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Facts emerge as Gazans scupper Israeli ‘Special Forces’ operation

In another episode of Israeli provocation and unilateral escalation against the besieged Gaza strip, Sunday night recorded an embarrassing covert attempt by an Israeli ‘Special Force’ to infiltrate Gaza tucked up in civilian vehicles.

In the thick of the night, a dressed vehicle drove three kilometres into Eastern Khan Younis, Gaza, anticipating that a besieged community or resistance accustomed to summary executions, sniper fire and airstrikes would be slumbered.

To its surprise, the vehicle, laden with military supplies reportedly akin to an ‘operations room’[1] was spotted by Gazan soldiers on patrol. A fire fight ensued in which Commander Nour Barakah and colleague Majed al-Qara were killed. According to Gazan sources, the vehicle belonging to the Israeli occupation force had not targeted Barakeh but was preparing for a more major operation inside Gaza.[2] In a rare public address, Israeli military chief of Southern Command, Maj. Gen. Tal Rousso also denied the failed operation was an attempt to assassinate Barakeh.[3]

Soldiers continued pursuing the fleeing vehicle until reaching the border fence with the occupation despite “all types of Israeli aircraft” interjecting to provide cover. Up to 40 rockets targeted the trailing Gazans and in the fire fight at least one Israeli fighter, a lieutenant colonel was killed and another wounded whilst their vehicle was all but obliterated. According to Gaza’s authorities, even the helicopter frantically trying to provide cover for the Israeli fighters was hit at close range.[4]

The incursion and resulting airstrikes resulted in the killing of seven Palestinians: five of whom were members of Gaza’s military—four from the Qassam Brigades and another from the Al-Nasser Salah al-Deen Brigades, the military wing of the Popular Resistance committee that operates under Gaza’s administration—along with two civilians. According to the Gazan Health Ministry, those that were killed are: Commander Nour Barakah, 37; Mohammed Majed al-Qara, 23; Ala Adin Kwidar, 22; Mustafa Hassan Abu Odeh, 23; Mahmoud Atallah Masabkh, 25; Ala Fasikas, 24; and Omar Jani Abu Khatar. Seven others were also reportedly wounded.[5]

According to a spokesman for the Palestinian resistance, “the resistance taught the (Zionist) enemy a lesson and proved that their intelligence services have become a laughing stock.” Activists added that the fighter killed in the ‘special’ operation identified by Israeli spokespeople as ‘M’ is in fact Mahmoud Khair ad-Din of the Israeli Druze denomination, of the Sayeret Maglan commando unit designed “to operate behind enemy lines.”[6]

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cut short a visit to Paris to mark the World War One centenary of the Armistice, signed 30 years before Israel’s formal existence. Who and what the Israeli militants’ infiltration was seeking to assassinate or capture remains dubious, but they clearly did not intend to disrupt another of Netanyahu’s PR exhibits and endorsements as an accomplice of world peace ahead of his “defence” force’s escalation.

The Prime Minister told reporters in Paris hours before the operation that he was “doing everything I can to prevent an unnecessary war…first, we aim for calm, then an agreement. We’re not there yet.” In what many saw as another wave of irony, the Zionist government earmarks 100 years since the end of WW1 whilst possibly igniting another addition to its repertoire of onslaughts on the besieged strip.

The Gaza strip has been referred to as the world’s largest “open-air prison camp” by many, including former Prime Minister David Cameron.[7] In recent months the resistance from within its walls has been mounting with more than 230 killed and 24,000 injured in recent “March of Return” protests.[8] The sustained poisoning of its resources is making it increasingly difficult to sustain life, with even its routinely-polluted water source estimated to be “irreversibly-depleted” in 2020,[9] forcing Gazans to pay private enterprises six-times the standard rate for water they can drink.[10]

The operation comes during international efforts to reach a long-term cease-fire in Gaza that is intended to ease the over a decade long blockade on the strip. Some have reasoned that the Zionist occupation is actively scuppering a deal that would potentially see the release of thousands of Palestinian captives in exchange for two Israeli fighters, Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, taken prisoner in 2014 following a confrontation which led to a massacre of over 100 civilians in “Gaza’s bloodiest day” in the Israeli onslaught that year.[11]  Years of negotiations and constant pressure by the families of the two fighters, who insist that their political classes can reach a deal with Hamas ‘within a week’ if they wanted to, have been suggested by some as possibly linked to Sunday’s botched operation.[12]

