Perhaps Hamas has not received the memo. Using hospitals as cover and human-shield strategies while plotting terrorist attacks no longer works, at least according to the IDF and Shin Bet. Acting on intelligence that Hamas’ leadership abroad had coordinated weapons distribution from a cell embedded in a Jenin hospital, the IDF conducted a raid and killed its leader and two other operatives.
Hamas had planned to run another October 7-style massacre out of the West Bank using the Ibn Sina hospital as its command center, Israel claims:
According to a joint statement by the IDF, Israel Police’s YAMAM counterterrorism forces, and the Shin Bet, Hamas terrorist Mohammad Jalamna was killed during the operation, along with two fellow terrorists who hid alongside him at the hospital.
27-year-old Jalamna, a resident of the Jenin refugee camp, held direct communications with Hamas leadership abroad. According to the statement, he was responsible for transferring weaponry and ammunition to Hamas terrorists across the West Bank for shooting attacks targeting Israelis. …
Furthermore, Jalamna used the Jenin hospital as a secret base of operations as he was planning an infiltration attack akin to and inspired by the October 7 massacre, it added.
The IDF also released a short video clip of the operation, but it ends before its bloody conclusion. They do have pictures of its aftermath, though:
Fauda, in real life, CRAZY VIDEO of IDF SF dressed as Doctors and nurses raided a hospital in Jenin where the head of Hamas in Jenni and 2 of his deputies were hiding. The force climbed to the 3rd floor and eliminated the 3. pic.twitter.com/gvrdCFCqHj
— Raylan Givens (@JewishWarrior13) January 30, 2024
The other two operatives killed in the raid had a long history of terror activities. Brothers Mohammed and Basel Ghawazi had participated in armed attacks on Israelis in and around the West Bank after the war began, apparently hoping to create a full second front to complicate the IDF’s logistics in Gaza. The Jerusalem Post identifies Basel Ghawazi as a Palestinian Islamic Jihad operative, while Mohammed belonged to “the Jenin battalions,” apparently a reference to Hamas.
This suggests a much closer integration between Hamas and PIJ than some might believe, although it’s been clear that PIJ was a partner in the October 7 massacres. Both groups are proxies for Iran, which means they operate at least in coordination with Tehran. They may be so close as to be indistinguishable, especially if the intel claimed by Shin Bet about another “Al-Aqsa Flood” massacre operation out of this Jenin hospital is accurate.
Worth noting, though: thus far, there’s no mention of any Fatah operatives being caught or killed in this operation, nor in Gaza to my recollection. Fatah and Hamas have a blood feud going since the 2006 elections. It’s no secret that Hamas wants to overthrow the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and wage total war from there, too, and Hamas’ hospital command center may have been one of their strategic locations for carrying out that kind of coup.
Want to guess where the IDF and/or Shin Bet might have gotten their intel about the Ibn Sina hospital? Hmmmm.
Of course, the question may remain as to whether that intel was accurate. The three men caught and killed in the hospital were known terrorists, but were they planning a sequel to the monstrous massacres four months ago? One indicator might be Hamas’ sudden rethinking of a new Qatari proposal for a pause to exchange hostages for prisoners. Yesterday, Hamas had rejected it out of hand, claiming that they will refuse to even discuss an exchange before a full withdrawal from Gaza:
Hamas on Monday evening appeared to reject a new framework for a hostage deal that had been agreed to by Israel, saying it would not accept any agreement that did not include an end to the war and the withdrawal of all Israeli troops from Gaza.
The terror group issued a statement alongside a smaller terror group, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, insisting Israel must halt its “aggression” and pull out of Gaza before any exchange deal takes place.
A senior Hamas official added that the terror group wants a “complete and comprehensive ceasefire” in Gaza.
“We are talking first of all about a complete and comprehensive ceasefire, and not a temporary truce,” Taher al-Nunu told AFP, saying that once the fighting stops, “the rest of the details can be discussed” including a hostage release.
This morning, however, Ismail Haniyeh now says that Hamas will “study” the proposal some more:
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said on Tuesday that the group had received a ceasefire proposal put forward after talks in Paris and would study it, adding he would visit Cairo for discussions on the plan.
Haniyeh said the group’s priority was to end Israel’s military offensive and a full pullout of Israeli forces from Gaza. On Monday night, Hamas rejected the hostage deal drafted in Paris because it did not include a permanent ceasefire. …
[Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed Al-Thani] described how one of the stumbling blocks to the deal had been a Hamas demand for a permanent ceasefire before holding talks, noting that this has now been rescinded.
“There was a clear demand of the permanent ceasefire ahead of the negations,” Thani said, explaining that Qatar had moved Hamas “from that place”, to one “that can lead to a ceasefire in the future. This is what we are all aiming for,” he stated.
Needless to say, that movement off of the demand for a “permanent ceasefire” — a term which Hamas utterly rejects, let’s not forget — was awfully sudden. Thani claims that Qatar “moved them” off that position, but color me skeptical. Was Hamas stalling on a hostage deal while thinking they had an operation about to launch that would net them more hostages for leverage? Or that they could provoke Israel into a war in the West Bank that would draw Jordan into the conflict, while giving them the opportunity to conduct a bloody coup against Mahmoud Abbas?
Maybe, maybe not. Perhaps the Qataris are just that influential. But if they are, then why haven’t they ‘influenced’ Hamas into exiting Gaza? Why hasn’t Qatar ‘moved’ them to release the American hostages that still remain in Hamas hands? That’s a question we should be asking the Qataris, and a question the media should be asking Joe Biden and Antony Blinken.
Of course, much depends on what the Israelis are willing to offer in this swap too, but Benjamin Netanyahu made clear that it won’t be what Hamas has been demanding. There will be no more Gilad Shalit-scale swaps, and there will be no end to the conflict until Hamas is destroyed, the Prime Minister declared this morning:
“This is not another round, not another exchange of strikes, not another operation – a complete victory,” he tells the Bnei David military academy in Eli. “Nothing less than that. I am committed to it, our fighters are committed to it, and the absolute majority of the people are committed to it. We will not settle for less than total victory.”
Turning to reports of a hostage deal, Netanyahu says that Israel “will not end this war with less than the achievement of all its goals. This means the elimination of Hamas, the return of all our hostages, and the promise that Gaza will no longer pose a threat to Israel.”
“We will not remove the IDF from the Gaza Strip and we will not release thousands of terrorists,” he pledges. “None of this will happen. What will happen? Absolute victory!”
We shall see. The Israeli populace desperately wants the hostages freed and are putting enormous political pressure on the unity government to deliver. That desire and pressure is eminently understandable, and temporary pauses to free these kidnapped souls may well be in Israel’s interests, politically and diplomatically. However, it also incentivizes more hostaging, which is why Hamas and PIJ keep wanting to repeat these strategies. It looks as though the IDF and Shin Bet got out ahead of the next Hamas “leverage acquisition” operation in time. They may not get that lucky ahead of the next massacre and mass kidnapping.
Also, the latest episode of The Ed Morrissey Show podcast is now up! Today’s show features:
- Plan B From Obama Space: Will Michelle Obama really replace Joe Biden on the Democrat ticket? Andrew Malcolm makes the pitch, although I’m still very skeptical about the prospects.
- We also debate whether the media’s trying to convince everyone that the GOP primary is over, or whether it’s really over and they’re just grudgingly admitting it.
- Andrew and I also talk football and why we’re looking forward to Taylor Swift’s rookie appearance at the Super Bowl. It’s called FUN, people! Although the NFL has tried its best to kill fun over the last several years …