The Israeli Defense Forces and Shin Bet security agency announced last night that they had carried out a targeted airstrike in Rafah, located in the southern Gaza Strip, resulting in the death of Ahmed Eliakubi, a prominent figure within Hamas.
Eliakubi held a significant position within Hamas, being responsible for the security arrangements of senior Hamas leaders and serving as a high-ranking commander in the Rafah district.
The operation also resulted in the elimination of Iman Rantisi, a key member of Hamas’ security investigation unit, along with another operative, as stated by the IDF and Shin Bet.
This announcement by the IDF and Shin Bet corroborates earlier claims made by Palestinian sources regarding the demise of three senior officers of the Rafah police.
According to reports from Palestinian sources, Eliakubi was targeted while traveling in a vehicle in Rafah’s Tel al-Sultan neighborhood, accompanied by Rantisi, his deputy, and Ibrahim Shatat, head of the supply investigations department.
Following the airstrike, Rafah Mayor Ahmed al-Sufi urged the international community to intervene, expressing concern about potential Israeli military operations in Rafah. He emphasized the risk of significant casualties in a densely populated area like Rafah, home to 1.4 million Palestinians.
“We urge the international community and all those with a moral compass to halt the violence against Palestinians,” al-Sufi declared. “Any military action in this densely populated city will undoubtedly result in a massacre and severe bloodshed.”
Hamas issued a warning, suggesting that Israel might carry out widespread and devastating attacks in Rafah. Hamas criticized the United States for not condemning the assault, holding it responsible for the consequences and accusing it of effectively supporting the Israeli occupation.
In addition to the airstrike that claimed the lives of three senior Rafah police officials, another attack was reported in the Rafah area later on Shabbos afternoon. Palestinian reports indicated that a police vehicle was targeted east of Rafah, resulting in the deaths of two people.