Israeli special forces are deployed in Gaza searching for hidden rockets and weapons, the Sunday Times reported on Sunday, amid fears that a desperate Hamas might affix chemical weapons to its remaining long-range Fajr-5 missiles.
According to the report in the London weekly, which was not attributed to any source, the commandos are looking for missiles hidden underground, a favorite tactic of Hamas.
As Gaza terrorists over the weekend targeted Tel Aviv, a concern for Israeli officials is the threat that Hamas may fit chemical warheads on its long-range Fajr-5 missiles, the newspaper said, quoting an unnamed defense source.
“Hamas might go for a desperate attempt to launch rockets with chemical warheads if the worst came to the worst,” the source said.
The Sunday Times report (behind a paywall) also gave details of how Israel finally killed Hamas military commander Ahmed Jabari, whose targeting was the opening shot of Pillar of Defense.
Jabari had long been at the top of Israel’s hit-list for his central role in overseeing terror attacks on Israelis. Paranoid about an attempt on his life, Jabari never carried a mobile phone and constantly switched between vehicles in a fleet he used for transport.
Last week Israel’s Shin Bet security service tracked Jabari down in Gaza and succeeded in fitting one of his cars — a silver Kia — with a tracking device, the paper said. IDF Chief of General Staff Benny Gantz was updated, as was Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. With a window of opportunity of scant seconds, it was the Israeli Air Force Commander Amir Eshel himself who gave the order for a drone strike that killed the 52-year-old, the report said.
“On a giant television screen at air force headquarters in Tel Aviv, Amir Eshel, its commander, supervised the operation. He gave the order: ‘Kill the bastard.’ At 3.55pm the drone operators hit the kill button. The Kia burst into flames as two missiles hit the car. Jabari and a son who was with him died on the spot.”
In eliminating Jabari, said the Sunday Times, “the Israeli government had killed the instigator of virtually every attack from Gaza in recent years.”