On Wednesday, an Israeli airstrike in Gaza killed a top Hamas official, as Israel Defense Forces appeared to be preparing for a potential land invasion amid rising tensions.
According to Fox News, Bassem Issa, the Islamic terror group’s highest-ranking military officer in Gaza, had been one of the Hamas officials killed when Israeli bombings destroyed a downtown high-rise containing the organization’s headquarters.
Other Hamas leaders killed in the explosion included Jamaa Tahla, the group’s head of cyber command; Jamal Zabeda, the group’s chief scientist; and chief engineer Nazzem Hatib, according to the Times of Israel.
According to the Shin Bet, Israel’s intelligence force, ten other Hamas personnel engaged in arms development and testing were also killed.
The statement comes as Israel maintains its tough posture, stating that it is ready to intensify the crisis in response to Hamas rocket fire on Tel Aviv and the surrounding region on the third day of war.
“We eliminated senior Hamas commanders and this is just the beginning,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday.
“We will inflict blows on them that they couldn’t even dream of.”
Israeli commanders also said three infantry brigades are “preparing for a worst-case scenario” in the conflict, suggesting a ground invasion could follow the aerial bombardment, according to the New York Times.
Israeli troops have also entered the Lydd District to quell Palestinian violence.
Israeli strikes have destroyed three high-rise buildings in Gaza, including one where the Hamas officials were killed— and Hamas has responded by firing missiles at Tel Aviv.