Nizar Rayyan is one of the most senior Hamas leaders killed by Israel
In addition, the IAF bombed the homes of three senior Gaza terrorists.
A senior Hamas leader has been killed by an Israeli air strike on his home in the Gaza Strip, Hamas officials say.
Nizar Rayyan, the most senior Hamas figure to be killed since 2004, had urged suicide attacks against Israel.
Palestine Today saysÂ that Sheikh Rayyan knew very well that his house was a target:
Over the past two days, Israeli aircraft bombed a number of the homes of Hamas leadersin the Gaza Strip, but most of the houses were empty
While aware of that, our Sheikh Rayyan refused to come out of his house and remained firm there with a number of his children.
News of the strike came on the sixth day of Israeli strikes on Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip.
Palestinian medical sources say 391 people have been killed. Israel says it is trying to prevent militants from firing rockets into southern Israel.
Mr Rayyan is the most senior Hamas leader to be killed since the death of Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi in April 2004.
Long reach of Israel
Since its bombing campaign began last Saturday, Israel has attacked Hamas fighters and commanders.
Sites linked to Hamas have also been hit, including smuggling tunnels under the border to Egypt, government buildings and security compounds.
Hamas considered Mr Rayyan to be a political leader, but he often wore a military uniform and was close to the group’s armed wing.
Until now, political leaders have not been killed.
The BBC’s Mike Sergeant, in Jerusalem, says this may further strengthen the determination of Hamas to resist the Israeli air assault.
But it will also be seen as an indication that the Israeli military can target key members of the Hamas leadership – the people Israel says are responsible for the rockets being fired towards Israeli towns, our correspondent adds.
Four Israelis have been killed by Palestinian rockets fired into Israel since Saturday.
On Wednesday, Mr Rayyan had promised that Hamas would hit Israel “even deeper” than it has so far.
On the Hamas-run al-Aqsa television channel, he said Hamas militants were preparing for any Israeli ground incursion, saying “we will kill the enemy and take hostages”.
At least four other people, some said to be family members, were also killed in the air raid on Mr Rayyan’s home in the Jabaliya refugee camp in the north of the Gaza Strip.
The deaths come as the main UN agency operating in Gaza, Unwra, has resumed food deliveries, but warned of a dire humanitarian situation in the territory.
Israel is refusing entry to Gaza for international journalists and has declared the area around it a “closed military zone”, leading to speculation a ground offensive into the tiny coastal strip could be imminent.
Israeli President Shimon Peres said it was not his country’s aim to return to the Gaza Strip.
“The aim is to stop terror. Our aim, if you ask me, is a positive one – to make peace,” he told the BBC.
He said it was up to Hamas to end the conflict.
“It depends upon them. Today, after all the death and all the blood, they fired 17 rockets today. What for? If they really care about their people, stop it.”
Hamas plans to defeat Israeli force with epic “last stand” at Gaza City
DEBKAfileÂ Exclusive Report
January 1, 2009, 12:39 PM (GMT+02:00)
DEBKAfile‘s military sources report that Hamas does not propose to put its entire 15,000-strong army in harm’s way against the expected Israeli military invasion. It will confine its resistance to small pockets and sabotage and let Israel troops occupy most of Gaza Strip territory. Assuming the incoming force will stop short of conquering Gaza City and put it to siege, Hamas planners believe this siege force will be Israel’s Achilles heel. They propose to wear it down over weeks by nocturnal guerrilla forays from within Gaza City and force an inconclusive end to the conflict.
Thousands of Hamas combatants have begun infiltrating Gaza City after shedding their uniforms and are taking over civilian apartments.
DEBKAfile‘s military sources disclose that Israel’s war planners have factored Hamas’ thinking into their calculations and built tactics to catch them unawares.
Hamas strategists expect the Israeli ground operation to start with a simultaneous three-prong incursion of armor and special forces from the north, the east and the south. The invaders will occupy most of the 20×40-kilometer area of the Gaza Strip within 5 to 7 days at most, skirting and encircling Gaza City and other main towns. They will then, according to Hamas’ calculations, carve the territory up into five pockets, each with its own military commander.
