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Israel At War: Week Eighteen Coverage



Day 126 — Friday, February 9

Biden Calls Israel’s Response In Gaza To October 7 Hamas Attack ‘Over The Top’

Israel’s military response in the Gaza Strip to the shock October 7 attack by Hamas has been “over the top,” US President Joe Biden says.

“I’m of the view, as you know, that the conduct of the response in Gaza, in the Gaza Strip, has been over the top,” he tells reporters at the White House during an evening address that was announced only about two hours earlier.

“I’m pushing very hard now to deal with this hostage ceasefire,” Biden says. “There are a lot of innocent people who are starving, a lot of innocent people who are in trouble and dying, and it’s gotta stop.”

The remarks, some of Biden’s sharpest public criticism to date of the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, come as the Democratic president has come under increasing domestic pressure to press Israel on a ceasefire.

The White House did not respond to a request to elaborate on Biden’s remarks.

Day 126 — Friday, February 9

Analysis — Amir Tsarfati: Israel Is Winning The War In Gaza—Don’t Let The Media Tell You Otherwise

(Galilee, Israel) — Israel is winning the war in Gaza. Don’t let the media tell you otherwise. On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have destroyed 17 of 24 Hamas battalions. Thousands of buildings used to house terrorists and their war materiel have been demolished, and kilometers of underground tunnels are being blown apart weekly. A massive number of weapons, from explosives to rockets to automatic rifles to handguns, have been found and confiscated.

Still the work is not yet done. The IDF has yet to capture or eliminate Yahya Sinwar, Hamas’s chief in Gaza, who is currently on the run from one hiding place to another. It is without question that he has surrounded himself with a human shield of Israeli hostages. There are still thousands of Hamas terrorists in Khan Yunis and down in Rafah. Although, today, Rafah has one fewer after Majdi Abd al-Aal, commander of the special forces of Hamas police in the area, was taken out in a targeted killing. The work in Khan Yunis, then down toward the Egyptian border, will continue until the threat is completely neutralized.

Despite defeat after defeat, Hamas seems to think they are winning. That is the only explanation for their ridiculous response to the Qatar, US, and Egypt-brokered ceasefire proposal. While verbally giving a generally positive response, they then issued a counterproposal that, according to the Lebanese Al-Akhbar newspaper, essentially stated: 1) we want all IDF soldiers out, 2) let’s go back to how it was before we slaughtered your people, with the same borders and international guarantees that you’ll stay on your side from now on, and 3) we don’t want Jews up on the Temple Mount anymore. In return, we’ll give back your hostages over a 135-day period. How could Israel say “no” to such a gracious offer?

Alas, it seems that Israel will, in fact, say “no”. Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant told US Secretary of State Antony Blinken that it is quite obvious that Hamas’s answer “was drafted in a way that will make Israel reject it.” Based on Netanyahu’s statements of the last week, Israel’s counterproposal to Hamas would be more along the lines of “surrender or die.” If that sounds harsh, then remember what these vicious animals did on October 7. If you need your memory jogged, watch the video that Israel presented to the International Court of Justice. However, let me give you my strongest warning before you do. Murder, mutilation, rape, beatings, kidnapping – all were part of Hamas’s actions that day. Still today, over 100 days later, 136 hostages are being held. However, of that number, we know that at least 31 have perished in captivity. Israel cannot afford to let the Hamas terrorist organization continue to exist.

Hundreds of Israelis are fed up with their country sending humanitarian aid into Gaza. Taking matters into their own hands, they are blocking the transports of this aid. It is not because they want to take vengeance on the Gazan civilians. It’s because they recognize that a majority of the aid sent ends up in the hands of the terrorists. Netanyahu recently estimated 60% of humanitarian aid is taken by Hamas, but many believe the number to be as high as 80%. The Gazans themselves tell of this theft, often carried out by Hamas soldiers who liberally use clubs to beat back those who are in need.

Day 125 — Thursday, February 8

PM Netanyahu: 'US Sanctions Severe And Inappropriate - Harms Law-Abiding Citizens'

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a press conference on Wednesday, during which he criticized the executive order signed by US President Joe Biden to impose sanctions on four residents of Judea and Samaria accused of violence against Palestinian Arabs.

