update deskIsrael at War

IDF takes out Rafah terror cell that fired five rockets

Israel's defenses intercepted all of the projectiles launched at border villages.

An Israeli soldier during operational activity in the Gaza Strip, July 2024. Credit: IDF.
An Israeli soldier during operational activity in the Gaza Strip, July 2024. Credit: IDF.

The Israeli Air Force on Thursday morning eliminated a group of terrorists who less than 30 minutes earlier fired five rockets from Rafah in southern Gaza at Israeli border communities.

Israel’s aerial defense array intercepted the projectiles, which set off air-raid sirens in Kibbutzim Holit and Kerem Shalom, Moshavim Dekel Yated, Yevul and Sdei Avraham, and the village of Avshalom.

In addition, in a combined aerial and ground attack, Israeli forces hit terrorist targets in the area where the launches took place.

On Thursday afternoon, rocket warning sirens sounded in Moshav Nir Yisrael, northeast of Ashkelon.

“Three rockets were fired in the direction of the moshav and were detected striking open areas. There are no reports of casualties,” the Ashkelon Coast Regional Council said.

Israeli forces are continuing a months-long targeted operation in Rafah to root out Hamas terrorists in the Gaza group’s last stronghold. Over the past day, IDF troops coordinated with the IAF to kill dozens of terrorists.

Troops also dismantled several terrorist infrastructure sites rigged with explosives, as well as tunnel shafts, in the area.

During targeted raids in the area of the Tel al-Sultan camp, IDF troops located terrorist tunnel shafts, rocket-propelled grenades and additional weaponry.

Top Hamas terrorist eliminated

Israeli forces this week killed Hassan Abu Kuik, head of operational security in Hamas’s Internal Security Forces in the central Gaza camps, the IDF said on Thursday.

Abu Kuik was also active in Hamas’s Emergency Bureau and led many terrorist attacks against the State of Israel, the army said.

In addition, the IDF killed Naser Mehanna, a team commander in Hamas’s “military” intelligence.

Also in central Gaza, IDF troops are continuing operational activity against terrorist operatives embedded in UNRWA’s headquarters, over the past day finding large amounts of weapons in the area, including explosive drones, grenades, explosive devices, sniper rifles, mortar shells, rockets and RPGs.

Furthermore, troops directed an aerial strike on a terrorist compound used as a base to fire at IDF troops.

Halevi says hostage deal ’embodies basic values’

Speaking at the graduation ceremony for the National Security College on Wednesday, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi said that reaching a hostage release deal “has the basic values ​​required for a model society and a society that desires life.

“On Simchat Torah we failed our supreme test of providing security,” Halevi said, referring to the Hamas-led invasion of the northwestern Negev on Oct. 7 in which thousands were killed, wounded and kidnapped, and widespread atrocities were committed.

“We are courageously investigating in order to improve and to restore the public’s trust in the IDF, the basis of our strength. An agreement for the return of the abducted, beyond its importance in the urgent moral sense of saving lives, has the basic values ​​required for a model society and a society that desires life,” the general said.

President Isaac Herzog and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant also spoke at the ceremony.

“The State of Israel has been at war for nine months, a hard and painful war, a war for the home,” Gallant said.

“The soldiers of the IDF and members of the security forces in regular and reserve service show fighting spirit, determination and sacrifice in our war to defeat the enemy, to return the abductees and the evacuated citizens to their homes.

“It is the spirit of the commander who walks at the head of his soldiers, it is the spirit of mission and volunteering for every task, it is the spirit of love for the people and the country that made it possible to contain the enemy in extreme opening conditions, the transition to the attack, and it is what makes it possible to defeat the enemy,” he said.

Earlier on Wednesday, Gallant said that Israeli forces have killed or wounded 60% of Hamas’s combatants since the war in Gaza began on Oct. 7.

Speaking at the Knesset in Jerusalem, the defense minister also said that the IDF had broken up a majority of the Al-Qassam Brigades’ 24 battalions entrenched across the coastal enclave. (The Al-Qassam Brigades is Hamas’s so-called “military” wing.)

“The action of the IDF that has so far led to the elimination of over 14,000 terrorists and the collapse of the military frameworks of Hamas is, in fact, the testimony of what I am saying—everything will be done in accordance with the law and in accordance with the operational need,” Gallant said.

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