Targeted killings begin as security cabinet directs IDF to intensify strikes

A Palestinian man walks through debris strewn from a building destroyed by Israeli air strikes, in Gaza City May 5, 2019. (photo credit: SUHAIB SALEM / REUTERS)

( Jpost )

Shortly after the IDF announced on Sunday the targeted assassination of a Hamas commander responsible for transferring funds from Iran to Gaza, a security official said that the security cabinet directed the IDF to “intensify the attacks against the terrorist organizations in Gaza."

The IDF spokesman announced the assassination of Hamed Ahmed Abed Khudri, which would mark the first time in a number of years that the IDF has used targeted assassinations against terrorist leaders in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas field commander Hamed el-Hadary was killed by Israeli targeted airstrikes in Gaza, IDF Spokesperson's Unit reported on Sunday.

IAF striked a vehicle where the 39-year-old was located. Three others were wounded.

According to IDF Spokesperson Brig.-Gen. Ronen Manelis, Hadary’s targeted assassination was approved by the political echelon and was a “significant blow to the transfer of funds from outside the Strip to terror organizations.”

Manelis said that over 280 targets belonging to Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas were struck by IAF jets and tanks in retaliation for the over 600 rockets fired from the Gaza Strip to Israel.

Of the 600, over 150 have been intercepted, and 35 struck in urban areas in Israel. The large majority landed in open areas.

The military confirmed the deaths of three civilians over the past 24 hours, one who was killed in Ashkelon, one in a factory and one whose van was hit by the Kornet.

“We are prepared for additional days of fighting,” Manelis told reporters on a telephone call, adding that the military is “prepared” for rocket fire on central Israel, including Tel Aviv.

The security cabinet convened on Sunday for the first time in some two months. The forum includes outgoing Education Minister Naftali Bennett and outgoing Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked.

The directive to the IDF to intensify its actions came at the outset of the meeting.

A senior Air Force Officer told reporters that the IDF “had not carried out a targeted assassination for a long time” and that the a number of aircraft participated in the strike, which occurred in the heart of Gaza City.

“We are prepared to continue operating with the message that Hamas and its men are vulnerable,” the officer said, adding that this is in an attempt to “renew deterrence” against Hamas.

“We are acting against Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, but for us, Hamas is the sovereign and its role is to stop PIJ,” he said, explaining that under this directive, the IDF has been striking weapon warehouses, terror infrastructures, terrorist cells, tunnels and more.

“We are prepared for the possibility of escalation,” he continued, warning that “we have not used everything yet, there's a lot more we can do.”

“There have been are hundreds of IAF sorties over the Gaza Strip... We are working at a high rate and trying to be precise, just like the directives of the political echelon.“

According to him, of the approximately 600 rockets fired towards Israel, 400 were fired towards open areas and there is a high success rate (86%) by the Iron Dome missile defense system.

“Every strike is unfortunate and we are working to the maximum to prevent these,” he said, referring to the rockets that struck urban areas.

( Source )