IDF: Israeli Air Force strike on Beit Hanoun kills senior Hamas intelligence chief

Yussef Rafik Ahmed Shabat served in the terrorist group’s Beit Hanoun Internal Security Department


Members of the IDF in the Gaza Strip (Photo: IDF)

An Israeli Air Force attack this week killed a senior Hamas terrorist responsible for intelligence gathering in the Beit Hanoun area of northeastern Gaza, the IDF has said.

Yussef Rafik Ahmed Shabat also served in the terrorist group’s Beit Hanoun Internal Security Department, the military added.

IDF troops, including the 162nd Armored Division’s 215th Artillery Brigade, working alongside Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) officers, directed the attack that killed Shabat. Nine other terrorists were also killed in the precision strike.

Following the IDF’s withdrawal on 7 April of almost all ground forces from Gaza, the army shifted to a new phase in the war in which troops have carried out targeted raids into terrorist hotspots in the coastal enclave.

Earlier this week, the IDF announced the call-up of two reserve brigades to reinforce troops pursuing Hamas terrorists.

On Wednesday, Israeli fighter jets, acting on intelligence provided by the IDF Southern Command’s Fire Centre, targeted a terrorist position in the Rimal neighborhood of Gaza City, the IDF said, noting that terrorists there had fired mortar shells at soldiers of the 162nd Division, also known as the Steel Formation.

The IAF attack was part of a broader aerial assault on “dozens of terrorist targets” throughout Gaza, according to the army, which said planes hit observation posts, “military” buildings, terrorist squads and terrorist infrastructure.

Israel Defence Minister Yoav Gallant held a briefing on Monday evening in preparation for the IDF operation in Gaza’s southernmost city of Rafah, where Hamas’s final battalions are concentrated and where its senior leadership and remaining hostages are believed to be.

US broadcaster CNN cited sources in Jerusalem who claimed that the IDF was set to take its first steps towards a ground offensive this week, but that the move was delayed in the wake of Iran’s aerial assault on Israel.

Gallant told IDF soldiers last week that the decision to withdraw troops was made in preparation for the battle in Rafah.

The Israeli government has repeatedly emphasised that telling it to refrain from conquering Rafah is equivalent to demanding that it lose the war. According to Israel, four Hamas battalions, composed of some 3,000 terrorists, are holed up in the city along the Egyptian border.

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