newsIsrael at War

Israeli drone strike kills top Hamas terrorist in Lebanon

Hadi Ali Mustafa was involved in planning attacks against Israeli and Jewish targets around the world.

Screenshot of the IDF aerial attack on a vehicle near Tyre, Lebanon, that killed senior Hamas terrorist Hadi Ali Mustafa, March 13, 2024. Credit: IDF.
Screenshot of the IDF aerial attack on a vehicle near Tyre, Lebanon, that killed senior Hamas terrorist Hadi Ali Mustafa, March 13, 2024. Credit: IDF.

A senior member of Hamas was killed on Wednesday by an Israeli drone strike, according to the Israel Defense Forces. The terrorist was identified as Hadi Ali Mustafa, who the IDF said had advanced attacks against Israeli and Jewish targets around the world.

Mustafa was killed while traveling in the area of Tyre, a city on the Mediterranean coast of Southern Lebanon. The military published footage of the strike.

The Lebanese government’s National News Agency reported that in addition to the “Palestinian martyr,” a Syrian national passing by Mustafa’s vehicle on a motorcycle was also killed, and two others were wounded.

In a statement, the IDF described Mustafa as “a significant operative in Hamas’s department responsible for its international terrorist activities. In his position, Hadi directed terrorist cells and activities in the field, and advanced terror attacks against Israeli and Jewish targets in various countries around the world.”

Furthermore, the army said that Mustafa operated under the direction of Samir Fendi, the commander of Hamas’s “military” wing in Lebanon, who was killed alongside Hamas deputy political chief Saleh al-Arouri in Beirut in January. That attack also claimed the life of Azam al-Aqra, a high-ranking member of the terrorist group’s Syria operation, along with four other Hamas members.

“The IDF and Israeli security forces will continue to operate against the Hamas terrorist organization in every arena in which it operates,” the army said on Wednesday.

Immediately after Mustafa’s assassination, a rocket was fired from Lebanon towards Israel, setting off air-raid sirens in the Western Galilee border kibbutz of Hanita. The rocket failed to cross the border, instead hitting Lebanese territory.

Earlier on Wednesday, two rockets fired from Lebanon struck open areas in the Golan Heights.

The Israeli military on Wednesday afternoon provided updates on other attacks targeting Hezbollah terrorist infrastructure throughout the day, including a military compound in the area of Qantara, military infrastructure near Yater, and a launch post and military compound near Aalma El Chaeb.

Hezbollah and Hamas coordinate activities in Lebanon as part of the so-called Iran-led “Axis of Resistance,” which also includes Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the Houthis and other Iranian-backed terrorist groups in the Middle East.

The radical Shi’ite organization joined its Gaza-based counterparts in attacking Israel after the Hamas-led mass murder and hostage-taking in the northwestern Negev on Oct. 7 in which some 1,200 people were killed, thousands more wounded and 253 kidnapped.

Hezbollah has been launching near-daily attacks across the Israel-Lebanon border since Oct. 7, killing 17 people and causing extensive property damage. Some 62,000 Israelis have been evacuated from communities along the border, as a result of the attacks, while many others in the area have evacuated voluntarily.

Hezbollah fired some 100 “Grad” rockets at northern Israel on Tuesday, and around 80 projectiles on March 10. The Israeli Air Force has been striking key Hezbollah assets in Baalbek in northern Lebanon, some 60 miles from the border, while peppering Hezbollah positions in Southern Lebanon with strikes as well.

The IAF has struck approximately 4,500 Hezbollah targets in Lebanon and Syria over the past five months, including weapons facilities and military structures used to attack Israel, according to recent Israeli military data. 

In addition, Israel has killed more than 300 Hezbollah terrorists and wounded more than 750 over the same period, according to the IDF.

In the wake of the Oct. 7 massacre, Israeli leaders vowed to track down and kill Hamas leaders wherever they are. Most recently, Marwan Issa—the deputy head of Hamas’s “military” wing and one of the terror group’s founders—was targeted in an aerial strike on the Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip on Saturday night. His death has yet to be confirmed by the IDF.

Other Hamas terror leaders in Israel’s sights include Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip and the mastermind of the Oct. 7 attacks, Yahya Sinwar, along with his younger brother Mohammed, commander of Hamas’s Khan Yunis Brigade; Ismail Haniyeh, head of Hamas’s politburo, who is based in Doha; Mohammed Deif, head of Hamas’s “military” wing; and Zaher Jabarin, one of the longest-serving members of Hamas, who served as al-Arouri’s deputy and is the terror group’s key financier.

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