Israeli targeted killings in Gaza and beyond: A timeline

The latest Israeli killing fits a pattern of targeted assassinations of Islamic Jihad and Hamas commanders and other prominent Palestinians.

Bodies of Palestinians who were killed on Sunday were brought to a hospital in Khan Younis [Abed Zagout/Anadolu Agency]
Taysir al-Jabari, a senior Islamic Jihad official, was the latest Palestinian to be targeted by Israel [Abed Zagout/Anadolu Agency]

Israeli aircraft and drones on Friday targeted and killed a commander of the Islamic Jihad group in Gaza City. A five-year-old girl was also among the nine dead and more than 50 people wounded.

The killing was one of many assassinations carried out by Israel that targeted not only Islamic Jihad members, but also individuals affiliated to other groups including Hamas, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), and Fatah – the ruling party in the occupied West Bank.

Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency, has been accused of several high-profile killings involving Palestinians around the world dating back to the 1950s, although Israel has consistently denied the accusations.

One of a handful of failed attempts targeted Khaled Meshaal, a Palestinian political leader who was the former head of Hamas’ political bureau.

Here is a timeline of key assassinations targeting Palestinian military commanders and individuals.

Taysir al-Jabari, killed on August 5, 2022:

A commander of the Al-Quds Brigades, Taysir al-Jabari died in an air strike on an apartment in the Palestine Tower in the centre of Gaza City.

Smoke poured out of the seventh floor of the building as civil defence teams rushed to the scene to evacuate people and put out a fire caused by the attack.

In a statement, the Islamic Jihad said: “The enemy has begun a war targeting our people, and we all have the duty to defend ourselves and our people, and not allow the enemy to get away with its actions which are aimed at undermining the resistance and national steadfastness.”

Shireen Abu  Akleh, killed May 11, 2022:

Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was shot and killed by an Israeli soldier as she covered raids by its forces in the occupied West Bank.

The killing of Abu Akleh sparked international outrage and calls for accountability for attacks on journalists. The slain journalist covered events and Israeli attacks in the occupied Palestinian territory for 25 years, becoming a familiar face across the Arab world.

She was killed while in full protective press gear clearly identifying her as a journalist in the West Bank city of Jenin.

Fadi al-Batsh, killed on April 21, 2018:

A Palestinian scholar and scientist, Fadi al-Batsh was shot dead by two assailants in a drive-by shooting in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur.

The 35-year-old, a Hamas member originally from Jabalia in the Gaza Strip, died on April 21, 2018, and was a relative of a senior official in the Gaza branch of the Islamic Jihad movement. His family accused Mossad of carrying out the killing.

Mazen Fuqaha, killed on March 24, 2017:

Mazen Fuqaha, originally from Tubas in the West Bank, was a senior commander in the al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ military wing. He was shot in the head and chest in his car on March 24, 2017, near his home in Gaza.

The gunmen who carried out the killing were believed to have arrived in Gaza by sea, according to local reports. Following his death, Hamas handed down death sentences to three Palestinians it ruled had taken part in what it described as an Israeli-led assassination.

Mohammed al-Zawari, killed on December 15, 2016:

Mohammed al-Zawari, a 49-year-old aviation engineer who Hamas said was a member of its drone team, was shot dead in a hail of bullets at the wheel of his car outside his home in Sfax, Tunisia on December 15, 2016, by two Bosnian nationals.

Hamas credited him with developing the Ababeel drones used against the last Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2014. Al-Zawari’s family and Hamas both accused Mossad of being behind the assassination.

Mohamed Abo Shamaleh, Raed al-Attar and Mohamed Barhoum, killed on August 21, 2014:

The three high-ranking Hamas commanders were killed in a round of Israeli air raids on August 21, 2014, days after an attempt to kill the al-Qassam Brigades’ military chief, Mohammed Deif, failed.

While Shamaleh and Barhoum served as top commanders in southern Gaza, al-Attar headed the construction of the Gaza tunnels, and reportedly oversaw the inflow of weaponry into the strip.

Ahmed Jaabari, killed on November 14, 2012:

A top-level operational commander in the al-Qassam Brigades, Ahmed Jaabari was killed on November 14, 2012, in an Israeli air raid during an operation targeting armed groups.

Jabari, who survived four previous assassination attempts, co-ordinated much of Hamas’s military capability, its military strategy, and the transformation of the military wing. The 52-year-old was credited developing Hamas’s military arsenal and its networks in Iran, Sudan and Lebanon.

Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, killed on January 19, 2010:

Mahmoud al-Mabhouh served as the chief logistics and weapons procurement for the al-Qassam Brigades, was killed on January 19, 2010, in Dubai. Originally from Jabalia in Gaza, al-Mabhouh was a longtime Israeli target, according to Hamas, for his alleged involvement in the kidnapping and killing of two Israeli soldiers. Both Hamas and Dubai pinned the killing on Mossad.

On August 3, 2014, Israel’s Shin Bet – the secret police agency – killed his nephew Ahmed al-Mabhouh, who oversaw the launching of rockets from the strip.

Nizar Rayyan, killed on January 1, 2009:

One of Hamas’ most senior figures, Nizar Rayyan was killed on January 1, 2009. Hailing from Jabalia, the 50-year-old PhD holder served as a preacher. He was also engaged in Hamas’s negotiations with the Palestinian factions and served as one of the main political leaders of the movement.

In 2004, Rayyan became Hamas’s highest religious leader after Israeli forces killed Sheikh Ahmed Yassin.

Ahmed Yassin, killed on March 22, 2004:

Ahmed Yassin, 67, was an imam who founded the Hamas movement in 1987 after spending time in Egypt as a student. Yassin spent several years in Israeli prisons for allegedly forming an underground organisation and possessing weapons.

At the time, the Israeli government had openly called for his assassination, before killing him on March 22, 2014, while on his way out of a Gaza mosque.

Source: Al Jazeera