Hamas leaders go into hiding, fear return of IDF targeted killings

After reports that Israel would restart its program of targeted assassinations, Hamas’ leadership has taken cover. 

By David Isaac, World Israel News

Hamas’ leadership has gone into hiding after reports that Israel may return to a policy of targeted killings in the wake of renewed violence started by the terror group, Hebrew news site Ynet reports on Saturday.

Hamas was warned by an Egyptian delegation arriving in the Gaza Strip to mediate a ceasefire in mid-August, according to Arabic reports. According to a Lebanese paper, Hamas leaders told the Egyptian delegation that “they will burn Tel Aviv with thousands of missiles,” if Israel targets them.

But the terror group’s leadership has decided that caution is the better part of valor, especially after the Egyptian delegates’ warning was underscored by comments by Defense Minister Benny Gantz, who said Israel knew how to hit more than buildings.

Gantz also said on Friday, “The IDF is ready, it defends and will continue to defend the residents of the south and will attack anyone who attacks us and deliver a very harsh blow.”

Similarly, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, while touring the south last Tuesday said, “The time will come when they have to decide, and if they want war they will get war.”

Israel has not officially made a comment about targeted killings. Israel carried out a number of them in the early 2000s, but has since used the method only sparingly.

The last IDF attack targeting an individual terrorist was on Nov. 12, 2019 when the Israeli Air Force killed Baha Abu al-Ata, an Islamic Jihad commander in his bedroom. The operation was hailed for the technical precision of the strike, which avoided collateral damage.

Hamas over the last month has launched fire balloons and rockets at Israel in an effort to force Israel to meet a series of demands. It has also restarted riots along the border.

Early Friday morning, a rocket landed on a house in Sderot, while the family slept through an air raid siren. Fortunately, no one was killed.