The Israel Air Force launched a missile strike Wednesday at a vehicle in the southern Gaza town of Rafah, killing the commander of the Popular Resistance Committees' military wing.
Two other activists were also in the car at the time of the strike.
Onlookers gather at the vehicle (Photo: AFP)
Palestinian sources confirmed that Mahmoud al-Arkan, commander of the military wing of the Popular Resistance Committees, the Salah a-Din Brigades, was killed in the attack.
The sources added that 10 people were
also wounded in the attack, including two in critical condition. Another three children aged 8-10 years were also injured, and are in moderate to serious condition.
IDF sources confirmed that the targeted killing was directed at al-Arkan, as he was involved in manufacturing Qassam rockets and mortar shells.
Sources also said he was involved in a number of terror attacks along the Philadelphi route, including the death of IDF officer Avi Karutshi on July 19.
He was also instrumental in carrying out several attacks in collaboration with Islamic jihad during the disengagement.
Al-Arkan's name was transferred to the Palestinian Authority, in a bid to assist in his arrest. However, the PA did not take any steps against him. His was a former police officer.
"Our blood continues to be spilled by the Israelis," spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committees Muhammad Abd al-Aal told Ynet.
"The entire Israeli public will pay for what Sharon did this evening. Our response will be swift, hard, merciless and relentless," he declared.
Renewed targeted killings
Security sources told Ynet that the strike constituted part of a military effort to "turn on the heat" on terror organizations, as recently sanctioned by Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz.
The IDF has prepared accordingly, once Mofaz
authorized the return of targeted killings, an army source said.
The IDF will launch targeted killings against any terror activists involved in planning attacks, or with the deployment of Qassam rockets and mortar shells, he added.
"The army will also continue to operate in northern Samaria, leaving no terrorist immune," he said.
Mofaz, Chief of Staff Dan Halutz and Shin Bet officials authorized the return of targeted killings of Islamic Jihad senior activists, following Monday's terror attack in Netanya.
Security officials also decided to "exert ongoing pressure on the terror organizations, and continue gathering intelligence and operative information."
Hanan Greenberg contributed to the report