Airstrike kills wife and child of Hamas figure

Published on NewsOK Modified: August 20, 2014 at 2:53 pm •  Published: August 20, 2014
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GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Hamas' shadowy military chief escaped an apparent Israeli assassination attempt that killed his wife and infant son, the militant group said Wednesday as Israel's prime minister warned that the bombardment of Gaza will continue until rocket fire out of the Palestinian territory stops.

The airstrike on a home where Mohammed Deif's family members were staying — and the tough talk from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — came after the collapse of cease-fire talks in Cairo on Tuesday.

In a nationally televised address, 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."

More than 2,000 Palestinians have been killed in the fighting, most of them civilians, according to U.N. and Palestinian medical officials. Sixty-seven people have died on the Israeli side, all but three of them soldiers.

A six-day temporary truce collapsed into heavy fighting after Egyptian-mediated talks broke down without an agreement on an extended cease-fire. Hamas has demanded an end to an Israeli-Egyptian blockade of Gaza. Israel has demanded that Hamas disarm.

Palestinian militants launched dozens of rockets into Israel, while Israel carried out numerous airstrikes across Gaza. One airstrike on a Gaza City house killed Deif's 7-month-old son and one of his wives.

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.

Abu Obeida, the spokesman for Hamas' military wing, said Israel was "unable to get to our commander Deif," adding that he will "lead the army that will enter to liberate the holy al-Aqsa mosque" in Jerusalem.

Asked whether Deif had been targeted, Netanyahu said: "The leaders of terror organizations are legitimate targets. No one is immune."

The house belonged to a family of known Hamas supporters. In footage taken after the strike, rescue workers were seen searching for survivors in the rubble where the building once stood.

Thousands of people attended the funeral for Deif's family, with a relative carrying the body of his son, shrouded in a white burial cloth. Mourners chanted "revenge" during the procession.

In a televised statement, Abu Obeida also warned international airlines against flying into Israel starting Thursday. Earlier in the conflict, airlines suspended flights into Israel after a rocket landed in a town near Israel's main international airport.

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