Israel still targeting Hamas leaders

Defence minister says Mohammed Deif will be assassinated


Despite the ceasefire, Hamas’ military leader is still a marked man, Israel’s defence minister has said.

Speaking as the new truce appears to be holding, Benny Gantz spoke about Mohammed Deif, who Israel tried unsuccessfully to assassinate. "I inform you that this was not our last try, and in the end we will succeed,” Mr Gantz told Israeli TV.

He said that “all Hamas leaders responsible for firing and using terrorism against civilians” are potential targets for assassination. 

As the Egyptians, mediators of the current truce, are engaging in shuttle diplomacy to try to thrash out understandings to boost its chances of holding, Hamas — seemingly rattled by Mr Gantz’ latest comments — is reportedly seeking guarantees against assassinations.

In a separate interview Mr Gantz hinted that Israel may help to give Gaza an economic boost if Hamas delivers two Israels it is lived to be holding, and two bodies of soldiers from the 2014 conflict. “We are ready to rehabilitate and cooperate economically with Gaza, provided that the issue of prisoners and missing persons comes into place,” he said. 

An Egyptian delegation met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah today to discuss ways of rehabilitating Gaza. It emerged this morning that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected to arrive in Israel on Wednesday and hold meetings in Israel and the West Bank. 

The UN Security Council today called for "full adherence to the ceasefire”. It released a statement stressing the need for “humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian civilian population, particularly in Gaza”. It said that Security Council members “stressed the urgency of the restoration of calm and reiterated the importance of achieving a comprehensive peace based on a vision of a region where two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, live side by side with secure and recognised borders.” 

Frictions in Jerusalem have continued through the weekend, and this evening there have been violent riots in the hotspot of Sheikh Jarrah. Since yesterday, police have arrested 33 people in connection with disturbances there are on Temple Mount. 

The spike in antisemitism seen during the Gaza-Israel violence has become a “worldwide phenomenon,” Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Gilad Erdan, has warned. “It’s appalling,” he said in an interview with Fox News in the US. 

He stated: “It's not Israel's problem or the Jews’ problem; it’s a worldwide phenomenon. It’s an American phenomenon. It’s the oldest form of racism."

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