On August 1, the senior leader of the Islamic Jihad in Judea and Samaria, Bassam al-Saadi, was arrested by Israel. In the days after his arrest, the Islamic Jihad threatened to retaliate by firing from Gaza against Israel. Operational squads belonging to the military wing of the Islamic Jihad, under the leadership of the military commander in the northern sector of the jihad in the Gaza Strip, Taysir Al-Jabri, and under the leadership of the military commander in the southern sector of the jihad in the Gaza Strip, Khaled Mansour, began to prepare to carry out a revenge attack with the idea of shooting an anti-tank missile against military and civilian targets.
In fact, the two senior military commanders of the Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip were personally involved in planning to carry out the attack
As a result, the daily life of the Israeli civilian population near the Gaza Strip came to a halt. In practice, for the safety of Israeli citizens, the IDF imposed severerestrictions on movement and, in some places, even a curfew. For four days, thousands of Israeli citizens were besieged in their own homes without being able to go to work for fear of being fired upon while traveling on the main roads in southern Israel.
Israeli Gaza envelope communities [in red] below (Credit to Maurice Hirsch)
The Islamic Jihad is an organization that operates mainly in the Gaza Strip, where most of its military strength is located. However, the Islamic Jihad operates also in Lebanon and Syria. Ziyad al-Nakhalah, the head of the Islamic Jihad, and Akram al-Ajouri, the head of the organization’s military arm, operate primarily from Syria but stay in Lebanon and Iran as well.
The Islamic Jihad is considered a small organization compared to Hamas, and it is extremely radical and fully supported by the Iranians who serve as its direct patrons. The organization in the Gaza Strip has about 10,000 operatives in total, of which several thousand are in combat positions. Although usually, the Islamic Jihad cooperates with Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, sometimes, it acts independently and even in opposition to Hamas policy.
The Islamic Jihad has diverse military capabilities. An arsenal of rockets for up to 120 km (north of Tel Aviv), mortars of various ranges, Cornet-type anti-tank missiles, Strela-type anti-aircraft missiles, sniping capabilities, attack tunnels, explosive drones, and possibly even UAVs. Islamic Jihad also has a naval unit.
On August 5 at 16:15, IDF launched a proactive operation against the military infrastructure of the Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip and against its commanders. The operation was named “Breaking Dawn”. The goal is to remove the threat to the citizens of Israel.
Taysir al-Jabari elimination location.
With the opening of the operation, Taysir al-Jabari, the commander of the northern brigade of the Islamic Jihad’s military wing, was killed. Al Jabari was staying in a hideout apartment in an apartment building. Both the deputy head of the anti-tank array and head of the observation posts array of the Islamic Jihad were also eliminated. The three senior officers posed a clear and immediate danger and worked to pull off a terrorist attack.
On August 6 during the night, Khaled Mansour, commander of the Islamic Jihad southern division, was also eliminated through an airstrike. He was killed in the Rafah area south of the Gaza Strip. At least two other military operatives were killed along with him. Khaled Said Mansour (“Abu Ragheb”), was born in 1975. He was responsible for many terrorist attacks in the last 20 years and was considered a veteran and influential commander.
Khaled Mansour (on the right), Taysir al-Jabari (on the left).
As of this writing, the ranks of the senior commanders of the Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip have been eliminated. A ceasefrie was brokered by Egypt.
Hamas has remained on the sidelines during this current conflict.
IDF Maj. (Res.) Tal Beeri is head of the Alma Center Research Department. She is a Middle East expert specializing in Hezbollah, Lebanon and Syria..