Israel Confirms Killing Of Hamas Leader’s Sons, Grandchildren In Airstrike


Hamas’s supreme leader Ismail Haniyeh said Wednesday that Israel had killed three of his sons and two of his grandchildren in an airstrike in the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli army confirmed that it was responsible for the attack, saying all three sons were active in Hamas.

Middle East news accounts said that Hazem, Ameer, and Mohammed Haniyeh were killed with other family members in the strike on a car they were driving near the Shati refugee camp in Gaza City. Ismail Haniyeh, who now lives in exile in Qatar, is originally from Shati.

He confirmed “the martyrdom of my three sons and some of my grandchildren” in an interview with news channel Al-Jazeera but said that the deaths would not affect the militant group’s demands in cease-fire negotiations with Israel. Hamas media reported two of Haniyeh’s grandchildren were killed in the attack and a third wounded.

“Our demands are clear and specific, and we will not make concessions on them,” Haniyeh told pan-Arab Al-Jazeera TV. “The enemy will be delusional if it thinks that targeting my sons, at the climax of the negotiations and before the movement sends its response, will push Hamas to change its position.”

Israel confirmed it carried out the strike that killed the Hamas leader’s sons, saying that they were all operatives in the militant group’s armed wing.

Hamas said Tuesday it was studying an Israeli cease-fire proposal but that it was “intransigent.” Hamas has demanded that Israel withdraw all its troops from Gaza and end the war, which Israel has rejected.

Negotiations for a more limited cease-fire have extended for weeks without resolution. The U.S. pushed Hamas on Tuesday to accept terms for a six-week halt in the fighting, along with a return of some of the 100 or so hostages Hamas is holding in tunnels in Gaza in exchange for the release of several hundred Palestinians jailed in Israel.

Biden criticizes approach to war

Meanwhile, U.S. President Joe Biden said in an interview aired late Tuesday that he does not agree with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s approach to Israel’s war against Hamas, and that Israel should call for a halt in fighting to facilitate humanitarian aid deliveries.

The Spanish-language network Univision interviewed Biden on April 3, two days after an Israeli attack killed seven staff members from the aid group World Central Kitchen in Gaza.

Biden said there is no excuse for not providing food and medical aid to the people of Gaza, and that those efforts “should be done now.”

“What I’m calling for is for the Israelis to just call for a cease-fire, allow for the next six, eight weeks total access to all food and medicine going into the country,” Biden said. “I’ve spoken with everyone from the Saudis to the Jordanians to the Egyptians. They’re prepared to move in. They’re prepared to move this food in.”

The White House said last week that Biden made similar points when he spoke with Netanyahu in a phone call, emphasizing that the humanitarian situation in Gaza is “unacceptable.”

Meanwhile, British Foreign Minister David Cameron said Tuesday that his country will not block arms sales by British companies to Israel.

“The latest assessment leaves our position on export licenses unchanged,” Cameron said in Washington.

“Let me be clear, though,” he added, “we continue to have grave concerns around the humanitarian access issue in Gaza.”

Israel declared war on Hamas after the October 7 Hamas terror attack on Israel that killed 1,200 people and led to the capture of about 250 hostages. Israel’s subsequent counteroffensive in Gaza has killed more than 33,000 people, about two-thirds of them women and children, according to the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Tuesday the war could have ended months ago if Hamas “had put down its guns, stopped hiding behind civilians and surrendered.”

The top U.S. diplomat said Biden has “been very clear about our concerns, our deep concerns about Israel’s ability to move civilians out of out of harm’s way to care for them” in the event of an Israeli attack on the southern city of Rafah.

Blinken said he does not see anything imminent happening in Rafah and that he does not believe anything will occur before U.S. and Israeli officials meet next week.

The U.S. opposes the planned Rafah attack, with White House officials saying the Israelis have not shared an attack date with Washington.

Netanyahu said Monday an undisclosed date has been set for Israel’s military to invade Rafah on the Gaza-Egyptian border, a region where more than a million Palestinians are sheltering to try to remain safe. Netanyahu says an Israeli offensive is necessary to win its war against Hamas.

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told a Senate hearing Tuesday that a deadly famine in Gaza would likely accelerate violence and ensure a long-term conflict. The U.S. has continually pressed Israel to allow more humanitarian aid into Gaza to feed famished Palestinians.

Some international critics have contended that Israel is committing genocide with indiscriminate attacks on Palestinians in Gaza, taking little care for their safety as it hunts down Hamas militants.

But Austin dismissed the contention, saying, “We don’t have evidence of that.”


The VOA is the Voice of America

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