Sunday, April 28, 2024

Iran Update, April 28, 2024

Andie Parry, Alexandra Braverman, Annika Ganzeveld and Brian Carter

Information Cutoff: 2:00 pm ET

The Iran Update provides insights into Iranian and Iranian-sponsored activities abroad that undermine regional stability and threaten US forces and interests. It also covers events and trends that affect the stability and decision-making of the Iranian regime. The Critical Threats Project (CTP) at the American Enterprise Institute and the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) provides these updates regularly based on regional events. Click here to see CTP and ISW’s interactive map of Israeli ground operations. This map is updated daily alongside the static maps present in this report.

CTP-ISW defines the “Axis of Resistance” as the unconventional alliance that Iran has cultivated in the Middle East since the Islamic Republic came to power in 1979. This transnational coalition is comprised of state, semi-state, and non-state actors that cooperate with one another to secure their collective interests. Tehran considers itself to be both part of the alliance and its leader. Iran furnishes these groups with varying levels of financial, military, and political support in exchange for some degree of influence or control over their actions. Some are traditional proxies that are highly responsive to Iranian direction, while others are partners over which Iran exerts more limited influence. Members of the Axis of Resistance are united by their grand strategic objectives, which include eroding and eventually expelling American influence from the Middle East, destroying the Israeli state, or both. Pursuing these objectives and supporting the Axis of Resistance to those ends have become cornerstones of Iranian regional strategy.

We do not report in detail on war crimes because these activities are well-covered in Western media and do not directly affect the military operations we are assessing and forecasting. We utterly condemn violations of the laws of armed conflict and the Geneva Conventions and crimes against humanity even though we do not describe them in these reports.

CTP-ISW will publish abbreviated updates on April 27 and 28, 2024. Detailed coverage will resume on Monday, April 29, 2024.

IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi approved operational plans “for the continuation of the war” during a visit to IDF Southern Command on April 28.[1] He discussed the plans with IDF Southern Command commander Maj. Gen. Yaron Finkelman and division and brigade commanders. An Israeli war correspondent said that Rafah was “on the agenda” of the meeting.[2] Israeli media claimed that Halevi approved plans “for a major operation into Rafah” during the meeting.[3]

Key Takeaways:

  • Gaza Strip: The IDF Chief of Staff reportedly approved plans for a major operation into Rafah during a meeting with the IDF Southern Command commander and division and brigade commanders.
  • West Bank: Israeli forces have engaged Palestinian fighters in at least two locations across the West Bank since CTP-ISW's last information cutoff on April 27.
  • Lebanon: Lebanese Hezbollah has conducted at least four attacks from southern Lebanon into northern Israel since CTP-ISW's last data cutoff on April 27.

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

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) continued to target Palestinian fighters and militia infrastructure across the Gaza Strip. The IDF Air Force struck dozens of Palestinian militia targets across the Gaza Strip since CTP-ISW's last information cut off on April 27.[4] The 679th Armored Brigade directed an airstrike targeting Palestinian fighters who were approaching Israeli forces in an unspecified area of the central Gaza Strip.[5] The brigade also directed airstrikes and artillery fire targeting a Palestinian militia cell in a building in the central Gaza Strip.[6] The IDF Navy struck targets in the coastal central Gaza Strip to support Israeli forces operating under the command of the 99th Division.[7]

Hamas and the al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, which is the self-proclaimed military wing of Fatah and aligned with Hamas in the current war, mortared Israeli armor near the Netzarim corridor in separate attacks on April 28.[8]

Palestinian fighters conducted three indirect fire attacks from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel on April 28. Palestinian Islamic Jihad targeted an Israeli military position east of Gaza City.[9] The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), which is a leftist Palestinian militia aligned with Hamas in the war, fired rockets at two towns near the Israel-Gaza Strip border.[10] The IDF said that DFLP fired the rockets from the northern Gaza Strip.[11]

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

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 two locations across the West Bank since CTP-ISW's last information cutoff on April 27.[12] Unspecified Palestinian fighters detonated improvised explosive devices targeting Israeli forces near a religious site in Bethlehem.[13] Palestinian fighters also fired small arms targeting Israeli forces conducting a raid in Nablus[14]

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 four attacks from southern Lebanon into northern Israel since CTP-ISW's last data cutoff on April 27.[15] Hezbollah fighters launched dozens of Katyusha rockets at an IDF base on Mount Meron that hosts air traffic control, radar, surveillance, communication, and jamming facilities on April 27.[16] The IDF said that at least 26 rockets crossed into Israel and struck open areas near Bar Yohai.[17] The Hezbollah rocket barrage injured one Israeli soldier.[18] Hezbollah stated that the rocket barrage was in response to IDF Air Force strikes in several towns in southern Lebanon.[19]

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

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[3] https://www.jpost dot com/breaking-news/article-798994





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