In a recent statement from the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), the Israeli military released an image of a group of Hamas figures having a meal together in a Gazan safehouse. The group was eliminated in an IDF airstrike in May 2019.
This announcement is part of the IDF’s effort to share details of their targeted assassinations of Hamas military and political figures. Among the group of individuals was Hamed al-Khoudari, the leader of Hamas in Gaza, as well as four other senior Hamas military and political figures.
The disclosed picture, which was taken during the Ramadan fasting period in May 2019, shows the group enjoying what appears to be a festive evening meal in the presence of their leader, among the other members of their organization. Hamas has charged that the IDF violated international law when they targeted the group.
In a statement from the IDF spokesperson, it was said that the photo was published to show the “dangerous”, “unethical”, and “illegal” activities of Hamas figures at the time of their elimination. According to the statement, “Hamas figures blatantly abusing the cease-fire to plan and execute terror activities and courses of action”.
This announcement comes a time of heightened tensions in the region, following a recent long-range rocket attack from Hamas into the Israeli city of Sderot. In response, airborne IDF troops launched a series of air strikes targeting Hamas military positions in Gaza, sparking fears of a major conflict before mediated de-escalation efforts.
The release of the image of these eliminated Hamas figures further underscores the realities of the conflict in the region. The graphic image is intended as a clear message to the leaders of Hamas; that regardless of international standards, the IDF will continue to use all available means to eliminate the threat posed by their activities and rhetoric.