IDF Says Hamas Leaders Killed in Rafah Airstrike After Rockets Rain Over Central Israel

IDF Says Hamas Leaders Killed in Rafah Airstrike After Rockets Rain Over Central Israel
Palestinians gather at the site of an Israeli strike in Rafah on May 27, 2024. (Eyad Baba/AFP via Getty Images)

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said on Sunday that two senior Hamas terrorists were killed in its airstrikes on Rafah, which came in response to a barrage of rockets by Hamas that set off sirens across central Israel.

The IDF said that its aircraft struck a Hamas compound in Rafah, killing Yassin Rabia, the Hamas chief of staff for the West Bank, and Khaled Nagar, a senior member of the West Bank division.

Both individuals were allegedly involved in transferring funds for terrorist activities in the West Bank and, according to the IDF, were responsible for terrorist attacks that killed Israeli soldiers.

“The strike was carried out against legitimate targets under international law, through the use of precise munitions and on the basis of precise intelligence that indicated Hamas’ use of the area,” the IDF stated on social media platform X.

The Israeli military noted that it was aware of reports that “several civilians in the area were harmed” as a result of the strike, adding that “the incident is under review.”

At least 35 people were killed and dozens of others were injured in the IDF airstrikes on Rafah, where about half of Gaza’s 2.3 million people are seeking shelter, according to the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry.

The airstrike occurred just hours after Hamas fired a barrage of rockets from the southern Gaza city of Rafah towards central Israel, setting off sirens in cities like Tel Aviv for the first time in months.

The IDF claimed that Hamas launched eight projectiles from two mosques in Rafah, leading the Israeli Air Force to deploy aircraft against the rocket launcher used in the attack.

“While we facilitate aid to the Rafah area, Hamas fires rockets toward Israeli cities and continues to systematically exploit civilian areas,” the Israeli military stated.

Turkey Condemns Israel Over Rafah Invasion

Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has condemned the IDF strikes on Rafah and vowed that his country would do “everything we can to hold those [Israeli] barbarians” accountable.

“This massacre, which took place after the International Court of Justice’s call to stop the attacks, once again revealed the bloody and treacherous face of the terrorist state,” Mr. Erdogan stated on X.

Before the attack, the Netherlands-based International Court of Justice (ICJ) had called on the Israeli government to immediately halt “its military offensive and any other action” in Rafah.

In its May 24 ruling, the ICJ concluded the latest Israeli operations in Rafah “may inflict on the Palestinian group in Gaza conditions of life that could bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.”

This ICJ ruling comes after the government of South Africa requested the court modify its January order for the Israeli government to take precautions to prevent harm to civilians amid its ongoing military operations in the Gaza Strip.

NTD Photo
Judges at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) rule on emergency measures against Israel, in The Hague, Netherlands, on Jan. 26, 2024. (Piroschka van de Wouw/Reuters)

The South African government had argued that the Israeli operations in the Gaza Strip could constitute acts of genocide against the Palestinian people and had sought an ICJ-ordered ceasefire across the territory, which the international court declined in its January order.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has described Rafah as one of the last remaining strongholds of Hamas, the Palestinian terrorist group that led widespread attacks inside Israel on October 7, 2023. Mr. Netanyahu has insisted that a full-scale assault on the city is necessary to achieve his wartime goal of eliminating Hamas.

However, President Joe Biden’s administration and other international observers, have urged against expansive operations in Rafah without a plan to protect the civilian population there.

Hamas terrorists killed approximately 1,200 people and abducted over 250 hostages during their attack on Israel on October 7, 2023. This triggered an Israeli ground offensive in Gaza, which, according to the Hamas-run health department, has now resulted in over 36,000 deaths. This number includes both combatants and civilians.

Ryan Morgan contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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