Islamic Jihad leaders killed in strike, Hamas’ Mashal shuns stop to bombings

JERUSALEM (JTA) – As Hamas’ leader in exile, Khaled Mashal, brushed off a halt to bombings, Israeli airstrikes hit a Gaza media center and killed several leaders of Islamic Jihad.

The Israel Air Force’s strike Monday evening — the second on the center in two days — killed Ramaz Harab, a top leader of Islamic Jihad’s military wing, the Al Quds Brigades. At least three other Islamic Jihad leaders were in the building when it was hit, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

Hamas’ main television station, Al Aksa, is located on the top floor of the high-rise building. 

In Cairo, meanwhile, Mashal said Monday during an hourlong news conference, "Whoever started the war must end it."

He told reporters that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu requested a cease-fire, a claim that Israel has denied, according to reports. 

Mashal said there is a new spirit of cooperation among Palestinian factions due to the Israeli operation, which began on Nov. 14.

"Israel is the common enemy. Confrontation with the enemy is our moment of truth," he said. "We must end the political divide and unite around common institutions and around resistance to Israel. Our enemy cannot be treated with words, but only by force. No concessions should be made with Israel, given the new atmosphere in the Arab world."
 

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