current as of 10AM EST, 6NOV23
The Israeli military surrounded Gaza City while limited evacuations of foreign nationals and injured Palestinians resumed at the Rafah crossing. Intermittent telecommunications blackouts in the Strip are reducing emergency personnel’s response times and their ability to provide medical care. Deliveries of essential humanitarian aid into Gaza are insufficient and hospitals and aid organizations are depleted of necessary supplies.
- Humanitarian Crisis: The Rafah crossing into Egypt reopened for limited evacuations on Monday. Hundreds of foreign nationals, including more than 300 Americans, were evacuated from the Strip over the past week. Egyptian officials halted evacuations over the weekend due in part to reports Hamas included injured fighters on evacuation lists to receive medical care. The closure significantly reduced the amount of aid entering Gaza and the humanitarian situation remains dire. Approximately 7,000 foreign nationals are expected to evacuate through the crossing.
- U.S. Support: The U.S. is calling for a humanitarian pause to allow for increased aid flows into Gaza and for foreign nationals to cross into Egypt, however, Prime Minister Netanyahu indicated there would be no pause unless the hostages taken in the October 7 attack were released. U.S officials affirmed their position that a cease-fire would harm Israel’s right to defend itself and would ultimately allow Hamas to remain in place and regroup.
- Military Operations: Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) reportedly surrounded Gaza City and are facing resistance from Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad militants who are coordinating attacks from underground tunnels. IDF air and ground strikes are heavily impacting the city where Israeli officials believe Hamas’ command structure is located. Strikes on the Jabalia and Maghazi refugee camps killed hundreds, according to open source reports.
- Regional Relations: Houthi rebels in Yemen launched missiles and drones at targets in Israel, according to open source media. The escalation by the Iranian-backed group risks further drawing in regional actors. Missile fire from Yemen traveling over Saudi Arabia may provoke the Kingdom to take a more assertive posture to defend against Iranian-backed militias getting involved in the conflict. Hezbollah attacks from Lebanon against IDF positions are increasing and leaders of the group indicated its actions on Israel’s northern border are intended to divert military resources from Gaza.
- Protests: Tens of thousands of protesters gathered in cities around the globe to call for a cease-fire amid growing unease surrounding the mounting civilian toll in the conflict. Large-scale protests occurred in cities such as Milan, Paris, Washington D.C., and Berlin. Authorities clashed with protesters outside of an air base housing U.S. troops in Turkey, and nearly 1,000 people gathered at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara to protest U.S. support for Israel.
- U.S. Hate-Related Incidents: A significant increase in threats and hate-related incidents against Arab, Jewish, and Muslim communities in the United States occurred since the October 7 attack. The Anti-Defamation League reported a nearly 400% increase in anti-Semitic incidents since Hamas’ attack, and the Council on American-Islamic Relations reported a significant rise in incidents against Muslims. Incidents targeting these groups include assault, intimidation, and harassment.
Cyber attacks are continuing as state-sponsored hackers and those sympathetic to Hamas are working to make the conflict the next front of cyberwarfare, including attempting to target critical sectors and influence public opinion.
- Iran is conducting influence operations to spread disinformation and manipulate public opinion. Iranians are offering financial rewards for online users to provide location data related to weaponry and key personnel. There is a growing risk Iran may combine influence operations with cyber attacks on physical infrastructure which could sow chaos and amplify confusion among the public in the event of any significant disruption to infrastructure.
- The cyber collective “Team_insane_Pakistan” claimed to take down several Japanese government websites due to their alleged support for Israel and claimed Japan’s cybersecurity apparatus was created by the Israeli government.
We continue to urge anyone with business interests in Israel and the surrounding regions to exercise extreme caution while events remain fluid, and to consider postponing any upcoming travel. We also urge travelers worldwide to avoid all demonstrations and maintain awareness of their surroundings, particularly in areas with protest activity.
- Protests continue throughout the globe as the U.S. State Department (DoS) is urging citizens to remain vigilant and curb travel to several locations, including Lebanon and Iraq. DoS updated a worldwide travel advisory on November 6, noting U.S. citizens should remain alert in locations frequented by tourists due to “increased tensions in various locations around the world, the potential for terrorist attacks, demonstrations or violent actions against U.S. citizens and interests.”
- DoS raised its travel advisory for Lebanon to the most severe level, and are advising all U.S. citizens to leave the country while commercial flights are available. DoS officials also announced the ordered departure of nonessential American government employees and family members from Iraq, as U.S. officials reportedly fear Iraqi militias supported by Iran will attack the 2,500 U.S. troops stationed in the country and other American institutions.
- Travelers are most vulnerable in crowded areas, such as outdoor markets, tourist destinations, government buildings, and underground stations.
- In the event of a terrorist attack or no-notice event, we advise travelers to listen to emergency officials for instructions and report anything out of the ordinary.
- We continue to recommend delaying travel in and around Israel, Egypt, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and other portions of the Gulf as nearby countries almost certainly will be drawn further into the unfolding conflict. Travel in and out of the region almost certainly will be significantly delayed or disrupted.
- Many international airlines, including U.S. carriers, have suspended travel to and from Israel. Cruise and yacht operators also announced they would adjust itineraries in the region and would not be making calls to ports near Israel.
- We urge all travelers to remain vigilant as they might be targeted by individuals with perceived grievances regarding the current situation. Anti-American, anti-Arab, anti-Jewish, and anti-Muslim sentiment is rising due to the ongoing crisis.
- The FBI and Department of Homeland Security issued a warning of potential domestic lone actors attacks due to an increase in threats reported against Muslim, Jewish, and Arab communities.
- We encourage all businesses–particularly tech companies, those with oil interests, and others in other energy related sectors–to keep a watchful eye on the unfolding crisis. Oil prices could surge to above $100 a barrel if the Israel-Hamas crisis widens.
We recommend companies based in Israel to continue taking steps to protect their businesses and employees. Corporations should consider evacuating staff from offices inside Israel or ask employees to work from home.
CONCENTRIC CAN HELP
- Emergency evacuation and secure transportation.
- Support from local and regional partners.
- Active monitoring and intelligence support, including tailored reports and briefings.
- Travel and risk assessments.
- Tailored security consulting.
- Executive protection agents.
- Cybersecurity and digital privacy protection.
Feature image source.