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Israeli Kills Hamas Financial Officer in Airstrike

  • Robert Berger

Israel again targeted Hamas leadership Sunday, killing a key financial official it said was responsible for "terror fund transactions."

The Israeli military said an airstrike on a car killed Mohammed al-Ghoul in Gaza City, just days after another attack killed three Hamas commanders.

Israel described Ghoul as "an important Hamas actor" who helped transfer money to build terror infrastructure in Gaza, including tunnels used by Hamas militants to sneak into the Jewish state for attacks.

Witnesses said U.S. dollars were found in his wrecked car.

Ghoul was among at least 12 Palestinians killed as Israel launched 27 strikes Sunday on the Hamas-run enclave along the Mediterranean.

The Israeli military said Hamas fired 50 rockets into Israel, although no deaths were reported.

Three people were wounded in a Hamas strike near the main Gaza border crossing at Erez.

Palestinians warned

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Palestinians in Gaza on Sunday to leave any site where "terrorists" are operating.

Speaking at the weekly Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, the Israeli leader said all these places are legitimate targets.

Netanyahu said the military will continue to strike at Hamas and other "terrorist groups" in Gaza until Israel achieves its goals, namely, an end to Palestinian rocket attacks and the restoration of peace and quiet.

Hamas responded by firing more rockets and mortar shells across the border, paralyzing much of southern Israel.

The Gaza war between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas is now in its seventh week with no sign of a letup.

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, have been killed in the conflict. Of the 68 Israelis who have died, 64 were soldiers.

Israeli warplanes leveled a five-story building located in the Al-Shati Camp district in Gaza Sunday. An Israeli strike leveled a seven-floor office building earlier Sunday.

On Saturday, Israeli airstrikes hit a 13-story apartment tower that housed 44 families. Israel's military said there were Hamas "terrorist activities" in the buildings and their attacks are aimed at deterrence.

The targeting of large buildings appears to be part of a new military tactic by Israel, a move which Hamas spokesman Mushir al-Masri described as a "dangerous development."

Holocaust survivors

The International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, a group of 327 Jewish Holocaust survivors and descendants, has compared Israel to Nazi Germany in a full-page ad in Sunday’s New York Times.

​The group, which has been critical of Israel in the past, placed the ad in response to a letter published by another Holocaust survivor, Elie Wiesel, that accused Hamas of “child sacrifice” and comparing the terror group to the Nazis.

The network’s published statement accuses Wiesel of "abuse of history" in order to justify Israel's actions in the Gaza Strip and refers to “Israel’s wholesale effort to destroy Gaza.”

Their letter also says, “Genocide begins with the silence of the world. ... Never again must mean never again for anyone.”

Cease-fire still sought

The fighting persisted despite calls from Egypt for an immediate truce. Egypt urged Israel and Hamas to return to Cairo for a resumption of cease-fire talks that collapsed last week.

The call from Egypt's Foreign Ministry came after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met Saturday in Cairo with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi and senior officials of the Arab League.

But Hamas said the talks failed because Israel rejected the group’s key demand: lifting an eight-year old crippling blockade on Gaza.

Hamas spokesman Masri said the Palestinian resistance has adopted a new strategy. Masri said that from now on, Hamas is negotiating "with a rifle in its hand and a finger on the trigger."

Israel said it will not negotiate under fire.

On Sunday, an Israeli airstrike also killed two people on a motorcycle in Gaza.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters and AFP.

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