Iran Update, March 2, 2024

Key Takeaways:

  • Northern Gaza Strip: The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) continued to operate in the northern and central Gaza Strip on March 2. Hamas targeted Israeli forces in Zaytoun with rocket-propelled grenades and explosively-formed
  • Southern Gaza Strip: The IDF 89th Commando Brigade (98th Division) continued to conduct clearing operations in western Khan Younis.
  • Humanitarian Aid: The United States airdropped humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip for the first time on March 2.
  • Yemen: US CENTCOM conducted a preemptive strike targeting a surface-to-air missile that Houthi fighters had prepared to launch from Houthi-controlled Yemeni territory into the Red Sea.

Gaza Strip

Axis of Resistance campaign objectives:

Erode the will of the Israeli political establishment and public to launch and sustain a major ground operation into the Gaza Strip
Degrade IDF material and morale around the Gaza Strip.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) continued to operate in the northern and central Gaza Strip on March 2. The IDF 215th Artillery Brigade (162nd Division) directed an airstrike targeting three Palestinian fighters in western Gaza City’s Rimal neighborhood.[i] Israeli forces concluded a clearing operation to reduce Hamas fighters and infrastructure in neighborhoods including Rimal on February 15.[ii] The IDF joint special operations multidimensional unit and Nahal Brigade killed several fighters in the central Gaza Strip on March 2.[iii] The Nahal Brigade has been operating in Zaytoun as part of the IDF’s clearing operation there, which began on February 20.

Hamas fighters in southeastern Zaytoun resumed contact with their headquarters and reported several attacks targeting Israeli forces in Zaytoun.[iv] The fighters detonated explosively-formed penetrators and fired anti-tank rocket-propelled grenades (RPG) at Israeli armor in the area.[v]

Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and the Palestinian Mujahideen Movement claimed to shoot down an IDF reconnaissance drone over Beit Lahia.[vi]

The IDF 89th Commando Brigade (98th Division) continued to conduct clearing operations in western Khan Younis.[vii] Israeli forces found small arms during a raid targeting a building owned by Yahya Sinwar, the leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip. The IDF 7th Brigade directed a series of airstrikes that killed eight Palestinian fighters in Khan Younis, including one who was carrying a suspected IED.[viii]

Hamas fighters detonated a house-borne improvised explosive device (HBIED) targeting seven Israeli soldiers in northern Khan Younis on March 2.[ix] The al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, which is the self-proclaimed military wing of Fatah, reported that its fighters conducted several attacks using mortars and RPGs in Khan Younis City.[x]

The United States airdropped humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip for the first time on March 2.[xi] US Central Command (CENTCOM) and the Jordanian Air Force delivered 38,000 meals along the coastline of the Gaza Strip. US President Joe Biden said on March 1 that the “aid flowing to Gaza is nowhere [near] enough.”[xii] An unspecified US official told Axios that he expected more airdrops to take place in the coming days.[xiii]

A senior US official told reporters that there needs to be a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip to allow for the large-scale delivery of aid.[xiv] Israel has reportedly agreed to a framework that would release up to 400 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for 40 Israeli hostages and a six-week truce.[xv]

Palestinian militias have conducted at least two rocket attack from the Gaza Strip targeting southern Israel since CTP-ISW’s last data cut off on March 1. PIJ fired rockets targeting Ashkelon and other unspecified towns in southern Israel on March 1.[xvi] The IDF Air Force targeted two areas in the northern Gaza Strip from which Palestinian fighters had previously fired rockets targeting Israel on March 1.[xvii] PIJ fired another rocket salvo targeting Hatzerim in southern Israel on March 2.[xviii]

Recorded reports of attacks; CTP-ISW cannot independently verify impact.

West Bank

Axis of Resistance campaign objectives:

Draw IDF assets and resources toward the West Bank and fix them there

Israeli forces have clashed with Palestinian fighters in two locations across the West Bank since CTP-ISW’s last data cutoff on March 1.[xix]

This map is not an exhaustive depiction of clashes and demonstrations in the West Bank.

Southern Lebanon and Golan Heights

Axis of Resistance campaign objectives:

Draw IDF assets and resources toward northern Israel and fix them there
Set conditions for successive campaigns into northern Israel

Lebanese Hezbollah has conducted at least seven attacks from southern Lebanon into northern Israel since CTP-ISW’s last data cutoff on March 1.[xx]

Recorded reports of attacks; CTP-ISW cannot independently verify impact.

Iran and Axis of Resistance

Axis of Resistance campaign objectives:

Demonstrate the capability and willingness of Iran and the Axis of Resistance to escalate against the United States and Israel on multiple fronts
Set conditions to fight a regional war on multiple fronts

US CENTCOM conducted a preemptive strike targeting a surface-to-air missile that Houthi fighters had prepared to launch from Houthi-controlled Yemeni territory into the Red Sea.[xxi] Houthi fighters also launched an anti-ship ballistic missile from Houthi-controlled Yemeni territory into the Red Sea on March 1. CENTCOM reported that the Houthi attack did not damage any vessels.

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