Gaza: Occupation forces fail to assassinate Hamas commander Mohammed al-Daif

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A Palestinian woman carries a mock Qassam missile as she attends a rally in support of the Hamas movement following Friday prayers, in the West Bank city of Ramallah on August 8, 2014. (Photo: AFP-Abbas Momani)

By: Sanaa Kamal

Published Thursday, August 21, 2014

Five missiles fired from [occupation] warplanes shattered the fragile truce between the Resistance factions in Gaza and the Israeli enemy. The missiles included the "bunker buster" GBU-28, a US made bomb used to pierce through [heavy] defenses and bomb shelters.

Gaza – According to Palestinian security sources, the occupation targeted al-Dalou family at their home in the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood west of Gaza City late Tuesday night. Their home was turned into rubble and dozens of people were martyred or wounded. Among the dead were the wife of Mohammed al-Daif, the general commander of Hamas’ military wing, al-Qassam Brigades, and their infant son Ali, who was only seven months old. Rescue operations continued until the early hours of Wednesday morning.

It seemed clear the occupation was trying to achieve a symbolic victory by assassinating a high-ranking leader like Daif, based on intelligence information gathered by its collaborators in Gaza. However, Israel has consistently failed to kill the man it has sought for years and once again he managed to escape.

In a statement delivered Wednesday night, al-Qassam Brigades spokesperson Abu Ubaida maintained that Daif is still alive. He also stressed that Daif will decide when to end the "curfew" to be imposed by the Resistance on occupied cities at a later stage.

Abu Ubaida explained that the Egyptian initiative for a political solution was stillborn. "It is buried alongside martyr Ali Mohammed al-Daif," he announced. "The enemy also lost a golden opportunity to reach a ceasefire."

"We warn international airlines from flying to Ben Gurion Airport, starting at 6 am [Thursday] morning," he added. "Residents of the areas surrounding Gaza are advised not to return to their homes until further notice."

Palestinian medical sources announced that five citizens were martyred in the bombing of al-Dalou's house. They are Daif's 26-year-old wife Wadad Asfour, his seven month old son Ali, seven-year-old Ahmed al-Dalou,14-year-old Mostafa al-Dalou, and 48-year-old Wafaa al-Dalou.

Abu Ubaida's statements dispelled all the scenarios advanced by the Arab and Israeli media concerning Daif's fate. One such scenario said that he had been martyred after a collaborator close to him informed [the Israelis] of his arrival to the location. Other channels said that he suffered minor injuries and was transferred to another location for treatment.

However, sources close to a Qassam official told Al-Akhbar prior to Abu Ubaida's statements that "Daif was not present, but his family had been at the house for a while." The sources said that one of Daif's relatives, who rarely visited the neighborhood, arrived at the location, leading the collaborators to think it was Daif.

Omm Mohammed al-Dalou, 35, who was being treated for injuries at al-Shifa Hospital said that Daif was not at the house and the attack on the entire house came as a complete surprise. She added that in the 2012 war, she had witnessed another massacre against al-Dalou family, which killed more than 13 people.

After being done with al-Dalou family, Israel committed another massacre against al-Lawh family, killing eight of its members in Deir al-Balah in central Gaza.

Commenting on this policy, writer and political analyst Hussam al-Dajani told Al-Akhbar that as soon as Israel received the intelligence "it bombed a house without hesitation, thinking that Daif was there. To this effect, it broke the calm and brought the war back to its former state."

According to Dajani, the failure to assassinate Daif will pave the way for mutual escalation "but without necessarily reaching a war of attrition. We are in the middle of a scenario of negotiations under fire." He pointed to Israel's attempts at dividing the Palestinian delegation by claiming that "Hamas cells are planning a coup against the [Palestinian] Authority."

The third scenario, according to Dajani, would be the strategy of forcing the adversary to call for a truce. "But [Israel] will not succeed in this, especially after failing to assassinate Daif." He believed that Israel aims to protect its security and keep its borders safe, along the lines of what happened with Hezbollah in South Lebanon in 2006, in addition to preventing arms from reaching the Palestinian Resistance.

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

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