In the wake of the mass murder perpetrated by the Hamas terror organization, whose death squads raided southern Israel and killed 1,400 Israelis on Oct. 7, while kidnapping 199 people, as confirmed by the Israel Defense Forces Spokesperson’s Unit on Monday, the IDF has been eliminating a growing number of Hamas terrorists.
In addition to the approximately 1,500 terrorists who were part of the surprise assault and who were killed by Israeli security forces, the Israeli Air Force—working in conjunction with the Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic intelligence service, and the Military Intelligence Directorate—have been working to systematically eliminate a growing list of high-ranking Hamas operatives.
Among those eliminated over the past nine days was Ali Qadi, commander of Hamas’s Nukhba special forces Jabalya assault company.
Qadi had been apprehended in 2005 for kidnapping and murdering Israeli civilians. He was released in 2011 as part of the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange that freed more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners.
Zechariah Abu Ma’amar, head of the international relations office in Hamas’s Political Bureau, was killed in an IAF strike, as was Belal Alqadra, commander of the Nukhba Southern Khan Yunis assault company.
Alqadra was responsible for the Kibbutz Nirim massacre on Oct. 7, the IDF stated.
The military stated that others eliminated were Muetaz Eid, commander of the Hamas Southern District of National Security; Joad Abu Shmalah, Hamas Minister of Economy in the Gaza Strip; and Merad Abu Merad, head of Hamas’s Aerial Array in Gaza City who coordinated some of the atrocities.
Additional Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror operatives currently unnamed have also been killed in some 3,600 IAF airstrikes. Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad have fired 6,000-plus rockets at Israel.
On Monday, IDF Spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari highlighted that Hamas has prevented Gaza residents from evacuating, imperiling civilian lives. Concurrently,
“Hamas is preventing the residents of Gaza from evacuating to the south of the Strip south of Wadi Gaza. It sees it as a loss of control. Hundreds of thousands went south already. I am again calling on residents of Gaza City—head south. Hamas proved its cruelty to the citizens of Israel, and now it is doing this to residents of Gaza City and its environment. For your safety, head south. There are corridors that enable your safe passage,” he said.
The IDF is continuing to cleanse southern Israel near the Gaza border of terrorists, and citizens must stay away from the area, which is a closed military zone, he stated.
Readiness response groups made up of armed civilians have been boosted by the IDF throughout Israel as part of the war effort and the need for the public to be protected.
‘We are responding offensively’
Addressing the north, Hagari said that the Hezbollah terror organization carried out a number of attacks against Israel as part of the effort to divert Israeli operational resources from the south while acting under Iranian influence and endangering Lebanese citizens.
Hagari stated that the IDF is deployed “and is strong” in the north, where backup forces are stationed. “We are responding offensively to any action against us,” he said.
The Defense Ministry has begun evacuating 28 Israeli communities near the border, located within two kilometers from it.
The plan is being led by the IDF, the National Emergency Management Authority in the Defense Ministry and local communities.
Residents have been evacuated to guesthouses subsidized by the state in order to decrease risks to them and to enable greater IDF offensive operations if necessary.