Senior Hamas official killed as Israel orders fresh evacuation

c97e3a90-3c83-11ef-9ac9-adb60de2b6b2 Senior Hamas official killed as Israel orders fresh evacuation

A senior Hamas administration official was among four people killed in an Israeli air strike at a school in Gaza City, Palestinian sources say.

A local official told the BBC that Ehab Al-Ghussein was appointed to manage the affairs of the Hamas government in Gaza City and northern Gaza three months ago.

The Israeli army says that it carried out a strike on the area of a school building in Gaza City from which it says “terrorists were operating and hiding”.

It says that it took steps to minimise the risk of civilians being harmed.

Eyewitnesses say the attack targeted the Holy Family School next to the Holy Family Church to the west of Gaza city. A large number of people were sheltering in the building, the BBC understands.

The air strike targeted two classrooms on the ground floor, they said.

Ehab Al-Ghussein was formerly deputy labour minister in the Hamas administration and before that an interior ministry spokesman. His death is not considered to be a blow to Hamas militarily, but he was considered a significant figure in the leadership of the Hamas administration.

Many others in the Hamas administration have been killed in the past nine months.

In one Israeli airstrike last November, the deputy culture minister and the deputy speaker of the legislative council were killed, along with other government employees and officials, as well as senior police officers.

Separately the Israeli military issued another evacuation order for a central part of Gaza City.

Ibrahim Al-Barbari, 47, who lives with his wife, five children, mother and sister in the Bani Amer neighbourhood, told the BBC that dozens of families were leaving and women and children were carrying bags and heading west.

“We heard from the neighbours that we had to leave the house. We haven’t received any calls or texts from the army, but we have already started gathering our belongings in preparation for moving again.

“We have been living in a state of near famine for months.”

Meanwhile Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has insisted that any ceasefire deal in Gaza must allow Israel to resume fighting afterwards, until its objectives are met.

He has previously defined these as dismantling Hamas’s military and governing capabilities, as well as returning hostages.

Hamas officials say they are awaiting Israel’s response to the latest ceasefire proposals.

Israel’s war was triggered by Hamas’s unprecedented attack on Israel on 7 October in which Hamas-led gunmen killed about 1,200 people and took 251 others back to Gaza as hostages.

At least 38,098 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza as a result of Israel’s offensive, according to the territory’s Hamas-run health ministry.

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