Mourners carry the body of Bassem Issa, front, top Hamas’ commander in Gaza City and other bodies, during a funeral of thirteen Hamas militants outside the mosque in Gaza City, Thursday, May 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
UPDATED 9:01 AM PT – Friday, May 14, 2021
A member of Hamas’ military council, Bassem Issa, was eliminated by Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) in an airstrike. The operation was carried out on Wednesday with both Hamas and IDF confirming the death shortly after. This is the first time Hamas has openly confirmed the death of a senior military officer.
The IDF said similar airstrikes have led to the deaths of other high ranking Hamas militants, including the commander of their Anti-Tank Missile Unit and their Military Intelligence Security Department.
Israeli ground forces are moving into the Gaza Strip as Israel and Hamas continue to exchange rocket fire as well as heavy artillery fire. The IDF confirmed Thursday, there are currently ground troops moving into Gaza from the northern border.
Some 3,000 to 4,000 troops were reportedly amassed at the border with Gaza in recent days. However, some reports noted this is not a full-on ground offensive and the IDF is still firing heavy artillery across the border.