Israel’s Operation Swords of Iron Update

JINSA, NatSec Brief – May 28, 2024

By Ari Cicurel, JINSA Assistant Director of Foreign Policy, Zac Schildcrout, JINSA Policy Analyst, Anna Schaftel, JINSA Senior Programs and Outreach Associate

View JINSA’s Israel at War Content

Analysis

  • On May 28, Reuters reported that Israeli tanks reached the center of Rafah, Hamas’s last stronghold in Gaza. Israeli operations there are vital to Israel’s objectives of destroying Hamas’s military infrastructure and recovering the hostages.
  • A rocket barrage on May 26 fired from Rafah toward Tel Aviv and central Israel underscored the importance of removing Hamas’s military capacity in Rafah and throughout Gaza in order to restore Israel’s security.
  • Following an IDF strike in Rafah on May 27 that killed two senior Hamas leaders and dozens of civilians, which Prime Minister Netanyahu stated was a “tragic mishap,” the IDF has announced an investigation into the incident, demonstrating its commitment to accountability, unlike Hamas. Israeli officials indicated that the IDF took numerous precautions before the strike “to reduce the chance of harming uninvolved [civilians], including aerial surveillance, the use of precision munitions, and additional intelligence information.”
  • On May 24, four ICJ judges, including two who voted for an order for Israel to “immediately halt” its operations in Rafah, indicated that the court’s ruling did not require Israel to halt all operations in Rafah and was limited to ordering the suspension of operations that “could bring about physical destruction in whole or in part” of the Palestinian population in Rafah. The order has caused confusion about what actions the court expects Israel to take.
Attacks Against Israel, Since May 24
  • On May 25, The Times of Israel said, “a Hamas terror cell planned to carry out terror attacks on the Israeli embassy in Berlin and a US military base in Germany, the Welt am Sonntag German newspaper reports.” The suspect was reportedly in contact with Hamas operatives based in Lebanon.
Gaza
  • Rockets struck Sa’ad and Herzliya, and sirens sounded in Herzliya, Kfar Shmaryahu, Ramat Hasharon, Tel Aviv, Petah Tikva, and other nearby towns, as well as Sa’ad and Nahal Oz.
  • On May 27, Hamas said in a statement, “in light of the horrific Zionist massacre this evening committed by the criminal occupation army against the tents of the displaced … we call on the masses of our people in the West Bank, Jerusalem, the occupied territories and abroad to rise up and march angrily against the ongoing Zionist massacre against our people in the sector.”
  • On May 27, terrorists in Gaza fired a rocket toward southern Israeli towns near Gaza, which impacted an open area, according to the IDF. There were no injuries or damage.
  • On May 26, eight rockets were launched from Rafah targeting central Israel, several of which were intercepted by Israeli air defense. Hamas took credit for the attack.
  • A home in Herzliya was damaged in the attack.
  • On May 26, a video circulating on social media showed a crater from the rocket attack, which appeared to have hit an open area near buildings in Kfar Saba.
  • On May 26, reports indicated that rockets fired by terrorists in Gaza damaged a vehicle in Sa’ad in southern Israel but caused no injuries.
Lebanon
  • Rockets struck Avivim and Dovev, and sirens sounded in Kiryat Shmona, Tel Hai, and Misgav Am.
  • On May 28, the IDF said three anti-tank missiles were fired from Lebanon toward Shtula. No injuries were reported.
  • On May 27, suspected drone alerts sounded in Beit Hillel, Kfar Yuval, and Metula.
  • On May 27, a barrage of at least 35 rockets were launched from Lebanon towards the Mount Meron area. The IDF said the rockets struck open areas and that there were no reported injuries, but the rockets sparked at least one fire near Safsufa.
  • On May 27, Hezbollah launched two one-way attack drones toward northern Israel. The IDF said both drones crossed into Israeli air space and that one drone was downed by air defenses, and the other struck an area in Western Galilee. The IDF is investigating why it failed to intercept the second drone.
  • On May 27, Hezbollah launched an anti-tank guided missile towards Metula, which damaged one home.
  • On May 27, at least one rocket launched from Lebanon impacted in Kiryat Shmona.
  • On May 26, Hezbollah fired a barrage of more than 10 rockets targeting the Western Galilee. In Kiryat Shmona, a man in his 40s was lightly injured in the attack.
  • On May 26, terrorists in Lebanon fired an anti-tank guided missile toward Avivim in northern Israel, impacting a home. A male occupant of the home was rescued.
  • On May 25, Israel’s Channel 12 News reported that around 10 rockets were fired from southern Lebanon towards the Western Galilee, and another two rockets were fired at Misgav Am. No injuries were reported in the attacks.
  • Overnight on May 25, the IDF said a barrage of 20 rockets was fired from Lebanon towards northern Israel, several of which struck Manara and Dovev. No injuries were reported in the attacks. The IDF said a “suspicious aerial target” was also intercepted by air defense over Dishon.
  • On May 24, terrorists in Lebanon fired anti-tank guided missiles toward Dovev in northern Israel, inflicting damage.
Iraq
  • On May 24, Iran-backed militia in Iraq launched three drones at Israel. The IDF stated that it intercepted all three drones outside of Israeli airspace. The Islamic Resistance in Iraq claimed to have targeted Eilat and Haifa.
West Bank
  • On May 26, the IDF said that it shot and killed a Palestinian suspect who “tried to carry out a stabbing attack” against soldiers near the Beit Einun junction. The attacker did not inflict any injuries.
IDF Operations
  • On May 27, Egypt’s military wrote on X, “the Egyptian Armed Forces are conducting an investigation through the competent authorities regarding a shooting incident in the border area in Rafah, which led to the martyrdom of one of the personnel.” Subsequent reports indicated that Israeli and Egyptian soldiers exchanged fire.
  • According to reports from May 26, amid an investigation by Israel’s Military Police, an IDF reservist who posted a video of his call for mutiny to social media was dismissed from reserve duty.
Gaza
  • On May 28, The Times of Israel reported that “the [IDF’s] Bislamach Brigade — the School for Infantry Corps Professions and Squad Commanders during war time — [joined] the 162nd Division’s other brigades that have been operating in Rafah since earlier this month.”
  • On May 28, Reuters reported that Israeli tanks advanced to the center of Rafah for the first time since Israel began its offensive there three weeks ago.
  • On May 27, Reuters and The Times of Israel reported that “Israel is investigating allegations of abuse and torture of Palestinian security detainees at the Sde Teiman military base in the Negev desert, the IDF’s top prosecutor says.”
  • On May 27, an Israeli airstrike killed high-ranking Hamas operatives Yassin Rabia and Khaled Najjar in Rafah. Dozens of Palestinian civilians were also reportedly killed.
  • Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry said that the strike killed approximately 45 people. Maj. Gen. Yifat Tomer Yerushalmi, Israel’s head military lawyer, said the situation is “very grave,” and “the details of the incident are still under an investigation, which we are committed to conducting to the fullest extent.” She added, “the IDF regrets any harm to noncombatants during the war.”
  • The IDF said that the strike was informed by “intelligence information on the presence of the terrorists in the area” and that the military took “many steps to reduce the chance of harming uninvolved [civilians], including aerial surveillance, the use of precision munitions, and additional intelligence information.” The IDF said further that “based on [these steps] it was estimated that no harm was expected to uninvolved civilians.”
  • According to the IDF, the attack utilized warheads “reduced in size” and was conducted outside the al-Mawasi safe area.
  • Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on May 27, “despite our efforts not to hurt [civilians], there was a tragic mishap. We are investigating the incident,” and “for us it’s a tragedy, for Hamas it’s a strategy.”
  • According to subsequent reports that day, Israel believes that shrapnel from the airstrike ignited a fuel tank approximately 100 meters away, causing nearby tents in which civilians were sheltering to catch fire. The United States reportedly could not verify Israel’s account.
  • On May 27, Israeli media reported that Member of Knesset Gadi Eisenkot, an observer on Israel’s war cabinet, told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Security Committee that Israel should “reach the end of the fighting in Rafah and at the same time, move forward with hostage deal, in which we will cease fighting for as long as it takes.” He argued, “just as we stopped for a truce last time, we can suspend the fighting and return to it for as long as it takes to achieve the goals of the war.”
  • On May 27, the IDF
May 29, 2024 | 4 Comments »

