Devastation in Gaza as Israel wages war against Hamas

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4:41 p.m. Eastern Time, March 18, 2024

Top Hamas commander killed in Israeli airstrike last week, White House says

From CNN’s Sam Fossum and Mick Krever

Jake Sullivan speaks during a press conference at the White House in Washington, DC on March 18.

Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Israel killed a top Hamas commander in a airstrike last week, the White House said Monday.

“Israel has made significant progress against Hamas. They have destroyed a significant number of Hamas battalions. It killed thousands of Hamas fighters, including top commanders. Hamas number three Marwan Issa was killed in an Israeli operation last week,” said White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan.

When asked to confirm the White House statement, the Israel Defense Forces told CNN they would not comment.

Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, an IDF spokesman, said on March 9 that Israeli forces had attacked an underground compound used by Issa and other senior Hamas officials in the Nazirat area of ​​central Gaza. Because the compound was underground, the IDF was unable to verify whether Issa was killed, Hagari said.

An Israeli military spokesman said last week that Issa is deputy to Mohammed Deif, the head of Hamas’ military division, and was one of the planners of the Oct. 7 attack on Israel.

Sullivan was describing President Joe Biden’s call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier Monday when he said the top commander was killed. He said Biden stressed the importance of a “coherent and sustainable strategy” to defeat Hamas.

This post has been updated with comments from the Israel Defense Forces.

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