The Israeli military announced on Saturday that an airstrike had resulted in the death of a Hamas militant, whom Israel claimed led a commando unit responsible for the recent attack on civilians in southern Israel, StechiteGist media reports.
According to the statement released by the Israeli military, “Israeli military aircraft killed Ali Qadi, a company commander of the Hamas ‘Nukhba’ (elite) commando force.”
A Hamas official informed AFP that the Palestinian group had “no comment” regarding the Israeli claim. The official, speaking anonymously, confirmed that Qadi, aged 37, served as a unit commander in the elite Hamas force.
Both the Palestinian official and the Israeli military statement highlighted that Qadi was among the more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners released by Israel in 2011 in exchange for Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier captured by Hamas in 2006.
Qadi had previously been arrested by Israel in 2005 in connection with the kidnapping and murder of an Israeli man, identified by media reports at the time as a broker for the Shin Bet internal security agency.
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Earlier on the same day, the Israeli army reported the killing of Murad Abu Murad, a senior military commander of Hamas overseeing the group’s aerial operations in Gaza City, in Israeli airstrikes. The strike targeted a Hamas operational center involved in the group’s “aerial activity.” Hamas had not immediately confirmed the report.