Middle East

Hamas militant killed, 2 hurt in Israel strike on Gaza

Hamas militants celebrate in the streets in Gaza City after Islamist Mohamed Morsy of the Muslim Brotherhood was declared Egypt's first democratic president June 24, 2012. (REUTERS/Mohammed Salem)

GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories: A Palestinian militant from the ruling Hamas movement was killed and two others wounded on Thursday in an Israeli air strike on eastern Gaza City, medics said.

The attack targeted a training ground used by Hamas's armed wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, in the southeastern Zeitun neighbourhood of the city, they said.

The dead man was named by medics as Mahmud al-Hiqi, 27, and the other two, who were moderately injured in the strike, were also identified as Hamas militants.

The military confirmed the strike, saying the Israeli Air Force (IAF) had targeted a militant poised to fire a rocket at Israel.

"A short while ago, IAF aircraft targeted a terrorist in the northern Gaza Strip. The terrorist was concluding preparations to fire a rocket at Israel. A direct hit was confirmed," a statement said.

The incident took place close to an area where three Palestinians had been injured by Israeli tank fire earlier on Thursday.

In the earlier incident, three men who were travelling in a car in Shejaiya, a neighbourhood in the east of the city, were injured when a tank shell struck their vehicle and another landed nearby, medics said.

One of them was critically wounded, while the other two were moderately hurt.

The Israeli military said artillery forces and aircraft had fired at "a Hamas terrorist squad" but Palestinian sources could not immediately confirm if they were militants or civilians.

"The squad was in position to launch an anti-tank missile at IDF soldiers performing routine activity near the security fence," a statement said, referring to the Israel Defence Forces. "A hit was confirmed."

Unrest in and around Gaza flared up last month after a deadly cross-border attack from Sinai which left an Israeli civilian dead.

In six days of tit-for-tat violence which began on June 18, 15 Palestinians were killed and dozens more injured, while militants fired more than 150 rockets at Israel, injuring five.





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