Israeli forces killed a commander in Hamas’ military wing in the southern Gaza Strip, Palestinian officials in the Strip said Sunday. Five people were killed, according to the Gaza Health ministry, and seven wounded.
The Israeli army confirmed a fire exchange took place, with local reports in Gaza saying that Israeli planes fired at the open area near the place of the incident.
The Hamas-run Interior Ministry in Gaza said in an official statement that members of the group were killed and wounded in the incident, which took place east of Khan Younes. Security forces in Gaza announced a state of high alert.
The Red Crescent emergency responders reported four to five people were killed in Khan Younes.
– A video from the airstrike in Gaza, November 11, 2018.
Israeli airstrikes on #Gaza..#GazaUnderAttack pic.twitter.com/rIAXb7fYrk
— Days of Palestine (@DaysofPalestine) November 11, 2018
A video from the airstrike in Gaza, November 11, 2018.
Sirens sounded in Israeli communities near the Gaza border.
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Palestinian sources told Haaretz that one of the casualties is Nur Barake, a deputy commander of an elite unit of Iz al-Din al-Qassam, the military wing of Hamas. Barake and an additional commander were said to be killed in Khan Younes.
Palestinian officials said the group of Hamas men were fired at from a passing car.
According to reports from Gaza, an elite Israeli force entered the city of Khan Younes and killed the. The reports said that the force was then exposed. The two sides then began exchanging fire, and Israeli aircraft accompanied the ground forces.
Residents of nearby Israeli towns were asked to remain in safe areas.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is visiting in Paris, is receiving live updates and holding consultations on the topic. Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman is holding consultations at the military headquarters in Tel Aviv.
Netanyahu said earlier on Sunday that there is “No political solution exists for Gaza, just as there isn’t one with ISIS" and that he is doing everything he can to avoid “unnecessary war.” Netanyahu is attending the Paris Peace Forum, hosted by French President Emmmanuel Macron.
Qatar reportedly finished paying the July salaries of Hamas officials on Saturday. Thousands of officials who have not received their salaries claim that they are part of Hamas’ military wing. According to the deal, Qatari money will be transferred to civilian officials only.
Reuters contributed to this report