GAZA STRIP: Hamas said an Israeli air strike on Tuesday killed 10 family members of its Qatar-based chief Ismail Haniyeh, who vowed to continue the “resistance” movement against Israel.

Israel’s military said that it “was aware of the reports but we cannot confirm” them.

The strike hit the Haniyeh family home in the Al-Shati refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip, Hamas and Gaza’s civil defence agency said.

“There are 10 martyrs […] as a result of the strike, including Zahr Haniyeh, sister of Hamas political bureau chief Ismail Haniyeh,” Mahmud Basal, spokesman for the civil defence, said.

He said a number of bodies were likely to be still under the rubble but “we do not have the necessary equipment” to extract them.

Haniyeh says about 60 members of his family have been killed since Oct 7

Civil defence crews transferred the retrieved bodies to Al-Ahli hospital in nearby Gaza City, Basal added, also reporting “several wounded” in the attack.

In a statement, Hamas named the Haniyeh family home as having been bombed in a list of “massacres” it said were committed by Israel in the Palestinian territory.

It said this showed Israel “continues to defy all international laws, human norms and values by deliberately targeting innocent civilians and committing the most horrific massacres against them”. In a separate statement later on Tuesday, Haniyeh said the deaths of his relatives would not deter the group in any way.

“If the criminal enemy thinks that targeting my family will make us change our position and affect our resistance, then he is deluding himself because every martyr in Gaza and Palestine is from my family,” Haniyeh said.

“The blood of our martyrs demands that we do not compromise, that we do not change, that we do not weaken, but that we continue on our path with determination.” Haniyeh lost three sons and four grandchildren in an Israeli strike in April in central Gaza, with the military accusing them of “terrorist activities”.

Haniyeh at the time said that about 60 members of his family had been killed since fighting broke out on October 7.

Published in Dawn, June 26th, 2024

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