Iran Update, April 6, 2024

Key Takeaways:

  • Central Gaza Strip: Palestinian fighters have claimed several attacks targeting Israeli forces near Deir al Balah in the central Gaza Strip in recent days.
  • Southern Gaza Strip: Hamas claimed to conduct a multi-stage attack targeting Israeli forces in eastern Khan Younis.
  • Political Negotiations: A senior US official said that US President Joe Biden sent letters to the Egyptian president and Qatari emir, asking them to pressure Hamas to agree to a six-week ceasefire agreement.
  • West Bank: Israeli forces engaged Palestinian fighters in at least five locations in the West Bank.
  • Southern Lebanon and Golan Heights: Lebanese Hezbollah conducted at least seven attacks from southern Lebanon into northern Israel.
  • Iraq: The Islamic Resistance in Iraq claimed two drone attacks targeting an unspecified military facility in the Golan Heights and an oil refinery in Haifa, Israel.

Gaza Strip

Axis of Resistance objectives:

Erode the will of the Israeli political establishment and public to sustain clearing operations in the Gaza Strip
Reestablish Hamas as the governing authority in the Gaza Strip

Palestinian fighters have claimed several attacks targeting Israeli forces near Deir al Balah in the central Gaza Strip in recent days.[i] Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) claimed on April 6 that its forces returned from the front lines east of Deir al Balah and reported attacking an Israeli tank with an explosively formed penetrator.[ii] The al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, which is the self-proclaimed militant wing of Fatah, separately mortared Israeli forces near Deir al Balah.[iii] Commercially available satellite imagery captured on April 5 shows flattened terrain southeast of Deir al Balah, indicating that Israeli bulldozers and/or bulldozers are operating in the area.

Israeli forces continued to conduct clearing operations in al Amal neighborhood in western Khan Younis on April 6.[iv] The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Givati Brigade (162nd Division) destroyed a weapons depot and found over 40 improvised explosive devices and other explosives in al Amal.[v] Israeli forces engaged Palestinian fighters in close combat and destroyed a four-man Palestinian squad in one attack.[vi]

Hamas claimed that it conducted three attacks targeting Israeli forces in al Amal after Hamas fighters returned from the front lines.[vii] Hamas fighters fired anti-tank rocket-propelled grenades (RPG), tandem-charge anti-tank rockets, and detonated a mine targeting Israeli forces.

Hamas claimed to conduct a multi-stage attack targeting Israeli forces in eastern Khan Younis on April 6.[viii] Hamas fighters targeted three IDF tanks with anti-tank RPGs in al Zana. Hamas fighters then claimed that they prevented an Israeli quick reaction force from responding to the situation by detonating a minefield that they set prior to the attack. Hamas later claimed that its fighters targeted Israeli forces that responded to the attack.[ix] The IDF has not commented on the attack at the time of this writing.

The IDF Air Force killed a senior official in Hamas’ internal security apparatus in Khan Younis, who was also responsible for managing some militia activity.[x] The IDF said that the figure was the deputy head of internal security and responsible for significant attacks against Israel targets. Hamas controls several internal security forces, including the Civil Police.[xi]

The IDF reported on April 6 that Israeli forces rescued the body of a hostage during an overnight operation in Khan Younis.[xii] The Israeli Army Radio reported that that PIJ killed the hostage, named Elad Katzir, in January 2024.[xiii] The IDF 89th Commando Brigade (98th Division), with support from Shin Bet and Military Intelligence, returned the body to Israel. Israeli authorities say that Palestinian militias still hold around 133 hostages and that 99 of them are believed to still be alive.[xiv]

A CNN team in Israel reported on April 6 hearing gunfire and explosions near the Erez crossing connecting Israel with the northern Gaza Strip.[xv] These reports come immediately after Israel decided to reopen the crossing, which has been closed since the war began, to facilitate humanitarian aid.[xvi] The IDF moved the CNN team to another unspecified location after hearing the gunfire and explosions. The Israeli War Cabinet approved on April 5 the reopening of its Erez crossing, which has been closed since the beginning of the war.[xvii]

A senior US official said that US President Joe Biden sent letters to the Egyptian president and Qatari emir on April 4, asking them to pressure Hamas to agree to a six-week ceasefire agreement.[xviii] Biden ”urged them to secure commitments from Hamas to agree to and abide by a deal,” the US official said. Israeli media reported that a senior Hamas delegation led by Ismail Haniyeh is expected to travel to Cairo on April 7 for further negotiations.[xix] Senior Hamas sources said that the group still insists on a full ceasefire before they release any hostages.[xx]

US, Israeli, and Egyptian officials told the Wall Street Journal that the Biden administration is pressing Israel to allow a limited number of displaced Palestinians to return to the northern Gaza Strip as part of the current round of ceasefire talks.[xxi] Unspecified Arab mediators stated that Israel is open to permitting 2,000 people per day—mainly women and children—to return to the northern Gaza Strip. Israel would reportedly allow a maximum of 60,000 Palestinians to return to the northern Gaza Strip as part of the deal, representing an Israeli concession.[xxii] Israel sent an “updated” ceasefire proposal to the mediators and Hamas on April 2, which Hamas later rejected.[xxiii]

Palestinian fighters did not conduct any indirect fire attacks from the Gaza Strip into Israel on April 6.

West Bank

Axis of Resistance objectives:

Establish the West Bank as a viable front against Israel

Israeli forces have engaged Palestinian fighters in at least five locations in the West Bank since CTP-ISW’s last data cut off on April 5.[xxiv]

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

Southern Lebanon and Golan Heights

Axis of Resistance objectives:

Deter Israel from conducting a ground operation into Lebanon
Prepare for an expanded and protracted conflict with Israel in the near term
Expel the United States from Syria

Lebanese Hezbollah has conducted at least seven attacks from southern Lebanon into northern Israel on April 6.[xxv]

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

Iran and Axis of Resistance

The Islamic Resistance in Iraq—a coalition of Iranian-backed Iraqi militias—claimed two drone attacks targeting an unspecified military facility in the Golan Heights and an oil refinery in Haifa on April 5.[i]

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