At least 90 killed in Israeli military operation targeting Hamas military chief 

At least 90 Palestinians were killed in Gaza on Saturday after Israel attempted to assassinate the leader of Hamas’ military wing, according to local health officials.

The Israeli strike took place in southern Gaza and was targeted at Mohammed Deif, Hamas’ military chief who has long been wanted by Israel, the Associated Press reported.

The strike, which occurred in an Israeli-declared humanitarian zone, killed at least 90 individuals and wounded about 300 others, the Gaza Health Ministry reported.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday said it was “still not absolutely certain” whether Deif or Rafa Salama — another targeted Hamas commander– were killed, per local media reports.

Hamas pushed back against the claim that Deif was in the area, stating, “these false claims are merely a cover-up for the scale of the horrific massacre,” the AP reported.

Deif, along with Hamas’s top Gaza official, Yahya Sinwar, are believed to be the top militants behind the Oct. 7 assault on southern Israel that killed about 1,200 people and kidnapped about 250 others.

Deif is believed to have escaped or survived multiple assassination attempts and has not been seen in public in years, the news wire added.

Hamas’s Oct. 7 assault sparked the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza, which has been ruled by Hamas since 2007. More than 38,400 people have been killed and about 88,000 others have been wounded in Gaza since early October, according to local health officials.

Saturday’s attack, which was one of the war’s deadliest, comes as Egypt, Qatari and U.S. mediators push for a three-phase cease-fire and hostage release deal in Gaza. The two sides have yet to come to an agreement on the deal.

The Associated Press contributed.

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