salam bin abi al-huqaiq (abu rafi‘) was a terrible jew criminal, who had mustered the troops of the confederates and provided them with a lot of wealth and supplies, on the one hand [fath al-bari 7/343], and used to malign the prophet [pbuh], on the other. when the muslims had settled their affair with banu quraiza; al-khazraj tribe, a rival of al-aws, asked for the prophet’s permission to kill that criminal in order to merit a virtue equal to that of al-aws who had killed another criminal of the jews, ka‘b bin al-ashraf. the prophet [pbuh] gave them his permission provided that no women or children be killed.
a group of five people with ‘abdullah bin ‘ateeq at their head, headed for khaibar where ‘abu rafi‘’s fort was situated. when they approached the place, ‘abdullah advised his men to stay a little behind, while he went ahead disguised himself in his cloak as if he had been relieving himself. when the people of the fort went in, the gate-keeper called him to enter thinking he was one of them. ‘abdullah went in and lurked inside. he then began to unbolt the doors leading to salam’s room. there it was absolutely dark but he managed to put him to the sword, and then leave in safety. on his way back, his leg broke so he wrapped it up in a band, and hid in a secret place until morning when someone stood on the wall and announced the death of salam bin abi al-huqaiq officially. on hearing the glad news he left and went to see the prophet [pbuh], who listened to the whole story, and then asked ‘abdullah to stretch his leg, which he wiped and the fracture healed on the spot.[sahih al-bukhari 2/577]
in another version, all the group of five participated in killing that enemy of islam. this incident took place in dhul qa‘dah or dhul hijjah in the year five hijri.[rahmat-al-lil'alameen 2/223]
shortly after the conclusion of the battle with the confederates and quraiza, the prophet [pbuh] began to despatch punitive expeditions to force the aggressive tribes and rebellious arabians to come to peaceful terms with the rising state of islam.