US and Israel strike Iranian proxies in Syria via BICom
Regional: Israeli and American forces reportedly carried out separate airstrikes on Iranian proxies in Syria killing 12 fighters.
- US officials said that two F-15 fighter jets dropped multiple bombs on a weapons storage facility near Maysulun in Deir el-Zour in eastern Syria that was known to be used by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.
- A senior US defence official said the strike was aimed at “disrupting and degrading the capabilities of groups directly responsible for attacking US forces in the region” by specifically targeting facilities associated with the Revolutionary Guard.
- The Pentagon says 45 American troops have been injured in Iraq and Syria in attacks by Iranian-backed militia during the past month. Of those, 32 were at al-Tanf garrison in southeastern Syria, with a mix of minor injuries and traumatic brain injuries, and 13 were at al-Asad air base in western Iraq.
- US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin said attacks against US troops must stop. “The President has no higher priority than the safety of US personnel, and he directed today’s action to make clear that the United States will defend itself, its personnel, and its interests”.
- “If attacks by Iran’s proxies against US forces continue, we will not hesitate to take further necessary measures to protect our people,” Austin added.
- The US has 900 troops in Syria, and 2,500 more in neighbouring Iraq. Since October 7, the US has sent warships and fighter aircraft to the region, including two aircraft carriers.
- On 26 October, US forces attacked two facilities used by the IRGC and groups it backs.
- Also Wednesday, the Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen said they shot down an American drone. “Our air defences were able to down an American MQ-9 while it was carrying out hostile surveillance and espionage activities in Yemeni territorial waters as part of American military support” for Israel.
- In separate news, Syrian official news agency SANA said Israeli air strikes hit military sites in southern Syria, causing material damage.
- Also yesterday, the IDF said jets struck a number of Hezbollah sites in southern Lebanon in response to recent rocket and missile attacks on the border. Separately, the IDF says it struck a cell in southern Lebanon preparing to carry out an attack near the Biranit camp.
Gaza: IDF infantry, tank and special-ops units continued to operate in and around Gaza City.
- IDF Spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said, “Hamas has lost control in the north. The Hamas leadership is cut off. They are sitting in bunkers, cut off. Cut off from the public, cut off from their terrorists who are fighting on the ground against our forces and being killed.”
- The IDF announced that two soldiers from the Nahal Brigade’s 931st Battalion were killed yesterday, taking the number of soldiers killed in action during the ground campaign to 35.
- The IDF says it has found and destroyed some 130 tunnel shafts in the Gaza Strip since the ground operation began last month, including one yesterday adjacent to a UNRWA school in the northern Gaza Strip.
- Despite Hamas efforts to prevent them doing so, yesterday some 50,000 Gazans moved south as Israel extended the 10 am to 2 pm window to travel along the humanitarian corridor by an hour.
- Speaking to the New York Times, Khalil al-Hayya, a member of Hamas’ politburo in Qatar dismissed the idea the group wanted to govern Gaza, and expressed support for endless conflict.
- “Hamas’s goal is not to run Gaza and to bring it water and electricity and such,” says al-Hayya. “This battle was not because we wanted fuel or laborers,” he adds. “It did not seek to improve the situation in Gaza. This battle is to completely overthrow the situation.”
- Hamas media consultant Taher El-Nounou told the paper. “I hope that the state of war with Israel will become permanent on all the borders, and that the Arab world will stand with us.”
- A Hamas terrorist captured after the massacre on October 7 admitted that the group uses ambulances to evacuate fighters. “Al-Qassam have their own ambulances, some of which are located on military bases. The ambulances look like civilian ambulances so they don’t arouse suspicions and are not attacked by Israel,” said one of the captives during his interrogation. “During the fighting, the ambulances are used for things including evacuated wounded fighters. They are also used to deliver food, IEDs and weapons because it is a secure way to transfer those things.”
Hostages: Talks are reportedly underway for the release of a dozen hostages held by Hamas, including six Americans, in return for a three-day ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.
- A source close to Hamas said that “Talks revolve around the release of 12 hostages, half of them Americans, in exchange for a three-day humanitarian pause, to enable Hamas to release the hostages and to enable Egypt an extended [period of time] to deliver humanitarian aid,” the source claims.
- Other reports suggest that Qatar is mediating negotiations between Israel and Hamas for the potential release of 10-15 hostages held in Gaza in exchange for a short ceasefire.
- Families of the hostages said in response that “We will welcome the return of every hostage who is in Gaza. However, the Hostages and Missing Families Forum adheres to its position that any movement towards a ceasefire has to include the release of all of the hostages from Gaza.”
- Prime Minister Netanyahu said, “I’d like to put to rest all kinds of false rumors we’re hearing from all kinds of directions, and reiterate one clear thing: there will be no ceasefire without the release of our hostages.”