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Israeli airstrike kills 3 senior Hamas leaders

KDWN

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — An Israeli airstrike in Gaza killed three senior Hamas military commanders Thursday, delivering a likely blow to the organization’s morale and highlighting the long reach of Israel’s intelligence services.

The strike marked a further escalation in fighting after Egyptian efforts to end the war collapsed earlier this week, and signaled no end in sight for violence that has killed more than 2,000 Palestinians and 67 Israelis.

The pre-dawn strike leveled a four-story house in a densely populated neighborhood of the southern town of Rafah, killing six people, including the three senior Hamas commanders.

Israel said the trio had played a key role in expanding Hamas’ military capabilities in recent years, including digging attack tunnels leading to Israel, training fighters and smuggling weapons to Gaza.

Thousands of Palestinians marched through Rafah in a funeral procession Thursday afternoon firing guns, waving flags of different militant groups and chanting religious slogans. Those killed were carried aloft through the crowd on stretchers, wrapped in green Hamas flags.

Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, said Israel “will not succeed in breaking the will of our people or weaken the resistance,” and that Israel “will pay the price.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the “superior intelligence” of the Shin Bet security service and the military’s “precise execution” of the attack.

Israel approved 10,000 reservists to be called up for duty Thursday afternoon. But not all of them were mobilized immediately, a defense official said on condition of anonymity because he is not allowed to brief the media.

About two thousand reservists who were sent home about two weeks ago, when the violence appeared to have subsided, were called back for service on Wednesday.

The killing of the three Hamas commanders will likely buy Netanyahu some time as the Israeli public becomes increasingly impatient with the government’s inability to halt rocket fire from Gaza.

Gaza police and witnesses said several missiles hit the four-story building. Israel and Hamas identified the three commanders killed in the 3 a.m. airstrike as Mohammed Abu Shamaleh, Raed Attar and Mohammed Barhoum.

In pinpointing the whereabouts of the Hamas commanders, Israel likely relied to some extent on local informers. Israel has maintained a network of informers despite its withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, in some cases using blackmail or the lure of exit permits to win cooperation.

Al Majd, a website linked to the Hamas security services, said Thursday that seven suspected informers were arrested in recent days and that three were killed “after the completion of the revolutionary procedures against them.”

It was the second time during the Gaza war that the website announced suspected informers had been killed by Hamas.

The Rafah attack came a day after an apparent Israeli attempt to kill the top Hamas military leader, Mohammed Deif, in an airstrike on a house in Gaza City. Deif’s wife and an infant son were killed in that strike, but the Hamas military wing said Deif was not in the targeted home at the time.

The body of his daughter, five-year-old Sara Deif, was recovered from underneath the rubble on Thursday, the Gaza Health Ministry said.

The back-to-back targeting of top Hamas military leaders came after indirect Israel-Hamas negotiations in Cairo on a sustainable truce broke down Tuesday. Gaza militants resumed rocket fire on Israel, even before the formal end of a six-day truce.

Since then, Gaza militants have fired dozens more rockets, and Israeli aircraft have struck dozens of targets in Gaza, dimming prospects for a resumption of the talks.

For now, the sides are sticking to unbridgeable demands. Hamas is demanding an end to an Israeli-Egypt blockade of Gaza. Israel, unwilling to grant Hamas any major concession it could claim as a victory in the six-week war, is demanding that Hamas disarm.

Despite the crisis, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was holding talks in Qatar on Thursday with Hamas’ top political leader in exile, Khaled Mashaal, and the emir of Qatar.

Hamas has rejected the Egyptian proposal, saying it contained no commitments by Israel to ease the border blockade of Gaza, which was imposed after the Hamas takeover of Gaza in 2007.

Israel says the blockade is needed to prevent Hamas and other militant groups from getting weapons. The restrictions prevent most Gazans from traveling outside the crowded coastal strip and bar most exports.

Since the Gaza war erupted six weeks ago, more than 2,000 Palestinians have been killed and about 100,000 left homeless, according to the U.N. and Palestinian officials. Israel has lost 67 people, all but three of them soldiers.

It was unclear if the killing of the three Hamas commanders would affect its ability to fire rockets. Israel estimated that Hamas had 10,000 rockets before the war and has lost about two-thirds of its arsenal since then.

Israel’s military and Shin Bet internal security service emphasized the importance of the three Hamas commanders.

Abu Shamaleh had been the top Hamas commander in southern Gaza, while Attar was in charge of weapons smuggling and the construction of attack tunnels, and had played a role in the capture of Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit in 2006. Barhoum was a senior Hamas operative in Rafah, a joint statement said.

Abu Shamaleh was a comrade of Deif’s who was involved in planning and carrying out at least four major attacks on Israeli soldiers since the 1990s, including one in 2004 that killed four and wounded 10, the statement said.

Attar, it said, was responsible for orchestrating a series of complex attacks on Israeli targets, including through the Sinai Peninsula in neighboring Egypt.

In addition to the Hamas operatives, three others were killed in the Rafah strike, including a resident of the house and two neighbors, according to Palestinian health official Ashraf al-Kidra.

At least 20 people, including four children, were killed in 31 airstrikes across Gaza, according to al-Kidra. Israel also targeted smuggling tunnels along the Gaza border with Egypt.

The military said 55 rockets and mortars were fired from Gaza since midnight Wednesday, compared to more than 210 over the previous 30 hours.

An Israeli was seriously wounded when a mortar hit south of the southern city of Ashkelon on Thursday, it said.

In a nationally televised address Wednesday, Netanyahu showed little willingness to return to the negotiating table after six weeks of war with Hamas.

“We are determined to continue the campaign with all means and as is needed,” he said.

Enav reported from Jerusalem. Associated Press writers Karin Laub in Gaza City and Ian Deitch in Jerusalem contributed to this report.

Israeli airstrike kills 3 senior Hamas leaders

KDWN

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — An Israeli airstrike in Gaza killed three senior Hamas military commanders Thursday, delivering a likely blow to the organization’s morale and highlighting the long reach of Israel’s intelligence services.

The strike marked a further escalation in fighting after Egyptian efforts to end the war collapsed earlier this week, and signaled no end in sight for violence that has killed more than 2,000 Palestinians and 67 Israelis.

The pre-dawn strike leveled a four-story house in a densely populated neighborhood of the southern town of Rafah, killing six people, including the three senior Hamas commanders.

Israel said the trio had played a key role in expanding Hamas’ military capabilities in recent years, including digging attack tunnels leading to Israel, training fighters and smuggling weapons to Gaza.

Thousands of Palestinians marched through Rafah in a funeral procession Thursday afternoon firing guns, waving flags of different militant groups and chanting religious slogans. Those killed were carried aloft through the crowd on stretchers, wrapped in green Hamas flags.

Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, said Israel “will not succeed in breaking the will of our people or weaken the resistance,” and that Israel “will pay the price.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the “superior intelligence” of the Shin Bet security service and the military’s “precise execution” of the attack.

Israel approved 10,000 reservists to be called up for duty Thursday afternoon. But not all of them were mobilized immediately, a defense official said on condition of anonymity because he is not allowed to brief the media.

About two thousand reservists who were sent home about two weeks ago, when the violence appeared to have subsided, were called back for service on Wednesday.

The killing of the three Hamas commanders will likely buy Netanyahu some time as the Israeli public becomes increasingly impatient with the government’s inability to halt rocket fire from Gaza.

Gaza police and witnesses said several missiles hit the four-story building. Israel and Hamas identified the three commanders killed in the 3 a.m. airstrike as Mohammed Abu Shamaleh, Raed Attar and Mohammed Barhoum.

In pinpointing the whereabouts of the Hamas commanders, Israel likely relied to some extent on local informers. Israel has maintained a network of informers despite its withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, in some cases using blackmail or the lure of exit permits to win cooperation.

Al Majd, a website linked to the Hamas security services, said Thursday that seven suspected informers were arrested in recent days and that three were killed “after the completion of the revolutionary procedures against them.”

It was the second time during the Gaza war that the website announced suspected informers had been killed by Hamas.

The Rafah attack came a day after an apparent Israeli attempt to kill the top Hamas military leader, Mohammed Deif, in an airstrike on a house in Gaza City. Deif’s wife and an infant son were killed in that strike, but the Hamas military wing said Deif was not in the targeted home at the time.

The body of his daughter, five-year-old Sara Deif, was recovered from underneath the rubble on Thursday, the Gaza Health Ministry said.

The back-to-back targeting of top Hamas military leaders came after indirect Israel-Hamas negotiations in Cairo on a sustainable truce broke down Tuesday. Gaza militants resumed rocket fire on Israel, even before the formal end of a six-day truce.

Since then, Gaza militants have fired dozens more rockets, and Israeli aircraft have struck dozens of targets in Gaza, dimming prospects for a resumption of the talks.

For now, the sides are sticking to unbridgeable demands. Hamas is demanding an end to an Israeli-Egypt blockade of Gaza. Israel, unwilling to grant Hamas any major concession it could claim as a victory in the six-week war, is demanding that Hamas disarm.

Despite the crisis, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was holding talks in Qatar on Thursday with Hamas’ top political leader in exile, Khaled Mashaal, and the emir of Qatar.

Hamas has rejected the Egyptian proposal, saying it contained no commitments by Israel to ease the border blockade of Gaza, which was imposed after the Hamas takeover of Gaza in 2007.

