Haytham Al-Hawajri, the commander of Hamas' Shati Battalion, was killed in an Israeli airstrike, IDF Spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari announced on Sunday.
"Today, the IDF deliberately targeted and eliminated Haytham Al-Hawajri, the commander of Hamas' Shati Battalion, using a fighter jet. He led the fighting in the Shati area over the past month," Hagari said in his daily briefing. "We will continue to pursue and locate each of the terrorists."
IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi said on Sunday that the army has officially begun ground operations in the southern Gaza Strip.
Speaking to reservists on the front, Halevi said that Israeli forces had "dismantled two Hamas brigades" in the northern Gaza Strip before the weeklong cease-fire that collapsed over the weekend.
"We have the capabilities to do this in the most thorough way, and just as we did it strongly and thoroughly in the northern Gaza Strip, we are also doing it now in the southern Gaza Strip and we continue to secure our accomplishments in the northern Gaza Strip," he added.
Yemen's Houthi rebels attacked two ships in the Red Sea with suspected ties to Israel, Arab media reported on Sunday.
A senior Pentagon official told Qatar-based Al Jazeera that Washington is aware of the attacks, confirming that missiles and drones were launched from Yemen toward the American destroyer USS Carney and commercial ships in the Red Sea.
Ynet has learned that one of the two cargo ships attacked by the Houthis in the Red Sea sustained only minor damage and was not Israeli. However, one of its shareholders is reportedly an Israeli businessman. The second ship, a British vessel, suffered significant damage from cruise missiles and attack drones.
Saudi network Al-Arabiya reported that the Houthis attacked a British commercial ship in the Bab al-Mandab Strait. The ship, sailing under the British flag, had a British crew.
Meanwhile, Al Jazeera reported that Qatar is demanding an "immediate, comprehensive and impartial international investigation" into what the Gulf country's prime minister described as Israeli crimes in Gaza.
Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman al-Thani also said Qatar would continue its efforts towards facilitating another truce and reaching a permanent ceasefire in the enclave, Jazeera added.
Twelve IDF soldiers were hurt when anti-tank missiles targeted Moshav Beit Hillel in the Galilee on Sunday and several launches were also identified in the area of Mount Dov, some of which fell inside Lebanese territory on Sunday afternoon. The military said it was returning fire. At the same time, rockets landed in Sderot amid continuous fire in the Gaza border area. No injuries were reported.
The soldiers got out of the vehicle seconds before it was hit by the missile fired by Hezbollah terrorists. They were hit by shrapnel and were taken to Ziv Hospital in Safed.
The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Sunday called on both sides of the war between Israel and Hamas to adhere to international law and to allow humanitarian aid to be delivered to the besieged Gaza Strip. "On humanitarian access, the law does not allow for doubt," ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan said after a four-day visit to the sites of the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks in Israel and to the Palestinian Authority in the occupied West Bank.
"Civilians must have access to basic food, water and desperately needed medical supplies, without further delay, and at pace and at scale," Khan said, adding that Hamas must not misuse such aid. "All actors must comply with international humanitarian law. If you do not do so, do not complain when my office is required to act." Khan offered Israel the court's assistance in investigating crimes committed by Hamas during the Oct. 7 terror attacks, even though the country is not a member of the Hague-based court and does not recognize its jurisdiction.
Meanwhile, Pope Francis on Sunday said it was "painful" to see that the truce between Israel and Hamas had been broken, and voiced hope that all parties involved can reach a new cease-fire "as soon as possible."
The IDF on Sunday, repeated calls for civilians in Khan Younis to evacuate to safe areas in the humanitarian zones, indicating an intention to target the city, which is seen as the stronghold of Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar and the commander of the terror group military wing Mohammed Deif. Air raids have been carried out on the city since the humanitarian truce ended on Thursday, and residents said they did not know where they would be safe.
The IDF Arabic language spokesperson appealed to residents of the Khan Younis neighborhoods to evacuate to humanitarian areas, for their safety, according to the map posted to direct civilians out of harm's way. "The IDF has renewed its operations against Hamas and other terror groups in the Gaza Strip, Col. Avichay Adraee said in a post on X. "Adhering to our instructions is the best way to preserve your lives and the lives of your families."
