On Saturday, the IDF said that it had killed the Hamas commander in charge of aerial operations.
Atsam Abu Raffa was killed in an overnight Friday attack in Gaza by the IDF with cooperation from the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security organization.
The Jerusalem Post published a video of the strike.
According to the army, the Raffa oversaw Hamas’s air defense, which included drones, aerial surveillance, paragliders, anti-tank missile systems, and more. His responsibilities included helping to organize and carry out the October 7 slaughter, in which paragliders from the terrorist organization Hamas infiltrated Israeli towns and conducted drone assaults.
Raffa’s assassination is the most recent setback to the leadership of Hamas. On Thursday, the Israeli Defense Forces stated that during airstrikes in Gaza, five top leaders of Palestinian terror groups had been killed.
Reports show that as a response to the deadly assault on southern Israel on October 7, the IDF has been planning a large-scale operation for some weeks. It has bombed the Strip to unprecedented levels in preparation for when the order comes to clear the area of any possible dangers to ground forces.
Shadi Barud, one of the killed commanders and the deputy chief of Hamas’ intelligence directorate, is suspected of having had a role in the planning of the horrific massacre on October 7 that claimed the lives of 1,400 people and left 4,500 more injured. Since then, Hamas has freed a dozen captives and taken 500 more hostages into Gaza.
Via the Times of Israel, the IDF broadcasted a video of the fatal attack on Barud.
Israel has been preparing for a full-scale invasion of the Gaza Strip and has now launched its second limited ground operation into the territory. On Saturday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu framed Israel’s conflict with Hamas as a fight for survival.
Netanyahu, accompanied by cabinet member Benny Gantz and Defense member Yoav Gallant, told reporters in Tel Aviv that the second phase of the conflict had clear objectives: the destruction of Hamas’ governance and military capacities and the return of the captives. The prime minister declared that ‘Never Again’ is right now.