Special Briefing Day 122: Defence Secretary Grant Shapps: “The whole world needs to carry on pilling the pressure on Iran”

By February 05 2024, 18:45 Latest News No Comments

Note to reader: We wanted to give you a trigger warning on what you may read below. We have chosen, as with every night of these briefings, to not share horrific images, however we want to alert you as sensitively as we can to the reports coming out of Israel and Gaza.

RAF Typhoon which conducted a third wave of strikes against Houthi military targets in Yemen (Grant Shapps on X, formally Twitter)

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps: “The whole world needs to carry on piling the pressure on Iran”

“The whole world needs to carry on piling the pressure on Iran to cease and desist”, Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said today during a ministerial statement session, referencing Iran’s destabilising activity across the Middle East.

The diplomatic process must “form a wider peace in the Middle East”, he said, adding that “the pieces potentially are there with normalisation” between countries like Saudi Arabia and Israel. “Hamas’ intent, Iran’s intent is to disrupt all of that. We understand that and that’s why we have to work all the harder to make sure that we can overcome their approach to creating instability in the region”.

Shapps also identified the “link between the Iranian ships that loiter in the [Red Sea] region” and “the items that are shipped to the Houthis which we know come from Iran”.

“The Houthi rebels are violent extremists, antisemites and it’s right we take action to combat their aggression in the Red Sea”, said CFI Parliamentary Vice Chair Rt. Hon. Theresa Villiers MP.

CFI Vice Chair Andrew Percy MP called out “deeply racist, antisemitic signs” at this weekend’s pro-Palestinian protests, calling some of the protestors “sinister” and their rallies “pure and simple Jew hate”.

Tom Hunt MP said that the “demonstrators in the streets of London”, who “applauded what the Houthi rebels have been doing are at best useful idiots and at worst the enemy within”.

Former Attorney General Sir Michael Ellis KC MP cited Yemen’s Foreign Minister, Ahmad Awad bin Mubarak, who said on Thursday that there is “no doubt” that Iran’s “Quds Force operatives have been deployed to own coastline in Yemen”.

“Tehran has also deployed its Alborz warship to the Red Sea and we know that two U.S. Navy Seals have died after attempting to seize Iranian weapons bound for the Houthis – yet Iran continues to evade any meaningful deterrence”, said Greg Smith MP, warning that Iran “must not be allowed to outsource the responsibility for its regional escalation to its proxies and must be deterred directly”.

Rt. Hon. Mark Pritchard MP urged the Government to take the “strategic view” and consider that “we might actually be hitting the wrong target – that we are hitting proxies of Iran”. He called the Islamic Republic “the malevolent factor in the region” and said “putting off” decisions “may cost more lives in the future”. He warned that, “whether we like it or not, they’re coming”.

James Wild MP asked the Government if it will be prepared to “intensify military action, in self defence, with our allies, to degrade the ability for further [Houthi] attacks on commercial ships”.

Nicola Richards MP: “For everyone who said these events never happened, they are doing the work of Hamas”

“For everyone who said these events never happened, they are doing the work of Hamas”, said CFI Parliamentary Officer Nicola Richards MP at a Human Chain demonstration outside the BBC on Sunday to call out media silence on Hamas’ brutal treatment of women and girls.

The rally marked Liri Albag’s 19th Birthday, who is still held hostage in Gaza.

“My generation is silent about the antisemitism seen since October 7 and about the sexual violence committed by Hamas against women and girls”, said Richards before reading the names of the 14 women and girls still held captive by the terror group.

“For everyone in my generation who stays silent, they are doing the work of Hamas. I am here to tell broadcasters to tell these facts”, she continued, adding that, “women were shot in their vaginas. Hamas dehumanised women and men”.

Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem Fleur Hassan-Nahoum said that the “civilised world stood with people who had been attacked” when Russia attacked Ukraine, but when “Israel gets attacked (…) there are marches around the world blaming the victims for being attacked”.

