Israel launched a serial aerial attack after Palestinian militants fired a massive rocket barrage on Tuesday night over the center of the country and the south killing senior Hamas military commanders in what marked the most serious fighting since the Gaza war in 2014.
Bassem Issa, brigade commander for Hamas Gaza city is among the senior members of the terrorist group, which were killed in Israeli airstrikes, according to Israel’s Security Agency (ISA).
“I congratulate the ISA, the Air Force, Southern Command and the IDF for the operation that targeted senior Hamas commanders. Whoever attacks us — will pay a severe price,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.
Netanyahu has convened a security cabinet meeting to discuss the next steps of the operation in Gaza. “We will respond, and are responding, with increasing force,” Netanyahu said ahead of the meeting. According to the Israeli outlet N12, the IDF does not rule out the entry of ground forces into Gaza should it become necessary.
The IDF and the ISA killed several members of Hamas’s military leaders in strikes in Gaza city and Khan Younis, who represent “a central part of the ‘General Staff Forum’ and are considered close to the head of Hamas’s military wing, Muhammad Deif.”
In a joint operation with the ISA, Israeli army fighter jets struck a building and killed two Hamas military intelligence operatives — Hassan Kaogi, head of the Hamas military intelligence security department and his deputy Wail Issa, head of the military intelligence counter espionage department. Issa is the brother of Marwan Issa, the Deputy Commander of the Hamas.
Hamas fired over 1,100 rockets at Israeli cities in the south and the center in the past two days. As a result six civilians were killed by rocket fire in Lod, Ashkelon, and Rishon-LeZion, and over 153 were injured. The Israeli army announced that combat soldier Staff Sgt. Omer Tabib, 21, of the Nahal Brigade, was killed Wednesday morning by an anti-tank missile fired by Hamas from Gaza into Israel.
Israel said that about 200 of those rockets fired by the Hamas exploded inside densely populated Gaza neighborhoods.
Earlier on Wednesday, the IDF’s fighter jets struck a multi-story building used by the Hamas terror organization, and which housed the organization’s military intelligence and Judea and Samaria headquarters.
“Prior to the strike, the IDF provided advance warning to civilians in the building and provided sufficient time for them to evacuate the site,” the Israeli army said.
Editor’s note: This article will be updated with developing events
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Author: Sharon Wrobel
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