Tel Aviv: Israel has announced the elimination of a senior Hamas commander in charge of anti-tank missiles in Gaza, as it also beefed up its air security in the Red Sea region following repeated attacks by Yemen’s Houthi rebels.
According to a joint statement by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and the Shin Bet intelligence agency, Muhammad Atzar was killed in an aerial strike on Tuesday. Atzar was responsible for all of Hamas’ anti-tank missile units throughout the Gaza Strip and had overseen several attacks against Israeli civilians and soldiers.
The statement said that Atzar was involved in the regular management and activation of the anti-tank systems and that his death would impair Hamas’ capabilities in this field.
The IDF also said on Wednesday that it had deployed additional air defense systems in the Red Sea area after detecting several missile and drone launches from Yemen at Israel. The IDF said it had intercepted a missile and two drones on Tuesday, and another missile on Wednesday morning near Eilat, Israel’s southernmost city on the Red Sea coast.
Eilat, a popular tourist destination with about 50,000 residents, has been targeted by Houthi attacks in recent weeks. The IDF said it had multiple layers of air defenses in place to protect the city and the surrounding region. The US military is also present in the Red Sea area and has shot down several Houthi projectiles.
The IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari warned that Israel could retaliate against the Houthi attacks, which he said were part of Iran’s efforts to destabilize the Middle East. He said in a press conference on Wednesday: “We have a very high level of defense preparedness.”