Israel says the blockade is needed to prevent Hamas and other militant groups from getting weapons. The restrictions prevent most Gazans from traveling outside the crowded coastal strip and bar most exports.

Since the Gaza war erupted six weeks ago, more than 2,000 Palestinians have been killed and about 100,000 left homeless, according to the U.N. and Palestinian officials. Israel has lost 67 people, all but three of them soldiers.

It was unclear if the killing of the three Hamas commanders would affect its ability to fire rockets. Israel estimated that Hamas had 10,000 rockets before the war and has lost about two-thirds of its arsenal since then.

Israel’s military and Shin Bet internal security service emphasized the importance of the three Hamas commanders.

Abu Shamaleh had been the top Hamas commander in southern Gaza, while Attar was in charge of weapons smuggling and the construction of attack tunnels, and had played a role in the capture of Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit in 2006. Barhoum was a senior Hamas operative in Rafah, a joint statement said.

Abu Shamaleh was a comrade of Deif’s who was involved in planning and carrying out at least four major attacks on Israeli soldiers since the 1990s, including one in 2004 that killed four and wounded 10, the statement said.

Attar, it said, was responsible for orchestrating a series of complex attacks on Israeli targets, including through the Sinai Peninsula in neighboring Egypt.

In addition to the Hamas operatives, three others were killed in the Rafah strike, including a resident of the house and two neighbors, according to Palestinian health official Ashraf al-Kidra.

At least 20 people, including four children, were killed in 31 airstrikes across Gaza, according to al-Kidra. Israel also targeted smuggling tunnels along the Gaza border with Egypt.

The military said 55 rockets and mortars were fired from Gaza since midnight Wednesday, compared to more than 210 over the previous 30 hours.

An Israeli was seriously wounded when a mortar hit south of the southern city of Ashkelon on Thursday, it said.

In a nationally televised address Wednesday, Netanyahu showed little willingness to return to the negotiating table after six weeks of war with Hamas.

“We are determined to continue the campaign with all means and as is needed,” he said.

Enav reported from Jerusalem. Associated Press writers Karin Laub in Gaza City and Ian Deitch in Jerusalem contributed to this report.

Israeli airstrike kills 3 senior Hamas leaders

KDWN

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — An Israeli airstrike in Gaza killed three senior Hamas military commanders Thursday, delivering a likely blow to the organization’s morale and highlighting the long reach of Israel’s intelligence services.

The strike marked a further escalation in fighting after Egyptian efforts to end the war collapsed earlier this week, and signaled no end in sight for violence that has killed more than 2,000 Palestinians and 67 Israelis.

The pre-dawn strike leveled a four-story house in a densely populated neighborhood of the southern town of Rafah, killing six people, including the three senior Hamas commanders.

Israel said the trio had played a key role in expanding Hamas’ military capabilities in recent years, including digging attack tunnels leading to Israel, training fighters and smuggling weapons to Gaza.

Thousands of Palestinians marched through Rafah in a funeral procession Thursday afternoon firing guns, waving flags of different militant groups and chanting religious slogans. Those killed were carried aloft through the crowd on stretchers, wrapped in green Hamas flags.

Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, said Israel “will not succeed in breaking the will of our people or weaken the resistance,” and that Israel “will pay the price.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the “superior intelligence” of the Shin Bet security service and the military’s “precise execution” of the attack.

Israel approved 10,000 reservists to be called up for duty Thursday afternoon. But not all of them were mobilized immediately, a defense official said on condition of anonymity because he is not allowed to brief the media.

About two thousand reservists who were sent home about two weeks ago, when the violence appeared to have subsided, were called back for service on Wednesday.

The killing of the three Hamas commanders will likely buy Netanyahu some time as the Israeli public becomes increasingly impatient with the government’s inability to halt rocket fire from Gaza.

Gaza police and witnesses said several missiles hit the four-story building. Israel and Hamas identified the three commanders killed in the 3 a.m. airstrike as Mohammed Abu Shamaleh, Raed Attar and Mohammed Barhoum.

In pinpointing the whereabouts of the Hamas commanders, Israel likely relied to some extent on local informers. Israel has maintained a network of informers despite its withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, in some cases using blackmail or the lure of exit permits to win cooperation.

Al Majd, a website linked to the Hamas security services, said Thursday that seven suspected informers were arrested in recent days and that three were killed “after the completion of the revolutionary procedures against them.”

It was the second time during the Gaza war that the website announced suspected informers had been killed by Hamas.

The Rafah attack came a day after an apparent Israeli attempt to kill the top Hamas military leader, Mohammed Deif, in an airstrike on a house in Gaza City. Deif’s wife and an infant son were killed in that strike, but the Hamas military wing said Deif was not in the targeted home at the time.

The body of his daughter, five-year-old Sara Deif, was recovered from underneath the rubble on Thursday, the Gaza Health Ministry said.

The back-to-back targeting of top Hamas military leaders came after indirect Israel-Hamas negotiations in Cairo on a sustainable truce broke down Tuesday. Gaza militants resumed rocket fire on Israel, even before the formal end of a six-day truce.

Since then, Gaza militants have fired dozens more rockets, and Israeli aircraft have struck dozens of targets in Gaza, dimming prospects for a resumption of the talks.

For now, the sides are sticking to unbridgeable demands. Hamas is demanding an end to an Israeli-Egypt blockade of Gaza. Israel, unwilling to grant Hamas any major concession it could claim as a victory in the six-week war, is demanding that Hamas disarm.

Despite the crisis, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was holding talks in Qatar on Thursday with Hamas’ top political leader in exile, Khaled Mashaal, and the emir of Qatar.

Hamas has rejected the Egyptian proposal, saying it contained no commitments by Israel to ease the border blockade of Gaza, which was imposed after the Hamas takeover of Gaza in 2007.

Israel says the blockade is needed to prevent Hamas and other militant groups from getting weapons. The restrictions prevent most Gazans from traveling outside the crowded coastal strip and bar most exports.

Since the Gaza war erupted six weeks ago, more than 2,000 Palestinians have been killed and about 100,000 left homeless, according to the U.N. and Palestinian officials. Israel has lost 67 people, all but three of them soldiers.

It was unclear if the killing of the three Hamas commanders would affect its ability to fire rockets. Israel estimated that Hamas had 10,000 rockets before the war and has lost about two-thirds of its arsenal since then.

Israel’s military and Shin Bet internal security service emphasized the importance of the three Hamas commanders.

Abu Shamaleh had been the top Hamas commander in southern Gaza, while Attar was in charge of weapons smuggling and the construction of attack tunnels, and had played a role in the capture of Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit in 2006. Barhoum was a senior Hamas operative in Rafah, a joint statement said.

Abu Shamaleh was a comrade of Deif’s who was involved in planning and carrying out at least four major attacks on Israeli soldiers since the 1990s, including one in 2004 that killed four and wounded 10, the statement said.

Attar, it said, was responsible for orchestrating a series of complex attacks on Israeli targets, including through the Sinai Peninsula in neighboring Egypt.

In addition to the Hamas operatives, three others were killed in the Rafah strike, including a resident of the house and two neighbors, according to Palestinian health official Ashraf al-Kidra.

At least 20 people, including four children, were killed in 31 airstrikes across Gaza, according to al-Kidra. Israel also targeted smuggling tunnels along the Gaza border with Egypt.

The military said 55 rockets and mortars were fired from Gaza since midnight Wednesday, compared to more than 210 over the previous 30 hours.

An Israeli was seriously wounded when a mortar hit south of the southern city of Ashkelon on Thursday, it said.

In a nationally televised address Wednesday, Netanyahu showed little willingness to return to the negotiating table after six weeks of war with Hamas.

“We are determined to continue the campaign with all means and as is needed,” he said.

Enav reported from Jerusalem. Associated Press writers Karin Laub in Gaza City and Ian Deitch in Jerusalem contributed to this report.

Israeli airstrike kills 3 senior Hamas leaders

KDWN

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — An Israeli airstrike in Gaza killed three senior Hamas military commanders Thursday, delivering a likely blow to the organization’s morale and highlighting the long reach of Israel’s intelligence services.

The strike marked a further escalation in fighting after Egyptian efforts to end the war collapsed earlier this week, and signaled no end in sight for violence that has killed more than 2,000 Palestinians and 67 Israelis.

The pre-dawn strike leveled a four-story house in a densely populated neighborhood of the southern town of Rafah, killing six people, including the three senior Hamas commanders.

Israel said the trio had played a key role in expanding Hamas’ military capabilities in recent years, including digging attack tunnels leading to Israel, training fighters and smuggling weapons to Gaza.

Thousands of Palestinians marched through Rafah in a funeral procession Thursday afternoon firing guns, waving flags of different militant groups and chanting religious slogans. Those killed were carried aloft through the crowd on stretchers, wrapped in green Hamas flags.

Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, said Israel “will not succeed in breaking the will of our people or weaken the resistance,” and that Israel “will pay the price.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the “superior intelligence” of the Shin Bet security service and the military’s “precise execution” of the attack.

Israel approved 10,000 reservists to be called up for duty Thursday afternoon. But not all of them were mobilized immediately, a defense official said on condition of anonymity because he is not allowed to brief the media.

About two thousand reservists who were sent home about two weeks ago, when the violence appeared to have subsided, were called back for service on Wednesday.

