Hamas deputy military commander Marwan Issa was killed in an Israeli strike earlier this month, Israel’s military spokesman has said.

There was no immediate comment from the Palestinian group.

“We have checked all the intelligence,” Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said in a televised statement on Tuesday.

“Marwan Issa was eliminated in the strike we carried out around two weeks ago,” he said.

The White House announced that Issa had been killed during a press conference on March 18, but Israel had not confirmed his death until now.

The Israeli military had previously said they had targeted Issa in an air strike on an underground compound in central Gaza on March 9-10.

The claim comes after the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, and amid growing calls for Israel to halt its nearly six-month assault on the besieged enclave, which Palestinian health officials say has so far killed more than 32,000 people.

If the claim is accurate, Issa would be the highest-ranking group leader to have been killed in Gaza since the start of the assault in October.

Israel has killed several senior leaders of Hamas over the years, only to see them quickly replaced, with little apparent impact on the group’s operations.

Al Jazeera’s senior political analyst Marwan Bishara said every time Israel “declared victory by assassinating one Hamas leader, dozens stepped up to take his place”.

“The idea of declaring victory because one or two, or several Hamas leaders were killed, has proven to be more of a façade,” Bishara said.

More to come…

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