TEL AVIV Ñ Israel continued its offensive against Hamas.
Israeli special forces shot and killed Riyad Abu Zeid on Monday in the
northern Gaza Strip. Abu Zeid, 32, was regarded as the successor to the head
of Hamas's Izzedin Kassam military wing.
Abu Zeid was shot and critically wounded and died about an hour later.
He was said to have succeeded Mohammed Deif, who was blinded in an Israeli
assassination attempt last year.
"In the past few months, Zeid was involved in the planning and guidance
of terror attacks against Israeli targets in the Gaza Strip, as well as
bombings inside Israeli cities," an Israeli military statement said.
On Tuesday, Israeli and Palestinian sources reported the death of Hamas
commander Mohammed Nur in southern West Bank town of Yatta. Nur was said to
have directed ambushes of Israeli civilians and soldiers in the Hebron area.
It was the third straight day of Israeli operations against Hamas. In
the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah, Israeli forces captured suspected
insurgents and destroyed a weapons factory.
"The crime against our fighters will not pass without punishment from
Hamas and the Palestinian people," Hamas spokesman Abdul Aziz Al Rentisi
Hamas also accused Israel of engineering an explosion in which six of
its members were killed as they were unloading an attack unmanned air
vehicle. One of those killed was identified as another aide of Deif.
Israeli officials denied the Hamas accusation. But they termed Hamas's
UAV project as a significant development.
"I think all of us would know what would be the significance that
carries explosives and carried out against Israeli citizens," Israeli
Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said.