Hamas leader’s sons, grandchildren killed


Three sons and four grandchildren of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh were killed in an airstrike in Gaza on Wednesday.

The Israeli army says Haniyeh’s sons, Hazem, Amir and Muhammad, were members of Hamas’ military wing and believed to be on their way “to carry out terrorist activities” when their car was targeted near Gaza City.

However, the BBC reports that at the time of the attack, Haniyeh’s family members were on their way to a family celebration to celebrate the first day of the Muslim holiday of Eid.

Hamas described the attack as “treacherous and cowardly”.

The attack on Wednesday comes amid talks in Cairo. A possible ceasefire and agreement regarding the release of hostages is apparently being considered, although at this stage there is no sign of a breakthrough.

Haniyeh, who is currently based in Qatar, told Al Jazeera after the attack that the attack on his sons and grandchildren may be an attempt to change Hamas’ negotiating position. However, Haniyeh insists that is not going to happen.

“The enemy is under a false impression if he thinks that targeting my sons, at the climax of the negotiations… will push Hamas to change its position,” Haniyeh told Al Jazeera.

The latest official proposal, which Hamas says it is analyzing, reportedly includes the release of 40 Israeli hostages held in Gaza in exchange for 900 Palestinians from Israeli prisons.

The United States, meanwhile, is putting increasing pressure on Israel to agree to a ceasefire, increase the number of resources in Gaza and abandon its plans to invade the southern city of Rafah.

More about Ismail Haniyeh

BBC reports that Haniyeh is widely regarded as Hamas’s overall leader and has been a leading member of the movement since 1980. He was elected head of Hamas’ political bureau in 2017 and the US Department of State designated him as a terrorist in 2018.

These are not the first members of Haniyeh’s family to be killed in the war.

Another son of Haniyeh was reportedly killed in February, while his brother and nephew were killed in October, followed by a grandson in November.

Additional sources: BBC, Al Jazeera