“This order is a very severe and inappropriate thing which harms an entire population of law-abiding citizens, among whom are soldiers who fell in the fight to eliminate Hamas. If they were using it equally- they would have imposed sanctions on Palestinians as well,” the Prime Minister said when asked on the matter.

The Prime Minister opened his statement by proclaiming: “We are on the road to complete victory. It is in reach – it is a few months away, not years.”

Day 125 — Thursday, February 8

Historical Accountability: Knesset Advances Bill Criminalizing Denial Of October 7 Massacre

The Knesset took a significant step forward in addressing historical accountability as it passed a preliminary reading of a bill criminalizing the denial, minimization, or celebration of the October 7 Hamas terror attack on southern Israel.

The legislation, which received unanimous support in the Knesset plenum with a vote of 29-0, represents a proactive measure to combat attempts to distort or diminish the gravity of the tragic events.

Spearheaded by Yisrael Beytenu MK Oded Forer, the bill draws parallels to existing laws prohibiting Holocaust denial, underscoring the urgency of preserving historical truth and memory. Forer emphasized the global resonance of the October 7 massacre, stating, “The way in which people around the world relate to the massacre is starting to resemble Holocaust denial.” Co-sponsor MK Evgeny Sova echoed this sentiment, asserting that denial of the October 7 attack is tantamount to denying the Holocaust.

The legislation, supported by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation, proposes severe penalties, including up to five years of imprisonment, for individuals found guilty of denying or downplaying the massacre’s significance. It also prohibits expressions of praise, sympathy, or identification with the attack. According to the bill’s explanatory notes, denial of the massacre constitutes an attempt to rewrite history and obscure the crimes committed against the Jewish people and the State of Israel.

Despite the bill’s unanimous support in the Knesset, it faces opposition from legal advisers within the government. Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara expressed concerns about the potential complications the legislation could pose to ongoing legal proceedings against Hamas members. However, proponents argue that the bill is essential for upholding historical truth and preventing the distortion of collective memory.

Day 124 — Wednesday, February 7

House Speaker to Knesset Speaker: Jewish people deserve to live freely in their homeland

US House of Representatives Speaker Mike Johnson on Tuesday hosted Knesset Speaker Amir Ohana.

Also in attendance were Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, Michael Herzog, and family members of hostages being held captive by Hamas.

Following their private meeting, Speaker Johnson and Speaker Ohana delivered a joint statement.

“It’s a privilege to welcome Speaker Ohana, Ambassador Herzog, and our wonderful friends from Israel here to the Capitol,” said Johnson.

“Our meeting today comes at a perilous juncture in world history. Nearly four months ago, on October 7th, antisemitic terrorists waged an attack on the Jewish people, unlike anything they have seen in decades. Today, Israel is still under attack, and Israelis and Americans are still being held hostage. Make no mistake, this is a coordinated attack on our shared values and our freedom,” he added.

“The United States and Israel are locked in a civilizational battle against the enemies of freedom, and our world is becoming a more dangerous place. With that in mind, I’m not going to mince words,” said Johnson.

“Israel is America’s closest ally and best friend in the Middle East, and when you threaten Israel: you threaten freedom itself. And freedom, like light, can never be overcome with darkness. Freedom always wins. However, victory requires men and women to stand for what is right. And right now, sadly, we’re seeing an absence of leadership in the White House.”

“Sadly, there are concerted efforts attempting to appease our enemies globally, and especially in the Middle East – going so far as to portray a decrease in support for Israel at a time when they need it most. But I have hope because the American people love Israel. They love our Jewish brothers and sisters. They know that now is not the time to back away,” Johnson continued.

“When it comes to Israel, we will not waver, we will not compromise, and we will not turn away. We will say what we know to be true, ‘The Jewish people deserve to live freely and safely in their ancestral homeland.’ And we will not only say what’s true; we will act to protect what’s true.”

“There’s no time for hesitation. History beckons us to act boldly and decisively to defend Israel and our own citizens. Families are waiting to be reunited with their loved ones, and all Israelis continue wait for justice to be enacted against Hamas”.

