The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) said that Muhammad A’sar, the head of the Islamist group’s anti-tank missile unit, was ‘eliminated’ using a fighter jet.
The IDF released footage of a dramatic explosion at a Hamas base in the northern Gaza city of Jabalia which they claim killed A’sar – a commander they said carried out attacks against civilians and soldiers.
It comes after Israel said Tuesday’s strike on the same target, the Jabalia refugee camp, killed Ibrahim Biari, who it said was a ringleader of what it called the ‘murderous terror attack’ on October 7.
Israel once again bombed the densely populated Gaza strip from land, sea and air today in its campaign to destroy the Hamas terrorist group after its deadly rampage into southern Israel three weeks ago.
The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) said that Muhammad A’sar, the head of the Islamist group’s anti-tank missile unit, was ‘eliminated’ using a fighter jet
The IDF released footage of a dramatic explosion at a Hamas base in Jabalia which they claim killed A’sar
Palestinians search for bodies and survivors among the rubble of the Jabalia refugee camp today
Palestinians sifted through rubble in a desperate hunt for people trapped underneath after Israeli strikes on the Jabalia refugee camp, located in the urban sprawl of north Gaza. ‘It is a massacre,’ said one witness of the strike.
There was no immediate word on possible casualties from the second explosion, which came a day after Palestinian health officials said an Israeli air strike had killed about 50 people and wounded 150 there.
The Israeli military later issued a statement saying its fighter jets had struck a Hamas command and control complex in Jabalia ‘based on precise intelligence’, killing A’sar.
‘Hamas deliberately builds its terror infrastructure under, around and within civilian buildings, intentionally endangering Gazan civilians,’ the statement said.
Announcing the death of A’sar, the IDF said: ‘The IDF, under the direction of Modi’in AMAN and the Shin Bet, eliminated Muhammad Atzar, the head of the anti-tank system of the terrorist organization Hamas, using a fighter jet.
‘As part of his position, Atzar was responsible for all the anti-tank systems in the various brigades in the Gaza Strip, managed the force on a routine basis and assisted in its activation in an emergency.
‘During his command of the anti-tank system, a number of anti-tank attacks were carried out against Israeli citizens and IDF forces.’
Israel said it killed local battalion commander Ibrahim Biari (pictured) in the first attack on Jabalia
Hamas has claimed Israeli airstrikes have hit buildings in the Jabalia refugee camp near Gaza City for a second day in a row, causing many deaths and injuries. Pictured: Palestinians are seen at the site of Israeli airstrikes in the Jabalia refugee camp, November 1
The toll from Wednesday’s strikes was not immediately known. Al-Jazeera television, which is still reporting from northern Gaza, aired videos of devastation and of several wounded people, including children, being brought to a nearby hospital
On Tuesday, a large explosion ripped through the densely packed camp before nightfall , tearing facades off nearby buildings and leaving a deep crater
It comes as the Rafah border crossing into Egypt opened for the first time since the start of the war more than three weeks ago.
The Foreign Office confirmed that the first British nationals have left Gaza which is being bombarded by Israeli strikes.
Officials said the crossing will be open for ‘controlled and time-limited periods’ to allow specific groups of foreign nationals and the seriously injured to leave Gaza.
A spokesperson for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) said: ‘We will continue working with partners to ensure the crossing is opened again, allowing vital aid into Gaza and more British nationals to leave safely.
‘We are regularly updating all British nationals registered us.
‘The crossing will be open for controlled and time-limited periods to allow specific groups of foreign nationals and the seriously wounded to leave.
‘We have agreed a list of British nationals that want to leave Gaza with Egyptian and Israeli authorities. We will be informed in advance when those on the list can use the crossing to ensure we can provide assistance.’
A picture taken from southern Israel shows an Israeli army helicopter launching flares over the Gaza Strip on November 1
Britain’s Foreign Secretary James Cleverly called Wednesday’s crossing ‘a hugely important first step’.
