Nearly two weeks after the Hamas attack on Israel, the Tel Aviv army’s bombardment of the Gaza Strip continues. Today, Thursday, October 19, the Israel Defense Forces announced that it had killed a number of leading members of the Hamas movement. Among them is Raafat Harb Hussein Abu Hilal, head of the Popular Resistance Committees, one of the armed factions supporting the Palestinian terrorist organization. In 2006, these same committees participated in the kidnapping of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, a hostage who had been held in Gaza for five years and then released as part of a prisoner exchange. But Jamila Al-Shanti, the widow of Hamas co-founder Abdel Aziz Al-Rantisi and the first woman elected in 2021 to the movement’s political bureau, and Jihad Muheisen, head of Hamas’ National Security, were also killed. In addition to the aerial bombardment, raids were carried out by some Israeli army commandos in an attempt to find some missing citizens. Military spokesman Daniel Hagari provided an update on the operational status, according to which Israel estimates the number of hostages brought by Hamas to Gaza at 203. The air force spokesman in Tel Aviv added that in other attacks carried out last night, “10 elite terrorists” were also killed, a unit Hamas elite.
Humanitarian aid and the Rafah crossing
In the morning, the Palestinian authorities issued a new update on the war’s toll: at least 3,785 dead and 12,493 wounded have been recorded since October 7. Meanwhile, international efforts continue to try to ensure humanitarian access to civilians in the Gaza Strip. The press service of the Russian Emergencies Ministry announced the launch of a special flight carrying 27 tons of aid. The memorandum stated: “Based on the instructions of the Russian President and on behalf of the government, the ministry’s plane will deliver a humanitarian cargo to the residents of the Strip.” The flight took off from Ramenskoye Airport in the Moscow Region, heading to Al-Arish International Airport in Egypt. Sisi’s own country, thanks to the mediation of Joe Biden, announced the opening of the corridor “in a sustainable way” for humanitarian aid heading to the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing.
However, the crossing is still closed, according to some local sourceshandle -No border personnel were seen. According to expectations, the agreement reached between Israel, Egypt, and the United States of America could open the crossing as of tomorrow, Friday, October 20, which was also confirmed by Biden to some journalists during his return trip to the United States. Egyptian Red Crescent President Khaled Zeid said that “hundreds of tons” of medical aid “are ready to enter the Gaza Strip.” It is not yet clear to what extent border controls will be expanded. But Martin Griffiths – Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and UN Emergency Aid Coordinator – expressed hope that this aid would be “safe and consistent”, on the order of 100 trucks per day.
The role of Captagon in the Hamas attack on October 7
Rocket firing from Gaza towards Israel also resumed in the morning. At lunchtime, sirens sounded in Tel Aviv and in some central areas of the country. Meanwhile, new details emerged about the attack launched by Hamas against Israel on October 7, which led to the start of the military escalation. According to Israeli television Channel 12The soldiers of the Palestinian terrorist organization who participated in the invasion were under the influence of a synthetic drug known as Captagon. Some traces of these substances have already been discovered among Hamas prisoners in Israel, while some pills were still in the pockets of some soldiers who died in combat. Captagon, also known as “poor man’s cocaine,” is mainly produced in Lebanon and Syria, and has been used by ISIS fighters in the past.
Former Israeli Prime Minister: “It will be a brutal operation”
While the West is still waiting to understand the severity of the Tel Aviv government’s response to the Palestinian terrorist organization, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Omar said in an interview with The Sun newspaper: printing – To provide more details about what could happen now in the Middle East: “Talk about a diplomatic settlement today has no meaning. There will only be a brutal and bloody process, which I only hope Israel will be able to do.” To create conditions to reduce collateral damage to a minimum.” According to Olmert, who served as prime minister from 2006 to 2009, “the real issue is Iran” and that the greatest deterrent to the expansion of the conflict is “the American military presence in the region.” Olmert then claims that Netanyahu is now “at the end of the line” and that his speech in recent days was “extremely angry, inappropriate and inappropriate.” Regarding the international reactions, the former Israeli Prime Minister adds: “The West, which quickly abandoned compassion for the Israeli victims and moved to the Palestinian victims “It surprised me this time. We have to deal with it.”
Image source: EPA/Haitham Emad | Rafah Crossing, which connects the Gaza Strip to Egypt (October 16, 2023)
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