Israel airstrikes on Tuesday night were aiming at Mohammed Deif's home in the neighborhood of Sheikh Radwan in Gaza city, who is commander of Hamas' military wing in Gaza, an Israeli official told Channel 2 new TV on Wednesday.
It is not clear whether Deif had survived the airstrikes but Hamas' exiled deputy leader Mussa Abu Marzuk told reporters in Cairo that his wife and daughter were killed by the attack.
A spokesperson of Israeli prime minister's office said they would not comment on the news. A military spokesperson said Israel 's airforce last night targeted some 60 "terror sites across the Gaza Strip", but declined to comment on any specific target.
However, Ya'akov Perry, cabinet minister and former chief of the Shin Bet (Israel's security service), told Ynet website news that Deif was a "legitimate target." "If Israel is behind the attack, then it is a step in right direction -- Hamas leaders should know they are not immune."
According to the Shin Bet, Deif has been the commander of Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas' military wing, since its former leader, Yahya Ayyash, was assassinated by Israel in 1996.
Israel charges that Deif was the mastermind behind several attacks against Israelis, including the kidnapping and murder of the soldier Nachshon Wachsman in 1994.
Deif survived at least four assassination attempts, which caused him severe disability. JERUSALEM, Aug. 20 (Xinhua)