Middle East

Deif 'deserves to die': Israeli minister

A Palestinian wounded man from the Al Dalo family carries his injured sister at the hospital following an Israeli airstrike on a house in Gaza City on August 19, 2014. (AFP/Mohammed Abed)

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: An Israeli Cabinet minister Wednesday justified an airstrike on Gaza that killed the wife and child of Hamas military leader Mohammad Deif, saying that he was a legitimate target.

"Mohammad Deif deserves to die just like [Osama] bin Laden. He is an arch murderer, and as long as we have an opportunity, we will try to kill him," Interior Minister Gideon Saar told army radio.

He said he could not confirm whether the head of Hamas's armed wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, had been killed during the airstrike late Tuesday in Gaza City.

Hamas used its Al-Aqsa television channel to urge Palestinians to attend the funerals of Deif's wife and son who were killed in the raid that wounded at least 45 others, emergency services said.

Appointed head of Hamas's armed wing in 2002 after his predecessor Salah Shehade was assassinated, Deif has already escaped five previous assassination attempts by Israel.

The Israelis see him as "the brains" behind the campaign of suicide bombings that targeted buses and public places in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem until 2006 and consider him "personally responsible for the deaths of dozens of civilians."





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