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Thursday, August 21, 2014

IAF eliminates three most senior Hamas commanders in southern Gaza

A pre-dawn IAF raid has eliminated the three most senior Hamas commanders in southern Gaza. One of them, Raed al-Attar, is seen in the picture above holding Gilad Shalit's arm on the day of Shalit's release.
Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades in a statement identified the leaders as Mohammed Abu Shamalah, Raed al-Atar and Mohammed Barhum. Emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said eight people were killed in the strike.
Witnesses said a four-storey family home was completely destroyed in a series of air strikes.
The airstrike was carried out based on intelligence provided by the Shabak (Israel Security Agency), which led to the identification of two central Hamas figures.
... 

Mohammed Abu Shamalah, 40, was the most senior Hamas commander in southern Gaza, classified by security services as the head of the "Southern Command" of Hamas. Abu Shamalah was responsible for the areas of Rafiah and Khan Younis, and is a longtime friend and associate of Ezzedine al-Qassam's elusive leader, Mohammed Deif, who was himself targeted in an IDF strike yesterday - a strike he is believed to have survived.
He was also a close associate of Raed al-Atar, another leading Hamas commander eliminated in this morning's strike.
Abu Shamalah has been involved in dozens of deadly terrorist attacks since the 1990s. In  2008 he was intimately involved in the planning and execution of a major terror attack at the Kerem Shalom crossing into Gaza using booby-trapped jeeps, in which 13 soldiers were wounded.
He was also involved in an attack at the same spot two years before in which IDF soldier Gilad Shalit was abducted and two other soldiers were killed.
During Operation Protective Edge Abu Shamalah was behind an infiltration by 13 terrorists via a terror tunnel from Gaza into Israel.
Raed al-Attar, also 40 years old, was the Brigade Commander of Hamas's southern command in Gaza, and one of the most senior figures within its "military wing". 
Attar was one of the key architects of Hamas's "terror tunnel" network in southern Gaza, and plated an important role in coordinating the construction of tunnels elsewhere in Gaza.
He also helped coordinate several major terrorist attacks, and together with Abu Shamalah were Hamas's top leadership in the southern Gaza Strip.
The third terrorist, Mohammed Barhum, was a less senior Ezzedine al-Qassam commander. He was not the intended target of the operation but was killed while meeting with Attar and Abu Shamalah.
JPost adds:
"This strike represents a very significant intelligence achievement, and an intelligence infiltration," a security source told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.

The attack came after the Shin Bet received intelligence on the location of the terrorists, security forces added, describing the targets as men who were senior and central members of Hamas's military wing.
Let them look for the 'collaborators'... and let them not find them. Heh.

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