Saturday, December 2, 2023

Israel claims killed top Hamas commander in strike on Gaza refugee camp; Palestinians deny

The Israeli military has claimed that it had taken out a top Hamas commander — who was one of the leaders of the October 7 attack on Israel — in a raid on the Jabalya refugee camp. But the group stressed that Israel’s claims that Hamas’ leaders were present in the refugee camp is “baseless and a lie”.

“A short while ago, IDF fighter jets, acting on ISA intelligence, killed Ibrahim Biari, the Commander of Hamas’ Central Jabaliya Battalion. Biari was one of the leaders responsible for sending ‘Nukbha’ terrorist operatives to Israel to carry out the murderous terror attack on October 7th. Numerous Hamas terrorists were hit in the strike,” the Israel Defense Forces announced in a statement.

Spokesperson Lt. Col. Richard Hecht claimed earlier that the IDF was targeting “a very senior Hamas commander” in the area around the camp.

The IDF said Biari oversaw all military operations in the northern Gaza Strip since it began its ground operation and was also involved in multiple attacks on Israel going back decades.

The IDF added it had carried out a wide-scale strike on “terrorists and terror infrastructure” belonging to the Central Jabalya Battalion, which it claimed had taken control of civilian buildings. As part of the strike, Hamas’ command and control and its ability to direct military activity against IDF soldiers in Gaza were damaged.

The IDF also claimed “a large number of terrorists” were killed in the attack, which also led to the collapse of the underground infrastructure they were using.

Hamas, however, denied Israeli assertions regarding the presence of one of its leaders in the camp, spokesperson Hazem Qassem stated.

Qassem accused Israel of attempting to justify what he described as a “heinous crime against safe civilians, children, and women in Jabalya camp”.

The statement comes after Israel bombed the residential camp, killing at least 100 people and wounding many others. Large swathes of the camp, and residential towers, have been levelled in the bombing.

The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also announced in a statement that it “condemns in the strongest terms the new massacre committed by the occupation against our people in the Jabalya camp”, referencing “chilling documented scenes” of children and women.

An Israeli air strike on the Jabalia refugee camp in Gaza on Tuesday killed at least 100 Palestinians, according to Palestinian officials.

The Palestinian interior ministry confirmed there were 400 dead and wounded in total.

Jabalya is the largest of the Gaza Strip’s eight refugee camps, according to the main United Nations agency supporting Palestinians in the territory. Photos and videos of the site showed multiple large craters in the ground, surrounded by the rubble of destroyed and damaged buildings.

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