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Middle East

Slain Hamas commanders among Israel’s most wanted

Tens of thousands of Palestinians march during the funeral of three senior Hamas commanders, who were killed in an Israeli air strike, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip August 21, 2014. REUTERS/Abed Sha'at

GAZA CITY, Palestine: Israel assassinated three senior Hamas military commanders in a pre-dawn strike on Gaza Thursday.

The Islamist movement’s military wing said their deaths would not weaken it but Israel said two of the three were among its five most wanted.

Following are the Israeli allegations against the trio:

MOHAMMAD ABU SHAMALA

Born in 1974The top Hamas operative in the southern Gaza Strip. Described as a veteran member of the organization’s military leadership whose career dated back to the early 1990s.

Orchestrated the infiltration of 13 Hamas fighters through an attack tunnel into Israeli territory near the Sufa crossing July 17. Israel thwarted the raid, killing one while the others escaped back into Gaza.

Directly involved in multiple deadly attacks, including a strike on an Israeli army post in 2004 that killed six soldiers and wounded more than 10.

In 2006, he was directly involved in an attack at the southern Kerem Shalom crossing which led to the capture of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit and the deaths of two other soldiers.

RAED AL-ATAR

Born in 1974A senior Hamas commander in the southern Gaza Strip, and head of the Rafah region.

Responsible for rocket attacks, bombings and infiltrations into Israel which led to the deaths of Israeli civilians and soldiers.

Directly involved in the capture of Shalit, who was held for five years before being released in 2011 in exchange for more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners.

Orchestrated complex attacks, built attack tunnels to infiltrate Israel and planned attacks via Egypt’s Sinai peninsula.

He smuggled weapons into the Gaza Strip, and recruited and armed fighters.

MOHAMMAD BARHUM

Born in 1969Senior Hamas operative in Rafah responsible for smuggling weapons into Gaza from neighboring Egypt.

Lived in Syria and Libya for several years in order to raise funds for Hamas and transfer them to the Gaza Strip.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on August 22, 2014, on page 9.

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