News / Middle East

Gaza Fighting Intensifies After Senior Hamas Leaders Killed

Palestinians carry the bodies of three senior Hamas commanders, who were killed in an Israeli air strike, during their funeral in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, Aug. 21, 2014.
Palestinians carry the bodies of three senior Hamas commanders, who were killed in an Israeli air strike, during their funeral in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, Aug. 21, 2014.
Scott Bobb

Air bombardments and rocket fire between Israel and Gaza intensified Thursday after Israeli air strikes killed three senior Hamas commanders overnight.

The Israeli military said its forces pounded rocket installations in the Gaza Strip as dozens of rockets landed in southern Israel.
 

Click to enlargeClick to enlarge
x
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Israel said more than 200 Hamas rockets had been fired at Israel and its forces had targeted more than 100 rocket installations in Gaza since a temporary cease-fire collapsed on Monday.
 
Israel, Hamas confirms death of commanders

Hamas identified those killed as Mohammed Abu Shamaleh, Raed al-Attar and Mohammed Barhoum. Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said the three "were responsible for deadly attacks" against Israel, including the killing of Israeli soldiers and the 2006 kidnapping of soldier Gilad Shalit.

Yaalon called the assassination of the three commanders "a very important intelligence and operational achievement by the Israeli army and the Shin Bet security service" and that Israel would continue to target other Hamas leaders.

The funeral procession for the commanders drew thousands of Palestinians into the streets of Gaza, with some firing guns into the air. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said the successful Israeli attack would not deter the militants.

"The assassination of the al-Qassam leaders in Rafah is a big Israeli crime that will not succeed in breaking the will of our people and won't weaken the resistance. And the occupation will pay the price, God willing," he warned.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said aircraft carried out 20 assaults in Gaza on Thursday. Late on Tuesday Israel targeted Hamas's top military commander, Mohammed Deif, but failed to kill him. Deif's wife and seven-month-old son were killed in the air strike, Hamas said.

Netanyahu vows more strikes

Following a meeting of his security ministers Wednesday night, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a news conference that the operation against Gaza would continue. He said only the guarantee of the calm and safety of Israeli citizens will bring an end to this operation adding that "therefore we are talking about a long and continuing campaign."
 
Netanyahu said Hamas leaders were not only legitimate targets but targets of high priority.
 
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri retorted that the threat reflected the extent of Israel's violence and lack of seriousness in achieving a cease-fire.
 
He said the threats would not frighten Hamas leaders and that "on the contrary, we will continue to protect and defend our people in facing Israeli crimes."
 
Hamas' military wing threatened to launch attacks against Israel's main airport near Tel Aviv Wednesday night, but the airport appeared to be operating normally Thursday.
 
Trading blame

Each side accuses the other of breaking the temporary cease-fire Monday after 10 days of negotiations and calm.
 
Some progress had been reported in the talks, brokered by Egypt, to discuss a permanent truce. But the two sides remained far apart on their principal demands.
 
Hamas wants Israel to end the seven year-old blockade of Gaza while Israel wants all militant groups in Gaza to disarm.
 

Click to enlargeClick to enlarge
x
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

During the six weeks of violence more than 2,000 Palestinians have been killed, most of them civilians according to Palestinian authorities. On the Israeli side, 64 soldiers and three civilians have been killed.

The United Nations Security Council expressed "grave concern" Wednesday at the resumption of violence, which had paused for a 10-day cease-fire and peace talks. All 15 council members urged both sides to again halt the fighting and return to negotiations on a long-term truce.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters.

  • Smoke and dust billow in the distance after an Israeli strike hit Gaza City, northern Gaza Strip, Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014.
  • A wounded man is evacuated from the scene of an air strike in Gaza City, Aug. 21, 2014.
  • Palestinians overcome by emotion arrive at a mosque for shelter after an Israeli strike hit Gaza City, northern Gaza Strip, Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014.
  • The mother of a Palestinian Hamas militant killed in an Israeli air strike mourns as she looks at his body during his funeral in Jabaliya in the northern Gaza Strip, Aug. 21, 2014.
  • People pray next to the bodies of Palestinians killed in Israeli air strikes during their funeral at a mosque in Gaza City, Aug. 21, 2014.
  • Sunrise over Gaza, Aug. 21, 2014.

You May Like

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Niyi from: ibadan, Nigeria
August 22, 2014 6:13 AM
We need to distinguish who is the civilian and the military in Gaza.
A region will children suicide bombers cannot complain that their civilians are being killed.

by: Anonymous
August 21, 2014 9:41 PM
just like in the US It is not all that unusual for an unarmed black person to be killed by police. There are no reliable national statistics on people of any race killed by police, but anecdotal reports count significant numbers. One study, relying on Internet searches of media reports, found 18 unarmed black people killed by police and security personnel in the first three months of 2012, including Trayvon Martin.

More recently:

On July 17, Eric Garner was killed by a chokehold after an arrest for illegally selling loose cigarettes in New York City.

On Aug. 5, John Crawford III was killed while handling a toy gun in a Wal-Mart outside Dayton, Ohio.

On Aug. 11, Ezell Ford, a mentally disabled man, was shot dead in South Los Angeles.

The circumstances of each case are different, of course, and investigations continue.

Brown was killed Aug. 9. The riots erupted Aug. 10

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
August 21, 2014 2:43 PM
The UN is talking nonsense. Israel has no business returning to the negotiating table with Hamas again. What is there to negotiate when Hamas has vowed it would not recognize Israel's existence? It’s said it and it’s not allowing any truce to hold, why beg it again? It is a waste of time making any deal that Hamas will only buy time to break and attack Israel when it sees it has acquired enough weapons from Iran, Turkey and Qatar.

