White House Confirms Top Hamas Commander Killed in Israeli Airstrike

White House Confirms Top Hamas Commander Killed in Israeli Airstrike

In an airstrike last week, Israel killed Hamas’s third-ranking commander, White House national security advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters on Monday.

“Israel has made significant progress against Hamas. They’ve broken a significant number of Hamas battalions [and] killed thousands of Hamas fighters including senior commanders. Hamas’s number three, Marwan Issa, was killed in an Israeli operation last week,” Sullivan stated. 

The Israel Defense Forces said this week that Issa, the deputy of Mohammed Deif, the commander of Hamas’ military branch, assisted in organizing the attack on Israel on October 7.

Sullivan made these remarks while summarizing a conversation that took place earlier on Monday between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Biden regarding Israel’s intentions for Rafah.

In light of growing concerns over Israel’s management of its war in Gaza, the two presidents had their first phone conversation in weeks. Netanyahu promised to send senior officials to Washington, D.C., this week to discuss possible military operations in Rafah.

Over a million Palestinian people have taken shelter in the city since the beginning of the war in October, and Israel has hinted that it may soon begin a significant offensive there.

Additionally, the city is the main point of entry for supplies of humanitarian aid coming into Gaza from Israel and Egypt.

But American officials have cautioned Israel that it would be foolish to launch any large-scale attack there.

“The president explained why he is so deeply concerned about the prospect of Israel conducting major military operations in Rafah,” Sullivan stated. “[Palestinian civilians] have nowhere else to go because Gaza’s other major cities have largely been destroyed. And Israel has not presented us or the world with a plan for how and where they would safely move those civilians, let alone feed and house them and ensure access to basic things like sanitation.”

Biden emphasized the need for a “coherent and sustainable strategy” to destroy Hamas, according to Sullivan as well.