Israeli airstrikes targeted and killed three senior Hamas figures on Thursday morning, according to both the IDF and the al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s military wing.
In its targeting of the officials, Israel killed five Palestinian civilians, and injured 40 others.
Israel also killed four other Palestinians as they were burying their relatives on Thursday in Shiekh al-Radwan in Gaza, Ministry of Health spokesperson Ashraf al-Qidra said.
The al-Qassam identified the three officials, Mohamed Abu Shamala, Raed Al-Attar, and Mohamed Barhum.
“The assassination of the al-Qassam leaders in Rafah is a huge Israeli crime that will not succeed in breaking the will of our people or weakening the resistance and [Israel] will pay the price,” the Hamas Information Office said.
The al-Qassam brigades identified Abu Shamala, 41, as one of the commanders of al-Qassam in Rafah, adding that he led many “[resistance operations]” in the first intifada. In the second intifda he “was appointed commander of the Department of Logistics,” and was one of the “most prominent commanders” in the latest encounters with Israel.
Al-Attar, 40, was the commander of al-Qassam in Southern Gaza and is said to have taken part in, “[resistance] operations” in the first intifada, participated in improving al-Qassam’s military wing in the second intifada, and was a member of its current military council, leading many of the confrontations with the IDF in the tunnels.
They also identified Barhum, 45, as having been expelled by Israel since 1992, and returning once the second intifada broke out.
“Attar and Abu Shamala were high-ranking Hamas commanders responsible for major terror attacks against Israelis,” the IDF spokesperson said.
The IDF spokesperson identified Raed Al- Attar saying having had “played a major role in tunnel infiltrations, terror attacks that killed Israelis, and the kidnapping of SFC Gilad Shalit.”
He also identified Abu Shamala as a “commander of Hamas forces in Gaza,” saying he was “directly involved in dozens of terror attacks, including the murders of IDF soldiers.”
The indirect negotiations that took place in Cairo, lasting over a stretch of nine days, came to an end on Tuesday before midnight when Israel accused Hamas of firing rockets into Israel and breaking the ceasefire.
Hamas, and its military wing, denied having fired rockets and accused Israel of breaking the ceasefire.
Israel quickly resumed airstrikes against Gaza, killing a total of 22 people on Wednesday.
The Israeli military targeted the al-Qassam military figure Muhammed Deif’s home on Tuesday night, killing his wife and baby son.
Abu Ubaida, the television spokesperson for the al-Qassam Brigades called Israel a “failure” on Wednesday night, saying that Israel, “since the 45 days of battle began, all [Israel] can do is kill women and children.”
Abu Ubaida called on the Palestinian delegation to leave Cairo not to return again, adding that from the beginning the negotiations were “dead,” and today they were “buried.”
After Israel recalled its negotiators from Cairo on Tuesday, Hamas stated that Israel was “stalling,” and repeatedly refused to respond to their demands.
The Palestinian delegation previously demanded an end to the siege on Gaza, which has for years crippled the strip, before a lasting ceasefire could be reached. Israel refused this condition and insisted instead on the demilitarization of Gaza.
Since Israel launched its offensive, “Operation Protective Edge,” it killed at least 2065 Palestinians and wounded more than 10,000 others, according spokesperson for the Gaza Ministry of Health, Ashraf al-Qidra.
According to the UN’s OCHA Gaza report, at least 1,000 of the 3,000 children injured in Gaza will suffer from long-term disabilities.
The report also stated that “every child in the Gaza Strip is affected by the crisis and will require some level of psychosocial support.”
The number of internally displaced people has gone up to 400,000 people and is expected to rise as hostilities resume.
No additional Israeli casualties were reported, leaving the total number of dead Israelis at 67, including 64 Israeli soldiers.