Senior Hamas Leader Killed

Ad Feedback - GAZA STRIP - Sheikh Nizar Rayyan, a senior Hamas leader, was killed Thursday afternoon in an air strike on his home in Jabalya.

Palestinian sources said the IDF warned the family before the air strike, which was carried out by F-16 fighter jets.

No one left the house; seven people were killed and 30 wounded in the attack.

Rayyan, who doubled as a military commander and a cleric, was considered one of the group's most radical extremists. A close friend of Hamas terrorist Salah Shehadeh, Rayyan was considered the successor of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin.

Shahadeh was killed in an IAF air strike in 2002, and Sheikh Yassin was also killed in an air strike in 2004.

A strong advocate of suicide bombing, Rayyan sent his son on a suicide mission at the former Gush Katif community of Elei Sinai, where he killed two young Israelis.

Rayyan, who planned and financed the 2004 terror attack at the port of Ashdod that killed 10 Israelis, was the fourth senior Hamas leader targeted in air strikes Thursday.

Earlier, the IAF destroyed the homes of two senior Hamas terrorist and a Popular Resistance Committee (PRC) operative.

PRC senior commander Mohammad Baroud oversaw all the rocket launching cells in northern Gaza. He kept a cache of anti-tank missiles, rockets and bombs in his home.

Senior Hamas terrorist Hasim Drili's home doubled as a weapons manufacturing plant, producing rockets, mortar shells and missiles.

The third house, belonging to another senior Hamas leader ,Tafik Abu Raf, housed an explosives and weapons laboratory.

"This is a new escalation in violence," Hamas spokesman Mushir al-Masri said.

"We are taking every precaution to guard the Hamas leaders to ensure the enemy does not gain more victories," he said.

Sources: The Jerusalem Post, YNet news

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