Israel Targets Hamas Commander As Fighting Resumes

After an extended period of peace, it didn't take long for fighting between militants in Gaza and Israeli forces to resume.
Posted at 9:43 AM, Aug 20, 2014

Palestinian officials say the wife and infant child of Hamas' military commander died in an Israeli air strike, after fighting resumed Tuesday.  

After nine days without incident, it didn't take long for the conflict to reach pre-cease-fire levels. (Video via CNN)

Israel accused Hamas of breaking the cease-fire early, which led Israeli officials to withdraw from peace talks in Egypt, and the Israel Defense Forces to resume airstrikes. (Video via Israel Defense Forces)

According to multiple outlets, some of those strikes were targeting Hamas military commander Mohammad Deif.

BBC: "We've been told that this big pile of rubble behind me over here, was the house of relatives of Mohammad Deif ... His wife and baby child are understood to be among those that were killed here."

That was just one of dozens of airstrikes Israel carried out against Hamas targets, in response to the more than 80 rocket attacks the IDF says militants have launched from Gaza since the end of the cease-fire. (Video via NBC)

The IDF was unable to confirm whether the strike killed Deif, and Hamas officials say he is alive and well. So why is the Israeli military so desparate to kill Deif? 

Well aside from his suspected involvement in terrorist attacks in Israel, Haaretz writes it would've been a morale boost. "From the perspective of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the attempt to assassinate Deif had one main goal: to give Israelis a cause for rejoicing."

Still, some argue killing Deif could've been counterproductive. A writer for The Times of Israel argues, "If this symbol of Hamas has been killed, Hamas would feel the political need to escalate the fighting with a harsh response ... Thus, the likelihood of a truce or an arrangement in the coming days would be zero."

The talks in Cairo look to have collapsed, with Israel withdrawing its representatives and spokesperson Mark Regev tweeting, "We won't negotiate under fire. There cannot be talks in Cairo if they are shooting rockets at our people." 

One of those rockets reportedly hit a house in southern Israel on Wednesday afternoon, although no casualties were reported.