A Hamas commando was killed Friday overnight during an operation of the coast of the Gaza Strip, Hamas’s military wing the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades announced Saturday.
The group said Hamdi a-Sultan was killed during a “jihad mission.”
Palestinian media in Gaza had previously reported that a-Sultan was a fisherman who fell off his boat and drowned. His body has yet to be recovered.
Hamas is rebuilding its tunnel infrastructure and restocking its weapons stockpiles in Gaza, in preparation for its next conflict with Israel.
The terror group has more than 1,000 people working around the clock, six days a week, to dig attack tunnels under the border and into Israel, with the group believing it can use the tunnels to carry out an “opening strike” against Israel in any future round of fighting.
Many in the organization believe that maintaining the status quo is untenable in Gaza, where rising unemployment and poverty rates, closed borders, and the erratic supply of electrical power could damage Hamas’s ability to survive, particularly in light of the Egyptian embargo and the cutback in support from Iran.
Gaza has never been in such a bad humanitarian situation, residents say, calling it much more difficult than it was on the eve of the last war in 2014.
Avi Issacharoff contributed to this report.