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4 Comments / 4 Comments

  1. US deputy ambassador to the UN: Israel must do more to protect innocent civilians in Gaza. The other day this guy was participating in a moment of silence for the Butcher of Tehran.

    Meme somebody posted on FB which popped up on my News Feed, just now, and which I, in turn, copied and reposted on mine.

  2. IDF strike in Rafah on May 27 that killed two senior Hamas leaders and dozens of civilians

    Sounds proportional enough to me.

    “The principle of proportionality prohibits attacks against military objectives which are “expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, damage to civilian objects, or a combination thereof, which would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated”.

    Senior leaders, eh? Could they have been involved in something like this also reported above? Or something worse?
    Dozens of enemy civilians sounds like a reasonable trade. Just swap out Gazan for WWII German and see if it matters.
    “On May 25, The Times of Israel said, “a Hamas terror cell planned to carry out terror attacks on the Israeli embassy in Berlin and a US military base in Germany, the Welt am Sonntag German newspaper reports.” The suspect was reportedly in contact with Hamas operatives based in Lebanon.”

  3. @Adam

    THey can’t get it through their heads that the the Enemy are the Arabs and Iranians who are attacking Israel, rather than their own government and fellow Israeli Jews who disagree with their opinions.

    Actually, I would argue that the main point of their disagreement with the existing govt is related to the govt’s opposition to American demands to which the opposition insists that Bibi and his govt must submit. Indeed, this is the kernal of friction about which the real policy digressions exist between the Right wing govt and their opponents in the opposition.

  4. This is a truly shocking story. The leader of the “New Labor Party” is calling not only for massive “civil disobedience,” but is urging reservists :not to report for duty as a means of forcing the resignation of the Netanyahu government. They are right back to the :civil didobedience” and appeals to Israeli soldiers not to serve that immediately preceded and led to the Hamas invasion. THe other opposition parties have declined to endorse :New Labor;s call to reservists not to serve, but they have joined New Labor in appeals for massive “civil disobedience.” to bring down the Netanyahu government. THey can’t get it through their heads that the the Enemy are the Arabs and Iranians who are attacking Israel, rather than their own government and fellow Israeli Jews who disagree with their opinions. In my opinion. these people are traitors. In any reasonably rational country, they would be locked up in time of war. That is what the British did with the British fascist leaders and people helping the Nazis during World War II. IN the UNited States, people who advocated :civil disobedience” to oppose American participation in the war were also locked up, During the Kprean War, American Communist leaders and some rank-in-file American Communists were locked up and not released until after the Korean war was over. Israel is a kooky country where the police, the judiciary state prosecutors and lawyers, and at least half the political establishment are traitors. As Abraham Lincoln pointed out shortly before the outbreak of the civil war, “A house divided against itself shall not stand.” I don;t see how Israel can stand when so much of its political and governmental leaders are nothing but a gang of traitors