IDF kills top Islamic Jihad commander in Rafah amid wave of Gaza airstrikes, battles

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

IDF troops operate in the Gaza Strip in an image published on May 18, 2024 (Israel Defense Forces)
IDF troops operate in the Gaza Strip in an image published on May 18, 2024 (Israel Defense Forces)

The Israeli Air Force struck more than 70 targets across the Gaza Strip in the past day, the military says, as ground forces operate in Rafah, Jabaliya, and the Netzarim Corridor.

According to the IDF, the targets included weapon depots, infrastructure, and buildings belonging to terror groups, as well as operatives.

One of the airstrikes in Rafah hit a senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad operative, who the IDF says was head of logistics for the terror group in the city in southern Gaza. “As part of his role, he was responsible for preparing the enemy for the IDF maneuver in Rafah,” the military says.

In eastern Rafah, the military says troops of the Givati Brigade spotted and killed an RPG-wielding operative in a building near them. Givati troops raided several sites in the area, locating weapons, the IDF adds.

Also in eastern Rafah, the Egoz commando unit located a rocket launcher at a building used by terror groups, the IDF says.

Meanwhile in Jabaliya in the Strip’s north, the IDF says the Paratroopers Brigade killed several gunmen during several engagements; the 7th Armored Brigade located a primed rocket launcher and killed several more gunmen in battles; and the 460th Armored Brigade located several tunnel shafts and killed an RPG-wielding operative.

In the Strip’s center, the 99th Division continued to battle gunmen in the Netzarim Corridor area, including by calling in airstrikes, the IDF says.

In one incident in central Gaza, troops of the 414th Combat Intelligence Collection Unit spotted a cell that had fired RPGs at troops and directed a drone to strike and kill the operatives, the army adds.

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