, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan stated Iran is “complicit, in a broad sense,” for the Hamas attack on Israel.
- He added that Iran “provided the lion’s share of the funding for the military wing of Hamas, they’ve provided training, they have provided capabilities, they have provided support and they’ve had engagement and contact with Hamas over years and years, and all of that 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 I’m standing here at the podium, have confirmation of that.”
- Ahmad “Abu Hussein” al-Hamidawi, the head of the Iran-backed Kataib Hezbollah militia in Iraq, said, “our missiles, drones, and special forces are ready to direct qualitative strikes at the American enemy in its bases and disrupt its interests if it intervenes in this battle.” He also threatened to launch missiles at Israel.
- Deputy information secretary of the Iran-aligned Houthis in Yemen Nasreddin Amer said, “we in Yemen are with the Palestinian people in every way we can, and we will not abandon the oppressed Palestinian people and their resistance, which defends them and has the right to do so.”
- He also added, “the possibility of our direct participation in support of the resistance depends on developments there, and we are closely monitoring the situation there and are in constant contact with the resistance.”
U.S. and International Response
- President Biden gave a speech from the White House reinforcing that “we stand with Israel. We stand with Israel. And we will make sure Israel has what it needs to take care of its citizens, defend itself, and respond to this attack.”
- Biden stated that Hamas had unleashed “pure, unadulterated evil” and that “the brutality of Hamas, this bloodthirstiness, brings to mind the worst rampages of ISIS.”
- Biden reiterated U.S. backing for Israel’s need to defend itself and said, “let there be no doubt: The United States has Israel’s back. We will make sure the Jewish and democratic State of Israel can defend itself today, tomorrow, as we always have.”
- Biden explained that the United States is “surging additional military assistance, including ammunition and interceptors to replenish Iron Dome. We’re going to make sure that Israel does not run out of these critical assets to defend its cities and its citizens. My administration has consulted closely with Congress throughout this crisis. And when Congress returns, we’re going to ask them to take urgent action to fund the national security requirements of our critical partners.”
- Biden “directed [his] team to share intelligence and deploy additional experts from across the United States government to consult with and advise the Israeli counterparts on hostage recovery.”
- Biden also noted that “the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are working closely with state and local law enforcement and Jewish community partners to identify and disrupt any domestic threat that could emerge in connection with these horrific attacks.”
- The president further argued that “Hamas does not stand for the Palestinian people’s right to dignity and self-determination. Its stated purpose is the annihilation of the State of Israel and the murder of Jewish people.”
- The USS Gerald Ford carrier strike group arrived in the Eastern Mediterranean on Tuesday.
- According to the Department of the Navy, the United States is deploying a second aircraft carrier in addition to the USS Gerald Ford, the USS Dwight Eisenhower and its strike group, later this week to boost deterrence and prevent regional powers from joining the war.
- The State Department said Tuesday that Secretary of State Antony Blinken will be traveling to Israel this week and is expected to arrive October 12.
- White House spokesperson John Kirby said on October 9 that “the United States unequivocally condemns these horrific terrorist attacks in Israel,” that Americans “stand shoulder to shoulder with the Israeli people,” and that “the first tranche of additional security assistance” is “already on the way.”
- In a gesture of support, the White House was illuminated in the colors blue and white, the colors of Israel’s flag, on October 9.
- A bipartisan congressional delegation comprised of four U.S. lawmakers, including Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), Representative Donald Norcross (D-GA), Representative Jimmy Panetta (D-CA), and Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), traveled to Israel to meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu and, in the words of Rep. Panetta, “stand shoulder to shoulder [with Israel] so that we can go toe to toe with any terrorist going forward.”
- Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin spoke with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on Tuesday and offered planning and intelligence support to help deal with the hostage situation.
- On October 10, IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari announced on X that a plane carrying American munitions landed in Israel at the Nebatim base.
- U.K. Foreign Minister James Cleverly traveled to Israel on October 11 to “demonstrate the U.K.’s unwavering solidarity with the Israeli people following Hamas terrorist attacks,” according to the British foreign ministry office.
- Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky visited Israel on October 10, claiming to be the first foreign politician to have done so since the Hamas attack began. Lipavsky stated, “Israel is one of us, the attacks and kidnappings by radical Palestinians are an attack on us all.”
- Egypt has closed the sole passageway between itself and Gaza, the Rafah crossing, to prevent an exodus of Palestinians from entering Egyptian territory. The Rafah crossing remains closed as of October 11.
- The mortar fire from Syria threatens to involve a third front in Iran-backed terrorist groups’ war effort against Israel. There are further risks that the Assad regime, which is hostile to Israel and aligned with Iran, might attack Israeli troops and/or cities.
- The limited mortar fire from Syria may have been geared toward testing Israeli readiness and interdiction capabilities, though it is unclear if the mortars were fired by a rogue group or were launched as part of a coordinated campaign with Hezbollah forces in Lebanon or others.
- Iranian proxies or other groups firing projectiles into Israel risks the involvement of the limited U.S. military presence at the Tanf Garrison in Syria, potentially in the form of limited U.S. airstrikes.
- Such provocative behavior also may portend the use of attack drones against on the U.S. troop presence at Tanf, as occurred in March when an Iranian-linked combat drone killed a U.S. contractor at the Tanf Garrison.
- In addition, the deployment of U.S. fighter aircraft and the USS Gerald Ford Carrier Strike Group, coupled with a second aircraft carrier now being deployed to the Eastern Mediterranean, underscore President Biden’s unequivocal message to malign regional actors, such as Iran, to stay out of the fighting.
- In his remarks Tuesday, Biden stated, “to any country, any organization, anyone thinking of taking advantage of this situation, I have one word: Don’t. Don’t. Our hearts may be broken, but our resolve is clear.”