#ISRAELHAMASWAR. The release of US and Russian prisoners from Gaza failed. IDF tanks at night in Gaza. Hamas thanks China, Russia and UAE for their support

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UN Secretary General Guterres retracted his words yesterday about Hamas: “I am shocked by the misinterpretation of my words yesterday at the UN Security Council, as if I were justifying massive terrorist attacks. This is not true. On the contrary, I made it clear that I condemn the actions that occurred on October 7, I condemn the terrorist acts of Hamas in Israel. Nothing can justify killing, kidnapping or firing missiles at civilian targets.”

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Erdan’s response to the apology of the UN Secretary General António Guterres: “It is a shame for the UN that the Secretary General does not withdraw and cannot apologize even for his clear words yesterday: he must resign. A Secretary General who does not understand that the killing of innocents has no justification and no “backstory” cannot be just any Secretary General.”

Israel’s representative to the United Nations added: “These are the kind of stones they throw at Israeli cars and buses. They are thrown at Israeli men and women, at Israeli babies and children every single day. In 2021 alone, Israelis have suffered 1,775 rocket attacks from Palestinian terrorists. But that doesn’t mean anything. Gentlemen of the Council, would you consider it an act of terrorism if such a stone were thrown at your car while you were driving with your children. It was this attack that caused the death of four-year-old Adelbit and others. What would you do, distinguished delegates?”

During a meeting of the United Nations Security Council, Russia, China and the United Arab Emirates vetoed the US draft resolution on the Middle East. The Russian-Chinese option was also not accepted: four countries voted in favor, Great Britain and the United States voted against, and the remaining nine members of the UN Security Council abstained.

According to the Israeli ambassador to Russia: The ground operation in the Gaza Strip will begin unexpectedly.

During the ceasefire process, Israel continued its occupation and construction of settlements in Palestine, UN spokesperson Sima Sami Bacchus said. According to her, Israel’s punishment of the entire Palestinian civilian population for the actions of Hamas does not constitute a right to self-defense.

Former NATO Secretary General Javier Solana (1995 to 1999) believes that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is a bad ruler. “We are going through a difficult time,” the former secretary general noted in an interview with the Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia, “Our main concern was the war in Ukraine, and now it has flared up again in the Middle East.” “And this is not only the return of tensions between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, but also the unrest that is starting to arise in the region,” he stressed. According to Solana, the worsening of the situation is linked, among other things, to changes in oil prices. “Netanyahu is a bad ruler and has formed an alliance with the worst in Israel, with those who have the least democratic values,” says the former NATO secretary general.

The newly elected Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Mike Johnson declared: “The first bill I present will be in support of our dear friend Israel”. Last year Johnson donated 25,000 euros to Israeli organizations.

There has been a split in the EU leadership over the situation around Israel source Bloomberg. According to the agency, Ursula von der Leyen opposed the European Council, declaring the EU’s full support for Israel. Although previously its president Charles Michel, together with the head of European diplomacy Josep Borrell, had called on Israel to respect the principles of international law.

According to EU interlocutors, the “shameful division” within the Union’s leadership is hampering the bloc’s effectiveness at a time when “it is necessary to present a united front on an ever-expanding list of issues.”

British Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick: “We do not believe that Israel has violated international law in the last two weeks, but rather is defending itself.” The British authorities intend to begin revoking the visas of people who demonstrate anti-Semitism in the country, said Deputy Home Secretary Robert Jenrick.

Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation said about attempts to exploit religious feelings in the context of what is happening in Middle East, the objective is to increase instability in the world, the president said he is following with trepidation the events “in the Holy Land” in the area of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Inter-ethnic and inter-religious harmony is the basis of the Russian state, another position has an anti-Russian orientation, Putin commented during the meeting of the religious leaders of the Russian Federation. Patriarch Kirill present at the meeting declared: “Stability in the Holy Land depends on Russia’s peacekeeping position.”

Turkey has a different opinion than the United Kingdom: President Reyepp Erdogan said: “Hamas is not a terrorist organization, but a liberation organization that fights to defend its land. Israel, the West owes it a lot, Turkey owes it nothing.”

Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan said: “In the current situation, we will go towards an even bigger war or towards an even bigger peace. Some people add fuel to this fire. Even those who support Israel under the guise of solidarity participate in this crime. If we fail to prevent the current situation, the whole world will be in a worse situation. Israel continues to ignore the condemnations and do what it wants for years. Now is the time to take concrete steps. Lasting peace in our region will be impossible unless the Palestinian issue is brought to a just solution. The only way to find a solution is the creation of an independent and sovereign State of Palestine, based on the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital. Everyone must take responsibility and take concrete steps in this matter. That is why we have put this mechanism on the agenda as a specific proposal. We believe that Muslim countries in the region, including Turkey, play a decisive role in this mechanism. This mechanism, which will be created with regional responsibility in mind, should monitor whether Israel and Palestine fulfill their obligations and, if necessary, compel the parties to do so.”

