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Israeli Airstrikes Kill 3 Top Hamas Commanders

Israel's strikes have many wondering whether its new tactic is to target Hamas leadership.
Posted at 4:59 PM, Aug 21, 2014

Three top Hamas commanders were among those killed in Israeli airstrikes on Gaza Thursday morning.

Israel says these men played a leadership role in digging attack tunnels into Israel and encouraging terrorism.  ​​The men,Mohammed Abu Shamaleh, Mohammed Barhoum and Raed al-Attar​, were killed along with three others while in a building near Rafah. 

More than 10,000 mourners turned up to bury the senior commanders. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said Israel "will pay the price" for killing the commanders

The strike follows Israel's assassination attempt on Hamas commander Mohammed Deif Tuesday night.

Israeli forces toldFox News they believed they'd been successful in killing Deif, but Hamas says he's still alive. All of this has many wondering if targeting Hamas leadership has become Israel's new tactic. 

Michael Herzog, a fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told The New York Times Israel is trying to hit Hamas where it hurts. "These people are senior people, they carry responsibilities, it's not easy to replace them."

And an Israeli military analyst told The Wall Street Journal, ​"By targeting top Hamas officials, Israel is seeking to score a psychological victory in the war."

Israel has said its strikes on the commanders were in response to Hamas rocket attacks that ended the most recent cease-fire. 

Bombs from Hamas also injured two Israelis Thursday morning.