The killing of the three Hamas commanders will likely buy Netanyahu some time as the Israeli public becomes increasingly impatient with the government’s inability to halt rocket fire from Gaza.

Gaza police and witnesses said several missiles hit the four-story building. Israel and Hamas identified the three commanders killed in the 3 a.m. airstrike as Mohammed Abu Shamaleh, Raed Attar and Mohammed Barhoum.

In pinpointing the whereabouts of the Hamas commanders, Israel likely relied to some extent on local informers. Israel has maintained a network of informers despite its withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, in some cases using blackmail or the lure of exit permits to win cooperation.

Al Majd, a website linked to the Hamas security services, said Thursday that seven suspected informers were arrested in recent days and that three were killed “after the completion of the revolutionary procedures against them.”

It was the second time during the Gaza war that the website announced suspected informers had been killed by Hamas.

The Rafah attack came a day after an apparent Israeli attempt to kill the top Hamas military leader, Mohammed Deif, in an airstrike on a house in Gaza City. Deif’s wife and an infant son were killed in that strike, but the Hamas military wing said Deif was not in the targeted home at the time.

The body of his daughter, five-year-old Sara Deif, was recovered from underneath the rubble on Thursday, the Gaza Health Ministry said.

The back-to-back targeting of top Hamas military leaders came after indirect Israel-Hamas negotiations in Cairo on a sustainable truce broke down Tuesday. Gaza militants resumed rocket fire on Israel, even before the formal end of a six-day truce.

Since then, Gaza militants have fired dozens more rockets, and Israeli aircraft have struck dozens of targets in Gaza, dimming prospects for a resumption of the talks.

For now, the sides are sticking to unbridgeable demands. Hamas is demanding an end to an Israeli-Egypt blockade of Gaza. Israel, unwilling to grant Hamas any major concession it could claim as a victory in the six-week war, is demanding that Hamas disarm.

Despite the crisis, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was holding talks in Qatar on Thursday with Hamas’ top political leader in exile, Khaled Mashaal, and the emir of Qatar.

Hamas has rejected the Egyptian proposal, saying it contained no commitments by Israel to ease the border blockade of Gaza, which was imposed after the Hamas takeover of Gaza in 2007.

Israel says the blockade is needed to prevent Hamas and other militant groups from getting weapons. The restrictions prevent most Gazans from traveling outside the crowded coastal strip and bar most exports.

Since the Gaza war erupted six weeks ago, more than 2,000 Palestinians have been killed and about 100,000 left homeless, according to the U.N. and Palestinian officials. Israel has lost 67 people, all but three of them soldiers.

It was unclear if the killing of the three Hamas commanders would affect its ability to fire rockets. Israel estimated that Hamas had 10,000 rockets before the war and has lost about two-thirds of its arsenal since then.

Israel’s military and Shin Bet internal security service emphasized the importance of the three Hamas commanders.

Abu Shamaleh had been the top Hamas commander in southern Gaza, while Attar was in charge of weapons smuggling and the construction of attack tunnels, and had played a role in the capture of Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit in 2006. Barhoum was a senior Hamas operative in Rafah, a joint statement said.

Abu Shamaleh was a comrade of Deif’s who was involved in planning and carrying out at least four major attacks on Israeli soldiers since the 1990s, including one in 2004 that killed four and wounded 10, the statement said.

Attar, it said, was responsible for orchestrating a series of complex attacks on Israeli targets, including through the Sinai Peninsula in neighboring Egypt.

In addition to the Hamas operatives, three others were killed in the Rafah strike, including a resident of the house and two neighbors, according to Palestinian health official Ashraf al-Kidra.

At least 20 people, including four children, were killed in 31 airstrikes across Gaza, according to al-Kidra. Israel also targeted smuggling tunnels along the Gaza border with Egypt.

The military said 55 rockets and mortars were fired from Gaza since midnight Wednesday, compared to more than 210 over the previous 30 hours.

An Israeli was seriously wounded when a mortar hit south of the southern city of Ashkelon on Thursday, it said.

In a nationally televised address Wednesday, Netanyahu showed little willingness to return to the negotiating table after six weeks of war with Hamas.

“We are determined to continue the campaign with all means and as is needed,” he said.

Enav reported from Jerusalem. Associated Press writers Karin Laub in Gaza City and Ian Deitch in Jerusalem contributed to this report.

Israeli airstrike kills 3 senior Hamas leaders

KDWN

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — An Israeli airstrike in Gaza killed three senior Hamas military commanders Thursday, delivering a likely blow to the organization’s morale and highlighting the long reach of Israel’s intelligence services.

The strike marked a further escalation in fighting after Egyptian efforts to end the war collapsed earlier this week, and signaled no end in sight for violence that has killed more than 2,000 Palestinians and 67 Israelis.

The pre-dawn strike leveled a four-story house in a densely populated neighborhood of the southern town of Rafah, killing six people, including the three senior Hamas commanders.

Israel said the trio had played a key role in expanding Hamas’ military capabilities in recent years, including digging attack tunnels leading to Israel, training fighters and smuggling weapons to Gaza.

Thousands of Palestinians marched through Rafah in a funeral procession Thursday afternoon firing guns, waving flags of different militant groups and chanting religious slogans. Those killed were carried aloft through the crowd on stretchers, wrapped in green Hamas flags.

Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, said Israel “will not succeed in breaking the will of our people or weaken the resistance,” and that Israel “will pay the price.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the “superior intelligence” of the Shin Bet security service and the military’s “precise execution” of the attack.

An Israeli defense official said that tens of thousands of reserve soldiers would be called up for duty later Thursday. The official spoke anonymously as he is not allowed to brief the media. About two thousand reservists who were sent home about two weeks ago, when the violence appeared to have subsided, were called back for service on Wednesday.

The killing of the three Hamas commanders will likely buy Netanyahu some time as the Israeli public becomes increasingly impatient with the government’s inability to halt rocket fire from Gaza.

Gaza police and witnesses said several missiles hit the four-story building. Israel and Hamas identified the three commanders killed in the 3 a.m. airstrike as Mohammed Abu Shamaleh, Raed Attar and Mohammed Barhoum.

In pinpointing the whereabouts of the Hamas commanders, Israel likely relied to some extent on local informers. Israel has maintained a network of informers despite its withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, in some cases using blackmail or the lure of exit permits to win cooperation.

Al Majd, a website linked to the Hamas security services, said Thursday that seven suspected informers were arrested in recent days and that three were killed “after the completion of the revolutionary procedures against them.”

It was the second time during the Gaza war that the website announced suspected informers had been killed by Hamas.

The Rafah attack came a day after an apparent Israeli attempt to kill the top Hamas military leader, Mohammed Deif, in an airstrike on a house in Gaza City. Deif’s wife and an infant son were killed in that strike, but the Hamas military wing said Deif was not in the targeted home at the time.

The body of his daughter, five-year-old Sara Deif, was recovered from underneath the rubble on Thursday, the Gaza Health Ministry said.

The back-to-back targeting of top Hamas military leaders came after indirect Israel-Hamas negotiations in Cairo on a sustainable truce broke down Tuesday. Gaza militants resumed rocket fire on Israel, even before the formal end of a six-day truce.

Since then, Gaza militants have fired dozens more rockets, and Israeli aircraft have struck dozens of targets in Gaza, dimming prospects for a resumption of the talks.

For now, the sides are sticking to unbridgeable demands. Hamas is demanding an end to an Israeli-Egypt blockade of Gaza. Israel, unwilling to grant Hamas any major concession it could claim as a victory in the six-week war, is demanding that Hamas disarm.

Despite the crisis, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was holding talks in Qatar on Thursday with Hamas’ top political leader in exile, Khaled Mashaal, and the emir of Qatar.

Hamas has rejected the Egyptian proposal, saying it contained no commitments by Israel to ease the border blockade of Gaza, which was imposed after the Hamas takeover of Gaza in 2007.

Israel says the blockade is needed to prevent Hamas and other militant groups from getting weapons. The restrictions prevent most Gazans from traveling outside the crowded coastal strip and bar most exports.

Since the Gaza war erupted six weeks ago, more than 2,000 Palestinians have been killed and about 100,000 left homeless, according to the U.N. and Palestinian officials. Israel has lost 67 people, all but three of them soldiers.

It was unclear if the killing of the three Hamas commanders would affect its ability to fire rockets. Israel estimated that Hamas had 10,000 rockets before the war and has lost about two-thirds of its arsenal since then.

Israel’s military and Shin Bet internal security service emphasized the importance of the three Hamas commanders.

Abu Shamaleh had been the top Hamas commander in southern Gaza, while Attar was in charge of weapons smuggling and the construction of attack tunnels, and had played a role in the capture of Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit in 2006. Barhoum was a senior Hamas operative in Rafah, a joint statement said.

Abu Shamaleh was a comrade of Deif’s who was involved in planning and carrying out at least four major attacks on Israeli soldiers since the 1990s, including one in 2004 that killed four and wounded 10, the statement said.

Attar, it said, was responsible for orchestrating a series of complex attacks on Israeli targets, including through the Sinai Peninsula in neighboring Egypt.

In addition to the Hamas operatives, three others were killed in the Rafah strike, including a resident of the house and two neighbors, according to Palestinian health official Ashraf al-Kidra.

