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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Israel Says Hamas Members Are Targets for 'Liquidation'

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip -- Israel killed four members of the militant group Hamas in a missile strike and declared anyone in the group a legitimate target for "liquidation," prompting Hamas to vow revenge Monday.

With Palestinian leaders stuck in a power struggle over control of their security forces, Palestinian officials warned that Sunday night's airstrike -- part of Israel's response to a suicide bombing last week that killed 21 people -- would undermine efforts to rein in militants, a key requirement in a fading U.S.-backed peace plan.

"If the Israelis thought assassinations would destroy our determination to continue in our resistance, to continue defending ourselves, they are mistaken," Hamas spokesman Ismail Haniya said. "We will move ahead whatever the sacrifice."

The Hamas military wing, Izzedine al Qassam, issued a statement promising revenge. "Our response will be painful and quick," it said in the statement.

Meanwhile, Yasser Arafat appointed Jibril Rajoub to the vacant post of national security adviser, his latest move to outflank U.S.-backed Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas in a struggle over control of security forces.

Abbas and his security chief, Mohammed Dahlan, have said they need to control all security forces to confront the militants. But Arafat has refused to hand over key units and has tried to have a loyalist, General Nasser Yousef, appointed to the powerful post of interior minister. A meeting in Ramallah broke up late Sunday with no decision on the issue.

Saying the Palestinians have failed to crack down on militants, Israel has renewed its policy of hunting down and killing militant leaders.

In Gaza City on Sunday night, witnesses said Apache helicopters fired at least three missiles at a group of armed men near a crowded beach front, killing four members of Hamas' military wing and wounding more than a dozen bystanders.