The Israeli Air Force fueled by intelligence from the Shin Bet and Military Intelligence Directorate is eliminating a growing number of senior Hamas commanders as the terror organization intensified rocket fire on central Israel on Thursday.
According to Israel Defense Forces International Spokesperson Lt. Col. Richard Hecht, Hamas has begun activating its long-range rockets, as seen in salvos fired in recent days at Haifa in the north and Eilat in the south, as well as rocket fire on central Israel on Thursday.
But Hecht said on Thursday that “they started using their long-range capabilities.”
The Israeli Air Force killed the Deputy Head of Hamas’s Intelligence Directorate, who was responsible for planning the Oct. 7 massacre in southern Israel together with Yahya Sinwar, the IDF announced on Thursday, naming the target as Shadi Barud.
“In his previous role as the Head of the Fire Control Center in Hamas’s Operations Unit, Barud planned the barbaric October 7th attacks together with Yahya Sinwar. Barud had previously served as Hamas’s battalion commander in Khan Yunis and was responsible for planning numerous terror attacks against Israeli civilians,” the IDF said in a statement.
“Following this, Barud held several positions in Hamas’s military intelligence and was responsible for information security. Until today, he was responsible for intelligence relations for Hamas,” it added.
Israeli Air Force fighter jets, based on IDF and ISA intelligence, also killed the Commander of Hamas’s Northern Khan Yunis Rockets Array, Hassan Al-Abdullah, according to the IDF.
Later on Sunday, the IDF said that jets struck three senior Hamas operatives from the organization’s Daraj Tuffah Battalion. The terrorists had participated in previous attacks against Israel.
It named them as Battalion Commander Rifat Abbas; Battalion Deputy Commander Ibrahim Jadba; and Combat Support Commander Tarek Maarouf.
“The Daraj Tuffah Battalion is a battalion in Hamas’s Gaza City Brigade, which is considered the most significant brigade of the Hamas terrorist organization. The battalion’s operatives played a significant role in the invasion and murderous attack against Israel on October 7,” the military stated.
‘Slowly, we are taking out brigade, battalion commanders’
On Wednesday, the commander of Hamas’s Khan Younis Battalion, Taysir Mubasher, a former head of the Hamas naval force, was also killed. Mubasher had planned large-scale terror attacks against Israel and was the main Hamas commander in the Khan Yunis sector, according to the IDF.
“Slowly, we’re taking out Hamas brigade and battalion commanders,” Hecht said on Sunday.
“IAF fighter jets are continuing to strike Hamas terror infrastructure in the Gaza Strip, including military command centers and rocket launch posts,” he added.
Hecht also provided further details on the early-morning IDF-targeted raid in Gaza on Wednesday, describing it as “brigade-level,” adding that it consisted of infantry, tanks and D9 armored bulldozers in northern Gaza, around the border perimeter. “It was preparing the ground for future stages,” said Hecht, adding that an anti-tank missile was fired at the force; No casualties were reported. Future such raids are likely, Hecht added.
The IAF is continuously taking out terror tunnels, headquarters, weapons warehouses, mortar launchers and anti-tank missile squads, he said.
“We are still emphasizing to the [Gazan] people to move south to the humanitarian area in southern Gaza,” Hecht said. “We see fuel in Gaza. Hamas can choose if they use this for hospitals or for their tunnel system.”
Meanwhile, the Defense Ministry announced that its Directorate of Borders and the IDF’s Technological and Logistics Directorate completed, under fire, the repair and return to service of the sites that were damaged in the area around the security fence.
“As part of the joint effort known as ‘Returning Eyes to Gaza,’ the sites were searched and cleared of explosive devices alongside the installation of new systems in the area. The operations on the collection and cyber capabilities are almost fully completed,” said the ministry.
Meanwhile, in the north, an Israeli unmanned aerial vehicle struck a terror cell attempting to launch anti-tank missiles from Lebanon at an IDF post on Thursday.
On Wednesday, a surface-to-air missile fired from Lebanon towards an Israeli UAV was intercepted by an Israeli air-defense system, and the IAF struck the source of the launch.
As of Thursday evening, the IDF has counted 309 fallen soldiers, 224 confirmed hostages and 100 missing people.