It is not clear whether Deif survived the airstrikes but Hamas's exiled deputy leader Mussa Abu Marzuk told reporters in Cairo that his wife and daughter were killed in the attack.

A spokesperson of the Israeli prime minister's office declined to comment on the report. A military spokesperson said Israel's airforce on Tuesday night targeted some 60 "terror sites across the Gaza Strip" but declined to comment on any specific target.

However, Ya'akov Perry, Cabinet minister and former chief of the Shin Bet Israeli security service, told a news website that Deif was a "legitimate target".

"If Israel is behind the attack, then it is a step in right direction -- Hamas leaders should know they are not immune,” the minister said.

According to the Shin Bet, Deif has been the commander of Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas's military wing, since its former leader, Yahya Ayyash, was assassinated by Israel in 1996.

Israel has accused Deif of being the mastermind behind several attacks against Israelis, including the kidnapping and murder of a soldier, Nachshon Wachsman in 1994.

Deif survived at least four assassination attempts, which left him with severe disability.  

According to an earlier report, a temporary ceasefire in the Gaza Strip has "collapsed" after a 24-hour respite from the Israeli offensive on the coastal enclave ended Tuesday midnight.

"The ceasefire has collapsed and Israel is responsible," Azzam al-Ahmed, head of a joint-Palestinian delegation in Cairo attending indirect negotiations with Israel, said.

"We are leaving tomorrow, but we have not pulled out negotiations," he said, adding that the Palestinian team was waiting for the Israelis to respond to their truce proposal.

"We will not come back (to Cairo) until Israel responds," he added.

Ahmed, an aide of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, heads the delegation that includes senior Hamas officials.

On Tuesday night and in renewed Israeli air strikes against Gaza City, three Palestinians were killed and 40 others wounded, shortly before the end of the 24-hour ceasefire, medics said.

Ashraf al-Qedra, Gaza health ministry spokesperson, told reporters that three Palestinians, including a child and a woman, were killed and 40 others wounded in an air strike on al-Dalou family house in northwest Gaza city.

Earlier on Tuesday, Sami Abu Zuhri, Hamas spokesman in Gaza, said Hamas was not responsible for the four rockets that were fired on Tuesday afternoon from Gaza into Israel.

Israel launched a ground and air offensive dubbed Operation Protective Edge on the Gaza Strip to rein in Gaza militants and stop rockets being fired into Israel. At least 2,018 Palestinians and 68 Israelis have been killed and more than 10,000 wounded so far.

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