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10 members of Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh's family, including his sister, killed in Israeli airstrike in Gaza

Haniyeh's sister and nine members of his extended family were killed in an Israeli airstrike on the Al-Shati refugee camp in Gaza City on Tuesday. Haniyeh resides in Qatar and is the face of Hamas' international diplomacy as the war continues amid stalled ceasefire talks.

Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee Gaza Published on: June 25, 2024 21:50 IST
Ismail Haniyeh, the chief of Hamas' political bureau.
Image Source : REUTERS Ismail Haniyeh, the chief of Hamas' political bureau.

Gaza: At least ten members of Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh's family, including his sister, were killed in an alleged Israeli airstrike in Gaza City earlier on Tuesday, according to the Palestinian militant group and local reports. Hamas said that 10 people, were killed in the strike in Shati, including Haniyeh's sister and nine from his extended family, according to The Times of Israel.

The Israeli military made no comment on the alleged attack on Haniyeh's family home. Haniyeh resides in Qatar and is now the tough-talking face of Hamas' international diplomacy as war with Israel has raged on in Gaza for close to nine months, resulting in widespread death and destruction in the besieged territory.

The Hamas leader earlier lost three sons and four grandchildren to an Israeli airstrike on a vehicle in Gaza. The three sons - Hazem, Amir and Mohammad - were killed after the car they were driving in was bombed in Gaza's Al-Shati camp, Hamas said. Four of his grandchildren were also killed in the attack, according to the Hamas-run media. 

Earlier this year, another of Haniyeh’s sisters, who lives in Israel, was arrested in April on suspicion of contact with operatives from the terror group and supporting acts of terror. Meanwhile, Israeli forces killed at least 24 Palestinians in three separate airstrikes on Gaza City, of which two strikes struck two schools.

Israel pushes deeper in Rafah, intensifies Gaza op

Israel's military said its forces had targeted militants overnight in Gaza City who had been involved in the planning of attacks on Israel. The Israeli Air Force bombed two structures "used by Hamas terrorists in Shati and Daraj Tuffah in the northern Gaza Strip. The terrorists operated inside school compounds that were used by Hamas as a shield for its terrorist activities", the military said in a statement.

Two airstrikes killed 14 people in two schools in Gaza City, while another struck the Al-Shati camp where Haniyeh's extended family lived. Hassan Kaskin, a neighbour, said the Haniyeh family house was hit without advance warning before dawn on Tuesday. Footage obtained by Reuters showed the multi-floor building reduced to rubble.

"They were 10 individuals, three of them were scattered outside the house and seven under the rubble - with no prior warning, with people around them, and there are injuries among the neighbours," said Kaskin. Hamas denies using civilian facilities such as schools and hospitals for military purposes. The group described the attacks on the two schools and the house in Al-Shati camp as "massacres".

Meanwhile, Israeli tanks also pressed deeper overnight into western areas of Rafah in the enclave's south, blowing up homes, residents said. In the city of Khan Younis to Rafah's north, medics said Israeli tank shelling killed seven Palestinians and wounded several other people at a tent camp in a western district.

Netanyahu says operations in Gaza to end 'soon'

On Monday, Hani al-Jaafarawi, the director of Gaza's Ambulance and Emergency Department was killed in an airstrike in a medical clinic in Gaza City, according to the health ministry of the Palestinian enclave. Meanwhile, Israel's military said Mohammad Salah, one of the top Hamas commanders, was killed in the airstrike.

The health ministry said the killing of Hani al-Jaafarawi brought the number of medical staff killed by Israeli fire since Oct 7 to 500, while at least 300 others have so far been detained. The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) said the strike targeted Salah, who was responsible for developing weapons for the Hamas group.

This came a day after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he phase of intense fighting against Hamas would end "very soon", freeing up more forces for deployment on Israel's northern border with Lebanon, where clashes with Iran-backed Hezbollah have escalated. However, he said the war will not end unless Hamas has been completely eliminated.

The Israeli offensive in retaliation to the October 7 attacks by Hamas has so far killed 37,658 people, the Gaza health ministry said on Tuesday. Over eight months into the war, international mediation backed by the US has failed to yield a ceasefire agreement.  

(with inputs from Reuters)

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