Israel confident Hamas military wing head killed in Gaza; Hamas denies
A high-ranking Israeli security official on Thursday said the IDF was "one hundred percent" sure that the head of Hamas's military wing was killed when IAF helicopters fired two rockets at a car in Gaza City earlier, Israeli news agency Itim reported, although sources in Hamas have claimed he survived the attack.
An Israeli government spokesman, Daniel Seaman, confirmed on Thursday that the target of the air strike was Mohammed Deif, who headed Izzadin Kassam, the military wing of Hamas, and who has topped Israel's wanted list for at least 15 years. But although three men were killed in the attack, with one of the victims identified as Issa Abu Abajram, a leader of the Al Aksa Martyrs' Brigade, it was as yet unclear if Deif himself was in fact killed.
Palestinian sources said more than 25 people were wounded in the attack, and said 10 of these were children. Six were in critical condition, doctors in Gaza city said. In the past two years, 76 wanted Palestinians and 52 bystanders have been killed in targeted Israeli attacks.
In Gaza City, Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi, said Deif, who escaped an Israeli attack earlier this year, had again survived. "The Zionists failed again in killing Deif," he said.
The Itim report, however, said Hamas officials had previously also denied that Deif's predecessor, Saleh Shehadeh, was killed in an IAF airstrike in July. Shehadeh, as well as 15 innocent bystanders, among them nine children, was indeed killed by the IDF.
The IDF refused to comment on the attack.
Deif, 40, from Khan Yunis, is also known as Abu Khaled. Besides being wanted by Israel, he has also spent several months in the custody of the Palestinian Authority. He came up through the ranks of Hamas after becoming active with the group while a student at the Islamic University in Gaza.
According to Palestinian sources, an IAF helicopter fired at least one missile at two vehicles in Gaza City's Sheikh Radwan quarter, a Hamas stronghold, shortly after 2 p.m. local time.
Thursday's rocket attack demolished one car and damaged a second in the Sheik Radwan neighborhood of Gaza City.
Mustafa Hajar, a hairdresser working nearby, told the Associated Press that there was a traffic jam in the area due to road construction. "Suddenly we heard the sound of a big explosion," Hajar said. "When I ran out, a second explosion took place." Hajar's clothes were splattered with blood.
Paramedics collected human parts and blood covered a large area. Nearby windows were shattered and shrapnel was scattered across the ground. Dr. Mohaiya Hassanein at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City later said the badly disfigured remains of two people were recovered.
The strike came shortly after tanks and bulldozers moved into Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip, apparently after Palestinian gunmen were spotted targeting troops in a building in nearby Beit Hanoun.
The tanks penetrated about a half a kilometer into Palestinian-controlled territory before opening fire, Palestinian sources said.
note: this article is from 26 Sept. and may be now "dated news."
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