“As we stand here, I’m reminded of what Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told the Israeli people after September 11th, ‘The fight against terrorism is an international struggle of the free world against the forces of darkness who seek to destroy our liberty and way of life. Together we can defeat these forces of evil.’

Day 124 — Wednesday, February 7

Argentinian President Lands In Israel, Officially Announces Moving Argentinian Embassy To Jerusalem

Staunch Israel supporter and politically conservative Argentinian President Javier Milei landed in Israel and promptly pronounced that he would indeed move the Argentinian Embassy to Jerusalem.

Milei was welcomed by Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz, who told him, “You are a value-driven person committed only to truth, and it is no wonder that you chose to come to Israel immediately to support us in the just struggle to defend the Jewish people against Hamas terrorists. I thank you for recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and for your announcement now to relocate Argentina’s embassy to Jerusalem, the capital of the Jewish people and the State of Israel. Welcome to Israel, Mr. President – Viva La Libertad Carajo!”

“I warmly welcome the arrival to Israel of the President of Argentina, Israel’s friend, Javier Milei, who announced the relocation of Argentina’s embassy to Jerusalem. Welcome, dear friend!” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted.

Milei arrived in Israel with Argentina’s Foreign Minister Diana Mondino, the Secretary General of the Presidency Karina Elizabeth Milei, and Rabbi Axel Wahnish, whom he has chosen to be Argentina’s Ambassador to Israel.

Argentina has the largest Jewish population in South America, roughly 220,000 people.

Milei, who pledged that Argentina’s two key allies would be the United States and Israel, gave his first foreign press interview to the Hasidic newspaper, “Kfar Chabad.” He said, “From what I’ve learned about the history of the Jewish people, their survival against all odds, and the divine protection they’ve received, I’m certain they will continue to prevail. My message is to keep faith in God, stay strong and united. Eventually, the world will realize the enduring truth — the nation of Israel lives on!”

Day 124 — Wednesday, February 7

Iran Sent Undercover Operatives To Sweden To Murder Jews — Report

A Jewish community leader has started speaking out about a plot to kill him that was foiled in 2021.

Aron Verständig, chair of the Official Council of Swedish Jewish communities, told Radio Sweden about Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps sending two sleeper agents—couple Mahdi Ramezani and Fereshteh Sanaeifarid—who were activated after they had lived in the Scandinavian country for five years.

Ramezani and Sanaeifard were arrested in 2021 with plans to kill two other Swedish Jews.

Verständig has hesitated to speak about the threat to his life until now. “I was born a Jew I will remain a Jew for the rest of my life, and I can choose to sort of hide under a rock or I can choose to be the person who I am and that’s what I’ve chosen,” he said.

“I think that what Iran wants to do is to harm Israel, and I think it’s very difficult for them to do these kinds of things in Israel,” Verständig said. “So instead they are, I mean, randomly choosing people who have some kind of official position in the Jewish diaspora and trying to create fear.”

On Jan. 31, a bomb was found outside the Israeli embassy in Stockholm. “We thank the Swedish authorities for their swift response. We will not be intimidated by terror,” stated Ziv Nevo Kulman, Israel’s ambassador to Sweden.

In February 2023, the Jewish Chronicle reported that Iran had developed plans to murder Jewish leaders globally if Israel attacked the Islamic regime.

Day 123 — Tuesday, February 6

Hamas Manual Discovered By IDF Shows Bomb-Making From Medical Supplies

Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip recently discovered a Hamas manual with detailed instructions on how to produce bombs from medical equipment.

The huge number of files and documents specifically include instructions on using Hydrogen Peroxide, a regular hospital substance, as a key ingredient in producing explosives and rocket propellant material.

Written in Arabic and English, the manual shows, in a very methodical way, how to produce various homemade explosives that are used against Israeli forces in Gaza.

The Iranian-backed terrorist organization has a long history of exploiting dual purpose materials as key components in its production of weapons and terror infrastructure. For instance, the vast tunnel network, dubbed “Gaza Metro,” was largely produced through the terrorists’ large-scale confiscation of cement that was officially earmarked for the construction of civilian structures, such as hospitals and schools.

Hamas’ indigenous arms production capabilities have been boosted by individuals within its ranks with an engineering background and innovative skills. Due to the strict military blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt after the violent Hamas takeover in Gaza in 2007, much of the group’s rocket arsenal is produced from water pipes and streetlight poles.

