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Hamas vows revenge after Israel kills top commander in Gaza airstrike

CM 12/05/2021 1

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Israel was bracing for additional long-range rocket attacks after Hamas warned on Wednesday that it would avenge the deaths of its top commanders with special rocket barrages throughout the evening. 
The commanders were killed in a joint IDF- Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) operation earlier Wednesday when the IDF said it carried out a series of targeted killings in Gaza City and Khan Younis, eliminating senior members of Hamas’ General Staff who were considered close to the head of the group’s military wing, Mohammed Deif.

Caption: The expansive operation by the IDF to take out weapon warehouses in the Gaza Strip, May 11, 2021.
The dead men were identified as Bassem Issa, the head of the Gaza City brigade since 2017 and head of the group’s cyber network and missile improvement project Jamaa Tahla. According to the Shin Bet, Tahla was the right-hand man of Deif and the central leader of the group’s efforts to improve its military capabilities. 
“Hitting him is a significant blow to Hamas’ capabilities,” the security agency said of Tahla.
Gamal Zabda, the head of the group’s development and projects department who was the main player in Hamas’ rocket unit, was also killed. According to the Shin Bet, Zabda who held a PhD in mechanical engineering with a specialty in aerodynamics, was a significant source of knowledge for Hamas. Khazem Khatib, the head of the engineering department in Hamas’s production division and served as deputy chief of staff was also killed.
Palestinian media reported that at least 48 people had been killed in the IDF strikes, including 14 children, and that more than 296 had been wounded. The Gaza Health Ministry claimed on Wednesday morning that 43% of the casualties were women and children, due to what it claimed were targeted attacks against civilians.

Casualties were reported on Wednesday in Gaza after the IDF targeted a motorcycle near Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip and a car near Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip.
A number of strikes on apartments and vehicles were reported on Wednesday, causing multiple deaths and injuries. 

Another 13 members of Hamas’ weapons manufacturing staff were also killed. They were named as Zaher a-Shahri, the head of Hamas’ R&D and production project, Mahmoud Fares a mechanics in the group’s R&D and production project, Majad Hadidi, control engineer, Akram Aleta, assistant to Bassem Issa, Hassan Aki and Kamal Krike both active in Hamas’s special units.The IDF struck a 14-story building in southern Gaza on Wednesday evening, stating that the building housed the Hamas’s military intelligence offices.

In an earlier attack, the IDF eliminated two Hamas intelligence operatives who it said were responsible for rocket barrages into Israel: Hassan Kaogi, the head of Hamas’s military intelligence security wing, as well as his second-in-command, Wail Issa, the head of its intelligence counter-espionage wing.

The IDF also eliminated three additional senior Hamas officials: Gaza Brigade commander Bassam Issa, Khan Younis Brigade commander Rafa Salama and Hamas intelligence chief Mohammed Yazouri. 

On Tuesday, the military killed two top Islamic Jihad terrorists, striking a blow, it said, to the terror group’s rocket infrastructure. It also eliminated the head of the Hamas anti-tank missile unit Tuesday evening in an airstrike.One of the terrorists was identified as Samah Abed al-Mamlouk. The IDF and Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) said that Mamlouk, attacked in a hideout together with a number of additional Islamic Jihad operatives, was in charge of Islamic Jihad’s rocket arsenal. 

In another strike, Hassan Abu al-Ata, deputy commander of Islamic Jihad’s Gaza Brigade, was also killed when the IDF struck an apartment in an eight-story building in Gaza’s Rimal neighborhood. He was the brother of Baha abu Al-Ata who was killed by Israel in 2019. Both brothers were known senior members of Islamic Jihad and were behind many of the group’s rocket attacks against Israel in recent years. Islamic Jihad said that the response to the killings of its operatives would be harsh. 
Earlier Tuesday, Hamas and the IDF expressed opposition to efforts by Egypt to mediate a ceasefire on Monday night and Tuesday, with terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip firing almost 1000 rockets and killing five Israelis since the violence began on Monday. Several hundred failed rocket launches fell back into the Gaza Strip; Air Defense Artillery combat soldiers intercepted several hundred more. As of early Wednesday morning, three Israeli women were killed in rocket attacks, with more than 50 injured, including two women in serious condition: an 81-year-old as well as a 30-year-old who was hit by shrapnel in her upper body. 
Flames and smoke rise during Israeli air strikes amid a flare-up of Israel-Palestinian violence, in the southern Gaza Strip May 11, 2021. (Credit: Reuters/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa)Flames and smoke rise during Israeli air strikes amid a flare-up of Israel-Palestinian violence, in the southern Gaza Strip May 11, 2021. (Credit: Reuters/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa)

The IDF warned residents of Gaza on Tuesday to stay away from any locations where Hamas weapons are stored for their own safety, saying there will be a “wide wave of attacks in the Gaza Strip.”
For more on rocket attacks against Israel read here
For more on Israeli strikes on Gaza read here

For more on live rocket attack updates read hereFor more on riots in Israel read here
For more on world reactions to Gaza violence read here
Hamas’s armed wing said it fired 210 rockets towards Beersheba and Tel Aviv in response to the bombing of the tower buildings in Gaza City.
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said Israel had “ignited fire in Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa and the flames extended to Gaza – therefore, it is responsible for the consequences.”
Haniyeh said that Qatar, Egypt and the United Nations had been in contact urging calm but that Hamas’s message to Israel was: “If they want to escalate, the resistance is ready; if they want to stop, the resistance is ready.”
The targets hit by Israel included the home of a Hamas battalion commander in a multi-story building, the organization’s military intelligence headquarters, munition manufacturing sites, military complexes belonging to Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, as well as two terror tunnels that were close to the border fence. The strikes were said to have killed at least 15 Hamas terrorists.

Palestinian reports on Tuesday said that the IDF struck an apartment in an eight-story building in the Rimal neighborhood in Gaza, killing two senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad commanders and fatally wounded the brother of Baha abu Al-Ata who was killed by a targeted assassination by the IAF in 2019.

Additionally, the Hamas terrorist group announced on Tuesday that they had dead and missing personnel from their Izzadin al-Qassam Brigades after the IDF hit a target in the Gaza Strip where they were operating. It is unclear when the strike in question occurred.

“Our response to targeting civilians and assassinating our militants and the militants of the resistance will be a harsh response, and the enemy must wait for us at all times,” said a spokesperson for PIJ’s Al-Quds Brigades on Tuesday.
Hamas warned Egyptian officials overnight on Monday that the terrorist groups in Gaza was refusing to engage in any negotiations unless Israel withdraws security forces from the Temple Mount and Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood and releases all those detained in recent clashes in Jerusalem and the West Bank, according to Al-Araby Al-Jadeed. Hamas also demanded the canceling of planned evictions in Sheikh Jarrah.
Pictures and videos from Gaza showed a number of buildings heavily damaged due to the strikes.


The escalation in the South comes after a day of violence in Jerusalem on Monday where tens of thousands of Israelis gathered to celebrate Jerusalem Day, marking the liberation of Israel’s capital city in 1967. Violence broke out on the Temple Mount and around the Old City. Dozens of Palestinians and Israelis were said to have been injured during the clashes.

Source: Jerusalem Post

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