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Israel suffers casualties in Gaza as Hezbollah drones target north


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FDD's Long War Journal

Seth Frantzman

January 9, 2024

Nine Israeli soldiers were killed in Gaza on January 8, one of the deadliest days for IDF soldiers since the ground campaign began in Gaza on October 27. The IDF has now lost 519 soldiers since Hamas attacked Israel on October 7. Six of those killed in Gaza on January 8 were killed in a mistaken detonation of demolition explosives that were being laid. The high losses came as Hezbollah also carried out a kamikaze drone attack on Israel’s Northern Command in the city of Safed. The two incidents underscore the reality that Israel faces possible escalation on two fronts amidst pressure for it to reduce the intensity of its campaign in Gaza.

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They also discussed wider regional threats posed by Iran and its proxies. Gallant has often referred to threats in seven arenas in the region, from Yemen to the West Bank and northern Israel. “An increase in the pressure placed on Iran is critical, and may prevent regional escalation in additional arenas,” Gallant said, without specifying the arenas to which he was referring. However on January 8, the IDF said it had “eliminated Hassan Hakashah in Beit Jann in Syria. He was a central figure responsible for rockets fired by Hamas from Syrian territory toward Israel in recent weeks. Since the beginning of the war, Hakashah directed Hamas terrorist cells which fired rockets from Syria toward Israeli territory.” The IDF reiterated that it would not “allow terrorism from Syrian territory.” An IDF spokesperson reiterated that the IDF will not tolerate threats against northern Israel from Lebanon.

This desire to concentrate on Hezbollah threats in the north was clear from Gallant’s meeting with Blinken during which he said Israel was prioritizing the return of Israel’s northern residents to their homes. 80,000 Israelis were evacuated from dozens of communities along the northern border in October due to Hezbollah attacks.

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