Israel launched an airstrike on Wednesday which killed Hamas’ highest-ranking military leader, Bassem Issa, as well as several other military officials.
In a statement, Hamas said Issa was killed, “along with a few of his fellow brothers of leaders and holy fighters.”
The airstrike leveled a downtown high-rise building where Issa and others were in, which housed their offices.
Along with Issa, were the heads of their cyber command, research groups, rocket production, and chief engineer was killed, according to the Times of Israel.
An Israeli security agency also confirmed the kills of at least 10 other Hamas operatives who were involved in weapons research and production.
According to the Associated Press, Issa was Hamas’ highest-ranking military figure to be eliminated by Israel since 2014.
Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu said, “We eliminated senior Hamas commanders and this is just the beginning. We will inflict blows on them that they couldn’t even dream of.”
Currently, there are three infantry brigades on standby “preparing for a worst-case scenario” in the event the conflict develops into a ground battle and quell Palestinian rioting.
A Hamas official, Fathi Hammad, encouraged radicals to “cut off the heads of Jews” by buying and using “five shekel knives.”
Hammad added, “The Jews have spread corruption and acted with arrogance, and their moment of reckoning has come. The moment of destruction at your hands has arrived.”