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Hamas Unleashes Largest Ever One-Day Barrage as Speculation Swirls over Arch-Terrorist’s Fate

Gaza-based Palestinian fighters set a new record on Wednesday by launching at least 168 rockets at Israeli civilians over the course of the day – the previous mark had been 154 rockets in a single 24 hour period – amid extensive speculation that Israel had targeted and perhaps eliminated Hamas military chief Mohammed Deif the day before.

Gaza militants resumed their rocket fire campaign against Israel on Wednesday, with at least 168 rockets launched at Israel since last midnight. Rockets were fired at central Israel Wednesday evening, and over 35 missiles exploded in Eshkol Regional Council in the south, which was the central target for Gaza militants throughout the day. Some 23 rockets were intercepted by Iron Dome.

Tuesday morning had seen the Palestinian terror group shatter an ongoing ceasefire, triggering harsh American condemnation and a series of Israeli actions. Hamas held a press conference Wednesday afternoon announcing that among those actions had been a targeted strike against Deif, and that he had escaped. The veteran terrorist is charged with commanding Hamas’s military assets, and had over the course of 20 years orchestrated a series of terror campaigns ranging from early kidnappings to mass bombing attacks throughout the 1990s.

A profile in the Washington Post described Deif as having been “instrumental… in developing Hamas’s capabilities, especially in the fields of rockets and bombs.” Deif had also recently emerged as a key leader inside the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip blocking ceasefire efforts and extending the current hot conflict.

“The decision-maker in Hamas is Mohammed Deif, leader of the military wing, and he is against the cease-fire because he believes every day they continue to fight is another achievement for them,” said retired Gen. Giora Eiland, a former Israeli national security adviser.

The Post conveyed an assessment from Gen. Giora Eiland, a former Israeli national security adviser, describing Deif as “the decision-maker in Hamas” and as “against the cease-fire because he believes every day they continue to fight is another achievement for them.” Deif had days earlier personally committed, via a prerecorded message, to extending the war until all of Hamas’s demands were met. Those demands were and continue to be broadly thought of as nonstarters.

Asked at a press conference whether the Israelis had successfully liquidated Deif, the country’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declined to give any response beyond noting that Jerusalem considers Hamas’s leaders to be legitimate targets.

[Photo: euronews / YouTube]