Pocket 1Â will extend from the southernmost Philadelphi belt on the Egyptian border up to the southern outskirts of Khan Younis. Israeli units will then set about destroying the network of hundreds of smuggling tunnels which has kept Hamas supplied with arms, fuel and reinforcements through Sinai. Cairo may have tacitly approved the Israel plan.
Pocket 2Â will cover the Khan Younes district up to the Kissufim junction.
Pocket 3Â will cover the central region of the Gaza Strip up to the Karni Crossing, including the Moazi and El Bureij refugee camps.
Pocket 4Â will encompass Jebalya, Beit Hanoun, Beit Lahiya, the primary rocket and missile sites, up to the northern border with Israel.
Pocket 5Â An Israeli force will encircle Gaza City and send detachments into the town to liquidate Hamas targets and operatives from allied Palestinian terror groups.
Hamas believes the IDF force will be at its most vulnerable when its Gaza City siege force is faced with an active fighting front of 3,000-5,000 armed Palestinians. By day, they will mingle with the civilian population and by night emerge from hideouts in private homes to hit the Israeli armored forces from the rear with anti-tank weapons and suicide bombers.
The Palestinian group’s leaders are counting on inflicting casualties that will mount up week after week and wear Israeli forces down until they are driven into an ignominious retreat.
Unfortunately, Nasrallah is still running around…
Hizballah top dog: “The Israelis claim they have learned the lessons of the Second Lebanon War, but they haven’t”
Nasrallah, unfortunately, may be right. He says, according to this report, that Israel “has not set a clear target for the current Gaza operation.” By this I take him to be referring to the lack of a clear goal. Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Gabriela Shalev, has said that “the main goal is to destroy completely this terrorist gang,” and one may hope for the world’s sake that the Israelis will stick to that goal, but in 2006, when Israel went after Hizballah in Lebanon,Olmert said that the operation would end when Hizballah disarmed, and — well, that didn’t happen, did it?
“Nasrallah: Israelis haven’t learned lessons of Second Lebanon War,” from theÂ Jerusalem Post, December 31 (thanks to JW):
“The Israelis claim they have learned the lessons of the Second Lebanon War, but they haven’t,” Hizbullah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah said Wednesday night.In a televised speech, Nasrallah said that Israel had not set a clear target for the current Gaza operation, asserting that the IDF wasn’t sure it would achieve anything and that the military action in the Strip would end in failure.
Israel, of course, is forced to fight with one hand tied behind its back — tied by the so-called “international community” that puts enormous pressure, and even convinces the weak-minded in the American government to join in, when the Israeli goal is actually quite simple and straightforward.
That goal is to stop the sending of thousands of rockets indiscriminately (or discriminately, for that matter) into Israel, into such major population centers as Ashkelon, Ashdod, and now Beersheva, requiring nearly a million Israelis to have to worry all the time about the 15 seconds they have to find shelter against incoming rockets. It’s a very simple demand. It has nothing to do with changing the immutable ideology of Hamas. It has nothing to do with winning unwinnable — because firmly inculcated with Islam — hearts and minds. It is purely a military matter: is Hamas going to be allowed to continue a gigantic, a truly monstrous arms buildup, with every kind of missile that the Iranians or others can supply them with, or is it not?
Never mind the Gazan Arabs consistent whine that they have every right — see the Hamas charter, do, it’s long past time that you read it and took it seriously — to steadily pile up rockets and other war materiel for the sole purpoose of using it against Israel, and whenever they can to send those rockets whirring into Israel. Never mind the absurdity of Hamas and the Gazan Arabs complaining of how unfair it is of Israel to try to interdict those arms smuggled into Gaza, and further unfair of Israel to complain when a few dozen such rockets are lobbed during the “ceasefire” every month, and then when Hamas declares (on December 19) that it will no longer “observe” (it never really did, but only diminished the numbers of rockets it used)the ceasefire, and underscores this by sending 70 rockets in a single day toward Israel’s population centers. Never mind all that, and never mind the idiotic notion that Israel has to “win Arab hearts and minds.” That kind of thing can only be said by those who simply refuse to acquaint themselves with Qur’an, Hadith, and Sira, refuse to listen to what the sermons of imams contain, refuse to look at the Arab textbooks, refuse to read any of the great Western scholars — or for that matter the great Muslim scholars — of Islam, refuse to heed the growing number, in the West, of articulate defectors from the Army of Islam, such as Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Wafa Sultan, and Ibn Warraq.
