IDF: Israeli Navy commandos take senior Hamas member captive

Deputy head of southern division of Hamas naval force captured by elite Shayetet 13 unit; IDF launches massive strikes on ‘nests of terror’ Shuja’iyya, Beit Hanoun

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

Fire and smoke rises during Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City, October 8, 2023. (Atia Mohammed/ Flash90)
Fire and smoke rises during Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City, October 8, 2023. (Atia Mohammed/ Flash90)

The Israel Defense Forces said Sunday evening that the Navy’s elite Shayetet 13 commando unit had taken into custody a senior member of the Hamas terror group, as fighting in southern Israel continued more than 40 hours after the unprecedented infiltration assault.

The IDF said the deputy commander of the southern division of the Hamas naval force, Muhammad Abu Ghali, was captured by Shayetet 13.

“The suspect is being held and is currently being interrogated by the defense establishment,” the IDF said in a statement

No further details were given on how Abu Ghali was captured.

Abu Ghali appeared to be the most senior member of Hamas captured by Israel during the ongoing fighting.

The Hamas naval force has attempted to launch several attacks during the ongoing fighting, sending terrorists via the sea to infiltrate into Israel. The Navy has said it has killed dozens of Hamas terrorists during attempts to carry out attacks from the sea.

The IDF said Sunday night that it was still fighting Palestinian terrorists in Israeli territory, 40 hours into the war launched by the Hamas terror group on Saturday morning.

The Gaza-based terror group launched an unprecedented assault on Israel, firing thousands of rockets and sending hundreds of gunmen into Israeli communities by land, sea, and air, killing at least 700 people and injuring over 2,200. Hamas terrorists also took hostage at least 130 Israelis, including civilians and soldiers.

“The IDF’s standing and reserve ground forces, in cooperation with [other] security forces, are conducting prolonged fighting in the towns surrounding Gaza, and have [killed] hundreds of terrorists in the towns, the border, and the coastline, in the last 40 hours,” the IDF said in a statement.

The IDF said troops continued to carry out searches across towns in the area, and were still exchanging fire with terrorists.

An Israeli self-propelled howitzer on a main road near the southern Israeli city of Sderot, October 8, 2023. (Yossi Zamir/Flash90)

Israelis were also being evacuated from towns close to the Gaza border.

Meanwhile, the IDF said it had launched massive airstrikes against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip, hitting 150 sites in the Shuja’iyya neighborhood of Gaza City, and 120 sites in Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza.

The IDF said Shuja’iyya and Beit Hanoun were “nests of terror” used by Hamas to launch attacks against Israel.

Hundreds of tons of munitions were dropped on the neighborhoods, the IDF said.

Throughout the day, the IDF said it also targeted a number of high-rise towers in the Gaza Strip, and homes of senior Hamas members, as the sites housed assets belonging to the terror group.

In all, the IDF has struck more than 800 sites since the fighting began, according to the military.

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