At least 20 people, including four children, were killed in 31 airstrikes across Gaza, according to al-Kidra. Israel also targeted smuggling tunnels along the Gaza border with Egypt.

The military said 55 rockets and mortars were fired from Gaza since midnight Wednesday, compared to more than 210 over the previous 30 hours.

An Israeli was seriously wounded when a mortar hit south of the southern city of Ashkelon on Thursday, it said.

In a nationally televised address Wednesday, Netanyahu showed little willingness to return to the negotiating table after six weeks of war with Hamas.

“We are determined to continue the campaign with all means and as is needed,” he said.

Enav reported from Jerusalem. Associated Press writers Karin Laub in Gaza City and Ian Deitch in Jerusalem contributed to this report.

Israeli airstrike kills 3 senior Hamas leaders

KDWN

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — An Israeli airstrike in Gaza killed three senior Hamas military commanders Thursday, delivering a likely blow to the organization’s morale and highlighting the long reach of Israel’s intelligence services.

The strike marked a further escalation in fighting after Egyptian efforts to end the war collapsed earlier this week, and signaled no end in sight for violence that has killed more than 2,000 Palestinians and 67 Israelis.

The pre-dawn strike leveled a four-story house in a densely populated neighborhood of the southern town of Rafah, killing six people, including the three senior Hamas commanders.

Israel said the trio had played a key role in expanding Hamas’ military capabilities in recent years, including digging attack tunnels leading to Israel, training fighters and smuggling weapons to Gaza.

Thousands of Palestinians marched through Rafah in a funeral procession Thursday afternoon firing guns, waving flags of different militant groups and chanting religious slogans. Those killed were carried aloft through the crowd on stretchers, wrapped in green Hamas flags.

Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, said Israel “will not succeed in breaking the will of our people or weaken the resistance,” and that Israel “will pay the price.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the “superior intelligence” of the Shin Bet security service and the military’s “precise execution” of the attack.

An Israeli defense official said that tens of thousands of reserve soldiers would be called up for duty later Thursday. The official spoke anonymously as he is not allowed to brief the media. About two thousand reservists who were sent home about two weeks ago, when the violence appeared to have subsided, were called back for service on Wednesday.

The killing of the three Hamas commanders will likely buy Netanyahu some time as the Israeli public becomes increasingly impatient with the government’s inability to halt rocket fire from Gaza.

Gaza police and witnesses said several missiles hit the four-story building. Israel and Hamas identified the three commanders killed in the 3 a.m. airstrike as Mohammed Abu Shamaleh, Raed Attar and Mohammed Barhoum.

In pinpointing the whereabouts of the Hamas commanders, Israel likely relied to some extent on local informers. Israel has maintained a network of informers despite its withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, in some cases using blackmail or the lure of exit permits to win cooperation.

Al Majd, a website linked to the Hamas security services, said Thursday that seven suspected informers were arrested in recent days and that three were killed “after the completion of the revolutionary procedures against them.”

It was the second time during the Gaza war that the website announced suspected informers had been killed by Hamas.

The Rafah attack came a day after an apparent Israeli attempt to kill the top Hamas military leader, Mohammed Deif, in an airstrike on a house in Gaza City. Deif’s wife and an infant son were killed in that strike, but the Hamas military wing said Deif was not in the targeted home at the time.

The body of his daughter, five-year-old Sara Deif, was recovered from underneath the rubble on Thursday, the Gaza Health Ministry said.

The back-to-back targeting of top Hamas military leaders came after indirect Israel-Hamas negotiations in Cairo on a sustainable truce broke down Tuesday. Gaza militants resumed rocket fire on Israel, even before the formal end of a six-day truce.

Since then, Gaza militants have fired dozens more rockets, and Israeli aircraft have struck dozens of targets in Gaza, dimming prospects for a resumption of the talks.

For now, the sides are sticking to unbridgeable demands. Hamas is demanding an end to an Israeli-Egypt blockade of Gaza. Israel, unwilling to grant Hamas any major concession it could claim as a victory in the six-week war, is demanding that Hamas disarm.

Despite the crisis, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was holding talks in Qatar on Thursday with Hamas’ top political leader in exile, Khaled Mashaal, and the emir of Qatar.

Hamas has rejected the Egyptian proposal, saying it contained no commitments by Israel to ease the border blockade of Gaza, which was imposed after the Hamas takeover of Gaza in 2007.

Israel says the blockade is needed to prevent Hamas and other militant groups from getting weapons. The restrictions prevent most Gazans from traveling outside the crowded coastal strip and bar most exports.

Since the Gaza war erupted six weeks ago, more than 2,000 Palestinians have been killed and about 100,000 left homeless, according to the U.N. and Palestinian officials. Israel has lost 67 people, all but three of them soldiers.

It was unclear if the killing of the three Hamas commanders would affect its ability to fire rockets. Israel estimated that Hamas had 10,000 rockets before the war and has lost about two-thirds of its arsenal since then.

Israel’s military and Shin Bet internal security service emphasized the importance of the three Hamas commanders.

Abu Shamaleh had been the top Hamas commander in southern Gaza, while Attar was in charge of weapons smuggling and the construction of attack tunnels, and had played a role in the capture of Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit in 2006. Barhoum was a senior Hamas operative in Rafah, a joint statement said.

Abu Shamaleh was a comrade of Deif’s who was involved in planning and carrying out at least four major attacks on Israeli soldiers since the 1990s, including one in 2004 that killed four and wounded 10, the statement said.

Attar, it said, was responsible for orchestrating a series of complex attacks on Israeli targets, including through the Sinai Peninsula in neighboring Egypt.

In addition to the Hamas operatives, three others were killed in the Rafah strike, including a resident of the house and two neighbors, according to Palestinian health official Ashraf al-Kidra.

At least 20 people, including four children, were killed in 31 airstrikes across Gaza, according to al-Kidra. Israel also targeted smuggling tunnels along the Gaza border with Egypt.

The military said 55 rockets and mortars were fired from Gaza since midnight Wednesday, compared to more than 210 over the previous 30 hours.

An Israeli was seriously wounded when a mortar hit south of the southern city of Ashkelon on Thursday, it said.

In a nationally televised address Wednesday, Netanyahu showed little willingness to return to the negotiating table after six weeks of war with Hamas.

“We are determined to continue the campaign with all means and as is needed,” he said.

Enav reported from Jerusalem. Associated Press writers Karin Laub in Gaza City and Ian Deitch in Jerusalem contributed to this report.

Israeli airstrike kills 3 senior Hamas leaders

KDWN

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — An Israeli airstrike in Gaza killed three senior commanders of the Hamas military wing Thursday, delivering a likely blow to the organization’s morale and highlighting the long reach of Israel’s intelligence services.

The pre-dawn strike leveled a four-story house in a densely populated neighborhood of the southern town of Rafah, killing six people, including the three senior Hamas commanders.

The trio had played a key role in expanding Hamas’ military capabilities in recent years, including digging attack tunnels leading to Israel, training of fighters and smuggling of weapons to Gaza, Israel said.

It was not immediately clear if their assassination would prompt a change in Hamas strategy in the current round of fighting with Israel or diminish the group’s ability to fire rockets at Israel. The military wing, the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, is a secretive organization.

Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, said Israel “will not succeed in breaking the will of our people or weaken the resistance,” and that Israel “will pay the price.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the “superior intelligence” of the Shin Bet security service and the military’s “precise execution” of the attack.

The killing of the three top Hamas commanders will likely buy Netanyahu some time as the Israeli public becomes increasingly impatient with the government’s inability to halt rocket fire from Gaza.

Israel and Hamas identified the three commanders killed in the 3 a.m. airstrike in Rafah’s Tel Sultan neighborhood as Mohammed Abu Shamaleh, Raed Attar and Mohammed Barhoum.

Gaza police and witnesses said several missiles hit the four-story building.

Hamza Khalifa, an area resident said the house was struck without warning. “We only heard multiple F-16 (warplane) missiles, one after the other, six or seven missiles,” he said.

Several hours later, a large earth mover was still clearing mounds of debris and wreckage.

In pinpointing the whereabouts of the Hamas commanders, Israel likely relied to some extent on local informers. Israel has maintained a network of informers despite its withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, in some cases using blackmail or the lure of exit permits to win cooperation.

Al Majd, a website linked to the Hamas security services, said Thursday that seven suspected informers were arrested in recent days and that three were killed “after the completion of the revolutionary procedures against them.” The wording suggested they did not receive a trial.

It was the second time during the Gaza war that the website announced suspected informers had been killed by Hamas.

The Rafah attack came a day after an apparent Israeli attempt to kill the top Hamas military leader, Mohammed Deif, in an airstrike on a house in Gaza City.

Deif’s wife and an infant son were killed in that strike, but the Hamas military wing said Deif was not in the targeted home at the time.

The back-to-back targeting of top Hamas military leaders came after indirect Israel-Hamas negotiations in Cairo on a sustainable truce broke down Tuesday. Gaza militants resumed rocket fire on Israel, even before the formal end of a six-day truce at midnight that day.

Since then, Hamas and other groups have fired dozens more rockets, and Israeli aircraft have struck dozens of targets in Gaza, dimming prospects for a resumption of the Cairo talks.

Despite the crisis, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was holding talks in Qatar on Thursday with Hamas’ top political leader in exile, Khaled Mashaal, and the emir of Qatar. Before the collapse of the truce talks, Abbas had planned to use the meetings in Qatar to urge Mashaal and his Qatari backers to support an Egyptian cease-fire plan.

