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Hamas top commander in Northern Gaza brigade eliminated

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The military wing of Hamas terrorist group said Sunday that the commander of its northern brigade in Gaza, al-Ghandour, had been killed during Israel’s offensive against the group.

The announcement from Hamas came on the third day of a four-day ceasefire between Israel and Hamas to facilitate the release of hostages held in Gaza in exchange for Palestinians held in Israeli prisons.

Though, Israel has vowed it will continue its military campaign in the enclave after the truce is slated to end on Tuesday morning, with its primary goal being the destruction of Hamas.

New York Times reports that on Sunday morning the military wing of Hamas, the Qassam Brigades, issued a brief statement saying that Abu Anas al-Ghandour, who led the group’s fighters in northern Gaza, and three other commanders had been killed. It did not provide further details on when or where they had died.

The Israeli military said earlier this month — before the truce began — that it had targeted Mr. al-Ghandour in a strike on Hamas’s underground infrastructure, but did not say at the time whether he was dead or alive.

On Sunday, the Israeli military said in a statement that it had killed Mr. al-Ghandour “prior to the operational pause” in fighting, calling him a “leading figure in the planning and execution” of the Hamas-led Oct. 7 attacks on Israel. The military also confirmed it had killed the three other commanders Hamas named in its statement — Aiman Siam, Wael Rajeb and Rafet Salman.

A number of other Hamas officials and commanders are believed to have been killed since Israel launched a war in retaliation which killed an estimated 1,200 people in southern Israel and led to the abduction of roughly 240 hostages, according to Israeli authorities.

Mr. al-Ghandour was the most senior commander that Hamas has confirmed dead since the group’s announcement last month that Ayman Nofal, a member of its General Military Council and the commander of the Central Brigade in the Qassam Brigades, had been killed.

The State Department put Mr. al-Ghandour under U.S. sanctions in 2017, saying that he had been “involved in many terrorist operations” — including a 2006 attack that killed two Israeli soldiers and led to the abduction of another, Gilad Shalit.

Mr. Shalit was released in October 2011 in exchange for more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners. One of those freed in the deal, Yahya Sinwar, eventually became Hamas’s leader in Gaza and, according to Israeli officials, a mastermind of the Oct. 7 attacks

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