Israeli airstrike in Gaza kills 3 senior Hamas military leaders in major blow to group

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Associated Press

Posted on August 21, 2014 at 1:00 PM

Updated Thursday, Aug 21 at 2:31 PM

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is praising the "superior intelligence" of the Shin Bet security service and the military's "precise execution" following an Israeli airstrike in Gaza that killed three senior Hamas military commanders today.

The pre-dawn strike leveled a four-story house in a densely populated neighborhood of the southern town of Rafah, killing at total of six people. Israel said the three commanders had played a key role in expanding Hamas' military capabilities in recent years, including digging attack tunnels leading to Israel, training fighters and smuggling weapons to Gaza.

Hamas is vowing that Israel "will pay the price" for the attack. A spokesman says Israel "will not succeed in breaking the will of our people or weaken the resistance."

Meanwhile, a website linked to the Hamas security services says seven suspected informers have been arrested in recent days and three were killed.

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157-r-10-(Sound of mourners carrying bodies and chanting, at funeral procession for three Hamas senior commanders)--Sound of thousands of Palestinian mourners chanting at a funeral procession for three senior commanders of the Hamas military wing in the Gaza Strip. (21 Aug 2014)

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158-r-11-(Sound of gunfire as mourners march waving Hamas green flags, at funeral procession for three Hamas senior commanders)--Sound of gun fired in the air as mourners march in funeral procession for three Hamas senior commanders waving Hamas green flags. (21 Aug 2014)

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015-a-17-(Karin Laub, AP correspondent)-"fate remains uncertain"-AP correspondent Karin Laub reports the Islamic militant group Hamas says three of its senior military leaders have been killed in an Israeli airstrike in the Gaza Strip. (21 Aug 2014)

<<CUT *015 (08/21/14)££ 00:17 "fate remains uncertain"

014-a-12-(Karin Laub, AP correspondent)-"in the attack"-AP correspondent Karin Laub reports several members of Hamas' leadership are said to have been killed. (21 Aug 2014)

<<CUT *014 (08/21/14)££ 00:12 "in the attack"

016-a-18-(Karin Laub, AP correspondent)-"for an escalation"-AP correspondent Karin Laub reports Hamas says three of its senior military leaders have been killed in an Israeli airstrike. (21 Aug 2014)

<<CUT *016 (08/21/14)££ 00:18 "for an escalation"

APPHOTO KH113: Palestinian mourners chant angry slogans as they carry the body of Mohammed Abu Shamaleh, one of three senior commanders of the Hamas military wing, who were killed in early morning Israeli strikes, during his funeral in the Rafah refugee camp, Southern Gaza Strip, Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra) (21 Aug 2014)

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APPHOTO XAH125: Palestinians inspect the wreckage of a vehicle following an Israeli airstrike at the main street in Gaza City in the northern Gaza Strip, Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014. At least two were killed in the car outside a grocery shop, and a few others were wounded by an Israel airstrike on a Gaza City street, according to the Palestine Red Crescent Society. (AP Photo/Adel Hana) (21 Aug 2014)

<<APPHOTO XAH125 (08/21/14)££

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