According to Palestinian Activist Ibrahim Hamami, the Israeli operation was not to kill Commander Nour Barakah, but was an attempt to kidnap him. An assassination could have taken place aerially, for which using ground soldiers would have been an unnecessary risk. By cutting his Paris visit short, Netanyahu showed that the operation was an utter failure and the use of extremely frantic cover fire shows how hell-bent the occupation is on preventing more of their fighters being caught. The Gazans’ ability to uncover the identity of the attacking force while keeping it at bay with force reveals both its preparedness, and the fact that Gaza’s need for aid and the very basics for life does not mean it has become completely unable to defend itself. [13]

Who is Commander Nour Barakah?

Both Arab and Hebrew media have been vying for information on Nour Barakah, the Qassam Brigades commander in Khan Younis. According to activists, Nour Barakah holds a Masters degree in Comparative Islamic Fiqh and Islamic certification (Ijāzah) in the ten recitations of the Qur’ān.[14] Very few knew about his activities in the Palestinian resistance. In a Facebook post, his sister Iman Barakah wrote:

“Allāh witnesses that you were the more righteous and truthful. Words cannot describe you…you were my love and my friend… even on the day you graduated; you did not allow anyone to take a single picture of you my beloved brother.

I will continue to tell others about you, about your heroism, about your sincerity about your excessive care for us and for me specifically… For your soul may there be peace.”[15]

Source: www.islam21c.com

Notes:

[1] http://www.aljazeera.net/news/arabic/2018/11/12/ القسام-توغل-الاحتلال-استهدف-تنفيذ-مخطط-كبير-لكننا-جعلناه-أضحوكة-للعالم

[2] http://www.aljazeera.net/news/arabic/2018/11/12/ القسام-توغل-الاحتلال-استهدف-تنفيذ-مخطط-كبير-لكننا-جعلناه-أضحوكة-للعالم

[3] https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-gaza-incident-was-a-blown-israeli-military-op-not-an-assassination-attempt-1.6639967?=&ts=_1542026908827

[4] https://www.palinfo.com/news/2018/11/12/ القسام-افشلنا-عملية-كبيرة-للعدو-الصهيوني-داخل-قطاع-غزة

[5] https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/palestinians/.premium-arab-media-botched-israeli-gaza-mission-aimed-to-abduct-tunnel-expert-1.6640162

[6] http://www.aljazeera.net/news/arabic/2018/11/12/تعرف-على-الشهيد-القسامي-والضابط-الإسرائيلي-وماذا-كانت-السيارة-الإسرائيلية-تحمل

[7] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-10778110

[8] https://www.palinfo.com/news/2018/11/7/231-شهيد-ا-و24-الف-جريح-بغزة-في-مسيرة-العودة

[9] https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/07/living-conditions-worsen-10-year-gaza-siege-170712045047448.html

[10] https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/palestinians/.premium-expert-warns-97-of-gaza-drinking-water-contaminated-by-sewage-salt-1.5747876

[11] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/20/gaza-bloodiest-day-assault-kills-palestinians-israelis-hospitals

[12] https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-gaza-incident-was-a-blown-israeli-military-op-not-an-assassination-attempt-1.6639967?=&ts=_1542026908827

[13] https://www.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1407371146063961&id=138542256280196

[14] http://www.aljazeera.net/news/arabic/2018/11/12/تعرف-على-الشهيد-القسامي-والضابط-الإسرائيلي-وماذا-كانت-السيارة-الإسرائيلية-تحمل

[15] https://www.facebook.com/eman.baraka.48/posts/1797414813718308

About Ahmed Hammuda

Ahmed Hammuda is the Middle East Editor at Islam21c and one of our regular contributors. His interests lie mainly in the field of Middle East Affairs and how they reflect on Muslims living in the West. He is an accomplished Electrical engineer by trade and has been involved in various Dawah activities over the course of his education and working life. He has transferred the same analytical approach required in engineering into a careful and measured approach in his views on politics.

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