IDF attempts to assassinate Hamas military commander fail

Reports emerge of two strikes designed to target Muhammad Deif


It has emerged that Israel has tried twice during the ongoing fighting to assassinate one of the Hamas figures on its most wanted list. 

Hebrew-language media reported that the IDF is seeking to kill Muhammad Deif, top military commander of Hamas, after a 19-year-long cat and mouse chase that has involved numerous assassination attempts. 

Both operations targeting him over recent days failed. Hopes of striking him and weakening Hamas by doing so are thought to be a major impetus for the IDF’s desire to continue fighting. 

But there are growing expectations that a ceasefire will be reached at some point today or tomorrow. Egypt is pushing hard with its efforts to mediate and there are Arabic-language reports that a concrete proposal has been put forward to end the violence at 6am Israel time tomorrow.

 Meanwhile France has proposed a ceasefire resolution, drafted together with Egypt and Jordan, to the United Nations Security Council. 

“The three countries agreed on three simple elements,” the office of French President Emmanuel Macron announced in a statement. “The shooting must stop, the time has come for a ceasefire and the UN Security Council must take up the issue.”

The IDF announced this morning that the number of rockets fired from Gaza in the current violence hit 3,750, of which around 550 fell in the coastal enclave before reaching Israel. Yesterday saw heavy flow of rockets, and the death of two Thai nationals working in Israel as the result of a mortar attack, but fire from Gaza to Israel was relatively light last night.

Israel is stepping up efforts to justify its strikes on Gaza, which continued last night against Hamas tunnels and other infrastructure. It is stressing that they target terrorist targets and claiming they avoid civilians. This morning the IDF published footage of a strike on a rocket launcher being cancelled because civilians were nearby.

“You do not have permission to strike [the launcher because there is] a building do close to it,” the command and control desk told a pilot, who replied: “Understood, we are pausing the strike.” Before carrying out a small strike to uncover launchers the pilot is heard stating: “Now there has been an evacuation of those present.” 

Command and control then authorised a strike against the rocket launchers, and then footage shows many large secondary explosions as rockets that were being stored detonated. 

As criticism of Israel grows internationally, the White House has warned Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that his comments crossed a red line in to antisemitism. 

He was quoted accusing Israel of “terrorism,” claiming that US President Joe Biden has “bloody hands” for supporting Israel, and saying: "They are murderers, to the point that they kill children who are five or six years old. They only are satisfied by sucking their blood.”

Last night the White House released a statement saying that it “strongly condemns President Erdogan’s recent antisemitic comments regarding the Jewish people and finds them reprehensible.”

It continued: “We urge President Erdogan and other Turkish leaders to refrain from incendiary remarks, which could incite further violence. We call on Turkey to join the United States in working to end the conflict.

"Antisemitic language has no place anywhere. The United States is deeply committed to combatting antisemitism in all of its forms. We take seriously the violence that often accompanies antisemitism and the dangerous lies that undergird it. We must always counter lies with facts and answer crimes of hate with justice.”

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