The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, an Israeli security think tank based in Jerusalem, assessed in 2021 that Hamas had already developed significant local weapons production capabilities inside the Gaza Strip:

“The terrorist group (Hamas) was no longer a force fighting an asymmetrical war with asymmetrical tactics and weapons. Hamas is now manufacturing a large part of its own weapons, expanding its research, and developing drones and unmanned underwater vehicles, engaging in cyber warfare, and on the cusp of graduating from unguided rockets to precision GPS-guided drones and missiles.”

Hamas’s local weapons production is further supplemented with external weapons deliveries, mainly from its patron, the Iranian regime.

In early January, Israeli forces in Gaza discovered Chinese manufactured weapons in the Hamas arsenal.

Carice Witte, and expert on Chinese-Israeli ties, and the CEO and founder of SIGNAL Group, was not surprised that Chinese weapons were discovered in the Strip.

“China has an extensive arms industry,” Witte stated. “By definition, it does not sell weapons to non-state entities; it certainly does sell weapons to countries in the [Middle East].”.

Witte stressed that China is a leading global power that defies American-led Western sanctions on several Middle Eastern regimes such as Iran.

“Trade relations between China and Middle Eastern nations are well known, even with those sanctioned by the West. It is not impossible that such weaponry ends up in the wrong hands,” she concluded.

In late October, the news outlet, Axios, reported that Israeli authorities had discovered that Hamas had ambitions to use chemical weapons in its devastating October 7 attack on southern Israel, when some 3000 Gazan terrorists massacred more than 1200 Israeli men, women and children.

The Israeli findings were summarized in a secret Israeli Foreign Ministry cable entitled, “Hamas intention of using chemical weapons.”

“This finding points to an intention by Hamas to use chemical weapons as part of its terror attack against civilians,” the cable stated.

Day 122 — Monday, February 5

UK Tribunal Makes Landmark Ruling That Anti-Zionism Is A Legally Protected Characteristic

A tribunal has made a landmark ruling that anti-Zionism is a legally protected characteristic as it found in favour of a sacked university professor.

David Miller was ‘unfairly dismissed’ from his post at Bristol University following remarks he made about Israel, it said.

The 108-page ruling found that expressing anti-Zionist views is a ‘philosophical belief and a protected characteristic’ under the 2010 Equality Act.

This sets a legal precedent that anyone expressing anti-Zionist beliefs is legally protected and cannot be sacked from their jobs.

The Union of Jewish Students said it was ‘disappointed’ by the decision which ‘may set a dangerous precedent about what can be lawfully said on campus’. It warned the ruling would ‘make Jewish students less safe’.

Professor Miller was sacked in 2021 after it was found his comments did not meet the ‘standards of behaviour’ expected from staff. This followed complaints by Jewish students who claimed he made them feel ‘uncomfortable and intimidated’.

The first was made in 2019 after he gave a lecture describing the ‘Zionist movement’ as one of the ‘five pillars of Islamophobia’. On the Electronic Intifada website, he also wrote: ‘There is a real question of abuse here, of Jewish students on British campuses being used as political pawns by a violent, racist foreign regime engaged in ethnic cleansing.’

In an ‘on the record’ email to Ben Bloch, a student and news editor of The Bristol Tab university newspaper, the professor said: ‘Zionism is and always has been a racist, violent, imperialist ideology premised on ethnic cleansing. It is an endemically anti-Arab and Islamophobic ideology. It has no place in any society.’

Since being dismissed, the professor, who works for Iranian state-owned television channel Press TV, has described Israel as ‘the enemy of world peace’.

He has also claimed that ‘Jews are not discriminated against’ and described the Bristol University Jewish Society as an ‘Israel lobby group’.

Professor Miller said he felt ‘vindicated’ and ‘very proud’ at the employment tribunal’s ruling from Judge Rohan Pirani. He added: ‘This is not just a victory for me, but also a victory for pro-Palestine campaigners across Britain.’

Zillur Rahman, of Rahman Lowe Solicitors which represented the academic, praised him for ‘fighting against the vicious campaign waged against him by Zionists’.

