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December 6, 2023

ITC update: Operation Iron Swords

N.B Starting from next week ITC updates will be sent weekly on a Thursday
Day 61
Wednesday 6.12.23

Northern Front: Hezbollah continues to fire rockets, mortars, and anti-tank missiles towards northern Israel. In one barrage, around 20 rockets were fired towards Kiryat Shmona and Bet Hillel.

Southern Front: Tuesday, a rocket fired from Gaza in a barrage that triggered alarms in the city of Ashkelon directly hit a building in the city. Two women in their 60s sustained light wounds from shrapnel. Today a man was lightly injured by shrapnel during a rocket attack on a community near the Gaza border.

Central Israel: Tuesday in one of the heaviest rocket barrages launched from Gaza since the start of the war, a man in his 40s was lightly wounded by shrapnel. At least 15 rockets were fired towards central Israel, with at least three rocket landing in the Tel Aviv area, including inside a school that thankfully was empty at the time. The attacks came only two days after the Home Front Command lifted restrictions on the Gush Dan area, with schools returning to normal.

Hundreds gathered at the United Nations on Monday 4th, for a special session, to raise awareness of the sexual crimes committed against women during Hamas’s October 7 attacks on southern communities, amid growing anger over the international community’s perceived silence on the issue.

The special session at the UN on sexual violence against Israelis, in New York City, December 4, 2023. (Perry Bindelglass)

A Health Ministry representative tells the Knesset Health Committee that the hostages freed from Hamas captivity were given tranquilizer pills before being handed over to the Red Cross for transfer to Israel. The drugging would have aimed to make the hostages appear calm, happy, and upbeat after suffering physical abuse, deprivation, and psychological terror for more than 50 days in Gaza.

ITC on the Ground

Highlight on work with First Responders: On October 7th, Israel was in a state of war, necessitating an immediate shift to emergency mode for fire and rescue teams. These brave individuals, volunteers from their own communities, who were there on the day before any external help arrived and were exposed to harrowing sights and significant life-threatening risks, not only for themselves but also for their colleagues and loved ones. Tragically, many lost their lives on that fateful first day, and the continuous exposure to such distressing experiences has heightened the risk of trauma, anxiety, and related psychological disorders.

Professionals and volunteers alike are trained for a mass casualty event. But no amount of training and experience could have prepared them for the harrowing scenes they witnessed.  Route 232, which runs along the Gaza strip, was a road of death. Many First Responders recount seeing hundreds of dead before seeing a single, living, wounded person. The sights continue to haunt them.

Starting on October 8th and continuing to the present day, ITC has been actively involved in providing essential support to these dedicated teams, efforts include initial processing sessions, sharing of coping strategies, guidance, and equipping them with the necessary tools to maintain positive mental well-being.

During our interactions, it became apparent that First Responders were grappling with feelings of anxiety stemming from the uncertainty of their situation. Simultaneously, they were also burdened by the responsibility of providing support to their anxious and overwhelmed families. Consequently, our activities evolved to incorporate both group interventions for teams and individual consultations for commanders and staff members who sought assistance.

Presently, our operations are concentrated where acute needs persist. We have recently conducted a comprehensive reassessment of needs and strengths, with an eye toward medium and long-term planning. From this evaluation, we have formulated a continuation plan for 2024 to ensure that the mental well-being and resilience of our first responders remain a top priority and they can continue to be life-affirming support for their communities and families.

Welcome back Emilia

A heartwarming video shows the return of five-year-old Emilia Aloni — freed from Gaza on November 24 along with her mother after being held there by terrorists for seven weeks — returning to her kindergarten for the first time. Accompanied by her grandfather the girl is embraced enthusiastically by the kindergarten teacher and warmly welcomed and hugged by fellow children. She was among the first group of hostages released as part of the deal between Israel and Hamas.

Freed hostage Emilia Aloni, 5, returns to kindergarten on December 5, 2023

(X screenshot, used in accordance with clause27a of the copyright law)

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During routine and in times of emergency, the Israel Trauma Coalition is here for you.

Also available by phone: 02-6722618 and email info@itc-office.org.il

Also available by phone:
02-6722618
and email info@itc-office.org.il