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Israel Says Strike Targeted Senior Hamas Commander

Israel said on Monday that an air strike in Gaza over the weekend targeted a senior Hamas militant, but it was unclear whether he was killed.

The strike occurred “between Saturday and Sunday” on an underground compound in central Gaza, near the Nuseirat refugee camp, military spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari told a press briefing.

“The compound was used by two senior members of the organization” including “Marwan Issa who was the deputy of Mohammed Deif and one of the planners of the massacre on October 7,” Hagari said.

Deif heads Hamas’s armed wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, and is accused by Israel of being one of the masterminds of the October 7 attack.

“We are still examining the results of the strike, and final confirmation has yet to be received,” Hagari said, in an announcement on the first day of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan.

In early January, a strike in Beirut’s southern suburbs killed Saleh al-Aruri, a founder of the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades who at his death was the deputy political chief of Hamas.

A US Defense Department official said at the time that Israel carried out that strike.

Earlier on Monday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel was on its way to “total victory” in the war triggered by Hamas’s unprecedented October 7 attack on southern Israel.

That attack resulted in the deaths of about 1,160 people, according to an AFP tally of official Israeli figures. Militants also seized about 250 hostages, dozens of whom were released during a week-long truce in November. Israel believes 99 hostages still in Gaza remain alive and 31 have died.

In December, the European Union placed sanctions on Issa and Deif. In January it added the Islamist movement’s Gaza political chief Yahya Sinwar to the same “terrorist” sanctions list.

Israeli officials accuse Sinwar of being the top mastermind of the October 7 attack.

Palestinian media reported in December that Issa’s son Mohammed was killed in an Israeli strike.

Israel’s relentless military campaign to destroy Hamas has killed at least 31,112 people, according to the health ministry in the Hamas-run territory.

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