Last night the Community Security Trust, a Jewish charity, said it was ‘extremely concerned about what the tribunal considers is acceptable for a university professor to say publicly about Jewish students and Jewish societies who raised legitimate complaints about him’.

The Campaign Against Antisemitism said it was ‘deeply concerned’ at the way the university handled the case and hoped it would appeal against the ruling.

A spokesman added that Professor Miller ‘has continued to express his obnoxious opinions on Iranian State TV, which is exactly where he belongs’.

Day 122 — Monday, February 5

Russia Summons Back Israeli Ambassador After She Critized The Kremlin For Being Too Friendly With Hamas

Russia’s Foreign Ministry will summon Israeli ambassador Simona Halperin over “unacceptable comments” she made in an interview, the TASS news agency cited the ministry as saying on Monday.

Halperin, according to the ministry, misrepresented Russia’s foreign policy stance in the interview with Russia’s Kommersant daily, published on Sunday.

The ministry described her comments as “an extremely unsuccessful start” to her diplomatic posting, which began last December.

In the interview, Halperin criticized Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov for playing down the importance of the Holocaust and said Russia was being too friendly with the terror group Hamas.

Day 122 — Monday, February 5

Gantz: If World Doesn't Remove Terror From Lebanon, We Will

Minister-without-portfolio and National Unity chair Benny Gantz met with special envoy of US President Joe Biden, Amos Hochstein, in Tel Aviv on Sunday.

Hochstein has played an active role in brokering arrangements between Israel and Lebanon, such as the late 2022 agreement delineating the maritime border between the two countries. Additionally, in November of last year, Hochstein landed in Israel in an attempt to curb the re-emerging violence between Hezbollah and Israel.

During the meeting, Gantz expressed his appreciation to Hochstein for the efforts the US has taken to help address the challenges of the region. These issues included the hostages held by Hamas, Iranian terrorism, and regional stability.

Gantz also emphasized to Hochstein that Lebanon bears full responsibility for the terrorism coming from within its territory. Further, Gantz stated that unless Lebanon and the international community acted to remove the threat within Lebanon, Israel would broaden its military activities in the north in order to do so.

The minister-without-portfolio noted that these potential military activities would take place irrespective of the war in Gaza.

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant also met with Hochstein on Sunday.

During the meeting, Gallant and Hochstein discussed the need for a change in the security situation on Israel’s northern border and the need for the displaced residents of the north to return to then their homes, the Defense Minister’s office reported.

Gallant similarly thanks Hochstein for the role the US has played in working to achieve a diplomatic solution and change the situation on Israel’s border with Lebanon.

Day 122 — Monday, February 5

Mock Israeli Towns, IDF Bases: Troops Raid Hamas Compound Used To Train For Oct. 7

Givati Brigade troops raided the main headquarters of Hamas’s Khan Younis Brigade, used by the terror group for training ahead of its brutal October 7 onslaught, the Israel Defense Forces said Sunday, as the war in the Gaza Strip neared its fourth month.

The Khan Younis complex, known as the al-Qadsia outpost, also housed the office of Muhammad Sinwar, a senior Hamas military commander and the brother of the terror group’s leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, according to the IDF.

The military said al-Qadsia included a training ground with mock entrances to Israeli communities, IDF bases, and military vehicles, for Hamas to simulate and prepare for the October 7 attacks, during which thousands of terrorists burst across the border into Israel, killed some 1,200 people and seized over 250 hostages, mostly civilians.

Another part of the complex included a Hamas command center and offices belonging to the Khan Younis Brigade’s senior commanders, as well as a rocket depot and tunnel leading to a vast underground network, the IDF said. Troops also found a weapons manufacturing site nearby.

The IDF said that when troops arrived to raid the outpost in the southern Gaza city, they discovered that Hamas had boobytrapped the area with explosive devices, which were neutralized by combat engineers. Hamas gunmen also tried to ambush troops from an area near the outpost. The operatives opened fire, and troops responded with sniper fire, tank shelling, and airstrikes, killing all of them, the military said.

Elsewhere in Khan Younis, the IDF said it identified Hamas operatives hiding among civilian shelters in the western side of the city.

