Hamas confirmed the airstrikes had killed Mohammed Abu Shamalah, Raed Attar and Mohammed Barhoum, but insisted Mohammed Deif, whom Israel targeted in an airstrike Tuesday, was alive.
"Raed Attar played a major role in tunnel infiltrations, terror attacks that killed Israelis, and the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit," a statement from the Israeli military said. "Abu Shamala, commander of Hamas forces in [southern] Gaza, was directly involved in dozens of terror attacks, including the murders of IDF soldiers."
Gilad Shalit was an Israeli soldier who was held captive by Hamas for more than five years. Attar, who personally handed Shalit over during a 2011 prisoner exchange, was responsible for smuggling weapons into Gaza and recruiting in Rafah. Shamala was said to have been responsible for orchestrating Shalit's capture, while Barhoum was a senior local Hamas commander and relative of Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum.
On Wednesday, the funerals of Wedad Deif, 28, and Ali, 7 months, the wife and child of top commander Mohammed Deif, were held in Jabaliya camp in northern Gaza. While hundreds of mourners turned out for the occasion, the relative quiet was in sharp contrast to the crowds of thousands that Hamas encourages to attend most Gaza funerals.
Hamas said Wednesday that Deif was alive and working to lead military operations against Israel. However, Israel said its intelligence indicated Deif was in the house at the time of the bombing.
A third, unidentified person died in the airstrike.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Wednesday said the strikes were "the harshest blow Hamas has taken since its foundation." He said Hamas in Gaza and the Islamic State were a "branch of the same area" and the war "will be a continued campaign" until "calm and safety" is restored to Israel.
"The struggle against terror lasts for years," he said.
Peace talks in Cairo collapsed Tuesday after nearly six days of cease-fire collapsed. Israel blamed three rockets it said were fired from Gaza, while Hamas accused Israel of inventing the rockets to justify restarting its campaign.