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An Israeli airstrike in Gaza killed three senior commanders of Hamas' military wing on Thursday, the group said. The pre-dawn strike leveled a four-story house in the southern town of Rafah, killing six people, including the three senior military commanders, identified by Hamas as Mohammed Abu Shamaleh, Raed Attar and Mohammed Barhoum. The attack is likely to be a major blow to the organization's morale and represents a significant achievement for Israel's intelligence agency.
Israel said Abu Shamaleh had been the top Hamas commander in southern Gaza, overseeing fighters there during the current war. Attar was in charge of weapons smuggling into Gaza and the construction of attack tunnels, the Israeli military said. In 2006, Attar was involved in the capture of an Israeli soldier, Gilad Schalit, through such a tunnel, according to the statement. It did not refer to Barhoum. The Rafah attack came just a day after an apparent Israeli attempt to kill the top Hamas military leader, Mohammed Deif, in an airstrike on a house in Gaza City. Deif's wife and an infant were killed in that strike.