Thursday, August 21, 2014

Israel: Two Days -- Four Major Hamas Terrorist Leaders Killed

Israel has killed 3 Hamas terrorist leaders Wednesday night -- Hamas head of southern command Mohammed Abu Shamaleh, Rafah commander Raed Al-Attar, and senior weapons smuggler Muhammad Barhum.


The Times of Israel outlined the activities of the three Hamas terrorist leaders

Abu Shamaleh and al-Attar were said to have played central roles in the abduction of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit and in other high-profile attacks against Israelis.

Shalit was released in 2011 as part of a prisoner swap that freed over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners, including at least one believed to have been involved in the killing of three Israeli teens by a West Bank Hamas cell in June. That attack precipitated the most recent round of fighting between Israel and Hamas.

The Shin Bet also named al-Attar as one of the architects of Hamas’s offensive tunnel operations in southern Gaza and as the head of the division that killed Israeli soldier Lt. Hadar Goldin while attempting to kidnap him. He was also allegedly responsible for smuggling weapons into Gaza from Sinai.

Barhoum, also killed in the strike, was a senior Hamas operative in Rafah responsible for smuggling weapons into Gaza from neighboring Egypt, Israel said.
And then there is Mohammed Deif, whose death the day before has yet to be confirmed by Hamas.

Deif has emerged as a key leader inside Gaza blocking ceasefire efforts and extending the war. On July 29 he personally committed - via a prerecorded message - to extending the war until all of Hamas's demands were met.

A few days later the Washington Post described Mohammed Deif, the shadowy figure who heads Hamas’s military wing
As Israel presses forward with its ground offensive, Deif is also viewed by some Israeli military analysts as a key obstacle to a negotiated end to the conflict. Al-Qassam Brigades fighters  attacked Israeli soldiers and, according to Israel’s military, abducted an officer —shattering a 72-hour humanitarian truce brokered by the United States and the United Nations. Early  morning, Israel’s military said the officer was killed in battle. The attack and other cease-fire violations by Hamas reflect divisions between the organization’s political and military wings, with the latter wielding greater influence, analysts said.“The decision-maker in Hamas is Mohammed Deif, leader of the military wing, and he is against the cease-fire because he believes every day they continue to fight is another achievement for them,” said retired Gen. Giora Eiland, a former Israeli national security adviser.
Rare photo of Mohammed Deif

Here are some key facts on Mohammed Deif and why he was targeted by Israel
  • Mohammed Deif is the commander of the al-Qassam Brigades, and has played an integral role in the militant group since the mid-1990s. He was appointed commander in 2002. Dief determines the al-Qassam Brigades strategy, and is “regarded as the ‘brain’ behind Hamas.”

  • He has topped Israel’s most wanted list for years.

  • AFP reported last month that “Born in the Khan Yunis refugee camp in southern Gaza in 1965, Deif has been involved in Hamas's operations for more than 20 years, plotting suicide bombings inside Israel, kidnapping soldiers, firing rockets and helping plan the tunnels used to launch attacks… Deif had had a long yet shadowy career as a militant before then.”

  • Deif orchestrated the kidnappings and subsequent murders of Shahar Simani, Aryeh Frankenthal and Nachson Wachsman in 1994.

  • Dief masterminded multiple bus bombings in the mid-90s, including the 1996 bombings in Jerusalem and Ashkelon, which killed at least 50 Israelis.

  • Deif joined Hamas during the First Intifada, and fought alongside high-profile Hamas fighters including Yahya Ayyash (Hamas’ chief bombmaker), Salah Shehade (a Hamas founder and former commander of the al-Qassam Brigades), and Hassan Salameh (Hamas chief of operations who was responsible for the 1972 Munich massacre, among other attacks). Ayyash wasreportedly Deif’s mentor.

  • Deif was arrested and imprisoned by the Palestinian Authority in May 2000. Despite imprisonment, he continued to orchestrate Hamas attacks on Israel.

  • Deif reportedly helped to design the Qassam rockets before Iran began to supply Hamas with more advanced long-range systems. Deif’s weapons expertise was “instrumental” to building up Hamas’ military capabilities.

  • Analysts believe that Deif was critical in securing financing and weapons from Iran.

  • Deif wrote: “The al-Qassam Brigades…are better prepared to continue on our exclusive path to which there is no alternative, and that is the path of jihad and the fight against the enemies of the Muslim nation and mankind….We say to our enemies: you are going on the path to extinction (zawal), and Palestine will remain ours including Al-Quds (Jerusalem), Al-Aqsa (mosque), its towns and villages from the (Mediterranean) Sea to the (Jordan) River, from its North to its South. You have no right to even an inch of it.”

  • The Washington Post described Deif earlier this month as Israel’s ‘enemy number one’: “To Israelis, Mohammed Deif is enemy number one. As the top commander of the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s military wing, Deif has tormented the Jewish state for three decades, deploying suicide bombers and directing the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers. He has survived several attempts by Israel to assassinate him, earning him the nickname “the cat with nine lives.” Deif, according to Israeli military and intelligence officials, is the mastermind of the Palestinian militant group’s current strategy of firing rockets at Israel and building tunnel networks through which highly trained fighters can infiltrate Israel. Those and other tactics have killed 63 Israeli soldiers and three civilians inside Israel since the war began July 8, making Deif the most wanted man in Gaza.”

  • Deif is a key obstacle to a ceasefire. According to retired Gen. Giora Eiland, a former Israeli national security adviser, “The decision-maker in Hamas is Mohammed Deif, leader of the military wing, and he is against the cease-fire because he believes every day they continue to fight is another achievement for them.”
Hat tip: The Israel Project


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