Islamic Jihad militant commander Khaled Mansour, who was killed in an Israeli missile attack in southern Gaza on Saturday night, is responsible for rocket and mortar attacks on Israel years ago, according to the Israeli military .
The Israeli military said Mr Mansour, who led the militant group’s operations in southern Gaza, was a military rank equivalent to a general. It added that he claimed responsibility for an attack that killed two Israeli soldiers in 2010 and was involved in another attack in 2004 that wounded an Israeli commander of the southern Gaza brigade.
One of the soldiers killed in 2010, Maj. Eliraz Peretz, was an almost household name in Israel. His mother, Miriam Peretz, who lost two uniformed sons in two separate hostilities, has become a national symbol of sacrifice.
According to Islamic Jihad, the body of Mr. Mansour was dragged from the rubble of a collapsed building in the Rafah refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip, along with the bodies of his deputy and another militant, including a child. five civilians included.
The militant group mourned their deaths in a statement and vowed to retaliate with more rocket attacks. The surviving leader of Islamic Jihad attended the funeral of the victims on Sunday.
Israeli military officials said they regretted the deaths of civilians in Gaza and pledged to investigate them. But they accused the militants of operating outside residential areas and using Gaza residents as “human shields”.
The military also claimed that Mr. Mansour had been planning an attack on Israel using anti-tank missiles and rockets.
Mr. Mansour’s assassination came after Taysir al-Jabari, the Islamic Jihad commander in charge of northern Gaza, was killed in an Israeli attack on Friday, sparking the latest outbreak of fighting. Israel said the attack thwarted a plan by the group to launch an anti-tank missile strike along the border to avenge the arrest of a senior Islamic Jihad commander in the West Bank.
Fady Hanona contributed reporting from Gaza City.