Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Israel strikes compound in civilian area of Gaza, targeting Oct. 7 mastermind

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The Israeli Defense Force has confirmed that a strike was launched in Gaza targeting two high-ranking Hamas leaders, one with a direct role in plotting the Oct. 7 attacks.

Israeli authorities announced early Saturday morning that the strike hit a Hamas compound in al-Mawasi in Southern Gaza

“Mohammed Deif, the top military commander of Hamas, was the target of an Israeli strike today in al-Mawasi,” two Israel sources told Fox News Digital. “Currently a battle damage assessment is taking place to determine if he was killed. Deif is one of the masterminds behind the October 7th massacre.” As of Sunday there was still no confirmation of Deif’s death.

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Images released by the Israel Defense Force reportedly show the area of al-Mawasi, which was targeted on Saturday. (IDF)

The alleged Hamas-controlled compound was located in a civilian area containing tent shelters for displaced refugees. 

The Hamas-run Gaza Public Health Ministry has claimed the strike killed a total of 71 people.

“Cynically Hamas leaders always embed themselves within civilians and inside civilian areas,” a military official said in a statement to Fox News Digital. “We know other militants and guards were present in the compound and the assumption is that they are dead. We cannot relate to numbers of Palestinian casualties.”

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Deif

An undated photo of Mohammad Deif, the mastermind of Hamas suicide bombings and the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks. Israeli officials were reportedly targeting Deif when they unleashed the strike on al-Mawasi. (Reuters)

The IDF does not believe any Israeli hostages were present within the compound.

Deif has been the commander of the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades since Marwan Abdel Karim Ali Issa was killed in an airstrike conducted on Nuseirat in March.

The Hamas terrorist was also identified as a key architect of the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks that killed over 1,100 Israelis and launched the ongoing conflict.

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Rafa’a Salameh

An IDF profile of Hamas terrorist Rafa’a Salameh, who the IDF said was killed in an anti-terror strike on July 13th.
(IDF Spokesman’s Unit)

On Sunday, the IDF confirmed the death of Rafa’a Salameh, Hamas’s commander of the Khan Yunis Brigade, who was also a target in the attack and believed to have been inside the compound.

According to an IDF announcement, “Salameh was one of the closest associates of Mohammed Deif, the Commander of Hamas’ Military Wing, and was one of the masterminds of the October 7th Massacre.” 

The statement confirming his death in the strike noted that, “Salameh joined the Hamas terrorist organization in the early 1990s and was appointed to the position of Commander of Hamas’ Khan Yunis – Al Qarara Battalion, under the command of Mohammed Sinwar. Salamah played a significant role in the abduction of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit. During Operation Protective Edge in 2014, Salameh was in command of Hamas’ combat support and defensive plans.”  In 2016, he replaced Mohammed Sinwar as Commander of the Khan Yunis Brigade.

An IDF statement on the strike from Saturday stated “In a joint IDF and ISA activity based on precise intelligence, the IDF’s Southern Command and the IAF carried out a strike in an area where two senior Hamas terrorists and additional terrorists hid among civilians,” Israeli authorities announced in a separate statement Saturday. “The location of the strike was an open area surrounded by trees, several buildings, and sheds.”



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