Hamas has confirmed that its Gaza City commander has been killed in an Israeli airstrike. Al Jazeera reports Bassem Issa was the groups highest-ranking military figure to be killed by Israel since the war on Gaza in 2014. Issa along with several other commanders formed the military council of Hamas, which decides the group’s operations.
The Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, in a statement said that Issa had been killed along with others during the ongoing fighting in Gaza. Hamas said in a statement: “Thousands of leaders and soldiers will follow in their footsteps.”
Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security agency had earlier stated that a series of Israeli airstrikes had killed Issa and several other senior Hamas fighters.
Meanwhile, according to Reuters, Israel claims to have killed 16 members of the Hamas military wing in Wednesdays airstrike on Gaza. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said “This is just the beginning. We’ll hit them like they’ve never dreamed possible.” A man on a street in Gaza, where people ran out of their homes as explosions rocked buildings, said “Israel has gone crazy.”
Meanwhile, truce efforts by Egypt, Qatar and the United Nations have not been able to bring an end to Israel’s violence. Witnesses and health officials in Gaza said one Israeli air strike killed three people, including a woman, in a car.
Six Israelis reportedly died as a result of rocket attacks. Defence Minister Benny Gantz has threatened that the Israeli military action would continue until “complete and long-term quiet” was achieved.
Umm Muhammed Umar