Report: 3 Hamas commanders were in a tunnel 30 meters underground when they were killed
If you have any doubts that Thursday's hit of three senior Hamas commanders in Gaza indicates that Israeli intelligence has penetrated to the highest levels of the Hamas command
, read the article below in conjunction with the tweet above from Khaled Abu Toameh.
This was not just another strike, not just
another assassination. The killing of the three constituted an
indication that something in the intelligence discipline at the very top
of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades has cracked.
The Shin Bet, as the intelligence behind the
strike, and the IDF, as the operational arm, targeted the trio in a
building in a crowded Rafah neighborhood on one of the heaviest days of
fighting thus far. Thus this was a very different strike from the one at
the start of the Operation Pillar of Defense in November 2012 when the
Hamas military commander, Ahmed Jabari, was assassinated in a surprise
attack that marked the beginning of that operation. Given that the
fighting had re-escalated since Tuesday, and that Israel was known to be
trying to hit the Hamas military leadership, the three had taken every
possible precaution to evade Israeli intelligence. Those precautions
simply were not good enough.
It can be assumed that whether or not Muhammad
Deif is still alive, those members of the Hamas military leadership who
have survived are now desperately trying to figure out what went wrong.
How could it be that after long weeks in which Israel was unable to get
to any of the heads of the military wing, now, within 48 hours, the
Shin Bet located one of Deif’s hideouts and killed three other members
of the Hamas general staff?
It should be stressed again: Two of the three
were not mere senior commanders of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades.
Muhammad Abu Shamala, the “head of the southern command” and Raed
al-Attar, the commander of the Rafah area, were part of the founding
generation of the Hamas military wing — along with Deif and several
others who are no longer with us, including Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh and Emad
Akel. They were among Deif’s closest brothers-in-arms — long-term
veterans with experience and knowledge that cannot be easily replaced.
Read the whole thing
Abu Shamala and al-Attar are tied to almost
every major attack in and from the Rafah area since 2001. These include
the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit on a tunnel raid into Israel in which two
other soldiers were killed, and even the killing of 16 Egyptian
soldiers on the Gaza-Sinai-Israel border two years ago. Thus the two had
tangled not only with Israel, but also with Egypt, which knew of their
ties to terrorist organizations in the Sinai.
Labels: Gaza, Hamas, intelligence, Ismail Haniyeh, Khaled Meshaal, Mohammed Deif