Israel said it killed 16 members of the Hamas military wing in a air strike on Gaza on Wednesday and Palestinian militants rained rockets into Israel as global concern mounted over their most intense hostilities in years.
At least 53 people have been killed in Gaza since violence escalated on Monday, according to the Palestinian territory’s health ministry. Six people have been killed in Israel, medical officials said.
Israel’s Shin Bet security service said the brigade commander for Gaza City was among senior members of the Islamist militant group Hamas who had been killed.
“This is just the beginning. We’ll hit them like they’ve never dreamed possible,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement.
Hamas confirmed the commander’s death and the loss of “other leaders and warriors” and said in a statement: “Thousands of leaders and soldiers will follow in their footsteps.”.
A Palestinian source said truce efforts by Egypt, Qatar and the United Nations had made no progress to end violence that flared this week after tension during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan and clashes in East Jerusalem.