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Airstrike kills wife and child of Hamas figure

JERUSALEM — Hamas' shadowy military chief escaped an apparent assassination attempt that killed his wife and 2-year-old son, the militant group said Wednesday as Israel's prime minister warned that the airstrikes in Gaza will continue until rocket fire out of the Palestinian territory stops.

The tough talk from Benjamin Netanyahu set the stage for what could be a protracted period of fighting after the collapse of cease-fire talks in Cairo on Tuesday.

In a nationally televised address, Netanyahu showed little willingness to return to the negotiating table and said the six-week war against Hamas had inflicted unprecedented damage on the Islamic militant group.

"We are determined to continue the campaign with all means and as is needed," he said, his defense minister by his side. "We will not stop until we secure full security and quiet for the residents of the south and all citizens of Israel."

More than 2,000 Palestinians have been killed in the fighting, most of them civilians, according to U.N. and Palestinian medical officials. Sixty-seven people have died on the Israeli side, all but three of them soldiers.

A six-day temporary truce collapsed into heavy fighting after Egyptian-mediated talks broke down without an agreement on an extended cease-fire. Hamas has demanded an end to an Israeli-Egyptian blockade of Gaza. Israel has demanded that Hamas disarm.

Palestinian militants launched dozens of rockets into Israel, while Israel carried out numerous airstrikes across Gaza. One airstrike on a Gaza City home killed a wife and son of Hamas' military chief, Mohammed Deif.

After remaining quiet for most of the day, Hamas officials announced that Deif was not present in the targeted home and was still alive. Deif has survived multiple assassination attempts, lives in hiding and is thought to be paralyzed from previous attempts on his life.

Since the truce collapsed, at least 20 Palestinians have been killed and more than 120 wounded, Gaza Health Ministry official Ashraf al-Kidra said.

The Israeli military said that it carried out nearly 100 airstrikes on Gaza targets, and that Palestinians had fired more than 140 rockets at Israel since the truce fell apart. About 2,000 reserve soldiers who had been sent home two weeks ago were called up for duty again Wednesday, the military said.

Mourners chant angry slogans during the funeral Wednesday for the wife of Hamas’ military chief Mohammed Deif in Gaza City. Hamas officials say Deif was not killed in the airstrike on a home.

Associated Press

Mourners chant angry slogans during the funeral Wednesday for the wife of Hamas’ military chief Mohammed Deif in Gaza City. Hamas officials say Deif was not killed in the airstrike on a home.

Airstrike kills wife and child of Hamas figure 08/20/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 20, 2014 9:18pm]
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