Israel has formed an elite new unit tasked with hunting down every terrorist involved in Hamas’ surprise attack on Oct. 7. According to reports, specially selected members of Shin Bet (Israel’s FBI) will join. The unit will be named to honor the World War II-era Jewish underground organization NILI — an acronym in Hebrew for “The Eternal of Israel Will Not Lie.”
The Israel Defense Forces believes that Hamas’ Nukhba wing is responsible for the brutal attacks and will task the new specialized unit in tracking down and eliminating each member. The IDF claims that since Oct. 7 it has killed multiple Hamas commanders, including Ali Qadhi and Billal Al Kedra, key players in the attack.
The Hunt Is On
During the attack, more than 2,500 terrorists ambushed scores of towns and villages in southern Israel. The attackers slaughtered, tortured, mutilated and violated at least 1,400 people. Innocent civilians, including the elderly and babies, were not exempt from Hamas’ atrocities. In Israel’s southern Kibbutzim, terrorists threw grenades into bomb shelters, set homes ablaze with residents still inside, and took between 222 and 250 people hostage. Other militants paraglided into the Nova peace festival, murdering 260 festival goers.
The grotesque attacks killed more Jewish people in any single day since the Holocaust. Israeli officials immediately declared war against the terror group and have promised to not stop until every last remnant of Hamas in Gaza is wiped out.
Hamas’ Nukhba Unit
While the IDF has already taken out around a dozen Nukhba members since Oct. 7 in airstrikes and targeted assaults, two terrorists remain at the top of their list. Hamas military commander Muhammad Deif and political official Yahya Sinwar will undoubtedly be the priority for Israel’s new elite unit.
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced last week that “Hamas terrorists have two options: Be killed or surrender unconditionally. There is no third option.” Other officials have promised that Sinwar is a “dead man walking.” As detailed by The Times of Israel: “Israel has singled out the 61-year-old Sinwar, who was elected Hamas leader in Gaza in 2017 after Ismail Haniyeh became the Iran-backed organization’s supreme leader. Military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Richard Hecht called Sinwar the face of evil.” Sinwar was a founding member of Hamas in 1987 during the First Intifada, or uprising, and rose through the ranks as a fierce advocate of armed struggle.”
Since Hamas took control of Gaza in 2007, the group has used its underground tunnel network to facilitate frequent attacks against Israel. Constructed to withstand rocket and missile barrages, these underground tunnels house many of Hamas’ higher-ups, and are likely holding as many as 250 hostages taken during the recent attacks. Israel has been gearing up for a large-scale ground invasion of Gaza, during which its troops aim to obliterate these tunnel systems.
Maya Carlin, a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, is an analyst with the Center for Security Policy and a former Anna Sobol Levy Fellow at IDC Herzliya in Israel. She has by-lines in many publications, including The National Interest, Jerusalem Post, and Times of Israel. You can follow her on Twitter: @MayaCarlin.
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