‘We are working with Egyptian and Israeli authorities to ensure the crossing stays open so all British nationals can get to safety in the coming days,’ he wrote.
Dr Fathi Abu al-Hassan, a U.S. passport holder, described hellish conditions inside Gaza without water, food or shelter.
‘We open our eyes on dead people and we close our eyes on dead people,’ he said while waiting to cross into Egypt.
‘If this happened in any other country… even in the desert, (people) will combine together to (help) us,’ he said.
Wednesday’s evacuees included at least 320 of 500 on an initial list of foreign passport holders as well as dozens of severely injured Gazans, Egyptian sources and a Palestinian official said, the first beneficiaries of the deal brokered between Egypt, Israel and Hamas.
At least 49 medical evacuees had arrived in Egypt, the governor of Egypt’s Sinai province told reporters later.
Nahed Abu Taeema, director of Gaza’s Nasser Hospital, told Reuters 19 critically injured patients from his hospital would be among the evacuees as they required ‘advanced surgeries that can’t be done here because of the lack of capabilities, especially women and children’.
Gaza border officials said the frontier would reopen on Thursday to let out more people on a list of foreign passport holders. A diplomatic source briefed on Egyptian plans said some 7,500 foreign passport holders would be evacuated from Gaza over the course of about two weeks.
Israel sent ground forces into Hamas-ruled Gaza late last week after weeks of air and artillery strikes in retaliation for the surprise Hamas attack in which 1,400 Israelis, mainly civilians, were killed in a single day, Israeli officials say.
The Gaza health ministry says at least 8,796 Palestinians in the narrow coastal enclave, including 3,648 children, have been killed by Israeli strikes since October 7.
Satellite images from October 31 (left) and November 1 (right) show the destruction of the Jabalia refugee camp
Despite the breakthrough on the humanitarian front, Israeli war planes, naval boats and artillery pounded Gaza on Wednesday, inflicting scores more casualties among the civilian population, Palestinian residents said.
Hospitals struggled to cope amid shutdowns forced by shortages in fuel, which Israel has refused to let humanitarian convoys take into the shattered enclave citing concern it would be diverted to Hamas fighters.
Medical student Ezzedine Lulu, working at Al Shifa hospital in Gaza, filmed himself walking through corridors filled with sleeping children sheltering from the bombardment.
‘I can heal the wounds, I can stop the bleeding, I cannot heal the cold of these children’s bodies. I see them shaking while they are sleeping, they have nothing to cover themselves with. Winter is coming … Stop the inhumanity,’ he said.
The desperate humanitarian conditions have caused concern across the world as food, fuel, drinking water and medicine run short.
Jordan, one of a handful of Arab states to have normalised relations with Israel, said on Wednesday it was pulling out its ambassador from Tel Aviv until Israel ended its assault on Gaza.
A Western official said the evacuation deal was not linked to other issues, such as the release of about 240 hostages held by Hamas since the Oct. 7 assault, or a ‘humanitarian pause’ in the fighting which many countries have called for but which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected.
Fifteen Israeli soldiers were killed in Gaza fighting on Tuesday, the military said after next-of-kin had been notified, its biggest one-day loss since the start of the offensive. The military said one more soldier was killed on Wednesday.
‘We are in a tough war,’ Netanyahu said. ‘I promise to all citizens of Israel: We will get the job done. We will press ahead until victory.’
Cross-border Hamas rocket fire continued on Wednesday, with warning sirens sounding in southern Israel communities as well as the Mediterranean port cities of Ashkelon and Ashdod.
The violence – the worst in many years of sporadic warfare – erupted at a time when Palestinian aspirations for an independent state and an end to Israel’s occupation have little prospect of being fulfilled.
Peace talks are now a distant memory and Netanyahu’s right-wing government has expanded Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank. Israel sees Hamas, which has vowed to destroy the Jewish state, as an existential threat.