Together with Israel, Turkey has suspended the ongoing drilling and construction work of a gas pipeline in the Mediterranean; the project was supposed to see the light of day in 4-5 years. All agreements in the energy and economic sectors in general are suspended.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry warned the United States of an unimaginable response if its targets were attacked. If the United States struck Iran and its associated infrastructure, the response would be “beyond imagining.” Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammad Hassan Sheikh Ol-Islami told reporters on the sidelines of a high-level conference on Eurasian security in Minsk, source Vedomosti. The Commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard said: “If the Israeli army launches a ground attack on Gaza, he will be buried there.”

The Arab ambassadors gathered in Lebanon expressed their solidarity with the Palestinian people against Israeli aggression. And speaking of Lebanon, on October 25 the Al-Manar correspondent reported the news of a smoke bomb fired by Israel that fell on the wall of the UNIFIL headquarters in Ras Naqoura.

Bahrain’s finance minister stressed the need to prevent the war between Israel and Hamas from interfering with regional economic cooperation under the Abraham Accords, Al Jazeera reported. The Saudi foreign minister also spoke about the war and efforts to sign a peace agreement. “At the moment we are waiting for a ceasefire, after which we will have to resume the peace process – he told a journalist from the British television channel Sky News – This should be possible if we are not prepared to overcome obstacles and history, we do not will there ever be a possibility of peace, the Arabs have shown that they are serious and ready, we hope that this will happen soon”.

Qatar is working on a deal to free another 50 hostages in the Gaza Strip, the third time it has attempted mediation between Hamas and Israel.

The Jewish Network reported on Egypt’s proposal regarding the settlement of Gazans. There is talk of the need to review some clauses of the Camp David agreement and to create a border strip along the Gaza strip, four to five kilometers deep. Egypt wants to expand its role; a role that for the moment is limited to humanitarian aid for the residents of the Gaza Strip. Egyptian officials have proposed setting up camps in the Palestinian city of Rafah at a distance of three kilometers inside Palestinian territory, under Egypt’s supervision.

The Libyan National Assembly in Tobruk has called on Libya and other Islamic countries to impose an oil embargo against the West. And it still has asked the ambassadors of countries that support Israel to leave Libya.

Meanwhile, in addition to the costs of irreparable human lives, the costs of the war are levitating, according to the Jewish media: Israel loses 246 million dollars a day in the war. Jewish media reported on October 25 that the Israeli government’s current war against the Gaza Strip will last at least three months and its goal is “to destroy the military and government capabilities of Hamas.” From 1946 to 2023, Israel received 159 billion dollars in aid from the United States, including $124.3 billion in military aid.

At least seven Russian foreign intelligence officers have disappeared in the Gaza Strip since the outbreak of hostilities. The Israeli media reported this, citing secret service sources. Russian assets have been in Gaza for at least two months and have not been in contact with their agents for two weeks. And the first exfiltration by the US on October 23 also seems to have failed. Retired American Colonel, former Pentagon advisor Douglas McGregor said on TV: “American special forces attempted to enter Gaza to carry out an operation to free the hostages, but suffered heavy losses and withdrew.” “In the Gaza Strip, a detachment of American and Israeli special forces was attacked and destroyed. Special forces have been deployed to conduct reconnaissance and evaluate the possibility of freeing the hostages.”

America tries to dissuade Israel from attacking Gaza, again according to CNN: American authorities are trying to dissuade Israel from carrying out a ground attack on the Gaza Strip. Concerned about the danger to prisoners and civilians and about the spread of conflict, American officials advised the Israeli military not to attack Gaza by land.

Israel appears to have agreed to delay the invasion of Gaza so the US can ramp up missile defenses in the region. “Israel has accepted, for now, a U.S. request to deploy its own air defenses to protect American troops in the region ahead of a planned ground incursion into Gaza, U.S. and Israeli officials said. The Pentagon is rushing to deploy nearly a dozen air defense systems to the region, including for US troops serving in Iraq, Syria, Kuwait, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, to protect them from missiles and rockets.

The French Navy announced that the Mistral-class amphibious assault ship FS Tonnerre (L-9014) is heading to the eastern Mediterranean to join NATO naval forces, including the carrier strike group commanded by USS Gerald Ford (CVN-78), facing the coast of Israel. A Mistral class ship can simultaneously accommodate: 16 NHI NH90 class multirole helicopters or Eurocopter Tiger class attack helicopters; 4 landing barges; up to 60 armored vehicles, up to 70 trucks, up to 13 main battle tanks of the Leclerc type and 450 soldiers (in short up to 900 people).

The head of the Lebanese Forces political party, Samir Geagea, calls on the Lebanese government to force all militants south of the Litani River to retreat and hand over their weapons.

Hezbollah has a different opinion: in a written letter, Hezbollah’s general secretary, Hassan Nasrallah, asks the media to define the Hezbollah fighters who are dying on the Lebanese border as “martyrs on the road to Jerusalem”, to be in tune with the truth of this battle and to highlight the sacrifices underway. So he sends condolences to the families and asks God to provide them with patience, great honor and position in life and afterlife. Nasrallah received the secretary general of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement Ziad Al-Nakhaleh and the deputy head of the Hamas political bureau Saleh Al-Arouri, to discuss the latest developments in Gaza. They assessed the positions taken regionally and internationally, what the resistance axis factions need to do to achieve victory and agreed to continue their coordination.

