Entirety of Islamic Jihad’s leadership destroyed: IDF

Senior Israeli military official says that PIJ’s top leaders have all been eliminated.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

The entire senior leadership of the Gaza-based Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terror group has been eliminated, an Israeli military official said in a statement late Saturday evening.

At the close of the second day of Operation Breaking Dawn, Major General Oded Basiuk told Hebrew-language reporters that “according to all available information,” Islamic Jihad’s most important decision-makers and those at the top of the structure’s hierarchy had been killed in IDF airstrikes.

“This organization tried to carry out a deadly attack against Israeli citizens and IDF soldiers by launching an anti-tank guided missile, aimed at killing civilians and soldiers,” Basiuk told press gathered outside IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv.

“We hit and foiled the chain of command [who attempted to] execute this attack,” he added. “The entire leadership of the PIJ military wing in Gaza were [hit].”

Operation Breaking Dawn was launched a week after Israeli security forces arrested PIJ leader Bassam al-Saadi in Jenin, the culmination of months of terror arrests stemming from a wave of attacks which began in March 2022 and left 19 people dead.

In anticipation of a retaliatory attack from PIJ in Gaza, Israeli authorities put much of Israel’s south under a de facto lockdown, stopping train traffic and closing major thoroughfares in the region.

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But rather than wait for a rocket to be launched from the coastal enclave, the IDF struck PIJ targets in the Strip, killing a number of the terror group’s prominent leaders.

On Saturday evening, the Israeli military published a video of an airstrike that killed PIJ’s top commander in the southern Gaza Strip, Khaled Mansour.

Mansour’s assassination came less than a day after an Israeli airstrike killed PIJ’s northern Strip commander, Tayseer Jabari.

More than 350 rockets have been launched towards Israeli communities since the beginning of the conflict.

“This was an operational and intelligence effort and is an extraordinary achievement. I want to express my appreciation to Defense Minister Benny Gantz, the Chief of General Staff, the Director of the ISA, and the thousands under their command,” Prime Minister Yair Lapid stated.

“The IDF continues to strike terrorist targets and operatives, and to thwart rocket-launching squads. We are acting in a precise and responsible way to minimize harm to civilians. This operation will continue as long as necessary.”

Defense Minister Benny Gantz declared: “Whoever seeks to hurt Israeli citizens – will be hurt. The IDF, ISA and the security forces will continue to operate against Islamic Jihad until we restore quiet and remove the threats to the children living in the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip.

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“I would like to commend the IDF under the leadership of the Chief-of-Staff, and the ISA under the leadership of Ronen Bar, for their major efforts in safeguarding the security of Israel.”