Israeli drone strike kills Hamas ‘weapons supplier’ 25 miles inside Lebanon

Israeli drone strike kills Hamas ‘weapons supplier’ 25 miles inside Lebanon

A high-profile Hamas terrorist was killed in an airstrike in Lebanon’s Bekaa district, Israeli media reported on Saturday.

At least 42 people were also killed in separate Israeli attacks on districts of Gaza City in the north of the Palestinian enclave on Saturday, the director of the Hamas-run government media office said. The Gaza strikes were reportedly also aimed at assassinating a senior Hamas leader.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) released a video of the drone strike that killed Ayman Ghatma, a Hamas terrorist, as he travelled in a car near the town of Khiara, some 25 miles from the Israeli border. Lebanese media showed an image of the blackened wreckage of the vehicle, still in flames.

The IDF said Ghatma was responsible for supplying weapons to Hamas and al Jama’a al-Islamiyya, an Egyptian terrorist group, in Lebanon and had been targeted for advancing attacks against Israel.

Conflict has been escalating along Israel’s northern border with Lebanon in recent months, stoking fears of a wider regional war.

In Gaza, the Israeli military said in a statement that “IDF fighter jets struck two Hamas military infrastructure sites in the area of Gaza City.”

One Israeli strike on houses in Al-Shati, one of the Gaza Strip’s eight historic refugee camps, killed 24 people, reported Reuters, citing a local official. Another 18 Palestinians were reportedly killed in a strike on houses in the Al-Tuffah neighbourhood.

Footage obtained by Reuters and seen widely on social media showed dozens of Palestinians scrambling to search for victims under mangled buildings. The footage showed wrecked homes, blasted walls, and debris and dust filling the dense urban environment of Shati refugee camp.

Unverified reports in the Israeli media named the target as senior Hamas commander Raad Saad, who has previously been reported to be the chief of Hamas operations. The reports did not confirm whether he had been killed.

Hamas did not comment on the Israeli claim to have hit its military infrastructure. It said in a statement the attacks targeted the civilian population and vowed in a statement “the occupation and its Nazi leaders will pay the price for their violations against our people.”

After almost nine months of war in Gaza, Israel’s advance is now focused on Rafah and the area surrounding Deir al-Balah in the centre, amid reports that the military may wind down operations to focus resources on a major offensive in the north.

The IDF has said its forces are carrying out “precise, intelligence based” targeted operations in Gaza.

The Palestinian health authorities have said more than 37,400 people have been killed – of whom 101 died in the past 24 hours – and that nearly the entire population has been left homeless and destitute. The statistics do not differentiate between combatants and civilians.

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