Another Israeli airstrike in Gaza resulted in the death of three senior military leaders that had a key role in the expansion of Hamas’ military capabilities, Hamas officials report.
The attacks were conducted on Thursday and ended with six casualties. Apart from the three civilians that were killed during the airstrikes, Mohammed Abu Shamaleh, Mohammed Barhoum and Raed al-Attar were also killed by the bombings that occurred in the four-story building near Rafah.
The three leaders are believed to have played an essential role in the development of Hamas’ military capabilities. They were involved in the digging and expansion of the attack tunnels leading from Gaza to Israel, as well as training Palestinian fighters and smuggling weapons into Gaza.
According to eyewitnesses, the attacks occurred without warning. Six or seven F-16 missiles were fired at the building one after the other.
The question that Israel is faced with now is whether the assassination will result in a modification in Hamas strategies or if it will finally weaken their ability of firing rockets at Israel. Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, revealed that the organization is not at all shaken up by the recent events. He explained that Hamas believes that no matter the Israeli efforts put into weakening the resistance, the will of the people wouldn’t be broken. He also added that Israel would pay the price for Thursday’s attacks.
On the other hand, Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli Prime Minister, applauded the efforts of the Shin Bet Security service and commended the precise execution of the airstrikes
In a public statement, Shin Bet noted that the strike was a result of the intelligence and operational activities that the agency had been busy with and that resulted in the detection and elimination of Hamas military operatives.
It seems that Israel has been relying on a system of local informers that have remained in spite of Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza in 2005. According to Al Majd, a website connected to Hamas security services, several informers were arrested and three of them had been killed after revolutionary procedures had been completed. The website suggested that neither of the alleged informers had received a trial.
The airstrike that killed the three Hamas leaders belonged to a series of 20 other attacks that the Israeli military conducted on Thursday. They followed the attacks on Wednesday that meant to assassinate Mohammad Dief, senior military leader.
In fact, Israel has reason to believe that Dief did indeed die during the airstrike, in spite of Hamas claims that he survived.