Israel Kills Top Hamas Drone Expert With Airstrike, Says UN-Backed Ceasefire Would Be Same As Defeat.

Photo: VOA. Palestinians look for survivors in the rubble of a building following Israeli bombing in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, Oct. 31, 2023.
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Israel says it has killed one of the Hamas commanders who was an expert on drones and paragliders used to attack southern Israel on October 7th, when up to 1500 Israeli civilians were massacred.

The Israeli Defense Force and Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic security service, issued a joint statement Tuesday saying Nasim Abu Ajina was killed in an airstrike, according to intelligence reports.

The statement says Abu Ajina was commander of the Beit Lahia Battalion of Hamas’ Northern Brigade and took part in the development of the unmanned aerial vehicles used in the invasion.

“His elimination significantly harms the efforts of the Hamas terrorist organization to disrupt the IDF’s ground activities,” the statement said.

The IDF also said its combined air and ground forces struck approximately 300 targets over the last 24 hours, including anti-tank missile and underground rocket launch posts, as well as military compounds inside Hamas’ underground tunnels. The military said Hamas terrorists were killed during the operation.

Hamas has a sprawling network of tunnels underneath Gaza where it is believed to be stockpiling weapons, food and other supplies.

Israeli troops and tanks are steadily moving further into northern Gaza, expanding their military presence in Gaza. An AP report also says that Israeli soldiers had fought with Hamas troops underground in tunnels.

No to Cease-Fire

The new round of attacks came hours after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected calls from around the world to declare a cease-fire in the war on Hamas.

Israeli airstrikes on Gaza since the October 7 attacks have led to a humanitarian crisis in the crowded Palestinian enclave. The Hamas-run Palestinian Health Ministry said Monday more than 8,300 have been killed in the airstrikes, mostly women and children. The humanitarian group Save the Children says more than 3,000 children have been killed in the conflict.

But Netanyahu said in a press conference Monday that calls for a cease-fire “are calls for Israel to surrender to Hamas, to surrender to terrorism, to surrender to barbarism.”

“This will not happen,” Netanyahu added. “This is a time for war.”

Netanyahu also rejected growing calls for him to resign over the shock attack that left 1,400 Israelis dead.

Philippe Lazzarini, the head of the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, known as UNRWA, told the U.N. Security Council Monday that the Israeli bombing campaign on Gaza “is collective punishment” of the Palestinians as a whole. Lazzarini said “basic services are crumbling” in Gaza, with medicine, food, water and fuel running out and the streets overflowing with sewage.

He said the communications blackout over the weekend after last week’s bombardment has “aggravated the panic and distress of people” and “accelerated the breaking down of civil order.” Lazzarini said thousands of desperate people stormed the UNRWA warehouse and distribution centers where humanitarian shipments from Egypt are being stored.

Lazzarini told the Council that 64 of his UNRWA colleagues have been killed in Gaza over the last three weeks, including the head of security and safety in the central region who was killed with his wife and eight others just hours before the Security Council meeting.

The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza says more than 8,500 people have been killed since Israel’s retaliatory bombing began.

Israel says there were “large exchanges” with Hamas in Gaza overnight as its ground offensive continues.

Hamas says it ambushed three Israeli vehicles with anti-tank missiles and attacked ground troops with shells in southern Gaza

Sources: VOA, BBC.
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