In recent days, some 120,000 Palestinians were evacuated from the Khan Younis camp via a humanitarian corridor established by the IDF. Among those moving through the corridor, Givati Brigade troops nabbed some 500 terror suspects and handed them over to be questioned in Israel.

Day 122 — Monday, February 5

Harvard To Host Radical Professor Who Defended Hamas Massacre

Harvard University will host radical professor Dalal Saeb Iriqat, who defended Hamas’ October 7 massacre in Israel, The New York Post reported.

Iriqat, daughter of former Palestinian Authority (PA) chief negotiator Saeb Erekat who died in 2020, is scheduled to speak as part of a “Middle East Dialogue” at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center on March 7.

According to The New York Post, on the day of Hamas’ attack on October 7, she wrote in a post on X, “The Palestinian people have the right to defend themselves, the right to live with dignity and freedom. I am shocked that the world is shocked! Today is just a normal human struggle 4 #Freedom.”

“We will never forgive the Israeli right wing extreme government for making us take their children and elderly as hostages,” she added a day later. “The Israeli public need to realize that their own government had caused all this bloodshed and they remain the ones responsible for this escalatin [sic] and losses of civilians lives.”

Her scheduled visit to Harvard comes when the university is already under fire for failing to properly handle the antisemitism on campus in the wake of October 7.

Shortly after the war began, a coalition of 34 Harvard student organizations released a statement in which they blamed Israel for Hamas’ October 7 attack on southern Israel.

Later, then-Harvard President Claudine Gay came under fire after she, along with MIT President Sally Kornbluth and University of Pennsylvania President Liz Magill, testified before a congressional hearing on the issue of antisemitism on college campuses.

All three university presidents gave similar answers to Rep. Elise Stefanik in which they failed to unequivocally condemn antisemitism or even calls for genocide against Jews.

In response to a question about whether such calls for genocide violate Harvard’s code of conduct, Gay responded that this depended on the “context” and whether or not the genocidal language turned into action.

Day 122 — Monday, February 5

Analysis — Recognizing ‘Palestine’ As A State In The Aftermath Oct. 7 Would Reward The Worst Kind Of Evil

Axios and certain other media outlets have recently reported that the State Department is considering recognizing Palestine as a state. There are a host of reasons why that’s a bad idea. One of the worst is this — it rewards terrorism. It rewards the very worst in human behavior.

The idea is that the United States would make this move soon after Israel’s campaign in Gaza ends — and US pressure to end the campaign is already enormous. Hamas would then be able to say to every terror group in the world, “Here’s how you get the really big concessions. Kill, mutilate, rape, burn people to death, and take lots of innocents as hostages.”

To recognize a state of Palestine in the aftermath of their October terror attacks on Israel, would encourage every rogue group on earth to follow that wicked path. It would bring chaos to this planet, the likes of which have never been seen before!

For decades, the United States has called for a two-state solution in the Holy Land. But the US has said such a solution must be predicated on negotiation among the people who live there, and that it cannot be imposed from the outside. But the present administration seems to be considering a radical change in that policy. How radical? The Biden Administration is reportedly considering imposing a new state of Palestine in a Middle East where terms and borders have not been negotiated, much less implemented. The plan is to go in the opposite direction from previous US policy and impose this “peace plan” from the outside, from far-off Washington.

The Palestinian goal has not changed from the PLO’s beginning. They want the complete annihilation of the State of Israel and the genocide of Jews around the world. They have tried to do it by sheer force, but even with the help of invading Arab armies, they have failed every time. They have now made it clear that they are willing to accomplish their goal in stages.

Day 121 — Sunday, February 4

US And UK Jointly Strike 36 Houthi Targets In Yemen: 'We Will Not Hesitate To Continue To Defend Lives And The Free Flow Of Commerce'

The US and Britain announced on Saturday they had struck 36 targets of the Iranian-affiliated Houthis in Yemen.

“Today, at the direction of their respective governments, the militaries of the United States and United Kingdom, with support from Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, and New Zealand conducted an additional round of proportionate and necessary strikes against 36 Houthi targets across 13 locations in Yemen in response to the Houthis’ continued attacks against international and commercial shipping as well as naval vessels transiting the Red Sea,” said a joint statement from the countries.

