An Israeli Defense Forces spokesperson told CNN that it had killed another Hamas commander, Billal al-Qedra, who allegedly led the attacks on the Nirim kibbutz near the Israeli border.
“This just goes to exemplify that we have the intelligence in order to take out Hamas’ leadership … all the way down to the terrorists that breached, penetrated and butchered our babies in their bedrooms. So, the operation is ongoing,” Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said.
The Israeli Air Force also put out a statement on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Sunday about the commander’s death, claiming IDF and Israel Securities Authority (ISA) “killed the Nukhba commander of the forces in southern Khan Yunis, who was responsible for the Kibbutz Nirim massacre.”
Hamas has not yet commented to the reported killing of one of its commander, Billal al-Qedra.
The IDF continues to urge civilians to evacuate to the south of Gaza, Lerner said, to enable the Israeli military to target Hamas.
Hamas has “physically prevented people from moving” and “booby-trapped some of the roads in anticipation” of the move, he added.
In preparation for the next stage of conflict, Lerner said the IDF has recruited “several hundreds of thousands of soldiers and reservists,” with many of them in southern Israel and on the border with Gaza.
“The IDF is targeting the institutions of Hamas because they have subordinated the entire government system to build support, fund, finance and instruct and execute their terrorist activities. So effectively, what we’re doing is dismantling the entire system to begin with,” Lerner said.
Lerner said he “hopes” that the war between Israel and Hamas does not become a larger regional conflict, but he said he recognizes that “hope is not a method.”
“I would caution Hezbollah, look very closely how we are dismantling Hamas. They need to be very, very cautious with regard to Iran,” Lerner said following the killing of Hamas commander, Billal al-Qedra.