December 21, 2023 | Israel at War Situation Report

Israel SitRep: Dec. 21, 2023

December 21, 2023 Israel at War Situation Report

Israel SitRep: Dec. 21, 2023

Today’s Issue: IDF Arrests 20 Suspects Overnight in West Bank | Israeli Forces Complete Takeover of Hamas’s Elite Quarter | Since War Began, IDF Has Eliminated Hamas Operatives, Destroyed Weapons and Launch Infrastructure | Hamas Rejects Israeli Proposal For Hostage Deal | Latest FDD Analysis

IDF Arrests 20 Suspects Overnight in West Bank: The IDF announced on Thursday the arrest of 20 wanted individuals in Judea and Samaria, eight of them affiliated with Hamas. In the village of Seida, troops found and destroyed improvised explosive devices and the materials used to produce them. One wanted man was arrested there. In Deir al-Ghusun, Israeli forces found weapons parts and ammunition. In the village of Rujib in Samaria, soldiers arrested two wanted individuals and seized two pistols, an M-16 rifle, ammunition, and weapons parts. In Hebron, IDF troops found ammunition, and in the village of Dahariya, they seized 11 illegal vehicles. The army says that thus far, some 2,420 wanted individuals have been arrested in the Judea and Samaria Division and the 417th Jordan Valley Brigade, around 1,210 of them affiliated with Hamas.

Israeli Forces Complete Takeover of Hamas’s Elite Quarter: On Wednesday, the IDF published an announcement stating that its forces had taken control of Hamas’s “elite quarter,” near Palestine Square, where the organization’s governmental and military leadership conducted operations. According to the statement, the complex has an extensive tunnel network connecting hideouts, residential apartments, and offices belonging to officials of the military and political wings of Hamas. The statement added that troops from the IDF’s 162nd Division’s 401st Brigade, the Shaldag Unit (air force commandos), Shayetet 13 (naval commandos), and the Yahalom Unit (from the Combat Engineering Corps), fought in the area of the Gaza City neighborhood of Rimal, where Palestine Square is located, taking control of the area. During the fighting, troops killed some 600 terrorists. According to the IDF, Palestine Square was a center of terrorism and a Hamas governmental-military center of surrounded by buildings used as command-and-control centers and by tunnel shafts, stores, homes, and a school for the deaf.

Since War Began, IDF Has Eliminated Hamas Operatives, Destroyed Weapons and Launch Infrastructure: The IDF on Wednesday announced that it has eliminated senior Hamas operatives, destroyed a large number of weapons, and damaged launch infrastructure, eliminating many of the operational capabilities of Hamas’s aerial array. According to the army, since the start of the war, the Israeli Air Force has “significantly” damaged the capabilities of Hamas’s aerial array, and attacks by small surface-to-air missiles, UAVs, and drones have also been thwarted. The announcement stated that early in the war, the IDF destroyed an aircraft detection system developed by Hamas, which was hidden inside water heaters on the roofs of civilian homes in Gaza. The system identified and tracked IAF aircraft. During the fighting the IAF has attacked hundreds of targets, including weapons warehouses, hideouts, and “operational apartments” used by the heads of the Hamas aerial array.

Hamas Rejects Israeli Proposal For Hostage Deal: According to an Israeli media report from Thursday, Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri says that “the time for truces is over” and that a hostage deal without a total ceasefire is “worthless.” Hamas announced on Thursday that it will not release any more hostages before the war ends. Israel had offered a weeklong truce in exchange for Hamas’s release of 40 hostages. The deal would also have included Israel releasing Palestinian security prisoners. According to the statement by Hamas, “We will only discuss the captives and conclude prisoner exchange agreements after a complete cessation of Israeli aggression and a ceasefire.” Israel has said that it will end the war “when all its objectives have been achieved.” Ismail Haniyeh, head of Hamas’s political bureau, arrived in Cairo on Wednesday for talks with Egyptian officials on the war, including the possibility of additional hostage release negotiations.

Latest FDD Analysis:

“With 7-ton resupply of water to troops in Gaza, IDF shows precision airdrop capability,” Seth J. Frantzman, Breaking Defense

“Houthis slam US-led naval force in Red Sea, threaten Middle East,” Seth J. Frantzman, The Jerusalem Post

“Jordan, Saudi Arabia and UAE help Gazan civilians,” Seth J. Frantzman, The Jerusalem Post

“Middle East shifts focus to Houthi threats in Red Sea,” Seth J. Frantzman, The Jerusalem Post

“Operation Prosperity Guardian, the Houthis, and CDR Salamander,” Bill Roggio and CDR Salamander, Generation Jihad (by FDD’s Long War Journal)

“Israel uses new defense technology on Gaza battlefield,” Seth J. Frantzman, FDD’s Long War Journal

“Egypt’s Sisi Wins on Anti-Palestinian Ticket,” FDD Experts, FDD Flash Brief

“Hamas Member Admits It Uses Hospital as Command Center,” FDD Experts, FDD Flash Brief

“Israel Strikes Hezbollah Terror Targets in Lebanon,” FDD Experts, FDD Flash Brief

“Malaysia Bans Israeli Shipping Services,” FDD Experts, FDD Flash Brief

“Houthis Continue Threats Despite New U.S.-Led Multilateral Red Sea Operation,” FDD Experts, FDD Flash Brief


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