“These precision strikes are intended to disrupt and degrade the capabilities that the Houthis use to threaten global trade, and the lives of innocent mariners, and are in response to a series of illegal, dangerous, and destabilizing Houthi actions since previous coalition strikes on January 11 and 22, 2024, including the January 27 attack which struck and set ablaze the Marshall Islands-flagged oil tanker M/V Marlin Luanda.”

“Today’s strike specifically targeted sites associated with the Houthis’ deeply buried weapons storage facilities, missile systems and launchers, air defense systems, and radars,” the statement continued.

“The Houthis’ now more than 30 attacks on commercial vessels and naval vessels since mid-November constitute an international challenge. Recognizing the broad consensus of the international community, our coalition of likeminded countries committed to upholding the rules-based order has continued to grow. We remain committed to protecting freedom of navigation and international commerce and holding the Houthis accountable for their illegal and unjustifiable attacks on commercial shipping and naval vessels.”

“Our aim remains to de-escalate tensions and restore stability in the Red Sea but let us reiterate our warning to Houthi leadership: we will not hesitate to continue to defend lives and the free flow of commerce in one of the world’s most critical waterways in the face of continued threats,” the countries said.

Earlier, three officials told Reuters that the US launched a series of strikes against Iranian-affiliated targets in Yemen.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity and did not provide further details on the locations of the targets.

According to Yemeni media, there were strikes in Al-Hudaydah and Sanaa.

On Saturday morning, the USS Carney (DDG 64) shot down a UAV over the Gulf of Aden. No injuries or damage were reported.

At around 4:40p.m. (Sanaa time), US Central Command forces conducted strikes against four Houthi UAVs that were prepared to launch. US forces identified the UAVs in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen and determined that they presented an imminent threat to merchant vessels and the US Navy ships in the region. US forces subsequently struck and destroyed the UAVs in self-defense.

Then, at 9:20 p.m. (Sanaa time), USS Laboon (DDG 58) and F/A-18s from the Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group engaged and shot down seven UAVs over the Red Sea. There were no injuries or damage reported. These actions will protect freedom of navigation and make international waters safer and more secure for U.S. Navy vessels and merchant vessels.

Saturday’s strikes come a day after the US began retaliatory strikes in Syria against Iran-backed militias for a drone strike on an American base in Jordan last Sunday that killed three US service members.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition-affiliated organization which is based in London, said eight posts of the pro-Iranian militias were attacked and at least six people were killed.

Day 120 — Saturday, February 3

Pompeo Says Airstrikes Will Only Succeed If US Is Willing To 'Impose Real Costs' On Iran

Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state during the Trump administration, said that the U.S. retaliatory strikes against Iranian targets in Syria and Iraq will only succeed if they convince Iran to stop pushing its proxies to attack American personnel “anywhere in the world.”

“The single measure of their effectiveness will be whether they deter further Iranian aggression,” Pompeo told Fox News Digital.

“Not just aggression in Jordan or Iraq, but Iranian attacks on U.S. interests anywhere in the world, support for Hamas and Hezbollah against our ally Israel and Iranian attacks on military and commercial vessels in the Red Sea included,” he explained.

Pompeo said that to succeed, due to the Biden administration’s delayed response, the White House will need to display a willingness to “impose real costs” on Iran.

“To achieve this, after such a delayed response following the killing of three Americans, will take a level of seriousness and willingness to impose real costs on Iran we have not seen to date,” he added. “This failure has caused escalation that will not stop until the Biden administration — along with our allies — restores deterrence.”

Day 120 — Saturday, February 3

U.S. Strikes Over 85 Iranian And Iranian-linked Terror Targets In Syria, Iraq

The United States carried out retaliatory strikes in Iraq and Syria Friday against facilities linked to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and affiliated terror groups. This comes after a deadly attack in Jordan that killed three U.S. troops and injured some 40 others.

The strikes are believed to be just the first in a multi-tiered response by President Joe Biden’s administration in response to the attack last weekend carried out by Iran-backed terrorists.

While the U.S. strikes did not target any locations inside Iran, they are likely to increase concern about tensions in the Middle East spiralling from Israel’s more than three-month-old war with Palestinian jihadists in Gaza.

