Senior Hamas terrorists killed as IDF continues targeted strikes on Gaza

Israel’s intense air campaign against terrorist targets in Gaza continued throughout Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

The Israeli Air Force pounded terror targets in Gaza Wednesday with pinpoint strikes against weapons stores and top leaders of the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror groups.

“We are continuing the air strikes in five major groups,” the head of Arabic media in the IDF Spokesperson’s Office, Lt. Col. Avichay Adraee, tweeted in Arabic, listing the key targets as multi-story buildings used by terrorist organizations, underground military installations, top terror leaders, underground rocket launchers and the homes of the terrorist leaders who went underground to hide.

In response to the unprecedented waves of rocket attacks on Israel, the air force has carried out hundreds of strikes including joint operations with the Shin Bet national security agency in which two senior Hamas military intelligence commanders and the head of Islamic Jihad’s rocket command were killed.

Adraee named the Hamas terrorists as Hassan Al-Qahwaji and his deputy, Wael Issa, the commander of the counter-espionage branch. Issa is the brother of the commander of the military wing of Hamas, Marwan Issa.

The IDF said it also struck the house of high-ranking Hamas official Salah Dahmana, which the terror group used to store weapons.

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Israeli forces also shot down a drone that was crossing from Gaza into Israeli airspace. It is not known if the drone was armed, but Palestinians have sent hundreds of aerial firebombs across the border in the past week attached to balloons that have caused scores of fires.

Videos from Gaza posted on social media overnight showed massive explosions from the IDF strikes, many of which were accompanied by secondary explosions that indicated the IDF had hit a weapons storage location and those weapons were detonating underground.

Several multi-story apartment buildings were targeted after intelligence reports revealed that they were being used by Hamas as military installations including the storage of weapons.

“The IDF warned the residents present in the building before the raids and gave them time to leave the building,” Adraee tweeted. Palestinians living in the buildings had received phone calls from the IDF warning them to leave the area, Channel 12 news confirmed.

An airstrike Tuesday on two military tunnels used by Hamas killed an estimated 15 Hamas terrorists who were planning a raid against IDF forces, Maariv reported.

In a brief statement Tuesday night, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel will continue to retaliate against the attacks by terror groups based in Gaza.

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“We are in the midst of a major campaign … the IDF attacked hundreds of Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip,” Netanyahu said. “We have eliminated dozens of terrorists, including senior commanders. We have bombed Hamas command centers and toppled buildings that serve the terrorist organizations. We will continue to attack with all force.”

“Hamas and Islamic Jihad have paid and – I tell you here – will pay a very heavy price for their aggression. I say here this evening – their blood is on their heads,” Netanyahu said, but cautioned that “this campaign will take time. With determination, unity and strength, we will restore security to the citizens of Israel.”