Israeli Air Force kills Hamas minister

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Jerusalem, Jan.16 (ANI): The Israeli Air Force has killed Hamas Interior Minister Said Siam, even as media reports said that a cease-fire between the two sides would begin soon. According to the Jerusalem Post, Siam is the most senior Hamas political leader killed since Operation Cast Lead began on December 27. He died along with his brother Iad, his son, and Gen. Salah Abu Shrakh, head of the Hamas General Security Service.

The four were killed by an IAF strike on Iad Siam's home in Jabalya.

Siam was the Hamas political echelon's liaison with the group's military wing, Izzadin Kassam, and was responsible for the various security apparatuses in the Strip, including the Hamas police and naval forces.

Officials said he was one of the Islamist movement's more radical leaders and was a close associate of its Damascus-based chief Khaled Mashaal.

Meanwhile, IDF troops continue to fight with Hamas gunmen as they push deeper into Gaza City, taking up positions a few kilometers from downtown - the deepest push since the ground operation began on January 3.

According to military sources, IDF troops shot and killed close to 60 Hamas gunmen. The goal is to put pressure on Hamas," a senior military source said.

Meanwhile, some 25 rockets hit the South, including two in Beersheba that wounded six people.

A defense official said Israel was trying to advance before the expected implementation of an Egyptian-mediated cease-fire in the coming days. (ANI)

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