Lapid: Israel Can Target Hamas 'Political' Leaders - Even Abroad

Finance Minister warns even Hamas leaders abroad will be forced to 'bear the consequences' of rocket attacks.

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Yedidya Ben-Or and Ari Soffer,

Yair Lapid
Yair Lapid
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Security Cabinet member and Finance Minister Yair Lapid has warned that Hamas's political leadership - including those based abroad - are not "immune" from bearing the consequences of continued rocket and mortar fire against Israeli civilians.

Speaking just before a Security Cabinet meeting Sunday morning, Lapid referred to the murder of four-year Daniel Turgeman in a mortar attack on southern Israel, saying Israel "would not tolerate" the targeting of its children by Islamist terrorists.

"The funeral of four-year-old Daniel Turgeman is something that we are not able and do not need to bear or suffer," he said. "Four-year-old children should go to kindergarten or to the swimming pool, not to a funeral procession."

"Those responsible for his death will pay the price," Lapid vowed. "Hamas's leaders need to know that we will pursue them, and we will cause them to pay the price for what is happening in the south of the State of Israel."

"No one is immune - not the political leadership, and not the leadership abroad," he said.

Until now Israel has largely avoided targeting Hamas's "political" leadership, focusing on commanders and personnel from its "military wing", the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades. On Thursday, Israel succeeded in killing three of its "most wanted" Hamas terrorists in a strike targeting senior al-Qassam Brigades commanders.

A previous strike targeted the Brigades' commander, Mohammed Deif, but Hamas claimed this elusive terrorist mastermind had survived - though it gave no word on his precise condition.

Hamas's most senior political leader is Khaled Meshaal, currently based in Doha, Qatar. Other senior Hamas leaders are also based abroad - including one of the suspected masterminds of the kidnap and murder of three Israeli teens in June, Salah al-Aruri.

Heartbreaking scenes

Daniel Turgeman h"yd, the four-year-old boy killed by mortar fire from Gaza late on Friday in Kibbutz Nahal Oz, was buried Sunday amid heartbreaking scenes at the Hevel Shalom cemetery in the Eshkol Region. 

Turgeman was killed when a mortar shell struck a car near his home, critically wounding him. Emergency response teams tried in vain to resuscitate him but declared him dead at the scene.

"I do not understand what's going on at all, sweetie," his mother Gila said in a tearful eulogy. "I cannot believe I'm here to say goodbye."

"We were the happiest family in the world and I do not accept this," she added. "My Daniel, we want to thank you for teaching us to love, to smile, and for giving us many moments of joy in such a short time. You're smart, sensitive, beautiful."

"I find comfort in that you were a child who was loved, and who was happy, until his last moments," she continued. "We wanted to protect you, but even the 'code red' siren did not protect us."

"God in heaven, strengthen us, give us the strength to continue," she concluded. "We left you your Spiderman costume you loved so much [...] we don't want to say goodbye."