The two terrorist leaders enjoy widespread support in the city and armed members of Hamas wander freely in the streets, using them to launch rockets at Israel.
The military also said in a statement that, since the beginning of the ground offensive, over 800 shafts leading to Hamas tunnels have been located. "About 500 of the tunnel shafts have been destroyed using a variety of operational methods, including with explosives and blocks. Some of the tunnel shafts connected Hamas' strategic assets via the underground tunnel network. In addition, many miles of the tunnel routes have been destroyed," the IDF said in a statement.
"The tunnel shafts were located in civilian areas, many of which were near or inside civilian buildings and structures, such as schools, kindergartens, mosques and playgrounds. IDF soldiers located large quantities of weapons inside some of the shafts. These findings are further proof of how Hamas deliberately uses the civilian population and infrastructure as a cover for its terrorist activity inside Gaza," the statement said.
A security official confirmed on Sunday that an attempted attack by a Yemeni UAV was thwarted in the Red Sea after reports of UAV activity and an explosion in the Bab al-Mandab strait. Earlier CENTCOM posted a picture of a UAV that was shot down by the U.S. Navy.
The IDF said on Sunday that a rocket that was launched from Syria toward Israel landed in the Golan Heights, causing no damage or injury. The military responded with fire to the source of the launch. Syrian media said Israeli missiles landed near the Syria-Lebanon border but gave no further information. Meanwhile Hamas rockets targeted Gaza border communities multiple times in the morning hours.
Earlier, the IDF named Sergeant First Class (res.) Or Brandes and Staff Sergeant Aschalwu Sama as latest casualties of the war. Brandes, 25, a reserve soldier, was killed in action on Saturday. Sama, 20, who was injured on November 14, before the truce, succumbed to his wounds.
The families of hostages held in Gaza said on Sunday repeated their demand to meet with the war cabinet and that only National Unity leader Benny Gantz and former chief of staff Gadi Eizenkot have agreed. On Saturday, the families asked to meet with Netanyahu and the ministers in the war cabinet to demand that the release of more hostages be made a priority after the fighting in Gaza resumed.
The military said that overnight Saturday, fighter jets and helicopters struck terror targets in the Gaza Strip, including terror tunnel shafts, command centers and weapons storage facilities. "Furthermore, with the direction of IDF ground troops, an IDF UAV targeted and eliminated five Hamas terrorists," the IDF said in a statement.
At least 11 rockets were fired Saturday evening from the Gaza Strip to central Israel, including Tel Aviv area, and most of them were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Saturday that the IDF continues fighting in the Gaza Strip with full force to eliminate the Hamas terror group.
Speaking at a press conference Netanyahu said, "To complete the mission of bringing our captives back and eliminating Hamas, ensuring that Gaza will no longer pose a threat to Israel, we continue to fight with full force. Our soldiers prepared for the decisive victory against Hamas during the cease-fire."
Tens of thousands protested in Tel Aviv, including released hostages who shared their testimonies. Returned hostages say captivity in the Gaza Strip was hell, like a horror movie, and called to bring everyone back.
The IDF Spokesperson's Unit reported Saturday that, following precise IDF and ISA intelligence, Israeli Air Force fighter jets eliminated Hamas’ Shejaiya Battalion Commander, Wessam Farhat.
Farhat began his command over the battalion in 2010 and commanded it during Operation Protective Edge - during which he ordered terrorists to target IDF soldiers in Shejaiya, including a dual attack that resulted in the deaths of six IDF soldiers.
He took part in the planning of the October 7th massacre, during which he directed Hamas Nuhkba terrorists to infiltrate the Nahal Oz Kibbutz and IDF post. In addition, Farhat was one of the masterminds of the 2002 terror attack on Mechinat Atzmona, in which five Israeli civilians were killed. Moreover, he was one of the masterminds of the anti-tank missile terror attack on a civilian bus in Nahal Oz in 2011, in which an Israeli child was killed.
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said Saturday that Hamas broke the cease-fire agreement, and "refused to release 15 women, and 2 children" still held captive in the Gaza Strip.
Gallant added that no military in the world brought back 110 captives alive from a terror group, and as Israel deepens its ground offensive in Gaza, Hamas will agree to release more captives.
First published: 07:59, 12.03.23