Israeli forces killed a top Palestinian military official in Gaza on Monday after launching airstrikes that also targeted underground passages as the bloody conflict continues to persist into its second week despite increasing diplomatic efforts across the globe.
According to the Israeli military, many warplanes were launched to release massive airstrikes throughout Gaza early Monday.
In a statement, Israel said the airstrikes were targeting the nearly 10 miles underground tunnels being used by Hamas, including several senior Hamas militant leaders.
The Israeli army said the large-scale airstrikes were carried out by 54 fighter jets, killing approximately 42 Palestinians during the attack, including Hussam Abu Harbeed, Islamic Jihad’s armed commander for north Gaza.
Military experts said that the death of Harbeed would likely harbor an immensely violent response from the militant group. Jihadists have been fighting fiercely alongside Hamas – a Palestinian Islamic resistance militant group that governs the coastal enclave in Gaza.
In a statement, the Israeli military stressed that Harbeed was one of the masterminds “behind several anti-tank missile terror attacks against Israeli civilians.”
Despite escalating international diplomatic efforts to stem the violent conflicts between Israel and Hamas, the attacks continued to persist with little to no sign of relenting, resulting in mounting bloodshed between Palestinian and Israeli forces.
“Israel has the right to defend itself from Hamas’ rocket attacks, in a manner proportionate with the threat its citizens are facing,” Sen. Chris Murphy and Sen. Todd C. Young, both members of the U.S. Congress, wrote in a statement late Sunday.
“As a result of Hamas’ rocket attacks and Israel’s response, both sides must recognize that too many lives have been lost and must not escalate the conflict further. We are encouraged by reports that the parties are exploring a cease-fire.”