Israeli Airstrike Kills Head of Palestinian Islamic Jihad Rocket-Launching Unit

Israeli Airstrike Kills Head of Palestinian Islamic Jihad Rocket-Launching Unit
A plume of smoke rises above buildings in Gaza City during an israeli air strike on May 11, 2023, on the third day of the worst escalation of violence in months that has killed 25 people in the blockaded Palestinian enclave. (Mohammed Abed/AFP via Getty Images)

Another Palestinian Islamic Jihad military commander has been killed during an early morning Israeli airstrike on an apartment building in Gaza on May 11, according to officials.

Palestine and Israel both confirmed the death of Ali Hassan Ghali—also known as Abu Muhammad—who was reportedly the head of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s (PIJ) missile unit.

A statement from the Al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of the PIJ, reads: “Ali Ghali … commander of the rocket launch unit … was assassinated in the south of the Gaza Strip along with other martyrs.”

In a separate statement translated by local media, Israel’s Defense Forces said Ghali had been hiding in a safe house in Khan Younis at the time of the strike along with two other Islamic Jihad operatives, who were also killed in the airstrike.

The IDF added that Ghali was also responsible for directing and carrying out rocket fire at Israeli territory, including the recent barrages during Operation Shield and Arrow, Israel’s name for its latest operation in Gaza.

On Twitter, the IDF said that Ghali was “entrusted with all routine activity of the force and held a central role in the instruction and launching of rocket fire toward Israel, including the recent barrage of rockets toward Israeli territory.”

“Ghazi also instructed and took part in launching the barrages of rockets toward Israel during Operations Guardian of the Walls and Breaking Dawn,” it said, referring to previous Israeli operations.

Rockets are launched from Gaza towards Israel, over Gaza City, on Aug. 7, 2022. (Adel Hana/AP Photo)

Israeli Strikes Lead to More Palestinian Commanders’ Deaths

Days earlier on May 9, the IDF announced that three Palestinian Islamic Jihad military commanders had been killed in what it said was a “targeted operation against the Islamic Jihad terror organization in the Gaza Strip.”

The commanders were identified as Khalil Bahtini, the Islamic Jihad commander for the northern Gaza Strip; Tareq Izzeldeen, the group’s intermediary between its Gaza and West Bank members; and Jehad Ghanam, the secretary of the Islamic Jihad’s military council.

According to an official statement, the IDF also struck Islamic Jihad terrorist infrastructure in the Gaza Strip, including weapons manufacturing sites and military compounds.

“The strikes were carried out with pinpoint accuracy based on real-time intelligence while making efforts to avoid harming uninvolved civilians as much as possible,” the IDF said.

Two of the commanders’ wives, including several of their children and civilian neighbors were killed in the May 9 attacks, according to multiple reports.

The latest deaths come amid increased conflict between Israel and militants in Gaza—which has dramatically escalated since Tuesday, despite an Egypt-brokered ceasefire—in response to the death of a Palestinian inmate who was on a hunger strike in an Israeli prison.

Israel’s military says more than 500 rockets have been fired from Gaza at Israel since then, of which 110 missed their targets and fell in Gaza. No casualties have been reported from the airstrikes in Israel so far, although 32 Israelis have reportedly been treated—17 for anxiety and 15 who fell on the way to shelters.

Israeli soldiers take positions during clashes with Palestinian in village of Azzun in the north of the occupied West Bank after the funeral of Yahya Adwan, who was killed during an overnight Israeli army operation, on April 30, 2022. (Jaafar Ashtiyeh/AFP via Getty Images)

Netanyahu Says Israel Will Continue ‘Campaign’

According to the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza, 25 people have been killed since the fighting erupted. Another 76 Palestinians have been injured in the air attacks, according to the ministry.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said during a television appearance on Wednesday that the latest strikes from Israeli forces have dealt a “harsh blow” to the militants but warned that the military is “still in the midst of a campaign.”

“At this very moment, our forces are fiercely attacking the Gaza Strip and exacting a heavy price from the terrorist organizations,” the prime minister said.  “Up to now, we have inflicted upon Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza the hardest blow in its history. Within mere seconds, at night, at three separate locations, we simultaneously eliminated the terrorist organization’s leaders. We hit its anti-tank units, its arsenals, and rocket production facilities.”

“We say to the terrorists and those who send them. We see you everywhere. You can’t hide, and we choose the place and time to strike you,” he added.

Meanwhile, White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan spoke with Israeli National Security Advisor Tzachi Hanegbi on May 10 to discuss the ongoing conflict in Gaza, according to a statement from the White House.

During the call, Sullivan “reaffirmed the Administration’s ironclad support for Israel’s security, as well as its right to defend its people from indiscriminate rocket attacks,” the statement said.

“Sullivan also noted continued regional efforts to broker a ceasefire, and emphasized the need to deescalate tensions and prevent further loss of life,” it added.

From The Epoch Times