Hamas has rejected the Egyptian proposal, saying it contained no commitments by Israel to ease the border blockade of Gaza. The blockade was imposed by Israel and Egypt after the Hamas takeover of Gaza in 2007.

Hamas leaders said they could not accept a deal they feared would restore the closure regime that was in place before the start of the latest round of fighting on July 8. The border restrictions prevent most Gazans from traveling outside the crowded coastal strip and bar most exports.

Since the Gaza war erupted six weeks ago, more than 2,000 Palestinians have been killed and about 100,000 left homeless, according to the U.N. and Palestinian officials. Israel lost 67 people, all but three of them soldiers.

It was unclear if the killing of the three Hamas commanders would affect its ability to fire rockets. Israel estimated that Hamas had 10,000 rockets before the war and lost about two-thirds of its arsenal since then.

In a joint statement, the Israeli military and Shin Bet security service emphasized the importance of Abu Shamaleh, Attar and Barhoum to the Hamas military operation.

Abu Shamaleh had been the top Hamas commander in southern Gaza, it said. Attar was in charge of weapons smuggling into Gaza, the construction of attack tunnels and had played a role in the capture of an Israeli soldier, Gilad Schalit, in 2006. Barhoum was a senior Hamas operative in Rafah, the statement said.

Abu Shamaleh was a confederate of Deif’s who was involved in planning and carrying out at least four major attacks on Israeli soldiers since the 1990s, including one in 2004 that killed four and wounded 10, the statement said.

Attar, it said, was responsible for orchestrating a series of complex attacks on Israeli targets, including through the Sinai Peninsula in neighboring Egypt.

“This morning’s strike sends a clear message to those responsible for planning attacks, we will strike those that have terrorized our communities, towns and cities, we will pursue the perpetrators of abduction of our soldiers and teenagers, and we will succeed in restoring security to the State of Israel,” said an Israeli military spokesman, Lt. Col. Peter Lerner.

In addition to the Hamas operatives, three others were killed in the Rafah strike, including a resident of the house and two neighbors, according to Palestinian health official Ashraf al-Kidra.

The neighbors were identified as Hassan and Amal Younis, the parents of Issam Younis, the director of Al Mezan, a leading human rights organization in Gaza.

At least 20 people, including four children – among them three brothers, and their father – were killed in 31 airstrikes across Gaza, according to al-Kidra.

Israel also hit at smuggling tunnels along the Gaza border with Egypt and at agricultural lands west of Rafah in Thursday’s airstrikes.

The military said 18 rockets and mortars were fired from Gaza since midnight Wednesday, compared to more than 210 over the previous 30 hours.

An Israeli was seriously wounded when a mortar hit south of the southern city of Ashkelon on Thursday, it said.

In a nationally televised address Wednesday, Netanyahu showed little willingness to return to the negotiating table after six weeks of war with Hamas.

“We are determined to continue the campaign with all means and as is needed,” he said, his defense minister by his side.

Enav reported from Jerusalem. Associated Press writer Karin Laub in Gaza City contributed to this report.

Israeli airstrike kills 3 senior Hamas leaders

KDWN

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — An Israeli airstrike in Gaza killed three senior commanders of the Hamas military wing Thursday, delivering a likely blow to the organization’s morale and highlighting the long reach of Israel’s intelligence services.

The pre-dawn strike leveled a four-story house in a densely populated neighborhood of the southern town of Rafah, killing six people, including the three senior Hamas commanders.

The trio had played a key role in expanding Hamas’ military capabilities in recent years, including digging attack tunnels leading to Israel, training of fighters and smuggling of weapons to Gaza, Israel said.

It was not immediately clear if their assassination would prompt a change in Hamas strategy in the current round of fighting with Israel or diminish the group’s ability to fire rockets at Israel. The military wing, the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, is a secretive organization.

Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, said Israel “will not succeed in breaking the will of our people or weaken the resistance,” and that Israel “will pay the price.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the “superior intelligence” of the Shin Bet security service and the military’s “precise execution” of the attack.

The killing of the three top Hamas commanders will likely buy Netanyahu some time as the Israeli public becomes increasingly impatient with the government’s inability to halt rocket fire from Gaza.

Israel and Hamas identified the three commanders killed in the 3 a.m. airstrike in Rafah’s Tel Sultan neighborhood as Mohammed Abu Shamaleh, Raed Attar and Mohammed Barhoum.

Gaza police and witnesses said several missiles hit the four-story building.

Hamza Khalifa, an area resident said the house was struck without warning. “We only heard multiple F-16 (warplane) missiles, one after the other, six or seven missiles,” he said.

Several hours later, a large earth mover was still clearing mounds of debris and wreckage.

In pinpointing the whereabouts of the Hamas commanders, Israel likely relied to some extent on local informers. Israel has maintained a network of informers despite its withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, in some cases using blackmail or the lure of exit permits to win cooperation.

Al Majd, a website linked to the Hamas security services, said Thursday that seven suspected informers were arrested in recent days and that three were killed “after the completion of the revolutionary procedures against them.” The wording suggested they did not receive a trial.

It was the second time during the Gaza war that the website announced suspected informers had been killed by Hamas.

The Rafah attack came a day after an apparent Israeli attempt to kill the top Hamas military leader, Mohammed Deif, in an airstrike on a house in Gaza City.

Deif’s wife and an infant son were killed in that strike, but the Hamas military wing said Deif was not in the targeted home at the time.

The back-to-back targeting of top Hamas military leaders came after indirect Israel-Hamas negotiations in Cairo on a sustainable truce broke down Tuesday. Gaza militants resumed rocket fire on Israel, even before the formal end of a six-day truce at midnight that day.

Since then, Hamas and other groups have fired dozens more rockets, and Israeli aircraft have struck dozens of targets in Gaza, dimming prospects for a resumption of the Cairo talks.

Despite the crisis, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was holding talks in Qatar on Thursday with Hamas’ top political leader in exile, Khaled Mashaal, and the emir of Qatar. Before the collapse of the truce talks, Abbas had planned to use the meetings in Qatar to urge Mashaal and his Qatari backers to support an Egyptian cease-fire plan.

Hamas has rejected the Egyptian proposal, saying it contained no commitments by Israel to ease the border blockade of Gaza. The blockade was imposed by Israel and Egypt after the Hamas takeover of Gaza in 2007.

Hamas leaders said they could not accept a deal they feared would restore the closure regime that was in place before the start of the latest round of fighting on July 8. The border restrictions prevent most Gazans from traveling outside the crowded coastal strip and bar most exports.

Since the Gaza war erupted six weeks ago, more than 2,000 Palestinians have been killed and about 100,000 left homeless, according to the U.N. and Palestinian officials. Israel lost 67 people, all but three of them soldiers.

It was unclear if the killing of the three Hamas commanders would affect its ability to fire rockets. Israel estimated that Hamas had 10,000 rockets before the war and lost about two-thirds of its arsenal since then.

In a joint statement, the Israeli military and Shin Bet security service emphasized the importance of Abu Shamaleh, Attar and Barhoum to the Hamas military operation.

Abu Shamaleh had been the top Hamas commander in southern Gaza, it said. Attar was in charge of weapons smuggling into Gaza, the construction of attack tunnels and had played a role in the capture of an Israeli soldier, Gilad Schalit, in 2006. Barhoum was a senior Hamas operative in Rafah, the statement said.

Abu Shamaleh was a confederate of Deif’s who was involved in planning and carrying out at least four major attacks on Israeli soldiers since the 1990s, including one in 2004 that killed four and wounded 10, the statement said.

Attar, it said, was responsible for orchestrating a series of complex attacks on Israeli targets, including through the Sinai Peninsula in neighboring Egypt.

“This morning’s strike sends a clear message to those responsible for planning attacks, we will strike those that have terrorized our communities, towns and cities, we will pursue the perpetrators of abduction of our soldiers and teenagers, and we will succeed in restoring security to the State of Israel,” said an Israeli military spokesman, Lt. Col. Peter Lerner.

In addition to the Hamas operatives, three others were killed in the Rafah strike, including a resident of the house and two neighbors, according to Palestinian health official Ashraf al-Kidra.

The neighbors were identified as Hassan and Amal Younis, the parents of Issam Younis, the director of Al Mezan, a leading human rights organization in Gaza.

At least 20 people, including four children – among them three brothers, and their father – were killed in 31 airstrikes across Gaza, according to al-Kidra.

Israel also hit at smuggling tunnels along the Gaza border with Egypt and at agricultural lands west of Rafah in Thursday’s airstrikes.

The military said 18 rockets and mortars were fired from Gaza since midnight Wednesday, compared to more than 210 over the previous 30 hours.

An Israeli was seriously wounded when a mortar hit south of the southern city of Ashkelon on Thursday, it said.

In a nationally televised address Wednesday, Netanyahu showed little willingness to return to the negotiating table after six weeks of war with Hamas.

“We are determined to continue the campaign with all means and as is needed,” he said, his defense minister by his side.

Enav reported from Jerusalem. Associated Press writer Karin Laub in Gaza City contributed to this report.

Israeli airstrike kills 3 senior Hamas leaders

KDWN

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — An Israeli airstrike in Gaza killed three senior commanders of the Hamas military wing Thursday, delivering a likely blow to the organization’s morale and highlighting the long reach of Israel’s intelligence services.

