An Israeli airstrike on Gaza City Tuesday killed the wife and child of Hamas military leader Mohammed Deif, said members of the Islamist group.
Exiled Hamas leader Moussa Abu Marzouk wrote on Facebook Wednesday that the two family members of Deif had been killed.
“The wife of the great leader was martyred with his daughter,” Marzouk wrote, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
He did not mention in that post whether Deif was still alive. Some conflicting early reports of the attack claimed that Deif had been killed.
But Arutz Sheva reported later Wednesday that Hamas spokesman Sami Abu-Zuhri said Deif was “alive and well.”
Reports on the gender of the child differ. Although Marzouk claimed a daughter had been killed, other sources say it was a son.
Abu-Zuhri promised retribution for the attack.
"The occupation will pay for its crimes against the Palestinian people,” he said in a statement.
Another Hamas spokesman, Fawzi Barhoum, added to those threats later in the day and said more violence could be expected.
“(Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu and (Foreign Minister Avigdor) Liberman must prepare themselves for difficult days. They have never seen such (difficult days) in this war or its predecessors,” he said.
Deif has survived at least five previous attempts by Israel to kill him.
Yair Lapid, Israel’s finance minister, vowed last month to hunt down Deif and kill him after the Hamas leader claimed to be “winning the war” against Israel.
“For years, Mohammed Deif has been hiding in the tunnels underneath Gaza, and that is where he will remain because he’s a dead man,” Lapid said, according to The New York Times. “To Deif and his gang, I want to say clearly: Just as the United States did not rest until it found Bin Laden and eliminated him, we will find you and bring you to justice.”
The current violence between Israel and the Palestinians has raged on now for more than a month.
Palestinian officials said 45 people were also injured in the attack Tuesday.
At least 2,020 Palestinians and 67 Israelis have been killed in the fighting that began July 8.