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Three sons of Hamas leader killed by Israel in Gaza

The Hamas leader maintains that the death of three of his sons in an Israeli strike will not change the Islamist movement's position in talks for a truce on the Palestinian border. Gaza, where air raids continue Thursday after six months of war.

Hamas announced Wednesday that three sons and four grandchildren of Ismail Haniyeh had died in a strike in the Shati refugee camp, in the northern Gaza City, where the family was visiting relatives on the first day of Eid al-Fitr celebrations marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

“I thank God for the honor brought to us by the martyrdom of my three sons and some of my grandchildren,” Mr Haniyeh, based in Doha, told Qatar's Al Jazeera. “The enemy targeted a car in which they were traveling.”

The Israeli army confirmed that it had killed Mr. Haniyeh, described as “military agents of the terrorist organization Hamas”, which intervenes while the Qatari, Egyptian and American mediators await the response of the Palestinian Islamist movement to their proposed truce with Israel, associated with a release of held hostages in Gaza.

“The enemy thinks he can break the will of our people and push the leaders to make concessions (…) He can dream! This bloodshed will make us even firmer,” added Mr. Haniyeh. “Our demands are clear and we will not give up on them. If the enemy believes that targeting my sons at the height of negotiations and before Hamas gives its response, will push the movement to change its position, he is wrong,” he stressed.

Elected head of the Hamas political bureau in 2017, Ismaïl Haniyeh lives between Qatar and Turkey. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan presented his condolences to him on Wednesday, and Iranian President Ebrahim Raïssi and the No. 2 of Lebanese Hezbollah, Naïm Qassem, contacted him to also offer their condolences, said the Palestinian Islamist movement. .

– “Attack” on Israel –

Three sons of Hamas leader killed by Israel in Gaza

Hamas leader Ismaël Haniyeh at a press conference after meeting the Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs in Tehran, March 26, 2024 © AFP – –

Iran “threatens to launch a major attack against Israel”, declared in Washington US President Joe Biden shortly after the announcement of the death of Ismail Haniyeh's sons, but especially after the Iranian supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday that Israel will be “punished” for a deadly attack on the Iranian consulate in Damascus on April 1.

A sign of the tensions in recent days, the German airline Lufthansa announced on Wednesday the suspension of its flights to and from Tehran, probably until Thursday, “due to the current situation in the Middle East”.

“As I told Prime Minister (Benjamin) Netanyahu, our commitment to the security of Israel, in the face of these threats from Iran and its allies, is unwavering,” Mr. Biden said. “I repeat: unwavering. We will do everything we can to protect Israel's security,” he continued, urging Hamas, Tehran's ally, to “move forward” on the truce offer in Gaza.

The mediators' proposal provides for a six-week truce, the release of 42 hostages held in Gaza in exchange for 800 to 900 Palestinians imprisoned by Israel, the entry of 400 to 500 aid trucks every day into Gaza and the return home residents of northern Gaza, according to a Hamas source.

Three sons of Hamas leader killed by Israel in Gaza

Children in the streets of Deir el-Balah, in the central Gaza Strip, April 10, 2024 © AFP – –

Hamas repeated last week its demands for any agreement: a definitive ceasefire, the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, a significant increase in humanitarian aid, a return of the displaced and a “serious” hostage exchange agreement and Palestinian prisoners.

Despite calls for a ceasefire, Israeli strikes continued early Thursday in the Gaza Strip, particularly in the south of the territory, witnesses said.

Israel vowed to “destroy” Hamas after the unprecedented attack carried out on October 7 by commandos of the Palestinian movement infiltrated from Gaza in southern Israel, which cost the lives of 1,170 people, mostly civilians and led to the kidnapping of more than 250 people, of whom 129 remain detained in Gaza, including 34 deaths, according to Israeli data.

The Israeli offensive has so far left 33,482 dead, mainly civilians, according to the Health Ministry of Hamas, an organization considered “terrorist” by Israel, the United States and the European Union and in power since June 2007 in Gaza.

– “The saddest Eid” –

Three sons of Hamas leader killed by Israel in Gaza

Palestinians gather in the courtyard of the al-Omari mosque in Gaza City to celebrate Eid, April 10, 2024. © AFP – –

In the devastated Palestinian territory, among the ruins or in their shelters, many Palestinians prayed, around small cakes prepared despite shortages, on the occasion of Eid al-Fitr.

Under pressure from many capitals to let more aid into the Palestinian territory, Israel has increased the entry of humanitarian aid trucks into Gaza.

“Last month the daily average was 213 and before that it was 170,” Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said Wednesday. He said the goal was to soon reach an average of 500 per day thanks, among other things, to the delivery of aid, which currently passes mainly through Egypt, to the Israeli port of Ashdod and the establishment of a new land crossing to Gaza.

For Ahmed Qishta, a father of four children, refugee in Rafah, at the southern tip of the territory, these measures do not change anything for the moment. “We have never experienced an Eid like this, full of sadness, fear, destruction and devastation,” he told AFP.

On the Esplanade des Mosques in Jerusalem, the third holiest site of Islam, the faithful had the war in Gaza in mind, like Rawan Abd, a 32-year-old nurse for whom “this is the saddest Eid we have ever experienced”.

All rights of reproduction and representation reserved. © (2024) Agence France-Presse

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116