The pre-dawn strike leveled a four-story house in a densely populated neighborhood of the southern town of Rafah, killing six people, including the three senior Hamas commanders.

The trio had played a key role in expanding Hamas’ military capabilities in recent years, including digging attack tunnels leading to Israel, training of fighters and smuggling of weapons to Gaza, Israel said.

It was not immediately clear if their assassination would prompt a change in Hamas strategy in the current round of fighting with Israel or diminish the group’s ability to fire rockets at Israel. The military wing, the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, is a secretive organization.

Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, said Israel “will not succeed in breaking the will of our people or weaken the resistance,” and that Israel “will pay the price.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the “superior intelligence” of the Shin Bet security service and the military’s “precise execution” of the attack.

The killing of the three top Hamas commanders will likely buy Netanyahu some time as the Israeli public becomes increasingly impatient with the government’s inability to halt rocket fire from Gaza.

Israel and Hamas identified the three commanders killed in the 3 a.m. airstrike in Rafah’s Tel Sultan neighborhood as Mohammed Abu Shamaleh, Raed Attar and Mohammed Barhoum.

Gaza police and witnesses said several missiles hit the four-story building.

Hamza Khalifa, an area resident said the house was struck without warning. “We only heard multiple F-16 (warplane) missiles, one after the other, six or seven missiles,” he said.

Several hours later, a large earth mover was still clearing mounds of debris and wreckage.

In pinpointing the whereabouts of the Hamas commanders, Israel likely relied to some extent on local informers. Israel has maintained a network of informers despite its withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, in some cases using blackmail or the lure of exit permits to win cooperation.

Al Majd, a website linked to the Hamas security services, said Thursday that seven suspected informers were arrested in recent days and that three were killed “after the completion of the revolutionary procedures against them.” The wording suggested they did not receive a trial.

It was the second time during the Gaza war that the website announced suspected informers had been killed by Hamas.

The Rafah attack came a day after an apparent Israeli attempt to kill the top Hamas military leader, Mohammed Deif, in an airstrike on a house in Gaza City.

Deif’s wife and an infant son were killed in that strike, but the Hamas military wing said Deif was not in the targeted home at the time.

The back-to-back targeting of top Hamas military leaders came after indirect Israel-Hamas negotiations in Cairo on a sustainable truce broke down Tuesday. Gaza militants resumed rocket fire on Israel, even before the formal end of a six-day truce at midnight that day.

Since then, Hamas and other groups have fired dozens more rockets, and Israeli aircraft have struck dozens of targets in Gaza, dimming prospects for a resumption of the Cairo talks.

Despite the crisis, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was holding talks in Qatar on Thursday with Hamas’ top political leader in exile, Khaled Mashaal, and the emir of Qatar. Before the collapse of the truce talks, Abbas had planned to use the meetings in Qatar to urge Mashaal and his Qatari backers to support an Egyptian cease-fire plan.

Hamas has rejected the Egyptian proposal, saying it contained no commitments by Israel to ease the border blockade of Gaza. The blockade was imposed by Israel and Egypt after the Hamas takeover of Gaza in 2007.

Hamas leaders said they could not accept a deal they feared would restore the closure regime that was in place before the start of the latest round of fighting on July 8. The border restrictions prevent most Gazans from traveling outside the crowded coastal strip and bar most exports.

Since the Gaza war erupted six weeks ago, more than 2,000 Palestinians have been killed and about 100,000 left homeless, according to the U.N. and Palestinian officials. Israel lost 67 people, all but three of them soldiers.

It was unclear if the killing of the three Hamas commanders would affect its ability to fire rockets. Israel estimated that Hamas had 10,000 rockets before the war and lost about two-thirds of its arsenal since then.

In a joint statement, the Israeli military and Shin Bet security service emphasized the importance of Abu Shamaleh, Attar and Barhoum to the Hamas military operation.

Abu Shamaleh had been the top Hamas commander in southern Gaza, it said. Attar was in charge of weapons smuggling into Gaza, the construction of attack tunnels and had played a role in the capture of an Israeli soldier, Gilad Schalit, in 2006. Barhoum was a senior Hamas operative in Rafah, the statement said.

Abu Shamaleh was a confederate of Deif’s who was involved in planning and carrying out at least four major attacks on Israeli soldiers since the 1990s, including one in 2004 that killed four and wounded 10, the statement said.

Attar, it said, was responsible for orchestrating a series of complex attacks on Israeli targets, including through the Sinai Peninsula in neighboring Egypt.

“This morning’s strike sends a clear message to those responsible for planning attacks, we will strike those that have terrorized our communities, towns and cities, we will pursue the perpetrators of abduction of our soldiers and teenagers, and we will succeed in restoring security to the State of Israel,” said an Israeli military spokesman, Lt. Col. Peter Lerner.

In addition to the Hamas operatives, three others were killed in the Rafah strike, including a resident of the house and two neighbors, according to Palestinian health official Ashraf al-Kidra.

The neighbors were identified as Hassan and Amal Younis, the parents of Issam Younis, the director of Al Mezan, a leading human rights organization in Gaza.

At least 20 people, including four children – among them three brothers, and their father – were killed in 31 airstrikes across Gaza, according to al-Kidra.

Israel also hit at smuggling tunnels along the Gaza border with Egypt and at agricultural lands west of Rafah in Thursday’s airstrikes.

The military said 18 rockets and mortars were fired from Gaza since midnight Wednesday, compared to more than 210 over the previous 30 hours.

An Israeli was seriously wounded when a mortar hit south of the southern city of Ashkelon on Thursday, it said.

In a nationally televised address Wednesday, Netanyahu showed little willingness to return to the negotiating table after six weeks of war with Hamas.

“We are determined to continue the campaign with all means and as is needed,” he said, his defense minister by his side.

Enav reported from Jerusalem. Associated Press writer Karin Laub in Gaza City contributed to this report.

Israeli airstrike kills 3 senior Hamas leaders

KDWN

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — An Israeli airstrike in Gaza killed three senior commanders of the Hamas military wing Thursday, delivering a likely blow to the organization’s morale and highlighting the long reach of Israel’s intelligence services.

The pre-dawn strike leveled a four-story house in a densely populated neighborhood of the southern town of Rafah, killing six people, including the three senior Hamas commanders.

The trio had played a key role in expanding Hamas’ military capabilities in recent years, including digging attack tunnels leading to Israel, training of fighters and smuggling of weapons to Gaza, Israel said.

It was not immediately clear if their assassination would prompt a change in Hamas strategy in the current round of fighting with Israel or diminish the group’s ability to fire rockets at Israel. The military wing, the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, is a secretive organization.

Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, said Israel “will not succeed in breaking the will of our people or weaken the resistance,” and that Israel “will pay the price.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the “superior intelligence” of the Shin Bet security service and the military’s “precise execution” of the attack.

The killing of the three top Hamas commanders will likely buy Netanyahu some time as the Israeli public becomes increasingly impatient with the government’s inability to halt rocket fire from Gaza.

Israel and Hamas identified the three commanders killed in the 3 a.m. airstrike in Rafah’s Tel Sultan neighborhood as Mohammed Abu Shamaleh, Raed Attar and Mohammed Barhoum.

Gaza police and witnesses said several missiles hit the four-story building.

Hamza Khalifa, an area resident said the house was struck without warning. “We only heard multiple F-16 (warplane) missiles, one after the other, six or seven missiles,” he said.

Several hours later, a large earth mover was still clearing mounds of debris and wreckage.

In pinpointing the whereabouts of the Hamas commanders, Israel likely relied to some extent on local informers. Israel has maintained a network of informers despite its withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, in some cases using blackmail or the lure of exit permits to win cooperation.

Al Majd, a website linked to the Hamas security services, said Thursday that seven suspected informers were arrested in recent days and that three were executed. It provided no further details.

It was the second time during the Gaza war that the website announced suspected informers had been killed by Hamas.

The Rafah attack came a day after an apparent Israeli attempt to kill the top Hamas military leader, Mohammed Deif, in an airstrike on a house in Gaza City.

Deif’s wife and an infant son were killed in that strike, but the Hamas military wing said Deif was not in the targeted home at the time.

The back-to-back targeting of top Hamas military leaders came after indirect Israel-Hamas negotiations in Cairo on a sustainable truce broke down Tuesday. Gaza militants resumed rocket fire on Israel, even before the formal end of a six-day truce at midnight that day.

Since then, Hamas and other groups have fired dozens more rockets, and Israeli aircraft have struck dozens of targets in Gaza, dimming prospects for a resumption of the Cairo talks.

Despite the crisis, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was holding talks in Qatar on Thursday with Hamas’ top political leader in exile, Khaled Mashaal, and the emir of Qatar. Before the collapse of the truce talks, Abbas had planned to use the meetings in Qatar to urge Mashaal and his Qatari backers to support an Egyptian cease-fire plan.

Hamas has rejected the Egyptian proposal, saying it contained no commitments by Israel to ease the border blockade of Gaza. The blockade was imposed by Israel and Egypt after the Hamas takeover of Gaza in 2007.

Hamas leaders said they could not accept a deal they feared would restore the closure regime that was in place before the start of the latest round of fighting on July 8. The border restrictions prevent most Gazans from traveling outside the crowded coastal strip and bar most exports.

