Palestinians Claim 50 Dead as Israel Hits Senior Hamas Commanders in Rafah

Palestinians gather at the site of an Israeli strike on a camp for internally displaced pe
Eyad Baba / AFP via Getty

Palestinian sources claimed that 50 people had been killed — including civilians — as Israel launched an airstrike Sunday night in Rafah that targeted several major Hamas commanders.

The IDF issued a statement describing the airstrike:

Earlier this evening, an IAF aircraft, in an IDF and ISA intelligence-based strike, eliminated the terrorist Yassin Rabia, the Commander of Hamas’ leadership in Judea and Samaria, as well as Khaled Nagar, a senior official in Hamas’ Judea and Samaria wing.

The strike was carried out in the area of Tal as Sultan, in northwest Rafah, based on precise intelligence.

Hamas’ Judea and Samaria wing is responsible for the planning, funding, and carrying out of terror attacks throughout Judea and Samaria and within Israel.

The terrorist Yassin Rabia managed the entirety of Hamas’ terrorist activity in Judea and Samaria, transferred funds to terror targets and planned Hamas terror attacks throughout Judea and Samaria.
In the past, Rabia carried out numerous murderous terror attacks, including in 2001 and 2002, in which IDF soldiers were killed.

The terrorist Khaled Nagar, a senior official in Hamas’ Judea and Samaria Headquarters, directed shooting attacks and other terrorist activities in Judea and Samaria, and transferred funds intended for Hamas’ terrorist activities in the Gaza Strip. Previously, Khaled Nagar carried out several deadly terror attacks between 2001-2003 which led to the deaths of several Israeli civilians and the injury and death of several Israeli soldiers.

The IDF is aware of reports indicating that as a result of the strike and fire that was ignited several civilians in the area were harmed. The incident is under review.

The IDF also said that it regretted “any harm to noncombatants during the war.” It also said that the airstrike was “carried out against legitimate targets under international law, using precise munitions and on the basis of precise intelligence that indicated Hamas’ use of the area.”

Amid media reports of women and children killed in an airstrike and ensuing fire, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) also  said its prosecutor would probe the incident.

The number of civilian deaths appears to be high because the Hamas commanders were located in or near a camp for displaced Palestinians near a United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) facility, according to news reports.

Some skeptical Israeli outlets, notably Abu Ali Express (above), argued that Hamas was seeking to exploit Western sensitivity to deaths in Rafah, particularly after the Biden administration expressed opposition to Israeli activity in the area for several months, and after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled Friday that Israel must halt attacks there. The ICJ has no independent enforcement mechanism and is viewed by Israelis as biased against Israel.

Hamas is known to use civilians as “human shields” to deter attacks on its leadership, terrorists, and infrastructure, knowing that if Israel does attack them, it will pay an international diplomatic price that can deter future attacks.

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 e-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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