Israel has released an image showing what it says are two of Hamas’ top figures enjoying a meal with other leaders, who were later eliminated by Israeli airstrikes during its latest airstrikes on the Gaza Strip.
The image was posted by the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) and is said to be taken during a meeting last week between Yahya Sinwar, the leader of Hamas’ Gaza Strip branch, and others from the group’s military wing.
Sinwar and the other top figures, including two of its most senior leaders who were later killed in airstrikes were enjoying a meal together.
Israel has long accused Hamas of using its civilian population as human shields and trying to rearm through underground tunnels, which has led to regular bouts of violence and hostilities between the two sides.
It is also said that much of the recent violence was sparked by a rocket fired from Gaza into Israel, which resulted in the death of a 7 year old Israeli girl in a Jewish settlement near Gaza.
The attacks have prompted condemnations from the international community as well as calls for restraint and an urgent end to the conflict.
The IDF has said that it strikes discrete targets and only uses the most precise missiles, in accordance with international law, in the ‘protective circle’ around Israel.
The strikes and other Israeli security measures are said to be in response to Palestinian militants’ indiscriminate rocket fire aimed at Israeli targets.
However, some observers have accused Israel of an excessive use of force, saying that innocent civilians have been caught in the crossfire in the latest conflict.
No matter which side of the issue one takes, it is clear that the violence must stop in order to achieve a secure peace between the two sides. It is hoped that the international community can help mediate the conflict and contribute to a lasting resolution between Israel and Palestine.