Israeli security forces have reportedly created a new unit to hunt and kill Hamas terrorists, following Oct. 7 surprise attacks that killed 17 Palestinians in the disputed territories.
The formation of the unit was first reported by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, and appears to be part of a renewed effort to combat the threat posed by Hamas. According to the report, the unit’s primary objective is to engage in targeted assassinations of Hamas militants, with an unspecified goal of “eradicating the terrorist organization.”
The Israeli security agency has been increasingly aggressive in its pursuit of Hamas, carrying out multiple operations against the militant Islamic group over the past year. Most recently, the Israeli military launched a surprise wave of air strikes designed to “weaken and disrupt” the militant group’s ambitions. It was during this operation that 17 Palestinians were killed and dozens more injured.
The newly created unit is reportedly made up of members of the Israeli security agency Shin Bet who have undergone “specialized training.” It will be tasked specifically with tracking down and killing Hamas operatives, with a view to weakening the organization further. The report does not specify how the unit will go about carrying out its mission, but does suggest that “targeted assassinations” of Hamas terrorists are one of its core objectives.
The Israeli government has earned international condemnation for its actions against Hamas, with human rights groups calling its tactics “extrajudicial killings.” However, the Israeli government maintains that it is engaging in a necessary and legitimate form of self-defence, and that its security measures are designed to protect its citizens.
It is unclear how effective the newly formed unit will be, but its presence is a strong indication that the Israeli government is taking a more aggressive approach to combating Hamas. It remains to be seen whether or not these tactics will be successful in eliminating the terrorist group, or if they will merely backfire, resulting in further retaliatory attacks. Regardless, it is clear that the ongoing battle between the two sides is far from over.