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Ynet: “July War” Was Goal of Hamas Commander Killed This Week

Ynet, Friday, profiled Raed al-Attar, one of the Hamas commanders killed by Israel Wednesday night.

Al-Attar, who had been considered a favorite to succeed Mohammed Deif head of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, had a twenty year career in terror. In 1994 he took part in an ambush that killed an IDF officer. In 2001 he planned an attack on an IDF post in Gaza that left four soldiers injured. In 2006 he was one of the planner of the Gilad Shalit kidnapping.

Most recently al-Attar was viewed as the architect of the “July war.”

During the recent round of hostilities, al-Attar was one of the senior commanders of the Gaza terror group. Before the beginning of the operation, al-Attar was one of the masterminds of Hamas’ “July War”, after planning – starting in January – a coordinated attack on Kerem Shalom using a “monstrous tunnel” – which was discovered near a community at the start of Protective Edge.

Al-Attar planned to launch the operation as the opening blow of a war, by sending dozens of terrorists through the tunnel and killing large amounts of soldiers and civilians in the Kibbutz and the surroundings – all during an extensive rocket fire on the area and the abduction of an Israeli to Rafah.

Al-Attar also personally commanded over the tunnel attack on July 17, when 13 terrorists were documented returning back to Gaza through a tunnel. The inquiry into the incident revealed that an IDF patrol was identified near the terrorists which were spread out along a line in an open field near one of the kibbutzim.

Although there have some skeptics as to how Israel’s latest war with Hamas began, there had already been 450 rocket attacks launched from Gaza into Israel in 2014 before Operation Protective Edge started in comparison to just forty one in all of 2013. This month Hamas officials Hussam Kawasme and Saleh al-Arouri both admitted responsibility for kidnapping and killing Eyal Yifrach, Gil-ad Shaar and Nafali Fraenkel.

In addition to the operational escalation, Hamas had shown signs since last year that it was seeking to launch a “spectacular” terror attack against Israel to restore its prestige even as it was increasingly marginalized. Earlier this year, the terror organization showed signs of increased activity in both Gaza and the West Bank. It also reached out to Iran to heal a rift with its sponsor over the Syrian civil war.

That al-Attar had a goal of starting a war is consistent with other information reported over the last year. Operation Protective Edge was a response to Hamas’ threats and military escalation.

[Photo: France 24 / YouTube ]