Israel Eliminates Senior Hamas Operatives in Rafah, Despite U.S. Opposition

Gaza sunset (Said Khatib / AFP via Getty)
Said Khatib / AFP via Getty

Israel struck five senior Hamas operatives in the city of Rafah, in southern Gaza, on Monday, despite the public opposition of the Biden administration to Israeli attacks there, and a demand for prior approval by Washington.

As Breitbart News reported, U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters on Monday at the White House that President Joe Biden opposed attacks in Rafah had summoned Israeli officials to D.C. for discussions.

At most, Sullivan suggested, the U.S. might support limited, targeted strikes within Rafah against specific Hamas targets. He strongly implied, however, that such operations would need to be cleared with the United States first.

Nevertheless, on Monday, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and the Israel Security Agency (ISA, or “Shin Bet,” or “Shabak”) were conducting a secret mission in Rafah, killing four senior Hamas officials and wounding another.

In a joint announcement, the IDF and ISA said:

On Monday, IDF fighter jets acting on IDF and ISA intelligence eliminated senior Hamas operatives in Rafah who assisted its military wing in establishing continued control, as well as operations in the field.

The operatives struck were Sayid Katab Alkhashash, Osama Hamd Zaher, Muhammad Aud Almelalakhi, the heads of Hamas’ Emergency Bureau in Northern and Eastern Rafah, alongside Hadi Abu Alrus Kasin, an operations officer.

The senior operatives were the representatives of Hamas’ leadership in Rafah. As part of their roles, they managed the terror organization’s activities in humanitarian zones and were responsible for coordination with Hamas operatives in the field.

Furthermore, Nidal Aleed, the Head of Hamas’ Rafah Emergency Bureau, who managed all of its operations in the area, was eliminated in a strike last week.

Of the five, all were confirmed dead except Muhammad Aud Almelalakhi, whom the IDF described as “struck.”

Asked by Breitbart News to comment on the attack in Rafah, and whether it was cleared with the U.S., or defied the Biden administration’s opposition, Israeli government spokesman David Mencer said Tuesday that Israel would always “try and work with our good friends, the Americans, to make sure that we are on the same page,” but that Prime Minister Netanyahu had stressed that there would be “no refuge” for Hamas in Rafah, or anywhere.

Mencer added that Israel believed that many of the 134 remaining Israeli hostages — roughly 100 of whom are thought to be alive — are in Rafah.

Mencer added that four of Hamas’s remaining battalions are in Rafah, adding that 18.5 of the 24 had been eliminated (one and-a-half are still in central Gaza). He also noted that Israel had reduced ratio of civilians to terrorists killed to below one-to-one, an extraordinary achievement in urban warfare.

In addition, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu named two senior advisers Tuesday to travel to Washington for talks with the Biden administration: Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer and National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi. Dermer, as a former ambassador, was particularly close to the Trump administration.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent book, “The Zionist Conspiracy (and how to join it),” now available on Audible. He is also the author of the e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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