Since the Gaza war erupted six weeks ago, more than 2,000 Palestinians have been killed and about 100,000 left homeless, according to the U.N. and Palestinian officials. Israel lost 67 people, all but three of them soldiers.

It was unclear if the killing of the three Hamas commanders would affect its ability to fire rockets. Israel estimated that Hamas had 10,000 rockets before the war and lost about two-thirds of its arsenal since then.

In a joint statement, the Israeli military and Shin Bet security service emphasized the importance of Abu Shamaleh, Attar and Barhoum to the Hamas military operation.

Abu Shamaleh had been the top Hamas commander in southern Gaza, it said. Attar was in charge of weapons smuggling into Gaza, the construction of attack tunnels and had played a role in the capture of an Israeli soldier, Gilad Schalit, in 2006. Barhoum was a senior Hamas operative in Rafah, the statement said.

Abu Shamaleh was a confederate of Deif’s who was involved in planning and carrying out at least four major attacks on Israeli soldiers since the 1990s, including one in 2004 that killed four and wounded 10, the statement said.

Attar, it said, was responsible for orchestrating a series of complex attacks on Israeli targets, including through the Sinai Peninsula in neighboring Egypt.

“This morning’s strike sends a clear message to those responsible for planning attacks, we will strike those that have terrorized our communities, towns and cities, we will pursue the perpetrators of abduction of our soldiers and teenagers, and we will succeed in restoring security to the State of Israel,” said an Israeli military spokesman, Lt. Col. Peter Lerner.

In addition to the Hamas operatives, three others were killed in the Rafah strike, including a resident of the house and two neighbors, according to Palestinian health official Ashraf al-Kidra.

The neighbors were identified as Hassan and Amal Younis, the parents of Issam Younis, the director of Al Mezan, a leading human rights organization in Gaza.

At least 20 people, including four children – among them three brothers, and their father – were killed in 31 airstrikes across Gaza, according to al-Kidra.

Israel also hit at smuggling tunnels along the Gaza border with Egypt and at agricultural lands west of Rafah in Thursday’s airstrikes.

The military said 18 rockets and mortars were fired from Gaza since midnight Wednesday, compared to more than 210 over the previous 30 hours.

An Israeli was seriously wounded when a mortar hit south of the southern city of Ashkelon on Thursday, it said.

In a nationally televised address Wednesday, Netanyahu showed little willingness to return to the negotiating table after six weeks of war with Hamas.

“We are determined to continue the campaign with all means and as is needed,” he said, his defense minister by his side.

Associated Press writer Karin Laub in Gaza City contributed to this report.

Israeli airstrike kills 3 senior Hamas leaders

KDWN

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — An Israeli airstrike in Gaza killed three senior commanders of the Hamas military wing on Thursday, the group said, in what is likely to be a major blow to the organization’s morale and a significant achievement for Israel’s intelligence agency.

The pre-dawn strike leveled a four-story house in the southern town of Rafah, killing six people, including the three senior military commanders, identified by Hamas as Mohammed Abu Shamaleh, Raed Attar and Mohammed Barhoum.

Israel said Abu Shamaleh had been the top Hamas commander in southern Gaza, overseeing fighters there during the current war. Attar was in charge of weapons smuggling into Gaza and the construction of attack tunnels, the Israeli military said.

In 2006, Attar was involved in the capture of an Israeli soldier, Gilad Schalit, through such a tunnel, said the statement. It did not refer to Barhoum.

The Rafah attack came just a day after an apparent Israeli attempt to kill the top Hamas military leader, Mohammed Deif, in an airstrike on a house in Gaza City.

Deif’s wife and an infant son were killed in that strike, but the Hamas military wing, the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, said Deif was not in the targeted home at the time and was alive.

The back-to-back targeting of top Hamas military leaders came after indirect Israel-Hamas negotiations in Cairo on a sustainable truce broke down.

As talks ran aground on Tuesday, Gaza militants resumed rocket fire on Israel, even before the formal end of a six-day truce at midnight that day.

Since then, Hamas and other groups have fired dozens more rockets, and Israeli aircraft have struck dozens of targets in Gaza, a sign that prospects for a resumption of the Cairo talks are slim.

Despite the crisis, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was holding talks in Qatar on Thursday with the top political leader of Hamas in exile, Khaled Mashaal, and the emir of Qatar. Before the collapse of the truce talks, Abbas had planned to use the meetings in Qatar to urge Mashaal and his Qatari backers to support an Egyptian cease-fire plan.

Hamas has since rejected the Egyptian proposal, saying it contained no specific commitments by Israel to ease the border blockade of Gaza. The blockade had been imposed by Israel and Egypt after the violent Hamas takeover of Gaza in 2007.

Hamas leaders said they could not return to Gaza from Cairo with a deal they feared would simply restore the closure regime that was in place before the start of the latest round of fighting on July 8. The border restrictions prevent most Gazans from traveling outside the crowded coastal strip and bar most exports.

Over the past six weeks, more than 2,000 Gaza residents have been killed and about 100,000 left homeless, according to figures by the U.N. and Palestinian officials. Israel lost 67 people, all but three of them soldiers.

It was not clear if Thursday’s targeted killing of the three Hamas leaders will prompt a change in the group’s strategy or diminish its ability to fire rockets. Israel estimated that Hamas had about 10,000 rockets before the war and that it lost about two-thirds of its arsenal.

A Hamas spokesman, Sami Abu Zuhri, said in a statement Thursday that Israel “will not succeed in breaking the will of our people or weaken the resistance,” and that Israel “will pay the price.”

Thursday’s airstrike on the house in the Tel Sultan neighborhood of Rafah was carried out shortly before 3 a.m.

Gaza police said a number of Israeli aircraft were involved, and that at least 12 missiles hit the four-story building. The Israeli military declined comment on the report.

In addition to the Hamas operatives, three others were killed, including a resident of the house and two neighbors, according to Palestinian health official Ashraf al-Kidra.

At least six people, including four children and a 27-year-old man, were killed in three other airstrikes across Gaza, according to al-Kidra.

Israel also hit at smuggling tunnels along the Gaza border with Egypt and at agricultural lands west of Rafah in the latest airstrikes.

The military said 18 rockets and mortars were fired from Gaza since midnight Wednesday, compared to more than 210 over the previous 30 hours.

One Israeli was seriously injured when a mortar hit south of the southern city of Ashkelon on Thursday, it said.

In a nationally televised address Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu showed little willingness to return to the negotiating table after six weeks of war with Hamas.

“We are determined to continue the campaign with all means and as is needed,” he said, his defense minister by his side. “We will not stop until we guarantee full security and quiet for the residents of the south and all citizens of Israel.”

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry expressed “deep regret” over the breaking of the cease-fire. It said in a statement Wednesday that it “continues bilateral contacts” with both sides aimed at restoring calm and securing a lasting truce.

The Egyptian compromise proposal called for easing the Gaza blockade but not lifting it altogether or opening the territory’s air and seaports, as Hamas has demanded.

While the plan does not require Hamas to give up its weapons, it would give the Western-backed Abbas, whose forces were ousted by Hamas from the Gaza Strip, a foothold back in the territory, running border crossings and overseeing internationally backed reconstruction.

Israeli airstrike kills 3 senior Hamas leaders

KDWN

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — An Israeli airstrike in Gaza killed three senior commanders of the Hamas military wing on Thursday, the group said, in what is likely to be a major blow to the organization’s morale and a significant achievement for Israel’s intelligence agency.

The pre-dawn strike leveled a four-story house in the southern town of Rafah, killing six people, including the three senior military commanders, identified by Hamas as Mohammed Abu Shamaleh, Raed Attar and Mohammed Barhoum.

Israel said Abu Shamaleh had been the top Hamas commander in southern Gaza, overseeing fighters there during the current war. Attar was in charge of weapons smuggling into Gaza and the construction of attack tunnels, the Israeli military said.

In 2006, Attar was involved in the capture of an Israeli soldier, Gilad Schalit, through such a tunnel, said the statement. It did not refer to Barhoum.

The Rafah attack came just a day after an apparent Israeli attempt to kill the top Hamas military leader, Mohammed Deif, in an airstrike on a house in Gaza City.

Deif’s wife and an infant son were killed in that strike, but the Hamas military wing, the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, said Deif was not in the targeted home at the time and was alive.

The back-to-back targeting of top Hamas military leaders came after indirect Israel-Hamas negotiations in Cairo on a sustainable truce broke down.

As talks ran aground on Tuesday, Gaza militants resumed rocket fire on Israel, even before the formal end of a six-day truce at midnight that day.

Since then, Hamas and other groups have fired dozens more rockets, and Israeli aircraft have struck dozens of targets in Gaza, a sign that prospects for a resumption of the Cairo talks are slim.

Despite the crisis, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was holding talks in Qatar on Thursday with the top political leader of Hamas in exile, Khaled Mashaal, and the emir of Qatar. Before the collapse of the truce talks, Abbas had planned to use the meetings in Qatar to urge Mashaal and his Qatari backers to support an Egyptian cease-fire plan.

Hamas has since rejected the Egyptian proposal, saying it contained no specific commitments by Israel to ease the border blockade of Gaza. The blockade had been imposed by Israel and Egypt after the violent Hamas takeover of Gaza in 2007.

