#ISRAELHAMASWAR. Protests against Netanyahu talking to Blinken about having more weapons. IDF controls 70% of Rafah. Hezbollah continues its war

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on June 18 that he had received assurances from US Secretary of State Antony Blinken that restrictions on arms transfers to Israel would be removed.

“When Secretary Blinken was here in Israel recently, we had a candid conversation. I said that I deeply appreciated the support that the United States has given to Israel since the beginning of the war,” Netanyahu said in a video message. “But I also said something else. I said it is inconceivable that the administration has withheld weapons and ammunition from Israel in recent months.”

“Secretary Blinken assured me that the administration is working around the clock to eliminate these bottlenecks. I certainly hope that’s the case. It should be that way,” he said.

Israeli police on Tuesday dispersed protesters in west Jerusalem who were demanding a hostage-exchange deal with Hamas.

Protesters blocked a road at the Givat Mordechai interchange by placing ladders in the middle of the road and displaying signs calling for the release of Israelis held captive by Hamas, Channel 12 reported. “Elections now” chanted protesters in the latest pressure on the former Israeli Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to resign.

On June 18, Amos Hochstein, an advisor to US President Joe Biden, met with officials in Beirut in an attempt to find a diplomatic solution to avert a wider war. Cross-border attacks by Israel and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah have occurred almost daily since the war in Gaza began in October and escalated dramatically a week ago after Israel killed a high-ranking Hezbollah commander in an attack in southern Lebanon.

According to Israeli public broadcaster Kan, an Israeli intelligence report prepared weeks before the October 7 Hamas attack had warned the military of the Palestinian group’s preparations for an assault.

The Israeli army’s intelligence unit compiled the report in September, less than a month before the Hamas attack that sparked the ongoing war in the Gaza Strip. The Unit 8200 intelligence document is said to include details of training elite Hamas fighters for hostage-taking and plans for raids on Israeli military positions and communities in southern Israel. The note said Palestinian militants aimed to take hundreds of hostages: “The expected number of hostages: 200-250 people,” the note read, according to Kan.

According to the broadcaster, citing security officials, the report was known to intelligence officials at the Gaza Military Division and Southern Command.

Israeli politicians have rejected calls for a thorough investigation into intelligence failures surrounding the Hamas attack, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has insisted that any official investigation should wait until the end of the war, now in its ninth month.

The United Nations Independent International Commission of Inquiry into the Occupied Palestinian Territories has published its “first in-depth investigation into events since 7 October 2023.” The report holds Israel responsible for the ongoing catastrophic situation in Gaza. Although both Hamas and Israel are accused of committing war crimes, Israel is also sanctioned for committing “crimes against humanity of extermination, gender-based persecution of Palestinian men and boys, murder, forced transfer and torture, and inhuman and cruel practices ”.

And now a look at the war of attrition between Israel and Hamas updated at 3.30pm on 18 June.

As of the evening of June 17, the Israeli army claimed to have “operational control” over around 70 percent of Rafah and aimed to complete the military campaign in the area within a few weeks.

IDF continued its incursions in the city of Rafah, in the south of the Gaza Strip, and in the central areas of the territory, amid clashes and fighting with Palestinian resistance groups.

The Givati ​​Brigade, part of the 162nd Division, was involved in clashes with Palestinian gunmen in Rafah; the Israeli army bombed the Tel al-Sultan neighborhood, in the western part of Rafah, since the early hours of the morning.

Even in the center of the Gaza Strip, Israeli troops of the 99th Division continued their attacks while jets and artillery were hitting the area.

The Al-Qassam Brigades said their fighters targeted two Israeli tanks in Tel al-Sultan with locally made Yasin 105 anti-tank shells.

The Al-Qassam and Al-Quds Brigades used Shuvaz IEDs, artillery mines, an AM-50 Sayyad sniper rifle, as well as an RPG-7 and its Chinese equivalent, the Type 69, with various projectiles, resulting in 12 casualties among Israeli soldiers in the Gaza enclave in the last 48 hours. At the same time, eight Israeli security officers were killed by an IED explosion along Rafah’s main road.

The IDF carried out operations in the Western Galilee: it claims that 3 alleged drones were shot down in the area using interceptor missiles against the three “suspicious aerial targets” that crossed Israeli airspace and that it successfully intercepted them.

IAF drone attack on a car in Borgholiyeh, southern Lebanon.

Hezbollah, after the temporary pause in operations due to the Eid al-Adha holiday, resumed its campaign by destroying a Merkava tank with a suicide drone in Hadab Yarin.

Antonio Albanese e Graziella Giangiulio

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