In a pre-dawn airstrike on Thursday, three top Hamas commanders were killed by an Israeli strike on a four-story building near Rafah in southern Gaza.
Three senior Hamas leaders killed by a targeted Israeli strike on a building in the southern Gaza Strip were responsible for dozens of deadly terrorist attacks as well as the 2006 kidnapping of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit and the recent Gaza tunnel infiltrations into Israel.
The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) confirmed that it had targeted two Hamas leaders, Raed Al-Attar and Mohammed Abu Shamaleh, early Thursday morning, stating: “The strike was the result of intelligence and operational activities, which led to the detection and attack on two central operatives from the heart of Hamas’s leadership.”
Hamas named the third prominent commander who was killed in the strike as Mohammed Barhoum.
Al-Attar and Abu Shamaleh share a long history of violent attacks on Israel beginning in the early ’90s, when Abu Shameleh was involved in killing an Israeli soldier in Rafah in 1994. That same year, Al-Attar killed an Israeli soldier on the Egyptian border.
In June 2006, Al-Attar planned the Hamas tunnel infiltration near the Kerem Shalom crossing, the abduction of Shalit and the killing of two Israeli soldiers. Among the Hamas terrorists who held Shalit during his five years of captivity. he was featured prominently in video footage showing the return of Shalit to Israel in 2011 in exchange for 1,027 Palestinian terrorists.
Most recently, Al-Attar, who served as Hamas commander of the Rafah region in Gaza, was responsible for the abduction and murder of Lt. Hadar Goldin during Operation Protective Edge. According to the Shin Bet, Al-Attar’s Rafah troops were involved in several attacks that wounded IDF soldiers. Al-Attar is also one of the key architects of the construction of cross-border tunnels into Israel.
Abu Shamaleh was among those commanding the infiltration of 13 Hamas terrorists into southern Israel near Kibbutz Sufa on July 17. The IDF thwarted the attack.
Barhoum, who was considered a lesser commander, had been in a meeting with Abu Shamaleh and Al-Attar when the Israeli strike took place on Thursday morning.
On Saturday, Hamas’s military wing released a message on Twitter, stating: “We are continuing our struggle. Allah is our goal. The prophet is our leader, Jihad is our way, and death for Allah is our most exalted wish.”
Author: Anav Silverman, Tazpit News Agency