Rafah airstrike kills PIJ officer, 460th Brigade faces heavy fighting in Jabalya

by mariannehelbig

The airstrike eliminating the PIJ operative was one of a broader array of strikes across the Strip.

By SAM HALPERN, DANIELLE GREYMAN-KENNARD

Updated: MAY 18, 2024 12:05
IDF soldiers operating in the Gaza Strip on May 18, 2024. (IDF Spokesperson’s Unit)

An Israeli airstrike killed the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terrorist organization’s Rafah Brigade head of logistics, the IDF announced on Saturday morning.

The terrorist was armed with an RPG in a compound across from IDF troops.

The PIJ operative was reportedly responsible for preparing terrorists for attacks on Israeli personnel in the area.

The airstrike eliminating the PIJ operative was one of a broader array of strikes across the Strip. The military reported that, over the past day, the Israel Air Force hit 70 targets across Gaza.

Palestinian media reports have claimed that a person was killed in an airstrike in east Rafah, although the validity of the report and background of the alleged party cannot be confirmed by the Post at this current stage.

 In the area of Jabalya, soldiers successfully eliminated a number of other terrorists.

Targets struck

Among these targets were weapons storage facilities, military infrastructure and compounds, and terrorists. 

IDF troops operate in the Gaza Strip. May 18, 2024. (credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON’S UNIT)

In one military compound, the IDF identified a launcher used to fire rockets at civilian populations in Israel.

In addition, the IDF located the sites of several terror tunnels.

Terrorists hiding in Rafah

While the United States and United Nations, along with a myriad of other international actors, have discouraged Israel from conducting military operations in Rafah, Israel has repeatedly asserted that operations in the densely-packed Rafah are essential for freeing the hostages and eliminating Hamas. 

In addition to terrorists hiding in Rafah, where many Palestinian civilians are sheltering to escape the war, living hostages have been recovered from the city.

Egypt, since Israeli forces took over the Palestinian side of Rafah, has refused to allow humanitarian aid to cross into Gaza in protest of Israel’s decision. The United Nations has repeatedly stressed that Gaza is in the midst of a humanitarian crisis and humanitarian aid is essential.

IDF engages in heavy Jabalya fighting, destroys weapons production facility

During raids on terrorist positions in the outskirts of Jabalya, Israeli troops of the 460th Brigade encountered and engaged squads of terrorists, the IDF later noted.

The IDF’s 460th Brigade engages terrorists in Jabalya. May 18, 2024. (Credit: IDF Spokesperson’s Unit)

These troops also discovered and destroyed a facility dedicated to the production of arms, including long-range rockets, grenades, and electronic devices.

In one location in the area, the soldiers located a tunnel shaft that had previously been destroyed in an airstrike. The Israeli personnel then encountered terrorist forces in the area and, with a combination of tank fire, airstrikes, and close-range fire, eliminated the opposing force.

Subsequently, Palestinian media sources reported that 15 had been killed and another 30 wounded in Jabalya. These reports have yet to be confirmed.

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