In email to reporters the IDF confirmed that it targeted top Islamic Jihad leaders today, saying, “A short while ago, in a joint IDF- ISA operation, the IDF targeted a hideout used by senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad operatives, who were a part of the terror organization’s rocket launching operations, in the northern Gaza Strip. A direct hit was identified. The Palestinian Islamic Jihad operatives, who were involved in firing rockets at Israel, were inside the media building when it was targeted.”
Palestinian terror group Islamic Jihad confirmed that the Israeli strike killed top commander Ramez Harb, head of Islamic Jihad’s propaganda.
Islamic Jihad informed reporters of his death via text message. There have been reports that other Islamic Jihad leaders were also killed in the strike.
According to the IDF three other terror chief in the building were, 1. “Baha Abu al-Ata, a member of the Higher Military Council, (who) is the commander of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad Gaza City Brigade and is involved in orchestrating rocket launching and terror attacks against Israeli civilians.” 2. “Tissir Mahmoud Mahmedd Jabari…(a) senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad operative, a member of the Higher Military Council and Head of the organization’s operation branch. Previously, Jabari was the Gaza City Regional Commander for the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. He was involved in carrying out various terror attacks against Israel, including massive rocket fire and attacks against IDF soldiers. Jabari holds responsibility for training within the organization and gives approval for the carrying out of terror attacks.” 3. “Halil Batini (who) is amongst the senior operatives of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. He is a key figure within the long-range rocket launching operations and responsible for internal security.”
The building, located in the Rimal neighborhood of Gaza City, was initially targeted yesterday. The IDF was criticized for this because the building houses several international news outlets, including Sky News. It was unclear what the commanders were doing in the media center–but their presence may help to clarify why the building was targeted.
“The senior PIJ cadre was operating in a media building. They were’t there to be interviewed. They were using reporters as human shields,” wrote the IDF on twitter, “We targeted only the 2nd floor, which is where the senior terrorists were. The rest of the building was unharmed. Direct hit confirmed.”