Palestinians in Gaza woke up at two o’clock in the morning today, Tuesday, to the sounds of huge explosions that rocked the cities of Gaza and Rafah.
The result was the assassination of three top commanders from Al-Quds Brigades, the armed group affiliated with the Islamic Jihad in Palestine movement (IJP).
Thirteen Palestinians were killed in total as a result of the initial strike, most of them civilians, including women and children.
In a military statement, the Al-Quds Brigades mourned its three leaders, Jihad Shaker Ghannam, the secretary of the Military Council, Khalil Salah al-Bahtini, a member of the Military Council and commander of the northern region, and Tariq Izz El-Din, one of the leaders of Al-Quds Brigades in the West Bank.
But who are those assassinated leaders?
Jihad Shaker Ghannam:
He was born into a refugee family from the city of Isdud (today’s Ashdod) during the Nakba in 1948. They lived in a refugee camp in Rafah, in the south of the Strip.
An Israeli air raid targeted his house in the “al-Jeneina neighborhood” northeast of Rafah, killing him along with his wife.
Ghannam joined the ranks of the Islamic Jihad movement at an early stage in his life. He also joined the Al-Quds Brigades and rose to leadership positions, until he became its secretary, and accompanied a brigade commander.
The occupation army accused Ghannam of occupying high positions in the military wing of the Islamic Jihad movement, and considered him responsible for coordinating and transferring funds and weapons between the Islamic Jihad and the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas).
Khalil Salah al-Bahtini:
Sources in his movement say that he showed military and security capabilities that qualified him to join the Al-Quds Brigades and advance to important leadership positions.
He was targeted by an airstrike, accompanied by his family, in their home in Al-Tuffah neighborhood, northeast of Gaza City.
Al-Bahtini assumed command of the northern region in the Al-Quds Brigades, succeeding Bahaa Abu al-Atta, who was assassinated, along with his wife, in an Israeli attack, which targeted him inside his home in the Shujaiyya neighborhood east of Gaza City in November 2019.
Al-Bahtini had survived several previous Israeli attempts to assassinate him.
Israel held him responsible for rockets launched at Israeli settlements, most notably a missile that was shot down by the Iron Dome system in December 2020, and for thwarting a conference that was being held by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Khalil’s brother, Muhammad, born in 1980, who joined the ranks of the Al-Quds Brigades in 2005, was also killed in 2006 in an air raid while confronting Israeli occupation forces that entered the Al-Sha’af neighborhood in the northeast of Gaza City.
Tariq Ibrahim Izz El-Din
The third commander killed by Israel is Tariq Ibrahim Izz El-Din, 50.
An Israeli air raid targeted the apartment he lived in with his family and children in Gaza City, to which he was deported after his release from the Israeli occupation prisons as part of a prisoner exchange in 2011.
Izz al-Din hails from the town of Arraba, south of Jenin, in the West Bank.
He joined the Islamic Jihad movement early in his life, and was arrested several times in the occupation prisons, the last of which was in 2000. Izz al-Din was sentenced to life in prison, in addition to 10 years and 8 months.
The occupation army considered Izz al-Din responsible for strengthening the relationship between the Islamic Jihad in Gaza and the West Bank, transferring funds, and directing attacks against targets inside Israel from Gaza.
Izz al-Din hails from Arraba, the town of Khader Adnan, who died in the Israeli Ramleh prison a week ago, after 87 days of hunger strike in search of freedom.
(Aljazeera Arabic, Palestine Chronicle)
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