Israel should only make sure that it does not exhaust its arsenal or run low on same while the Arabs and islamist countries might be rearing to start another war with Israel. Hamas appears to be only a diversion or distraction. Remember ISIS and Hezbollah are still there waiting in the wings, and they are very potent trouble, even though for now it seems the Arabs and islamists are not coordinated in what they are doing with them. Shame to all of them.

Thank God ISIS is staring them in the face and they should be ashamed to talk about Israel-Hamas troubles when they have not been able to raise a finger even to point at Islamic State fast eating up anything they stand for. Look at Syria, and Qatar is afraid for its safety because ISIS is just at the backyard. Soon they will want Israel to come to their rescue. But Israel must first deal with the menace of Hamas underneath. The killing of the three Hamas leaders has not as much as pinched the command line of Hamas. So there’s still so much to do to completely remove its threat to Israel and the entire region.

And to succeed in it is that the world bodies interested in lives and safety go into Gaza, evacuate the civilians and let the Hamas army slug it out with the Israeli army. One year to come, Gaza will remain a war zone if Israel does not strike the whole city so that, like the Yazidis, anyone in want of safety will ask to be evacuated, while those diehard islamist Hamas remain to water the ground with their blood. After the clean up, the Gazans will be allowed to return to their homes in peace and tranquility. The only way to ensure peaces for both Israel and its Arab neighbors is to eliminate Hamas. How can this be done safely when the UN agency is perched in Gaza looking out for what Israel will do wrong?

I wish Israel would bomb all of them together and apologize later, even to pay compensation for their lives if needed. The UN should allow Israel to clean up the resistance of the recalcitrant nagging Hamas, unless it is in love with what is happening there. And if the UN does not yield to this request to evacuate, it will mean either that the UN sees things the Hamas way, in other words agrees to the elimination of Israel, or it does not want the Gazans to ever have, and live in, peace. The choice is with the UN: Give Israel and the Palestinians peace; evacuate Gaza and let the fighters finish their business before you return again - if need be.
In Response

by: Victor Ashkenazy from: Israel
August 22, 2014 5:01 AM
Well said.

by: Lawrence Bush from: Houston, USA
August 21, 2014 2:06 PM
The salient demand of the Hamas side is to lift the seven year old embargo upon the Gaza; on the other, the Israeli demand is that all the militia groups of the Palestine side must disarm first and that's to lift the Gaza embargo. It's the prime basis for a long term cease-fire. The Egyptian mediation has failed because president Sisi failed to resolve these two specific factors of the Hamas and the Israeli sides.

Another clue emerges to expose the fiendish intentions of the Hamas - without being disarmed while it goes for a cease-fire, it's just to cease fire over the current impasse but the future to forecast situations as it's at present. ......... While the current fight is on between the Hamas and our friendly state Israel, the war strategy should be to get the Hamas militia to the heels along with the top Hamas leaders. So, the targets for Israel do emerge in variegated dimensions, not just pounding over the Gaza strip only.

Hence, to effecting this, the Israeli defense and intelligence - both the wings, must act in a perfect balance. Then only, the very Israeli objectives to demilitarisizing the Gaza strip and disarming the Palestine militia are possible......... The plights of the Gaza civilians in this war process is regrettable, but the illegitimate whims of the Hamas militia are the prime causes.

by: Nsikan Eno Akpan from: Akwa Ibom, Nigeria
August 21, 2014 12:40 PM
If I sleep one day then wake up in a boxing ring to face any of the Klitschko's brothers, I will simply leave the ring immediately because there are certainly less violent ways to commit suicide than facing men with punches heavier that my body weight. These Islamic militants called Hamas should face reality and try making real peace with an Israel that's by far militarily superior, advanced and equipped than the entire middle-east. This is not a mockery because it hurts to see those innocent people die as a result of the condemnable risky activities of a few armed and bloodthirsty religious touts. Israel on their part MUST AGREE that these humans the kill in retaliatory warfare, whether militarily justified or not, are beings not things.

by: USMC from: USA
August 21, 2014 10:28 AM
Israel is absolutely incredible... nobody, and i mean nobody (not even US) could match the technological sophistication and accuracy of their intelligence. For all the gawkers here who are not in the "know" - let me tell you - you are seeing a masterpiece of military coordination. Israel is a legend. Semper Fi little country, Semper Fi RESPECT !!!
In Response

by: Legionnaire from: Légion étrangère
August 21, 2014 3:40 PM
Truly. Extraordinaire. Allow me to join brother USMC and append The Legion sincere admiration for incomparable performance.
Israel, you are unique in the Art of War - you are incomparable.
Please accept our unbounded admiration and respect.

Marche ou crève
In Response

by: Mark from: Virginia
August 21, 2014 1:45 PM
from one Marine to another, I concur. Israel sure knows how to handle itself, surrounded by people that wish nothing but destruction upon them, they are still there despite it all. A bit heavy handed at times, I admit, but they do endure.

.

by: Sunny Enwerem from: Lagos Nigeria
August 21, 2014 9:41 AM
Gazans will never see peace as long as Hamas operates there,its left for the people of Gaza to expel Hamas and embrace peace or life in Gaza will remain under Israel's bombardment.
In Response

by: meanbill from: USA
August 21, 2014 11:27 AM
Hamas was (elected) by the Palestinian people, and they rejected the Palestinian Liberation Organization and Abbas, to force the Israeli's to lift the illegal blockade, and to liberate them from the horrific Israeli apartheid occupation, and the continuous imprisonment and killing of unarmed Palestinian civilians since 1947... IF the US didn't supply the bullets, missiles, rockets, and bombs, to the Israeli's, the Israeli's would have to sit don and negotiate with the Palestinians, wouldn't they?..... AGAIN it's the US interference that causes all the violence, destruction, killing and wars that never end everywhere, and in the Holy Land too...

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs