Top Hamas leader behind Gilad Shalit kidnapping killed by Israeli airstrike (video)By Mason White 1:09 PM August 21, 2014
|Israel bombs terrorists in Gaza|
By: Anav Silverman
(Scroll down for video) Israel has announced that its military has managed to kill the top Hamas leader behind the kidnapping of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, the Tazpit News Agency reported.
In a pre-dawn airstrike, three top Hamas commanders were killed when a four-story building near Rafah in the southern part of the Gaza Strip was blown apart.
The three senior Hamas leaders were responsible for dozens of deadly terrorist attacks including the 2006 kidnapping of Shalit. They were also responsible of the recent Gaza tunnel infiltrations into Israel.
The Shin Bet confirmed that it had targeted two Hamas leaders, Raed Al-Attar, and Mohammed Abu Shamaleh, early this morning.
“The strike was the result of intelligence and operational activities, which led to the detection and attack on two central operatives from the heart of Hamas’ leadership,” the Israel Security Agency said.
Hamas named the third prominent commander who was killed in the strike, as Mohamed Barhoum.
Both men share a long history of carrying out attacks on Israel, beginning in the early 90’s when Abu Shameleh was involved in killing an Israeli soldier in Rafah.
In 1994, Al-Attar also killed an Israeli soldier on the Egyptian border. In June 2006, Al-Attar planned the Hamas tunnel infiltration near the Kerem Shalom crossing and the abduction of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.
Two other Israeli soldiers were killed during that attack. He was one of the Hamas terrorists who held Shalit during the five years of his captivity and was featured prominently in video footage showing the return of Shalit to Israel in 2011. Israel exchanged 1,027 Palestinian terrorists for the release of Gilad Shalit in 2011.
Most recently, Al-Attar, who served as the Hamas commander of the Rafah region in Gaza, was responsible for the abduction and murder of Lt. Hadar Goldin during Operation Protective Edge. According to the Shin Bet, Al-Attar’s Rafah troops perpetrated the deadly attack and were involved in other attacks that wounded IDF soldiers.
Al-Attar is also one of the key architects of the construction of cross-border tunnels into Israel. Abu Shamaleh was most recently involved commanding the infiltration of 13 Hamas men into southern Israel, near Kibbutz Sufa on July 17. The IDF thwarted the attack.
Barhoum, who was considered a lower commander, had been in a meeting with Abu Shamaleh and Al-Attar when the Israeli strike took place on Thursday morning.
Last week on August 16, Hamas’ military wing, the Izz ad-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, released a message on their Twitter account stating: “We are continuing our struggle. Allah is our goal. The prophet is our leader, Jihad is our way, and death for Allah is our most exalted wish.”