Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has vowed to take down the most wanted Hamas terrorist in the Gaza Strip, Ismail Haniyeh. Known as the ‘Butcher of Khan Younis’, Haniyeh is responsible for orchestrating numerous attacks on Israeli civilians and troops in recent years.
Haniyeh, a senior member of the Hamas organisation, became increasingly prominent in the media after his involvement in numerous violent acts of terror in the Gaza Strip. He began by organizing the kidnapping of an IDF soldier, Cpl Gilad Shalit, in 2006, before orchestrating numerous other attacks, including the infiltration of a residential community in southern Israel in 2008 and the bombing of a bus carrying Israeli soldiers near the Gaza border in 2011.
However, it was his brutal attack on a small village in the Khan Younis region of the Gaza Strip this April that earned him his name. During the attack, Haniyeh launched a carefully planned raid on the village and unleashed indiscriminate violence on homes and residents. Witnesses described dramatic scenes of destruction caused by rocket fire and automatic weapons.
Haniyeh’s ability to perpetrate such acts of terror has made him a prime target for the Israeli Defense Forces. In recent weeks, the IDF has launched a large-scale security operation in the Gaza Strip, focusing primarily on locating and detaining Haniyeh and other high-ranking Hamas terrorists.
With the help of rigorous intelligence work, Israeli forces have managed to track down a number of Haniyeh’s key associates, while the prime target is still believed to be hiding in the Gaza Strip. Haniyeh is now believed to be a significant target for the IDF and is thought to carry out varying levels of terror attacks in response to any move by the Israeli forces.
While Haniyeh’s freedom of movement is now largely restricted, the Israeli government is determined to take him down and will continue their search until they find him. If the IDF succeeds in capturing Ismail Haniyeh, it may herald the end of his reign of terror and would mark a significant victory over the Hamas terror organisation.