Abd al-Fattah Dukhan, popularly known as “Abu Osama,” was one of the founding members of Hamas and was murdered in an Israeli bombing on Gaza. This was a dramatic turn of events that intensified the continuing battle, which has claimed the lives of over 1,200 people, including babies and innocent civilians. Targeting Dukhan in the center of the Gaza Strip, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) dealt a serious blow to the leadership of the infamous terrorist group.

Senior Hamas official Dukhan was instrumental in the early stages of the group’s creation. He was present in the crucial 1987 conference that resulted in Sheikh Ahmed Yassin founding Hamas, which laid the groundwork for the organization’s aggressive strategies against Israel. Two more senior Hamas commanders, Zachariah Abu Ma’amar and Jawad Abu Shamala, were also killed in the airstrike.

While Abu Shamala was Hamas’ minister of the economy, Abu Ma’amar was heavily involved in the organization’s decision-making procedures and the preparation of terrorist acts against Israel. The demise of these prominent officials represents a major blow to Hamas and demonstrates the Israeli government’s determination to take on those in charge of planning attacks against Israeli citizens.

Since 2007, Hamas has ruled the Gaza Strip, having taken over from the internationally recognized Palestinian Authority. The group has continuously used terrorist tactics, such as mass killings, rocket strikes, suicide bombings, and kidnappings, with the declared goal of eliminating the Jewish state and establishing an Islamic state in its place. In 1997, the United States and other Western nations designated the group as a terrorist organization.

Unprecedented attacks on Israel have occurred as a result of the recent uptick in violence, leaving over 1,200 people dead, over 3,000 injured, and at least 100 hostages. “We are at war,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced in reaction to the militants’ and rockets’ onslaught into Israeli towns, threatening to exact a “price it has never known” on Hamas. The dead toll from the conflict is still rising on both sides, leaving the Israeli and Palestinian communities to deal with the catastrophic effects.

The targeting of prominent Hamas figures adds a layer of complexity to an already combustible and deeply entrenched conflict, while the international community watches the situation develop. These events will probably have an impact on the entire area, influencing the nature of the Israel-Palestine conflict in the days and weeks to follow.