June 26, 2024 | Flash Brief

Hamas Gunrunner, PIJ Missile Specialist Killed in Israeli Strikes on Gaza

June 26, 2024 | Flash Brief

Hamas Gunrunner, PIJ Missile Specialist Killed in Israeli Strikes on Gaza

Latest Developments

A prominent gunrunner for Hamas and a missile specialist for Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) who doubled up as an employee for a leading humanitarian non-governmental organization (NGO) were eliminated in two separate Israeli Air Force strikes in Gaza on June 25.

Gunrunner Wissam Abu Ishaq was targeted in a drone strike in southern Gaza, where he had “over the last few years directed smuggling through the Rafah Crossing and underground tunnels,” the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said in a statement.

The IDF statement announcing Abu Ishaq’s elimination did not explicitly mention Egypt, whose government claims to have cracked down on smuggling from the Sinai Peninsula into the Palestinian enclave for the past decade. Since the IDF launched a long-delayed sweep of the southern Gaza city of Rafah on May 7, officials say around 20 cross-border tunnels, some of them believed to have been recently active, have been unearthed.

Separately, Fadi al-Wadiya, described by the IDF as an “operative in the PIJ terrorist organization who was involved in the development and advancement of the organization’s missile array,” and who also worked in a clinic run by the Medecins Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) NGO, was killed in a drone strike in Gaza City.  

The IDF noted that al-Wadiya’s expertise in electronics and chemistry had provided valuable assistance to PIJ. In a statement, MSF roundly condemned al-Wadiya’s killing, depicting him as a “healthcare worker” who had been killed “while on his way to provide vital medical care to wounded victims of the endless massacres across Gaza.” MSF made no mention of al-Wadiya’s affiliation with PIJ.

Expert Analysis

“Barely a week goes by without more evidence surfacing of a Sinai pipeline for the Hamas terrorist machinery. The Israelis, apparently keen to save face for their putative security partner south of the border, have avoided publicly calling out Cairo. But one hopes that there are stern conversations taking place behind the scenes — and that the United States, whose lavish aid pay-outs to the Egyptians are a direct outcome of their decision to make peace with Israel, will demand a full reckoning about this lethal duplicity.” — Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO

“In both these strikes, Israel targeted terrorists who played a key operational role in the attacks launched by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Despite Egypt’s insistence that it is closely scrutinizing overland commercial and aid traffic, Abu Ishaq supplied Hamas with arms not only through tunnels but also through the Rafah Crossing. Al-Wadiya, meanwhile, used his position with MSF, a world-renowned NGO, as cover for his terrorist activities that enabled rockets to target innocent Israelis.” Joe Truzman, Senior Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal

“IDF Strikes Gaza’s Islamic University After Hamas Uses It To Launch Missiles,” FDD Flash Brief

Top Hamas Terror Commander Eliminated in Gaza,” FDD Flash Brief

IDF Dismantles Half of Hamas Terrorist Force in Rafah,” FDD Flash Brief

Issues:

Arab Politics Egypt Islamic State Israel Israel at War Jihadism