‘Operation al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 189: Israel and U.S. Brace for Iranian Retaliation as Ceasefire Talks Stall – Qassam Muaddi 4/12/24

Source: Mondoweiss.net

The U.S. and Israel intensify preparations for a potential Iranian strike in response to Iran’s Damascus consulate attack. Meanwhile, Hamas has conditioned a ceasefire and prisoner swap on the return of displaced Palestinians to northern Gaza.


  • 33,634 + killed* and at least 76,214 wounded in the Gaza Strip.
  • 462+ Palestinians killed in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.**
  • Israel revises its estimated October 7 death toll down from 1,400 to 1,139.
  • 604 Israeli soldiers have been killed since October 7, and at least 6,800 injured.***

*Gaza’s Ministry of Health confirmed this figure on its Telegram channel on April 9, 2024. Some rights groups estimate the death toll to be much higher when accounting for those presumed dead.

** The death toll in the West Bank and Jerusalem is not updated regularly. According to the PA’s Ministry of Health on April 5, this is the latest figure.

*** This figure is released by the Israeli military, showing the soldiers whose names “were allowed to be published.” The number of Israeli soldiers wounded is according to Israeli media reports.

Key Developments 

  • Israel kills 89 Palestinians, wounds 120 in the past 24 hours across Gaza, raising the death toll since October 7 to 33,482 and the number of wounded to 76,049, according to the Gaza health ministry.
  • The UN Office of Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says team found extensive destruction and unexploded bombs in Khan Younis days after Israeli withdrawal.
  • WHO: At least 9,000 sick Palestinians need treatment in Gaza.
  • The Israeli army bans conscripts from leaving the country in anticipation of a potential Iranian strike.
  • Head of police responsible for organizing aid distribution in the central Gaza Strip killed in an Israeli airstrike.
  • U.S. Secretary of Defense Blinken reaffirms U.S. support for Israel in face of threats from Iran.
  • Israeli media: Israel plans to target the heart of Iranian soil.
  • West Bank: Israeli army kills two Palestinians, wounds four in Tubas, according to Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS).

Israel and U.S. prepare for an Iranian strike

The Gaza-based Palestinian health ministry announced that 89 Palestinians were killed by Israeli airstrikes, their bodies arriving at the Gaza Strip’s remaining hospitals alongside 120 other wounded people over the past 24 hours.

Meanwhile, in Gaza City, Israeli forces killed eight Palestinians in an airstrike on the Firas popular market in the city, while a Palestinian fisherman was killed and two others were wounded in an Israeli strike on the fishing dock at the city’s beach. Medical sources also reported two Palestinians were killed in an Israeli airstrike on a family’s house in Tal al-Hawa in Gaza City, while an unspecified number of people were killed in several strikes in the Zeitoun neighborhood.

In the central Gaza Strip, Israeli strikes killed 25 Palestinians in a bombing of a family’s house in the Nuseirat refugee camp, as Israeli forces continued their offensive on Nuseirat for the third day in a row. Strikes also targeted the north of Nuseirat, including a bicycle market and the town of Zahra. Heavy combat was reported between Palestinian resistance groups and Israeli troops between the Wadi Gaza River and Deir al-Balah.

In the southern Gaza Strip, Israeli strikes killed six Palestinians in the Jneineh neighborhood in Rafah. Other strikes were reported east of Khan Younis, where medical teams recovered three dead bodies.

Israel and U.S. prepare for Iranian strike

U.S. defense secretary Lloyd Austin affirmed to Israel’s war minister Yoav Gallant on Thursday the “ironclad U.S. support for Israel’s defense in the face of growing threats from Iran and its regional proxies,” according to a defense department statement.

On Thursday, news reports said that U.S. intelligence expected an Iranian strike against Israel in the coming hours or days, in retaliation to Israel’s bombing of Iran’s consulate in Damascus earlier in April.

The U.S. told its diplomatic staff in Israel not to leave big cities unless in case of urgent necessity, while France called families of its diplomatic personnel to return to French soil.

Meanwhile, Reuters reported on Thursday that Iran’s foreign minister, Hussein Amir Abdellahian, informed Washington during a visit to Oman that Iran will conduct its response in a way that “avoids escalation.”

According to Reuters, another U.S. intelligence source said that “Iran was very clear” that its retaliatory strike will be “under control” and avoid escalation. The same sources reportedly said that the U.S. told Iran that it had no role in the attack on its Damascus consulate.

For its part, the Israeli daily Yediot Aharanot said on Thursday that Iran halted a large attack against Israel at the last moment. The Israeli media said that Iran decided “to change the nature of its response” at the last minute, after being informed by the U.S. that it would be engaged alongside Israel in a response against Iran….

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