Hamas leader killed in air strike as Israel pushes on

January 1, 2009

Israel launched dozens of New Year air and sea strikes Thursday on Gaza for a sixth day. A senior Hamas leader was  killed by an Israeli air strike on his home Hamas officials say. This is the first time aircraft have targeted a senior member of Gaza’s Hamas rulers since Israel started this new offensive.

Nizar Rayyan who has close ties to the group’s military wing, has been a vocal critic of Israel, urging suicide attacks against the Jewish state.

News of the strike came on the sixth day of Israeli strikes on Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip.

Israel says the action is designed to create a new security environment in Gaza and to halt militants’ rocket fire on southern communities.

With the death toll from the violence in Gaza rising to 400, Israel faced strong international pressure to agree to a ceasefire and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said he was not interested in a “long war.”

France has made a fresh push for a ceasefire in Gaza on Thursday as Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni arrived in Paris for talks despite Israel’s rejection of calls for a temporary truce.


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