Mohammed Abu Shamalah, 40, was the most senior Hamas commander in southern Gaza, classified by security services as the head of the "Southern Command" of Hamas. Abu Shamalah was responsible for the areas of Rafiah and Khan Younis, and is a longtime friend and associate of Ezzedine al-Qassam's elusive leader, Mohammed Deif, who was himself targeted in an IDF strike yesterday - a strike he is believed to have survived.
He was also a close associate of Raed al-Atar, another leading Hamas commander eliminated in this morning's strike.
Together, they have been involved in dozens of deadly terrorist attacks since the 1990s. Most famously, the pair planned and coordinated the 2006 attack on the Kerem Shalom crossing with Gaza in which two IDF soldiers were killed and Gilad Shalit was taken hostage.
After the killing of three of its senior commanders by Israel, Hamas vowed early Friday that it would be “strengthened” in its quest “to lift the siege on Gaza” and “liberate Jerusalem and Palestine from the neo-Nazi occupier who destroys houses and kills women and children.”
It may continue to get worse, but it looks until Hamas gives in, Israel will continue to have to be aggressive. Only then will the people of Gaza be free of their tyrannical, barbaric rule.