And never mind the whining about Israel not being quick, even being — how dare Israel? — reluctant to supply those who wish to destroy it with electric power supplied by Israel’s grid, and goods and services of every kind, and even conotinued access to free Israeli medical care for difficult cases which the Gazan Arabs, like the “West Bank” Arabs, have come to believe is theirs by right, without the slightest sign of embarrassed recognition of what might be called cognitive dissonance about the “Nazi-like Israelis” who have for decades offered them this access, this service, with scarcely anyone in the Westen world even bothering to note this, as if it were a thing of no account.
No, never mind all that. Never mind that Gazan Arabs do not work, and have not tried in the slightest to do anything except to make war on Israel, for they exist knowing that UNRWA and the Infidel donors of Europe and America will always be there to relieve them of the hard work of existence. And note that the Gazan Arabs and the “West Bank” Arabs and the other so-called “Arab refugees” are the spoiled children of the “international community” that has been so thoroughly penetrated, manipulated, and dominated by the Muslim Arabs, or by an Islamintern, that we find that 2% of the U.N.’s total budget goes each year for the exclusive benefit of the “Palestinian” Arabs, and 3% of the U.N. budget goes for all of the hundreds of millions of other refugees all over the world — and those “Palestinian” so-called “refugee camps” are in essence cities, with — for god’s sake — DVD stores (some of them have been bombed by too-enthusiastic Muslims) and cell-phone stores. Some refugee camps!The Gazan Arabs, who manage to keep themselves on the U.N. and Infidel dole (why are not the rich Arabs taking care of their fellow members of the umma? They, after all, are rolling in still-unspent hundreds of billions, and aren’t Muslims supposed to help fellow Muslims, and didn’t Allah send the oil, and therefore the oil revenues, for the enjoyment not of some but of all of those who constitute his “best of peoples,” that is the Muslim Arabs?
Just keep this in mind: no rockets shot into Israel, no fantastic arms buildup of military equipment, smuggled under several hundred tunnels that have been carefully constructed (and from the secondasry explosions that you can see from the bombing of them, these places were full of arms), and there will be nothing, absolutely nothing, not a gun, not a tank, not an airplane, not a paper airplane, from Israel going into Gaza.
It is a simple choice. It is the most understandable and basic request: stop sending rockets, stop spending all of your energies making war or preparing for war. Leave us alone. That’s all. Just leave us alone. That is what any country — even besieged and thrown-to-the-Muslim-wolves Israel — has a right, and a duty, to demand.
Posted by: HughÂ Â atÂ January 1, 2009 9:40 AM
Israeli strike kills Hamas top dog; AP says this “escalates campaign”
Nizar Rayan: with the virgins?
Rockets into Israel from Gaza? That didn’t escalate anything. Only Israel can escalate the campaign. “Israel kills top Hamas figure, escalating campaign,” by Ibrahim Barzak And Amy Teibel forÂ Associated Press Â via JW
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip â€“ Israel dropped a one-ton bomb on the home of a Hamas strongman Thursday, killing him along with two wives and four children in the first attack on the top leadership of Gaza’s rulers. As the aerial bombardment escalated, the army said it was also poised to launch a ground invasion. Israel also appeared to be sounding out a possible diplomatic exit from the 6-day-old military offensive against Hamas by demanding international monitors as a key term of any future truce.The bombing targeted 49-year-old Nizar Rayan, ranked among Hamas’ top five decision-makers in Gaza. His four-story apartment building crashed to the ground, sending a thick plume of smoke into the air and heavily damaging neighboring buildings. It killed Rayan and 11 others, including two of his four wives and four of his 12 children, Palestinian health officials said. The Muslim faith allows men to have up to four wives.
