Hamas political leader says three of his sons killed in Israeli air strike

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Hamas said on Wednesday that three sons of Ismail Haniyeh, the Palestinian militant group’s political leader, had been killed in an Israeli air strike in Gaza.

The strike, which targeted a car in the Shati Camp in the north of the coastal enclave, also killed three of Haniyeh’s grandchildren, the militant group said in a statement.

Israel’s military did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The strike, which took place on the Muslim holiday of Eid al Fitr, came just days after Israeli officials said that there had been progress in long-stalled negotiations over a deal that would free the hostages still held by Hamas in Gaza in exchange for a truce and the release of Palestinian prisoners.

Haniyeh, who hails from the Shati Camp but has been based in Qatar for most of the past decade, said in a statement that the strike would not lead Hamas to change any of its positions.

“[Israel] thinks that putting pressure on us as leaders of the resistance will push us to compromise our positions,” he said. “This will not happen, and we will remain faithful to our people’s cause.”

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Hamas said on Tuesday that Israel’s latest proposal in the talks did “not respond to any of the demands of our people and our resistance”, but stopped short of rejecting it out of hand.

People familiar with the talks told the Financial Times that although progress had been made, gaps remained between the two sides, with the main sticking points relating to the withdrawal of Israeli forces, and Hamas’s demand that Gazans should be allowed to return freely to the north of the enclave. Israel has sought to impose limits on who and how many can return.

Haniyeh assumed Hamas’s political leadership in 2017, and left Gaza soon afterwards, in what was widely seen as a move by Yahya Sinwar, leader of Hamas’s militant wing, to consolidate his position in the enclave.

Ismail Haniyeh
Ismail Haniyeh has been based in Qatar for most of the past decade © Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images

Sinwar, rather than Haniyeh, was the mastermind of Hamas’s October 7 attack on Israel that triggered the war, with Hamas militants killing about 1,200 people and taking a further 250 hostage, according to Israeli officials.

Israel’s retaliatory assault has killed more than 33,000 people in Gaza, according to Palestinian officials, as well as displacing 1.7mn of its 2.3mn inhabitants, and fuelling a humanitarian catastrophe in the territory.

The UN said last month that 1.1mn people in the strip faced “catastrophic levels of food insecurity” and warned of a “staggering escalation” in the number of children suffering from acute malnutrition.

Via

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