Israeli forces announced Sunday that they killed a top Hamas commander blamed for one of the most heinous kibbutz attacks during the terror group’s surprise assault on Oct. 7.
Southern Khan Yunis Nukhba commander Billal Al Kedra, accused of being responsible for the Kibbutz Nirim massacre, was neutralized as ‘part of extensive IDF strikes targeting senior operatives and terrorist infrastructure in the Gaza Strip,’ Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and the Israel Securities Authority (ISA) said.
Following ISA intelligence, IDF fighter jets operated in Gaza and ‘neutralized’ Al Kedra, the IDF press release said.
The IDF also provided video purportedly showing the strike that killed the Hamas commander. They also said Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorist operatives were also neutralized.
‘The IDF also struck over one hundred military targets located in Zaytun, Khan Yunis, and west Jabaliya,’ the IDF statement said. ‘These strikes impacted the capabilities of the Hamas terrorist organization, by targeting its operational command centers, military compounds, dozens of launchers, anti-tank missile launch posts and observation posts. Furthermore, operational command centers belonging to the Islamic Jihad terrorist organization were struck.’
The rural farming enclave of Nirim, located less than a mile from the Gaza border, was one of several kibbutz communities that bore the brunt of Hamas’ brutal ground attack Oct. 7.
A resident there told CNN afterward that terrorists were starting fires and knocking door to door pretending to be military in order to drive Israelis out of their homes to kill or kidnap them.
‘They just slaughtered everyone. They killed kids, babies, grandmothers,’ the Nirim survivor told CNN, though it’s unclear how many were killed or kidnapped from there.
The IDF on Monday shared six images of other ‘key operatives of the Hamas terrorist organization eliminated’ by Israeli forces.
‘Hamas is a genocidal terrorist organization,’ the IDF post on X, formerly Twitter, said. ‘We will eliminate Hamas.’
The operatives include Ali Qadi, commander of Hamas’ Nukhba Jabalya Assult Company, Mueaz Eid, commander of the Hamas Southern District of National Security, Zachariah Abu Ma’amar, the head of the International Relations office in Hamas’ Political Bureau, Joad Abu Shmalah, the Hamas Minister of Economy in the Gaza Strip, Belal Alqadra, the commander of the Nukhba Southern Khan Yunis Assault Company, and Merad Abu Merad, the head of the Hamas Aerial Array in Gaza City.
More than a million people have fled their homes in the Gaza Strip ahead of an expected Israeli invasion that seeks to eliminate Hamas’ leadership after its deadly incursion, according to The Associated Press. Aid groups warn an Israeli ground offensive could hasten a humanitarian crisis.
Israeli forces, supported by U.S. warships, positioned themselves along Gaza’s border and drilled for what Israel said would be a broad campaign to dismantle the militant group. A week of blistering airstrikes have demolished neighborhoods but failed to stop militant rocket fire into Israel.
The war that began Oct. 7 has become the deadliest of five Gaza wars for both sides, with more than 4,000 dead. The Gaza Health Ministry said 2,750 Palestinians have been killed and 9,700 wounded. More than 1,400 Israelis have been killed, and at least 199 others, including children, were captured by Hamas and taken into Gaza, according to Israel.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.