(CNN) – An Israeli airstrike on a house in Gaza overnight killed three high-ranking members of Hamas’ military wing, the Qassam Brigades, the militant group said Thursday.
The three members of the Brigades’ 15-member military council were killed in a bombing in Rafah in southern Gaza, according to Hamas.
The announcement of their deaths come the day after Hamas said an Israeli strike had killed the wife and 7-month-old son of Mohammed Deif, the head of the military wing. The strike failed to kill Deif, Hamas said.
Role in capture of Israeli soldier
The militant group, which controls Gaza, gave the names of the dead leaders as Mohammed Abu Shamala, Raed al-Attar and Mohammed Barhoum.
Al-Attar, the commander of the Qassam Brigades in Rafah, is believed to be the most senior of the three.
The Israeli military said it had confirmed that it had killed al-Attar and Abu Shamala, describing them as “high-ranking Hamas commanders responsible for major terror attacks against Israelis.”
Al-Attar played a “major role” in the capture of the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in 2006, the Israel Defense Forces said on its Twitter account.
Shalit was held captive until a deal was struck for his release in 2011 in exchange for more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners.
The return to violence between Israel and Hamas began Tuesday after a cease-fire and peace talks in Cairo fell apart with each side blaming the other.
The Egyptian-brokered negotiations were aimed at finding a lasting end to the current Gaza conflict, which has killed more than 2,000 Palestinians, most of them believed to be civilians. The fighting, which erupted in early July, has killed 67 people on the Israeli side, most of them soldiers.
The Israeli military said Thursday that more than 225 rockets have been fired at Israel from Gaza since the truce collapsed this week. Over the same period, Israeli forces have attacked around 150 targets in Gaza, the IDF said.