(The Situation Update Report [SUR] is a near real-time brief of a possible threat or situation being monitored by The Counter Threat Center. The information is accurate at the time of reporting, but may be subject to change.)
William Bos, Gabriel Helupka
Jennifer Loy, Chief Editor
October 13, 2023
IDF Soldiers Operate in the Gaza Strip
Current Situation: The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) called on UN personnel and one point one million civilians in northern Gaza to evacuate to areas southern of Wadi Gaza within the next 24 hours. The IDF said they will operate “significantly” in Gaza City against Hamas and make “extensive efforts” to avoid harming civilians. Several unverified reports indicate potential signs of preparations for a military ground operation. This includes potentially sending between 150,000 to 300,000 security personnel toward the Gaza border. Iranian-backed militant groups, such as Hezbollah, have previously threatened to join the war if an Israeli ground operation occurs.
Day/Time of event: October 13, 2023
What is the current threat:
An Israeli ground operation against Hamas is very likely and likely lasting an extended duration. It will very likely result in widespread displacement and worsening humanitarian conditions in Gaza. The UN and neighboring countries will likely warn Israel against a large-scale ground operation, likely citing human rights concerns and conflict escalation. Many civilians will unlikely be able to evacuate, likely leading to civilian casualties and civilians being caught in crossfire. Hamas will very likely launch retaliatory missile barrages near dense Israeli populations. They will likely justify the attacks as revenge for Israel causing displacement and civilian casualties in Gaza.
Any Israeli ground operation will almost certainly lead to Iranian-backed militant groups in Syria and Lebanon renewing their threats to join the war. These groups will likely coordinate efforts in preparing to join the war, with a roughly even chance that these militant groups will increase direct involvement.
Hezbollah is unlikely to open a front against northern Israel, likely not wanting to participate in a broader conflict. The group will very likely sustain threats of joining the war despite an unlikely direct involvement to maintain hostilities against Israel and actively support Hamas’s efforts. Israel and Hezbollah are likely forming mutual deterrence postures by reinforcing borders, rocket attacks, and retaliatory strikes. There is a roughly even chance that a Hezbollah incursion will increase depending on the scale of an Israeli ground operation compared to their past Gaza operations. Hezbollah will likely assess various factors, including Iranian directions, Israeli defense vulnerabilities, impacts of a ground operation, and Israel’s ability to retaliate against them. Iran is unlikely willing to risk the potential destruction of Hezbollah, likely privately advocating against the group’s involvement to preserve its viability.
The US will likely provide operational, intelligence, and reconnaissance assistance to the IDF throughout the operation. US support is likely intended to serve as a deterrent for Hezbollah and Iranian-backed militant groups in Syria expanding the conflict further.
One of the primary focuses of the ground operation will almost certainly be verifying the state of the Gaza hostages and rescuing them. Israel is likely facing pressure from countries concerned that Hamas is holding their citizens hostage. ongoing airstrikes will likely be reduced in the leading hours of the operation to guarantee the operational security of the forces conducting the operation.
Who will it directly impact:
Civilians within Gaza
Foreign nationals in Gaza
UN and humanitarian aid officers in Gaza
NGO organizations present in or around Gaza
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