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Hamas: Israeli airstrike killed wife, child of Qassam chief
Published Wednesday 20/08/2014 (updated) 22/08/2014 19:32
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Palestinian rescues try to dig out an injured man blocked under
rubble following an Israeli air strike on a house in Gaza City on Aug.
19, 2014 (AFP Ezz Al-Zanoun)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli airstrikes killed the wife and child of Hamas' military chief in Gaza overnight, exiled leader Mousa Abu Marzouq said early Wednesday.

"The Israeli occupation took rockets fired from Gaza as a pretext to target a senior Hamas personality," Abu Marzouq wrote on Facebook, referring to Muhammad Deif, the commander of the al-Qassam Brigades.

"The wife of the great leader was martyred with his daughter," in a strike Tuesday night, he said.

An Israeli strike late Tuesday targeted the al-Dalou home in Sheikh Radwan, killing a woman and a young girl, medics said.

Ma'an reporters in Gaza said the attack killed two children, one of whom was Deif's son, and Deif's wife.

Meanwhile, seven Palestinians were killed in an Israeli airstrike on a home in Deir al-Balah, medics said.

The victims were identified as Raafat al-Louh, his brothers Muhammad and Ahmad, his pregnant wife Nabila, his sons Farah, Maysara, and Mustafa.

Medics were unable to save Nabila's fetus, though she had been nine months pregnant.

Eight others were injured in the attack and evacuated to al-Aqsa Martyrs' hospital in in Deir al-Balah.

A 24-hour truce due to last until midnight collapsed late Tuesday afternoon, with each side blaming the other.

The al-Qassam Brigades said in a statement that it fired 34 rockets into Israel throughout Tuesday, hitting Tel Aviv and the southern city of Beersheba.

An Israeli military statement put the number fired at "about 50" but reported no casualties.

"A rocket hit an open area in the Tel Aviv metropolitan area," it said and confirmed that two rockets landed near Beersheva, which is home to around 200,000 Israelis.

Air raid sirens were also heard in Jerusalem, with Hamas claiming a rocket attack on the city.

Police said it appeared that a rocket fell on empty ground in the occupied West Bank, outside Jerusalem.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered a new round of air strikes on Gaza and recalled his negotiators from Egyptian-mediated ceasefire talks in Cairo.

"The rocket fire which broke the ceasefire also destroyed the foundation on which the talks in Cairo were based," Netanyahu spokesman Mark Regev told AFP early Wednesday.

"The Egyptian initiative is based on a total and unconditional cessation of hostilities, which was clearly broken when rockets were fired into Israel."

'Ceasefire has broken down'

Palestinian delegation head Azzam al-Ahmad said that his team would leave Cairo on Wednesday.

"We are leaving ... but we have not pulled out of negotiations," he told AFP, adding the Palestinians were waiting for Israel to respond to their truce proposal.

"We will not come back (to Cairo) until Israel responds," he said.

The fighting shattered nine days of relative quiet in the skies over Gaza.

A senior Hamas official, Ezzat al-Rishq, warned Israel it would "not enjoy security so long as the Palestinian people do not."

But Israel's US ally put the blame squarely on the group itself.

"Hamas has security responsibility for Gaza ... Rocket fire came from Gaza," State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said.

"As of right now, with today's developments, we are very concerned and it is our understanding the ceasefire has broken down."

The renewal of Israeli air strikes spread panic among Gaza residents.

An AFP reporter saw hundreds of Palestinians streaming out of Shujaiyya, an eastern area of Gaza City which has been devastated by more than a month of fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants.

More poured out of the Zeitoun and Shaaf areas, alarmed by a series of explosions and heading to shelter in UN schools, local witnesses said.

Bomb shelters opened in Israel

In Israel the army said that it ordered that public bomb shelters within 80 kilometers (50 miles) of the Gaza border, be opened ready for use.

That includes Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

Israel has vowed not to negotiate under rocket fire, and Netanyahu has pledged "a very strong response" to any resumption of rocket attacks.

The Cairo talks center on an Egyptian proposal that meets some Palestinian demands, such as easing Israel's eight-year blockade on Gaza, but puts off debate on other thorny issues until later.

Amnesty International renewed an appeal for access to Gaza.

"Valuable time has already been lost," it said.

Egypt's proposal calls for both sides to immediately stop shooting and includes provisions relating to opening the borders to allow for free movement of people, goods and construction materials, as well as a clause on regulating the economic crisis within the impoverished enclave.

But crucially, it postpones discussions on issues such as a port and airport for another month, until "after calm and stability returns," along with talks over exchanging the remains of two Israeli soldiers for the release of Palestinian prisoners.

AFP contributed to this report
1 ) 6 bodies were extracted / from the ruins
20/08/2014 12:42
any names????

2 ) Billy Bragg / UK
20/08/2014 12:57
The question remains will Mohamed Deif the Palestinian terrorist in command of the group Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas terror organization be sat in his wheelchair at the funeral, or was he killed as an active war criminal with his wife and child.

3 ) Ben Alofs / UK/Netherlands
20/08/2014 14:56
Israel is trying to undermine the morale of Hamas by the intentional killing of civilians and hiding its war crimes behind the lie that Hamas is using Palestinian civilians as 'human shield'. The same thing happened in Dahya, Beirut in 2006 against Hezbollah and in 1982 during the war against the PLO. The bombing campaign ordered by Sharon on 12 August that killed about 500 civilians in West-Beirut was exactly meant to demoralise. They are all war crimes for which Israel must be prosecuted.

4 ) To Ben ALofs / Agraba Streets
20/08/2014 16:52
If what you say is true, why is it so easy to come by videos of Palestinian officials taking pride in the tactic of martyrdom seeking and virgin sacrifice? "We desire death as you desire life" is a common motto. No one forced them to say it. Muqawama is a dangerous ideology.

5 ) Chris / USA
20/08/2014 17:28
It is clear that horrible war crimes are being comited. So why arent the Hamas leaders in jail already?? Hamas has killed over 2000 Palestinians in this last encounter; when will it stop? When you fire missiles at civilians that invite a harsh response with many casualties, yet you continue to fire the missiles, it is clear that you have something to gain by that response (since your original missile fire has minimal actual effectiveness). Why is Hamas using palestinian blood to bargain?

6 ) JoeFattal / USA
20/08/2014 19:55
I always said the Iron-Dome is a peace breaker than a peace maker. Israel is using the iron dome to intercept the rockets from Gaza, so they are derailing any peace deal and depend on the Iron-Dome to try to get the US money's worth. If Israel didn't have the Iron-Dome they would have made peace long time ago knowing they can't take out all the rocket launchers from Gaza unless they reoccupy the city which they wont. As long the Iron-Dome is around there will be no peace.
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