BBC Home
Explore the BBC



Last Updated: Friday January 02 2009 17:35 GMT

Israeli soldiers may attack Gaza

Senior Hamas leader Nizar Rayyan

A senior member of Hamas has been killed in the latest round of Israeli air strikes in the Gaza Strip.

Nizar Rayyan died when his home was hit by a bomb. He was a leading member of Hamas - the Palestinan group which controls Gaza.

He is the most senior member of Hamas to be killed since 2004.

His death came on the sixth day of Israeli attacks on Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip. Places like government buildings and tunnels have been hit.

Hamas is the leading group in Gaza, after it won elections there in 2006.

Hamas claims Mr Rayyan was a political leader in its group, rather than a military leader.

However, the Israeli military say he was involved in the military side of the group.

It is more unusual for a political figure to be killed, rather than one who is seen to be active in the armed wings.


Palestinian medical workers say that 402 people have been killed since the strikes started six days ago.

Smoke rising after an air strike in Gaza
Israel says it is only attacking Gaza because armed groups there have been firing rockets into Israel recently, and they want that to stop.


Governments around the world want Israel to stop its air strikes and the people in Gaza to stop firing rockets.

The United Nations Security Council has said all violence in the region must stop, both from the Israeli military and the people firing rockets.

Middle East

Past stories




Press Packs