Day 120 — Saturday, February 3

Analysis — Iran Has Become A Proxy Of Russia… And They May Have Just Crossed The Line

The Israel-Hamas war that started on October 7 of last year is boosting the ties between Russia, Turkey, and Iran—which are the three key nations mentioned in Ezekiel 38. They are mentioned under their ancient names and places. Rosh, Meshech, Tubal, Togarmah, Gomer, and Persia—these are the places today of Russia, Iran, and Turkey.

These key nations are developing much closer ties as a result of the Hamas invasion against Israel.

Just this week, Turkish President Recep Erdoğan and Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi met in Ankara, Turkey. In a great irony, you have the number one sponsor of terror in the Middle East, Iran, meeting with Turkey to discuss how they can “fight against terrorism” in the Middle East.

The Jerusalem Post published an opinion piece on Tuesday titled: “Putin’s Russia and the Islamic Republic of Iran—The Geopolitical Tapestry Of Misinformation And Imperial Ambitions.”

“It is imperative to recognize the dynamics of regional alliances, especially the relationship between Iran and Russia,” the writers noted. “Increasingly, Tehran [the capital of Iran] seems to be acting not just as an ally but as a proxy for Putin’s ambitions in the Middle East, similar to how groups like Hamas and Hezbollah serve as proxies for Iran.”

This is fascinating. This is the first time I’ve read someone explaining that, while Tehran has its own proxies, Iran is really acting as a proxy for Russia to push its agenda in the Middle East. This is the Gog coalition that is predicted in Scripture. I said this before, but an article like this really brings it into clear focus.

Ezekiel 38:4 describes how God is going to put “hooks” in the “jaws” of Russia to draw it into this conflict in the land of Israel. It appears to me that Iran could easily be those hooks in the jaws, as Russia is deepening its ties with the country. Iran is a proxy of Russia; therefore, when Iran wants to strike Israel at some point in the future, that’s going to draw Russia inexorably into this coalition to be part of the invasion of Israel in the end times.

Day 120 — Saturday, February 3

Analysis — Amir Tsarfati: Pressure Cooker — The Multifaceted Situation Israel Faces Is Unlike Any The World Has Seen Before

(Galilee, Israel) — Israel is a pressure cooker right now. If you have seen Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lately, you’ll know the toll that this war has taken on him. He and those in his government are constantly having to consider in their decisions the needs of the families of the hostages, the needs of the military, and the ultimate goal of absolute victory against Hamas, Hezbollah, and any other enemy along our borders whose aim is to annihilate us. All the while, the PM and his people are feeling internal pressure from the opposition, who, after taking a brief moment off after October 7 to express their desire for national unity, have once again removed their daggers from their sheaths and are looking for any way to bring the PM down. If that weren’t enough, the pressure from outside the country, particularly from Washington, D.C., to wind down the war and implement a two-state solution is strong and constant.

Internationally, Israel is in a no-win situation. The only ones who have any desire for a two-state solution live far from the eastern shores of the Mediterranean. Israel doesn’t want a two-state solution because that would allow directly on its border an autonomous nation whose single desire is to obliterate the Jews. Hamas doesn’t want a two-state solution either because rather than living next to Israel, they want to live instead of Israel.

It is that “us instead of them” mindset that makes it impossible for Israel to allow the Gazans to press up against their border. If the people of Gaza were peace-loving, respectful neighbors, I believe that a huge majority of Israelis would vote to allow them their own land and governance. Instead, we find that all but a very small minority of Palestinians rear their children to hate Jews and to desire their violent extermination. It is so endemic in the culture that it would take 30-40 years for a new generation to be raised which would not hate Israel.

But despite all this being said, please understand that Israel is experiencing victory after victory in Gaza. Hamas is on the run as they see thousands of their terrorist compatriots dying and thousands more being captured. As the Gazan civilians evacuate to the south, many are beginning to protest loudly and publicly against Hamas. Yes, the situation is complex and taxing on the leadership, but Israel is most definitely on the winning side.

Please pray for the governmental and military leadership of Israel. Pray for safety and pray for wisdom. The multifaceted situation they face is unlike any the world has seen before.


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