The airstrikes on Tuesday killed Deif's wife and his seven-month-old son at the house of a family they were staying with. Al Jazeera's Jane Ferguson, reporting from Gaza, said: "Locals here say it was struck by Israeli airstrikes at least five times on Tuesday night."
Hamas said Israel had targeted Deif in the airstrikes, but had failed to kill him. The group also said Israel had attempted to kill Deif on three previous occasions. Speaking on Wednesday, Israel's interior minister Gideon Saar said Deif was a legitimate target.
"Mohamed Deif deserves to die just like [Osama] bin Laden," he said. "He is an arch murderer and as long as we have an opportunity we will try to kill him."
At a news conference in Tel Aviv, Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's prime minister, said: "Commanders of Hamas' military wing are legitimate targets."