Israel launched a ‘wave of strikes’ on Thursday that killed a senior Hamas leader and destroyed operational command centers in Gaza, officials said.
According to the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), one airstrike executed Thursday killed Muhammad Abu Shamla, a senior Hamas naval operative in the Rafah Brigade. Other airstrikes struck operational command centers used by Hamas operatives, where the infiltration into Israeli communities surrounding Gaza on Saturday was organized.
‘IDF aircraft struck Muhammad Abu Shamla, a senior Hamas naval operative in the Rafah Brigade. Abu Shamla’s residence was used to store naval weapons designated for terror against the State of Israel,’ IDF said in a statement.
‘Right now we are focused on taking out their senior leadership,’ said Lt. Col. Richard Hecht, an Israeli military spokesman. ‘Not only the military leadership, but also the governmental leadership, all the way up to [top Hamas leader Yehiyeh] Sinwar. They were directly connected.’
Other airstrikes carried out by the IDF targeted Hamas’ Nukhba elite force.
‘The Nukhba elite forces consist of terrorists selected by senior Hamas operatives, designated to carry out terrorist attacks such as ambushes, raids, assaults, infiltration through terror tunnels, as well as anti-tank missile, rocket, and sniper fire,’ the IDF said. ‘The Nukhba elite forces were one of the leading forces that infiltrated the State of Israel in order to carry out murderous acts of terror against its civilians.’
On Wednesday, Israeli airstrikes killed Palestinian Islamic Jihad commander Moussa Naseer in his family home in the northern city of Beit Lahia, according to media linked to Al-Quds Brigades, the group’s armed wing.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to ‘crush and destroy’ Hamas, saying no member of the terrorist group was safe.
‘Every Hamas member is a dead man,’ he said.
Netanyahu said in a televised address that Israel formed a new war cabinet Wednesday that includes a longtime opposition critic.
The U.S. has pledged unwavering support for Israel’s response, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Tel Aviv on Thursday to meet with Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders.
The war, which has claimed more than 2,400 lives on both sides, is expected to escalate, as Israel prepares for a possible ground operation in the Gaza Strip.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.