Two Hamas commanders killed in Israeli air strike in Gaza

More than 50 Palestinians killed since renewed rocket launches into Israel

Fri, Aug 22, 2014, 01:00

Fierce cross-border attacks continued yesterday as Israel claimed a significant military success, killing two leading members of the Hamas military wing in Gaza.

The two men, leading members of the Qassam brigades, were killed, along with a third militant, in an Israeli air strike in Rafah, which demolished a four-storey building, in the early hours of yesterday .

Hamas named the men as Mohammed Abu Shamallah, Raed al-Attar and Mohammed Barhoum.

A crater the size of a residential block was left at the site of the airstrike. At least seven other people were killed in the attack.

Israeli sources said Rafah division commander Raed al-Attar and southern division commander Mohammed Abu Shmallah were the third and fourth on Israel’s most wanted list of senior Hamas commanders.

Israel said all three victims had been heavily involved in militant activity over many years , including the seizure of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in 2006, numerous cross-border attacks and the construction of tunnels.

Pay the price

“The assassination of the Qassam leaders is a great Israeli crime that will not succeed in breaking the will of our people or even weaken the resistance, and Israel will pay the price,” Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said.

Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu praised the “superior intelligence” of the Israel Security Agency and the “precise execution” of the attack.

“Operation Protective Edge will continue until its objective has been fulfilled – the restoration of long-term quiet for the citizens of Israel while causing significant damage to terrorist infrastructure,” he said.

More than 50 Palestinians have been killed since Tuesday night when rockets were launched into southern Israel, bringing an end to the Egyptian-mediated ceasefire talks in Cairo.

Rockets

In Israeli attacks yesterday, three Islamic Jihad militants who were preparing to launch rockets at Israel from Gaza city were killed and three others were seriously wounded.

Four people were killed in Gaza city during an airstrike on a cemetery, where they were burying relatives killed earlier.

Despite the fierce Israeli attacks, militants fired projectiles across southern Israel during the day. One man was seriously injured.

Israel yesterday called up an additional 10,000 army reservists, although most will replace reservists who were called up earlier during its operation in Gaza, now in its sixth week.

There is still confusion surrounds the fate of the Hamas military chief Mohammed Deif, the target of an Israeli air strike on Tuesday night. His wife and two children were killed in the attack , and Israeli officials suspect that Mr Deif was also killed, despite Hamas claims that he survived.

Egypt still hopes the sides will be able to resume negotiations aimed at reaching a long-term ceasefire.

Talks took place yesterday in Doha between Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and exiled Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, aimed at reaching agreement on the resumption of the Cairo talks.

Almost 2,100 Gazans, as well as 67 Israelis, have been killed in the fighting since July 8th.