Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh’s sons and grandchildren killed by Israeli airstrike in Gaza

Tel Aviv: Israeli airstrikes have killed three sons of Hamas’ top political leader in the Gaza Strip, striking high-stakes targets at a time when Israel is holding delicate ceasefire negotiations with the militant group. Hamas said four of the leader’s grandchildren were also killed.

Ismail Haniyeh’s sons are among the highest-profile figures to be killed in the war so far. Israel said they were Hamas operatives, and Haniyeh accused Israel of acting in “the spirit of revenge and murder”.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh.Credit: AP

The deaths threaten to strain the internationally mediated ceasefire talks, which appeared to gain steam in recent days even as the sides remain far apart on key issues.

The slayings also come as Israel is under intensifying pressure – increasingly from its top ally, the US – to change tack in the war, especially when it comes to humanitarian aid for desperate people in Gaza.

Haniyeh said Hamas would not cave to the pressure levelled by the strike on his family.

“The enemy believes that by targeting the families of the leaders, it will push them to give up the demands of our people,” Haniyeh told the Al Jazeera satellite channel. “Anyone who believes that targeting my sons will push Hamas to change its position is delusional.”

Hamas’ Al-Aqsa TV station aired footage of Haniyeh receiving the news of the deaths through the phone of an aide while visiting wounded Palestinians who have been transported to a hospital in Qatar, where he lives in exile. Haniyeh nodded, looked down at the ground and slowly walked out of the room.

Al-Aqsa TV said Hazem, Ameer and Mohammed Haniyeh were killed in the strike near the Shati refugee camp in Gaza City, where Ismail Haniyeh is originally from. Hamas said three of Haniyeh’s granddaughters and a grandson were also killed. Hamas did not disclose their ages.

The brothers were travelling with family members in a single vehicle targeted by an Israeli drone, Al-Aqsa TV said.

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