IDF eliminates senior Hamas commanders in tunnels

Several of the top terrorist echelon in northern Gaza has been liquidated in targeted raids.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

In two simultaneous attacks, the IDF has successfully eliminated many senior Hamas commanders hiding in tunnels specifically dug in civilian areas in order to use ordinary Gazans as human shields, the army announced Tuesday.

In one attack guided by precise information supplied by the Shabak and Military Intelligence, IDF forces hit a tunnel that ran under civilian homes and close to the Indonesian Hospital, a small medical center in Beit Lahia in the northern part of the coastal enclave.

The Northern Gaza Brigade commander, Ahmed Ehandor and his deputy were killed, along with several other top personnel: the commander of the support battalion, the head of the electronic warfare unit, and the chief surveillance officer.

Ehandor was also a member of Hamas’ executive council, in charge of all terror activities emanating from the northern part of the Strip. His brigade is considered the second largest of all Hamas forces, and it is estimated that dealing such a blow to its top echelon will significantly disrupt its ability to fight.

In the second attack, the IDF killed the commanders of both the Beit Lahia and central Jabalia battalions, who were also trying to keep safe underground.

Several terrorists of lower ranks were eliminated with their commanders.

The IDF has also targeted top officers in the Gaza City Brigade, which is the largest of the five brigades the Israeli army believes Hamas is fielding in the Gaza Strip, with a total of some 30,000 fighters.

The leaders of its Sabra, Shati, Daraj Tafah, and Shuja’iya battalions have all been eliminated.

The Shati Battalion, specifically, is responsible for some of Hamas’ most important installations, including its underground headquarters in the Shifa hospital, which the IDF now controls.

Other top Hamas commanders that the IDF has killed include the organization’s anti-tank-missile chief, and its air and naval commanders.

According to an AFP report, during a briefing to foreign journalists Monday, when asked to confirm that the Hamas casualty count was approximately 5,000 combatants to date, an IDF official responded that “The numbers are more or less right.”

If this estimate is correct, this would mean that only a sixth of Hamas’ fighting force has been eradicated in the two months of fighting, although an enormous amount of military infrastructure and war materiel, including hundreds of tunnels and rocket launch sites, has been destroyed.

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Defense Minister Yoav Gallant had only said in a Saturday press conference that “thousands of terrorists” had been killed since Israel declared war on the Iranian proxy ruling the Gaza Strip on October 7, after its men invaded Israel and massacred 1,200 people, the vast majority of them civilians, and took some 240 hostage.

The same approximation was made two weeks ago, when an IDF source also told Israeli media that “more than ten” of Hamas’ 24 battalions have been “damaged significantly,” with some of them, including several in the Northern Gaza and Gaza City Brigades, losing over half of their commanders.

The Israeli government has repeatedly said that the elimination of Hamas as a fighting force and controller of Gaza is one of the prime objectives of the war.