Hamas says Israeli strikes kill three top commanders in Gaza; IDF reservists mobilized
By End the Lie
Hamas has said that Israeli airstrikes have killed three of their top commanders in Gaza, yet the group seems undeterred as the IDF has mobilized an additional 10,000 reservists to fight in the conflict.
The three commanders, Mohammed Abu Shamaleh, Mohammed Barhoum and Raed al-Attar, were reportedly killed with three others in a strike on a four-story building in the southern town of Rafah.
The three men were a key part of expanding Hamas’ military capability over recent years, according to Israeli sources.
This military buildup has included digging tunnels leading to Israel, training fighers and smuggling of weapons into Gaza, according to Israel.
Despite this major strike on Hamas’ upper ranks, the group remained defiant.
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said Israel “will not succeed in breaking the will of our people or weaken the resistance,” and that Israel “will pay the price.”
JTA reports that al-Attar and Shamaleh were the coordinators of the 2006 kidnapping of Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier who was exchanged for more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners.
Wednesday saw another strike on a Hamas commander, Muhammad al-Deif, who is the leader of the group’s military arm. Al-Deif’s status remains uncertain.
The Christian Science Monitor reports that while the death toll has risen above a reported 2,000 Palestinians, Hamas does not appear to be willing to change their demand of an end to all Israeli actions in Gaza.
There is a “short-term psychological impact on the morale of its fighters, but in the long run it doesn’t affect Hamas,” said political scientist Mkhaimer Abu Saada of Al-Azhar University in Gaza, according to the Christian Science Monitor.
“It doesn’t satisfy the [movement’s] political ambitions to stop the war now without achieving at least the lifting of the siege and the opening of border crossings,” Saada said.
The Israeli cabinet has also approved a measure to mobilize 10,000 IDF reservists who will replace other reserve soldiers who are being sent home to rest, according to the Jerusalem Post.
A total of 86,000 IDF reservists have been called up since the beginning of this summer’s conflict in Gaza. Many of the reserves replaced conscripted ground forces in the West Bank who were rotated to the border with Gaza, according to the Jerusalem Post. Other reservists have taken up positions around Gaza.
The Israeli Air Force has been especially active this week, bombing 40 targets since midnight Thursday, local time.
The cabined approved the deployment after the air force carried out airstrikes overnight.
Meanwhile, a website close to Hamas reported Thursday that the group executed three Palestinians and arrested seven others for allegedly “collaborating with Israel,” according to i24 News.
There was no date for the executions or arrests, which were carried out over allegations that the individuals were scoping out targets for Israel.
On August 6, the same Majd website said that “a number” of Palestinian “collaborators” were killed, without providing a date. Witnesses in Rafah reported an apparent execution in the middle of the street on July 13.