Israel at war

IDF kills two Hamas commanders in Gaza involved in murderous attack on south

Ahead of expected ground operation, military says evacuation corridor open for residents of northern Gaza, hundreds of thousands fled south; IDF says will attack with ‘great force’

An Israeli soldier flashes a V-sign from an armoured personnel carrier (APC) as they head towards the Gaza Strip border in southern Israel, Oct. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
An Israeli soldier flashes a V-sign from an armoured personnel carrier (APC) as they head towards the Gaza Strip border in southern Israel, Oct. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

The Israel Defense Forces said Saturday it had killed two military commanders in Hamas, one week after the start of the terror group’s murderous attack on communities in southern Israel in which 1,300 Israelis were slaughtered, as the military repeated its call for Gazan civilians to move south, ahead of an expected ground operation.

The IDF said Ali Qadhi, a company commander in the so-called Nukhba commando unit who led one of the assaults on October 7, was killed in a drone strike following intelligence efforts by the Shin Bet security agency and Military Intelligence Directorate.

Qadhi was arrested by Israel in 2005 over the kidnapping and murder of Israeli businessman Sasson Nuriel and had been released to the Gaza Strip as part of the 2011 Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange.

The IDF also said it killed the head of Hamas’s aerial array, Murad Abu Murad, in an overnight airstrike on a terror target in the Gaza Strip.

The IDF said Abu Murad “took a significant part in directing terrorists during the massacre” last weekend, which included attackers who entered Israel from the air on hang gliders.

In separate “widespread” strikes overnight, the IDF also said it hit dozens of sites belonging to Hamas’s commando forces, who led the infiltration into Israel on October 7.

A guitar and flower wreaths are laid onto the grave of soldier Ilai Azar after his funeral at Kiryat Shaul cemetery in Tel Aviv, Oct. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

According to Hamas-run health authorities in the Gaza Strip, at least 2,215 Palestinians have been killed and another 8,714 have been wounded in Israeli airstrikes since fighting began on October 7.

The bodies of an estimated 1,500 Palestinian terrorists were found in Israeli territory following Hamas’s onslaught last weekend, according to the IDF.

Meanwhile, the Israeli military continued to urge Palestinians in the northern Gaza Strip to evacuate, saying that corridors would remain open until Saturday afternoon.

In an Arabic message, the Israel Defense Forces told residents of the northern Strip that they should move to the southern part of the enclave using evacuation corridors between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

“If you care about yourself and your loved ones, go south as instructed,” the IDF’s Arabic-language spokesman, Lt. Col. Avichay Adraee said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“Rest assured that Hamas leaders have taken care of themselves and are taking cover from strikes in the region,” he added.

Palestinians flee from northern Gaza to the south after the Israeli army issued an unprecedented evacuation warning to a population of over 1 million people in northern Gaza ahead of an expected ground incursion in response to deadly Hamas attack, Oct. 13, 2023. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

The IDF has notified the United Nations that the entire Palestinian population north of Wadi Gaza should relocate to the southern Strip.

In response to the IDF’s call for civilians to move to safety, Hamas told residents to stay in their homes: “Do not follow the propaganda evacuation instructions.” The terror group is known to try and force residents to ignore such notices given by the military.

The military’s call to evacuate indicated that the IDF could be readying to launch a ground operation after a week of aerial bombardment in response to the massive Hamas onslaught last Saturday.

Hamas terrorists killed some 1,300 people, the majority of them civilians, most of them massacred at an outdoor music festival and in their homes.

The military’s top spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said Saturday that the IDF was preparing for the next stages of the ongoing war, urging Palestinians in the north of the enclave to evacuate, saying Israel was going to “attack with great force.”

“We are deployed and strongly prepared for the next stages of the war,” Hagari said in a press conference.

“We are preparing the forces, going over plans, prepared in all arenas, south, north and center,” he said.

“We are focused on Gaza but are widely deployed [across the country] that allows us to operate simultaneously in all arenas,” he said.

Hagari said hundreds of thousands of Palestinian civilians have evacuated from northern Gaza to the south, following warnings by the IDF that it will soon heavily target the area.

“There are still citizens who have not yet evacuated. Anyone who chooses not to evacuate puts himself and his family in danger. We will attack with great force in the areas that have been evacuated,” he said.

Hagari said Hamas is under pressure and trying to prevent Palestinian civilians from evacuating, “because the organization’s leaders are hiding beneath them.”

Meanwhile, there was renewed rocket fire toward southern and central Israel from Saturday morning after a lull of approximately 10 hours, a pattern that the Gaza terror groups have replicated over the past three days.

Picture taken from the Israeli city of Sderot shows rockets fired from the Gaza Strip toward Israel, on October 14, 2023 (Photo by Thomas COEX / AFP)

Four people were reported wounded by a mortar attack near the southern community of Nirim, close to the border with the Gaza Strip.

According to the Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba, one was listed in serious condition and underwent surgery, while another was lightly wounded. Two others were in serious condition at the Beilinson Medical Center.

Four rockets fired in one of the salvos by Gaza terrorists landed in the border city of Sderot causing extensive damage but no injuries, city officials said.

One rocket landed on the roof of a yeshiva and another hit an educational institute. A further projectile landed on the railway line and the fourth fell in a road.

A Channel 13 film team was meters away from the rocket that exploded in the road but took cover in a shelter.

One person was also reported by Hebrew-language media to have been injured when an anti-tank guided missile was fired from the Gaza Strip toward the Eshkol region in southern Israel.

Shortly afterward, the IDF said that the cell that had launched the missile was hit in a drone strike.

In what appeared to be the part of same incident, Hamas claimed its members crossed the Gaza border fence near Khan Younis and engaged in clashes with Israeli forces.

In a separate incident overnight, the military said two Palestinian terrorists were killed while attempting to infiltrate into Israel from the Gaza Strip. According to the IDF, a tank fired a shell at the two gunmen, near the southern community of Nahal Oz.

On Friday, Israeli troops entered the Gaza Strip on “localized raids” to clear the area of potential terrorists and locate missing Israelis, the military said, in what is likely a precursor to a full-scale incursion in response to last weekend’s shock assault.

Hagari said armored and infantry forces carried out searches and “thwarted anti-tank guided missile squads that intended to infiltrate into Israeli territory.”

“The forces located findings that may help in the effort to locate the missing,” Hagari said. “We will continue to make every effort to find every detail about the missing and hostages,” he added.

Israeli tanks head towards the Gaza Strip border in southern Israel on Friday, Oct.13, 2023. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

An estimated 150-200 people were taken hostage by Hamas during its murderous attack last Saturday. The IDF has so far notified the families of 120 hostages that their loved ones are being held in the Gaza Strip.

In addition to the southern border, tensions remained high in the West Bank.

The IDF said Saturday troops have arrested 280 wanted Palestinians across the West Bank, including 157 affiliated with Hamas, since the start of the war.

On Friday alone, 25 Hamas members were arrested by the IDF, among them two senior members detained in Nablus, the military said.

There have been several clashes between IDF forces and Palestinians in the West Bank in recent days, and at least 10 attempted terror attacks, according to the army.

According to the Palestinian Authority health ministry, at least 54 West Bank Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces since October 7.

Tensions are also spiking on the northern border, as Israel has traded fire with Hezbollah and allied Palestinian factions in Lebanon in recent days. At least four Israeli soldiers, three Hezbollah terrorists, and two Palestinian terrorists have been killed in the exchanges.

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