“BBC, The Guardian, Channel 4, Sky: Your silence is loud” and “Rape is not resistance” signs were seen at the demonstration.

Last week, the UK-Israel APPG hosted a panel event on Hamas’ use of sexual violence. At the event, Women and Equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch called double standards “morally reprehensible” and that there can be “no peace with terror organisation who uses children as pawns and rape as a weapon of war”.

UK and U.S. leaders meets to discuss protecting Freedom of Navigation in the Red Sea (Grant Shapps on X, formally Twitter)

UK and U.S. strike 36 Houthi targets across 13 locations

The UK and U.S. targeted 36 Houthi targets across 13 locations in the third round of joint strikes which were “very carefully planned to ensure minimal risk of civilian casualties”, according to the Ministry of Defence.

Royal Air Force Typhoon warplanes hit two ground control stations used to operate attack and reconnaissance drones.

The U.S. also carried out a separate series of strikes on Sunday, targeting an anti-ship missile which “prepared to launch against ships in the Red Sea”, according to U.S. Central Command.

“We do not believe that there were any civilian casualties on Saturday night”, the Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said today in the House of Commons.

Netanyahu: 75% of Hamas battalions in Gaza destroyed

The IDF has destroyed 75% of Hamas’ battalions in Gaza, according Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“We will not end the war without achieving this goal of total victory, which will restore security to both the south and the north”, he told IDF soldiers in Latrun.

Yahya Sinwar, leader of the Hamas terrorist group in Gaza, is thought to be “on the run”, moving from “hideout to hideout”, according to Israel’s Defence Minister Yoav Gallant. He also warned that the IDF will reach the remaining Hamas battalions in southern Gaza’s Rafah.

IDF Brig. Gen. Itzik Cohen said that operations against Hamas were being stepped up in the north of the Strip, after reports of the terror group deploying uniformed and plainclothes police forces in areas where the IDF had withdrawn the bulk of its forces a month ago.

“Our ability to operate here, in the heart of Gaza City again, after we left to attack in other areas, our ability to return here and operate powerfully against the important targets, while striking many dozens of terrorists in recent days, is an important ability, and we will continue to do it”, said Maj. Gen. Yaron Finkelman.

The IDF has estimated there are an estimated several hundred Hamas operatives remaining in northern Gaza.

In the south, soldiers raided Hamas’s Khan Younis Brigade headquarters to find mock entrances to Israeli communities, military bases and vehicles, for Hamas’ preparations for the 7th October massacre.

The IDF also found a rocket depot, tunnels leading to an underground network in Khan Younis and 500 suspected terror operatives hiding amongst civilians travelling through IDF-operated humanitarian corridors. An estimated 120,000 Palestinians have been evacuated from the Khan Younis camp through the corridors.

Yesterday’s tactical pauses for humanitarian purposes across southern Gaza (IDF)

3,000 Hezbollah sites have been struck since 7th October, three IDF divisions deployed to border

The IDF announced that 3,000 Hezbollah sites have been targeted by IDF strikes in both Lebanon and Syria since 7th October, and that three IDF divisions have been deployed to Israel’s northern border.

The move is part of the IDF augmentation to “reshape the security reality”, according to Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari. Israel will be “ready to attack immediately” if provoked, he added.

3,400 Hezbollah sites, 150 cells and 200 mostly-Hezbollah operatives have been struck by the IDF since 7th October, the IDF reported.

33 wanted Palestinians arrested in the West Bank

33 wanted Palestinians were arrested in overnight raids across the West Bank yesterday as tensions continue to mount amid the loss of Palestinian Authority (PA) control.

A Palestinian teenager attempted to stab an IDF solider today on the periphery of East Jerusalem and was shot and killed by the IDF.

Last week, soldiers thwarted a car-ramming attack at Givat Ha’avot and a stabbing attack outside the West Bank village of Tekoa. A soldier was also seriously wounded in a Haifa car ramming terror attack.

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