Senior Islamist commander is ‘killed in Israeli airstrike’ after dozens of jets pounded Gaza overnight in ‘heaviest bombardment since fighting began’ as death toll rises to 211

A senior Palestinian militant commander has been killed in an Israeli airstrike, the country’s air force has claimed, following a night of heavy bombardment that saw more than a hundred bombs dropped on Gaza.

Hussam Abu Harbid, commander of the Northern Division of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), was killed in a strike on Monday, according to the Israeli air force as airstrikes continued into Monday afternoon.

Harbid was behind rocket attacks against Israel including several launched on the first day of the most-recent clashes, the Israeli air force said, and had been a commander within PIJ for at least 15 years.

News of Harbid’s death – which has not been confirmed by PIJ – was followed by a flurry of rocket fire from inside Gaza at cities in southern Israel, which left at least eight people wounded.

A missile scored a direct hit on a residential building in Ashdod, the Magen David Adom emergency service said, with at least three people wounded by shrapnel in that attack, and amid fears more could be trapped in rubble. Five other people suffered panic attacks.

The death toll from a week of fighting now stands at 211, with 201 dead on the Palestinian side according to Gaza’s health authority, including 58 children and 34 women.

Ten deaths have been confirmed in Israel, including one child. More than 1,200 Palestinians have been injured so far, along with 302 Israelis.

Monday morning’s strikes came after an overnight bombardment described by witnesses as the heaviest of the conflict so far, with 54 Israeli jets dropping bombs on 35 targets in and around Gaza City in just 20 minutes.

The IDF said the strikes targeted around nine miles of Hamas tunnels, referred to by the military as ‘the Metro’, along with the homes of senior Hamas commanders that were also used as weapons stores.

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Source: Daily Mail

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