Israel assassinates 'Palestinian Hizballah' leader in Gaza

Israel assassinates 'Palestinian Hizballah' leader in Gaza
Blog: Ahmed al-Sarha, a leading light in a reportedly Iranian-backed militia, was shot dead on Tuesday night.
2 min read
22 Oct, 2015
Iran-backed al-Sabireen has been dubbed 'the new Islamic Jihad' [Getty]
Ahmed al-Sarha was killed on Tuesday evening, shot by a sniper in a joint operation between the Israeli army and the Shin Bet spy agency.

Sarha was a military leader in al-Sabireen, a Gazan militant group thought to be backed by Iran.

Al-Sabireen confirmed in a press release that he had been responsible for monitoring and surveillance on the borders of the camp and Israel. He was killed just east of al-Bureij refugee camp in Gaza.

The movement, which emerged earlier this year, said that Sarha was supervising a mission ahead of an expected confrontation with the Israeli army.

The Israeli military spokesperson, Ovijaa Odraei, said Sarha's cell had been targeting the Israeli military on the border for the past week.

The militant group was founded earlier this year, following Iran's funding cuts to Islamic Jihad, another militant group in Gaza they had previously been financing.

The group grew quickly due to its increased funding, at one point mostly comprising fighters who had defected from Islamic Jihad.

However, the group came under fire for preaching Shia Islam in the conservative Sunni Gaza Strip. Hamas attempted to contain scuffles between its own militant wing and Sabireen supporters - at one point reportedly sheltering the new movement's leader, Hisam Salim. 

The militant group was outlawed in Gaza by Hamas in August, although this latest shooting would suggest that the group is still active.