Hamas leaders said they could not return to Gaza from Cairo with a deal they feared would simply restore the closure regime that was in place before the start of the latest round of fighting on July 8. The border restrictions prevent most Gazans from traveling outside the crowded coastal strip and bar most exports.

Over the past six weeks, more than 2,000 Gaza residents have been killed and about 100,000 left homeless, according to figures by the U.N. and Palestinian officials. Israel lost 67 people, all but three of them soldiers.

It was not clear if Thursday’s targeted killing of the three Hamas leaders will prompt a change in the group’s strategy or diminish its ability to fire rockets. Israel estimated that Hamas had about 10,000 rockets before the war and that it lost about two-thirds of its arsenal.

A Hamas spokesman, Sami Abu Zuhri, said in a statement Thursday that Israel “will not succeed in breaking the will of our people or weaken the resistance,” and that Israel “will pay the price.”

Thursday’s airstrike on the house in the Tel Sultan neighborhood of Rafah was carried out shortly before 3 a.m.

Gaza police said a number of Israeli aircraft were involved, and that at least 12 missiles hit the four-story building. The Israeli military declined comment on the report.

In addition to the Hamas operatives, three others were killed, including a resident of the house and two neighbors, according to Palestinian health official Ashraf al-Kidra.

At least six people, including four children and a 27-year-old man, were killed in three other airstrikes across Gaza, according to al-Kidra.

Israel also hit at smuggling tunnels along the Gaza border with Egypt and at agricultural lands west of Rafah in the latest airstrikes.

The military said 18 rockets and mortars were fired from Gaza since midnight Wednesday, compared to more than 210 over the previous 30 hours.

One Israeli was seriously injured when a mortar hit south of the southern city of Ashkelon on Thursday, it said.

In a nationally televised address Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu showed little willingness to return to the negotiating table after six weeks of war with Hamas.

“We are determined to continue the campaign with all means and as is needed,” he said, his defense minister by his side. “We will not stop until we guarantee full security and quiet for the residents of the south and all citizens of Israel.”

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry expressed “deep regret” over the breaking of the cease-fire. It said in a statement Wednesday that it “continues bilateral contacts” with both sides aimed at restoring calm and securing a lasting truce.

The Egyptian compromise proposal called for easing the Gaza blockade but not lifting it altogether or opening the territory’s air and seaports, as Hamas has demanded.

While the plan does not require Hamas to give up its weapons, it would give the Western-backed Abbas, whose forces were ousted by Hamas from the Gaza Strip, a foothold back in the territory, running border crossings and overseeing internationally backed reconstruction.

Israeli airstrike kills 3 senior Hamas leaders

KDWN

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — An Israeli airstrike in Gaza killed three senior leaders of the Hamas military wing on Thursday, the militant group said, in what is likely to be a major blow to the organization’s morale and a significant scoop for Israeli intelligence.

The strike near Rafah, a town in the southern part of the coastal territory, was one of 20 the Israeli military said it carried out after midnight on Wednesday.

In a text message sent to media, Hamas said three of its senior military leaders – Mohammed Abu Shamaleh, Mohammed Barhoum and Raed al-Attar – were killed, along with three other people.

Gaza police and medical officials said scores more people remained under the rubble of a four-story structure destroyed in the airstrike.

The three Hamas leaders are considered to be at the senior levels of its military leadership and were involved in a number of high profile attacks on Israeli targets.

The Israeli security agency Shin Bet confirmed the deaths of Shamaleh and al-Attar in an email, but did not mention Barhoum.

The strikes followed the breakdown of Egyptian-mediated talks in Cairo aimed at producing a long-term truce and a future roadmap for Gaza after more than a month of fighting between Israel and Hamas-led Islamic militants.

The Gaza war has so far killed more than 2,000 Palestinians, mostly civilians. Israel has lost 67 people, all but three of them soldiers.

Palestinian health official Ashraf Al-Kidra put the number of those missing at the site of eh Rafah airstrike in the “dozens.”

Elsewhere, another Israeli airstrike killed a 27-year-old man in central Gaza identified as Jomma Anwar Mayar, police said. Israel also hit at smuggling tunnels along the Gaza border with Egypt and at agricultural lands west of Rafah in the latest airstrikes.

Israel says the airstrikes are in response to a resumption of Hamas rocket fire that on Tuesday scuttled a six-day cease-fire. The military says that only one rocket launch was registered since midnight, compared to more than 210 over the previous 30 hours.

On Wednesday, in the most spectacular Israeli strike since the cease-fire was breached, Hamas’ shadowy military chief, Mohammed Deifm, was the object of an apparent assassination attempt that killed his wife and infant son.

After remaining quiet for most of the day Wednesday, Hamas officials announced that Deif was not in the targeted home at the time and was still alive. Deif has survived multiple assassination attempts, lives in hiding and is believed to be paralyzed from previous attempts on his life.

In a nationally televised address Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu showed little willingness to return to the negotiating table after six weeks of war with Hamas.

“We are determined to continue the campaign with all means and as is needed,” he said, his defense minister by his side. “We will not stop until we guarantee full security and quiet for the residents of the south and all citizens of Israel.”

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry expressed “deep regret” over the breaking of the cease-fire. It said in a statement Wednesday that it “continues bilateral contacts” with both sides aimed at restoring calm and securing a lasting truce that “serves the interest of the Palestinian people, especially in relation to the opening of the crossings and reconstruction.”

An Egyptian compromise proposal calls for easing the Gaza blockade but not lifting it altogether or opening the territory’s air and seaports, as Hamas has demanded.

While the plan does not require Hamas to give up its weapons, it would give Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, whose forces were ousted by Hamas, a foothold back in Gaza running border crossings and overseeing internationally backed reconstruction.

The Gaza blockade has greatly limited the movement of Palestinians in and out of the territory of 1.8 million people, restricted the flow of goods into Gaza and blocked virtually all exports.

Israel says the blockade is needed to prevent Hamas and other militant groups from getting weapons. Critics say the measures amount to collective punishment.

Israeli airstrike kills 3 senior Hamas leaders

KDWN

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — An Israeli airstrike in Gaza killed three senior leaders of the Hamas military wing on Thursday, the militant group said, in what is likely to be a major blow to the organization’s morale and a significant scoop for Israeli intelligence.

The strike near Rafah, a town in the southern part of the coastal territory, was one of 20 the Israeli military said it carried out after midnight on Wednesday.

In a text message sent to media, Hamas said three of its senior military leaders – Mohammed Abu Shamaleh, Mohammed Barhoum and Raed al-Attar – were killed, along with three other people.

Gaza police and medical officials said scores more people remained under the rubble of a four-story structure destroyed in the airstrike.

The three Hamas leaders are considered to be at the senior levels of its military leadership and were involved in a number of high profile attacks on Israeli targets.

The Israeli security agency Shin Bet confirmed the deaths of Shamaleh and al-Attar in an email, but did not mention Barhoum.

The strikes followed the breakdown of Egyptian-mediated talks in Cairo aimed at producing a long-term truce and a future roadmap for Gaza after more than a month of fighting between Israel and Hamas-led Islamic militants.

The Gaza war has so far killed more than 2,000 Palestinians, mostly civilians. Israel has lost 67 people, all but three of them soldiers.

Palestinian health official Ashraf Al-Kidra put the number of those missing at the site of eh Rafah airstrike in the “dozens.”

Elsewhere, another Israeli airstrike killed a 27-year-old man in central Gaza identified as Jomma Anwar Mayar, police said. Israel also hit at smuggling tunnels along the Gaza border with Egypt and at agricultural lands west of Rafah in the latest airstrikes.

Israel says the airstrikes are in response to a resumption of Hamas rocket fire that on Tuesday scuttled a six-day cease-fire. The military says that only one rocket launch was registered since midnight, compared to more than 210 over the previous 30 hours.

On Wednesday, in the most spectacular Israeli strike since the cease-fire was breached, Hamas’ shadowy military chief, Mohammed Deifm, was the object of an apparent assassination attempt that killed his wife and infant son.

After remaining quiet for most of the day Wednesday, Hamas officials announced that Deif was not in the targeted home at the time and was still alive. Deif has survived multiple assassination attempts, lives in hiding and is believed to be paralyzed from previous attempts on his life.

In a nationally televised address Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu showed little willingness to return to the negotiating table after six weeks of war with Hamas.

“We are determined to continue the campaign with all means and as is needed,” he said, his defense minister by his side. “We will not stop until we guarantee full security and quiet for the residents of the south and all citizens of Israel.”

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry expressed “deep regret” over the breaking of the cease-fire. It said in a statement Wednesday that it “continues bilateral contacts” with both sides aimed at restoring calm and securing a lasting truce that “serves the interest of the Palestinian people, especially in relation to the opening of the crossings and reconstruction.”

An Egyptian compromise proposal calls for easing the Gaza blockade but not lifting it altogether or opening the territory’s air and seaports, as Hamas has demanded.

While the plan does not require Hamas to give up its weapons, it would give Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, whose forces were ousted by Hamas, a foothold back in Gaza running border crossings and overseeing internationally backed reconstruction.

The Gaza blockade has greatly limited the movement of Palestinians in and out of the territory of 1.8 million people, restricted the flow of goods into Gaza and blocked virtually all exports.

Israel says the blockade is needed to prevent Hamas and other militant groups from getting weapons. Critics say the measures amount to collective punishment.