“In the last hour, 25 rockets and three suicide drones were fired from Lebanon towards Israel,” said a statement from the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), after the armed drones caused severe damage to the Israeli army base at Biranit in the north. The Lebanese pro-Iranian Shiite militia Hezbollah has claimed responsibility for the shooting.
Several of the rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system, others hit open areas, and the IDF responded with artillery fire against the source of the fire.
Meanwhile, in Jerusalem, relatives of Israeli hostages kidnapped by Hamas in Gaza appealed in a parliamentary committee to National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir not to promote laws that would allow the death penalty for terrorists.
No to the death penalty now
“I ask you not to take advantage of us or our suffering,” said a tearful Guil Dikman, cousin of Carmel Gat, who was kidnapped from Kibbutz Be’eri on October 7, and his mother, Guil’s aunt, that day was killed. “If you see us, please take this off the agenda. If you have a heart, please do not say that you represent the people who murdered our loved ones,” he added, as seen on the Knesset (Israeli Parliament) channel.
The Knesset National Security Committee is preparing a legislative proposal from the far-right Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Power, in Hebrew) party led by Ben Gvir. Dikman said that the lives of Gat and the hostages were at stake with “a sword on their necks” and pleaded with Ben Gvir and the commission’s president, MP Tzvika Fogel, not to approve this sensitive law at this time.
The Hostage and Missing Families forum issued a similar statement Monday: “Discussion during this time endangers the lives of our loved ones without serving a public purpose.”
This scene in the parliamentary committee was criticized by opposition leader Yair Lapid, who attacked Ben Gvir and Fogel for their lack of respect and sensitivity towards the relatives of those abducted. Avigdor Liberman, leader of the far-right party Yisrael Beytenu (“Israel, our homeland” in Hebrew), also showed his disapproval of the incident in the committee, saying that although his party continues to support the death penalty for terrorism, which is controversial today in the discussion Knesset (Israeli Parliament) is inappropriate.
“As far as timing goes, it is clear that there was no need for this discussion today,” Liberman said, noting that no part of the bill is currently up for a vote.
In Gaza and Gazans outside Gaza
This day marks the 45th day of the war triggered by Hamas’ surprise attack on Israel on October 7, in which about 1,200 people, most of them civilians, were killed and about 240 were kidnapped and taken to Gaza. Israel launched heavy airstrikes for almost ten years
three weeks before troops and tanks are sent north. The war has so far killed thousands of Palestinian civilians – Hamas estimates the number at more than 13,000 – and caused widespread destruction in the impoverished coastal enclave.
According to Egyptian media reports on Monday, 29 premature babies arrived in Egypt today after being evacuated from Shifa Hospital, the largest in Gaza. The babies were evacuated yesterday in a joint operation by the WHO, the IDF and the center’s health team and arrived in Egypt this Monday, media in that country reported.
In addition, more than 100 Gaza evacuees have arrived in Turkey, including dozens of people in need of medical treatment, the Turkish health minister and a Foreign Ministry source reported.
Last week, the Turkish health minister announced plans to transfer around a thousand cancer patients from the Gaza Strip to Turkey for treatment. The first 27 patients arrived in the country last week.
“The number of internally displaced people in Gaza is approximately 1.7 million,” the United Nations Palestine Refugee Agency (UNRWA) reported today on Monday. According to the announcement, around 900 displaced people are currently housed in UNRWA schools and hundreds of thousands more are living on the streets of the Palestinian enclave.