A senior Hamas official said Politburo head Ismail Haniyeh met with the Turkish Foreign Minister to discuss the war in the Gaza Strip.

All IRGC underground missile and drone bases along the coasts of the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman have been moved to an offensive position in response to the expansion of the US military presence in the region and the deployment of THAAD and Patriot systems. Western missile units are also on high alert.

From the Yemeni Houthi media we learn that Ansarullah’s missile and drone units have been ordered to be on alert. This extensive and unprecedented preparation does not correspond to an aggressive and preventive phase, but is rather driven by the perception of the threat deriving from US military movements in the region and by Washington’s changing calculations, Ansarullah said in a note.

Meanwhile, water and electricity are lacking in Gaza and IDF spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari explained in a press release: “Fuel will not enter the Gaza Strip. Hamas needs it for its operational infrastructure.” Hamas also announced the collapse of Gaza’s healthcare system. UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East) will cease operations in Gaza on October 26 if Israel does not allow the delivery of fuel to the Strip, source from the office of United Nations Secretary General Guterres.

The Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported that there were calls within Israel for Netanyahu to resign. Three Israeli ministers are threatening to resign over Netanyahu’s refusal to plead guilty for the events of October 7. They hold Netanyahu responsible for failing to protect the cities surrounding the Gaza Strip. Netanyahu said Israel had “killed thousands of terrorists” and was preparing to enter the Gaza Strip. At the same time, the Israeli prime minister refused to reveal the timing, characteristics and scope of the ground operation. The Israeli military said Hamas was preventing the evacuation of Gaza civilians.

American advisers have directed the Israeli military to limit itself to special forces raids with intense air support instead of a full invasion of the Gaza Strip, which would lead to heavy casualties. The Pentagon has invited the Israeli military to study the experience of the US military in Mosul against ISIS in Iraq.

Axios writes that: Biden wants the Israeli attack to be closer to what happened in Mosul in 2016, not Fallujah in 2004. On the night of October 25-26, Israeli forces, including tanks, entered Gaza to conduct a “targeted raid” in preparation for a ground operation, the IDF said.

Hamas says Israel will be defeated if it launches a ground operation in the Gaza Strip: “If the enemy advances by land, this will be a new and glorious page for our people, it will be a defeat of the occupiers unprecedented in the history of the conflict” , the Al-Arabiya TV channel quotes the words of the deputy head of the Hamas politburo, Saleh al-Arouri. He underlined that Hamas and the Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah are in constant contact. According to Israeli media, Hezbollah currently has dozens of thousands of missiles and at least 30,000 long-range missiles covering the Gush Dan area and its south.It is equipped with warheads weighing half a ton.

Even the Israeli media are perplexed about the ground operation: the Jewish newspaper Israel Today wrote: even if the “Israeli” army enters Gaza by land, there is no guarantee that the next day there will be no Hamas and Islamic Jihad. The Jewish newspaper Maariv: underlines how the underground hell is the greatest challenge for the “Israeli” army, it is the Hamas tunnels that worry the most.

And now a look at the area of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict updated at 2.00pm on October 26th.

Overnight, the IDF conducted a targeted raid using tanks in the northern Gaza Strip, as part of preparations for the next phases of combat. The activity was commanded by the Givati Brigade. During the activity, soldiers located and targeted numerous Hamas-linked assets, terrorist infrastructure and anti-tank missile launch sites, and worked to prepare the battlefield. The soldiers left the area at the end of the activity. The IDF also announced that IDF fighter jets struck over 250 Hamas terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip, including terrorist infrastructure, operational command centers, tunnel shafts and rocket launchers positioned in the heart of civilian areas that fired against Israeli territory during the war.

North and east directions. Israeli engineering units and armor entered the northern Gaza Strip last night. IDF representatives reported that they had developed territory and destroyed militant infrastructure in preparation for the ground operation. After completing their task, the IDF soldiers left the enclave. The militants attacked populated areas near the Gaza Strip: Ashdod, Beeri and Kisufim. Security forces searched Sderot for accomplices of the militants.

Lebanese Border. Israeli troops continue to strike in northern southern Lebanon. The targets were Alma al-Shaab, Naqura, Blida and Al-Adisa. Hezbollah officials reported that 44 fighters were killed during the conflict.

Gaza Strip. Air raids on the enclave are underway. Residential areas of Gaza, Khan Yunis, Deir al-Balah and Rafah were hit again. This morning another 12 trucks loaded with humanitarian aid entered the enclave through the Rafah checkpoint. However, the amount of aid fails to sufficiently cover the needs of the Palestinians and there is still no fuel in the shipment.

West Bank. In Hebron, Palestinian MP Samira Halaika, the rector of a local university and several journalists were arrested. In East Jerusalem, the owner of one of the large local Telegram channels, Iyad Abu Damos, who published “inflammatory” content against Israel, was arrested. Clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces continue in the region, but their intensity has decreased.

Antonio Albanese e Graziella Giangiulio

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