Sunday, the Israeli military said it had killed an additional commander of the terrorist group Hamas’ massacres last weekend of civilians in southern Israel.
Commander of Hamas’ so-called Nukhba unit’s southern Khan Younis battalion, Billal al-Qedra, was killed directly due to the Shin Bet security agency and Military Directorate’s intelligence efforts, reported The Times of Israel.
“He was responsible for the murderous raid in Kibbutz Nirim and Nir Oz,” said the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), which added that numerous other Islamic Jihad and Hamas terrorists were killed in airstrikes overnight in the Gaza Strip, reported the newspaper.
Military officials in Israel also said they were preparing to eliminate all leaders of Hamas, including Yahya Sinwar, the militant group’s leader in Gaza.
“Mr. Sinwar is a dead man walking,” said Lieutenant Colonel Richard Hecht, IDF international spokesman, reported The Wall Street Journal.
The news followed a day after the Israeli military said it killed two Hamas commanders, Ali Qadi, company commander of a commando force, and Merad Abu Merad, head of the Hamas aerial system, involved in the deadly rampage into Israel.
Sunday, IDF troops also killed a Palestinian terrorist in the Nir Am kibbutz near the border of Gaza.
Another spokesman for the IDF said the military’s main focus in its ground attack would be to rescue the hostages, “most likely” being held underground.
Also Sunday, the IDF said five people were injured when antitank missiles fired by Hezbollah were fired on the northern Israeli town of Shtula, near the border with Lebanon.
The Times of Israel reported that after a 12-hour lull, warning sirens blared in several southern Israeli towns Sunday morning. A rocket launched from Gaza struck a home and sparked a fire in Sderot, a town of around 7,000 households. There were no casualties reported.
Gaza citizens warned by Israel to evacuate
Citizens of the city, who were encouraged to evacuate, were being moved to hotels in Jerusalem and Eilat.
Israel was preparing to launch a ground assault in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip after warning Palestinians living in the densely populated area to flee to the south toward the closed border with Egypt.
According to the Journal, thousands of Palestinians in the northern part of Gaza fled south “by foot, in cars, and on donkey carts” during the three-hour window when IDF vowed not to carry out airstrikes on a central road.
According to the Journal report, the Gaza death toll since last weekend stood at 2,329, said the Ministry of Health.
Authorities in Israel said 1,400 citizens and 286 soldiers had been killed since the attack started on October 7, with 126 people taken hostage.