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Hamas military head alive as Gaza conflict continues

English.news.cn   2014-08-20 21:42:36
• Hamas said Wednesday its military commander was alive and still issuing orders in fight against Israel.
• Israel airstrikes on Tuesday night attacked Deif's house in the Gaza city.
• Since the start of Israel's military campaign in Gaza, 2, 037 Palestinians and 68 Israelis were killed.
 
 

by Saud Abu Ramadan

GAZA, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) -- Hamas said on Wednesday its military commander Mohammed Deif was alive and still issuing orders in its fight against Israel in the Gaza Strip, according to media report.

Israel airstrikes on Tuesday night attacked Deif's house in the Gaza city, an Israeli official told Channel 2 new TV on Wednesday.

Hamas did not disclose immediately whether Deif had survived the airstrikes but Hamas' exiled deputy leader Mussa Abu Marzuk told reporters in Cairo that his wife and daughter were killed in the strike.

A spokesperson of Israeli prime minister's office said they would not comment on the news. A military spokesperson said Israel 's airforce last night targeted some 60 "terror sites across the Gaza Strip", but declined to comment on any specific target.

However, Ya'akov Perry, cabinet minister and former chief of the Shin Bet (Israel's security service), told Ynet website news that Deif was a "legitimate target." "If Israel is behind the attack, then it is a step in right direction. Hamas leaders should know they are not immune."

According to the Shin Bet, Deif has been the commander of Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas' military wing, since its former leader, Yahya Ayyash, was assassinated by Israel in 1996.

Israel charges that Deif was the mastermind behind several attacks against Israelis, including the kidnapping and murder of the soldier Nachshon Wachsman in 1994. Deif survived at least four assassination attempts, which caused him severe disability.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri also issued a statement, saying Israelis would not be safe until Deif decided so. "The occupation will pay for its crimes against Palestinian civilians and those living around the Gaza border will not return home until Mohammed Deif decides so," he said.

Previously, Israel's Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman wrote on his Facebook page that, calling for military operations to topple Hamas.

Meanwhile, fighting has continued between Israel and the Hamas- led Gaza militant groups after a six-day ceasefire, which was brokered by Egypt, while the talks for a more enduring truce deal in the Egyptian capital of Cairo are crumbling.

Israeli war jets' missiles killed after midnight and on Wednesday morning 19 Palestinians and wounded 120 others in the Gaza Strip, reducing a number of civilian residents to rubbles, medics and eyewitnesses said.

Ashraf al-Qedra, Gaza health ministry spokesman, told reporters that eight people from a family were killed when Israeli war jets struck their houses in central Gaza Strip town of Deit el-Ballah.

Al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas armed wing, said in separate text messages sent to reporters that it fired dozens of rockets from the Gaza Strip into Israel after the collapse of the ceasefire.

Indirect talks between the two sides that are sponsored by Egypt had stopped after Israel accused the Palestinians of violating the ceasefire and firing three rockets from the Gaza Strip into Israel.

Musa Abu Marzooq, chief of Hamas delegation to the talks in Cairo, said in a press statement that "In spite of fraud and deception our negotiations team had faced, we still consider ourselves in a status of a meeting until achieving the demands of its people."

"The Israeli delegation is fully responsible for all the crimes committed against our people. Certainly, the Israeli procrastination and prevarication blocked every chance and wasted time in order not to let the talks succeed," said Abu Marzooq.

Also on Wednesday, the al-Qassam Brigades claimed responsibility for firing rockets at an Israeli gas station in the shores of the Gaza Strip.

The group said in a text message sent to reporters that its militants fired at around noon time two medium-range rockets towards the main Israeli gas station 26 km away from Gaza beaches, vowing more surprising attacks against Israel. However, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in a statement that Hamas didn't fire any rockets on Tuesday.

Since the start of Israel's military campaign in Gaza, around 2, 037 Palestinians and 68 Israelis were killed and more than 10,000 wounded.

Related:

11 Gazans killed as Israel resumes airstrikes: medics

GAZA, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) -- Israeli missiles killed eleven Palestinians and wounded 20 others all over the Gaza Strip on Wednesday morning, while destroying more civilian houses in the already heavily-damaged enclave, medics and eyewitnesses said.

Ashraf al-Qedra, the health ministry spokesman in Gaza told reporters that eight family members from the Allouh family were killed just after midnight Wednesday when Israeli war jets struck their homes in central Gaza Strip town of Deit el-Ballah. Full Story

Egypt holds on in pushing for Gaza truce talks

CAIRO, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) -- Egypt on Wednesday called on Israelis and Palestinians to resume indirect talks mediated by Cairo, after the ceasefire in Gaza has been breached late Tuesday, foreign ministry said in a statement.

"Egypt is expressing its profound regret at the breach of the truce in Gaza Strip and the resumption of fire and renewal of strikes between Israel and the enclave," the statement added. Full Story

Editor: Yamei Wang
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