Israel has made clear that no one in Hamas is immune in this offensive, and the strike that flattened Rayan’s apartment building in the northern town of Jebaliya drove that message home.
“We are trying to hit everybody who is a leader of the organization, and today we hit one of their leaders,” Israeli Vice Premier Haim Ramon said in a television interview.
Hamas leaders went into hiding before Israel launched the offensive on Saturday, but Rayan was known for openly defying Israel, and the military said he had a tunnel under his house that could serve as an escape route.
A professor of Islamic law,
…apparently, therefore, another Misunderstander of Islam…
Rayan was closely tied to Hamas’ military wing and was respected in Gaza for donning combat fatigues and personally participating in clashes against Israeli forces.Â He sent one of his sons on an October 2001 suicide mission that killed two Israeli settlers in Gaza….
Nizar Rayyan of Hamas on God’s Hatred of Jews
02 Jan 2009 01:12 pmNizzar Rayyan, the Hamas leader who was killed, along with two of his wives and several of his children, in an Israeli bombing raid earlier this week, was one of the more bellicose Hamas leaders I have known. I saw him last in Gaza two years ago, at a mosque in the Jabalya Refugee Camp, where I spent quite a lot of time (my bookÂ PrisonersÂ explains why).Â Â
He was one of the more Islamically-learned Hamas leaders I’ve met (Sheikh Ahmed Yassin was learned as well, I think, but he was very hard to understand;Â Abdel Aziz Rantisi, who was the least pleasant of all the Hamas leaders I’ve known, was not very learned at all). In particular, Rayyan was interested in theÂ hadith, the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, with a special interest inÂ hadithÂ that painted Jews in a negative light.Â Rayyan and I discussed the writing of Ibn Taymiyya, the Muslim scholar who lived seven hundred years ago, and who is the intellectual forefather of Sunni radicalism today (it was Ibn Taymiyya who elevated jihad to a kind-of sixth pillar of Islam). Like Ibn Taymiyya, Rayyan was preoccupied with Muslim apostasy. He never quite said so, but I could sense that he thought of Abu Mazen and the other leaders of the Palestinian Authority as traitors not only to the cause of Palestine, but to Islam itself. “You cannot be loyal to Allah and to the CIA at the same time,” he said of his P.A. enemies.
There are things I didn’t know about Rayyan, such as that he had four wives – a fact that tells you something about the culture of Hamas – but I knew that he was sincere in his devotion to the cause of Israel’s annhilation. The question I wrestle with constantly is whether Hamas is truly, theologically implacable. That is to say, whether the organization can remain true to its understanding of Islamic law and God’s word and yet enter into a long-term non-aggression treaty with Israel.Â I tend to think not, though I’ve noticed over the years a certain plasticity of belief among some Hamas ideologues. Also, this is the Middle East, so anything is possible. Â (NOT!)
There was no flexibility with Rayyan. This is what he said when I asked him if he could envision a 50-yearÂ hudnaÂ (or cease-fire) with Israel: “The only reason to have aÂ hudnaÂ is to prepare yourself for the final battle. We don’t need 50 years to prepare ourselves for the final battle with Israel.” There is no chance, he said, that true Islam would ever allow a Jewish state to survive in the Muslim Middle East. “Israel is an impossibility. It is an offense against God.”
I asked him if he believed, as some Hamas theologians do (and certainly as many Hezbollah leaders do) that Jews are the “sons of pigs and apes.” He gave me an interesting answer that reflects a myopic reading of the Koran. “Allah changed disobedient Jews into apes and pigs, it is true, but he specifically said these apes and pigs did not have the ability to reproduce. So it is not literally true that Jews today are descended from pigs and apes, but it is true that some of the ancestors of Jews were transformed into pigs and apes, and it is true that Allah continually makes the Jews pay for their crimes in many different ways. They are a cursed people.”
What are our crimes? I asked Rayyan. “You are murderers of the prophets and you have closed your ears to the Messenger of Allah,” he said. “Jews tried to kill the Prophet, peace be unto him. All throughout history, you have stood in opposition to the word of God.”