The Israeli Air Force launched a missile strike Thursday at a group of wanted suspects in the Gaza strip town of Beit Lahiya Thursday afternoon.
Two men were killed in the strike, and another sustained critical injuries, according to Palestinian reports.
Palestinian sources said the three were affiliated with Fatah’s military wing, the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, which is behind the recent Qassam rocket attacks at Israel.
The attack, which took place several minutes after an Israeli was stabbed
to death at the Kalandiya checkpoint, north of Jerusalem, occurred in close proximity to an area used to launch Qassams toward Israel.
According to Palestinian eyewitnesses, the missiles were fired at the home of the critically-wounded Fatah member, Khuder Rayin.
The two Fatah members killed were identified as Iad Najar and Iad Qadas.
The al-Aqsa Brigades have claimed responsibility for some of the recent Qassam attacks on Israel.
The three were affiliated with al-Aqsa Brigades’ Masoud Iad cells, responsible for the attack on the Ashdod port in March 2004; 10 Israelis were killed in that attack.
Hassan el-Madhun, one of the group’s senior members, was killed along with a Hamas member in last month’s Israeli helicopter strike.
PA: Assassination policy will end calm
Qadas, who the IAF’s main target, was responsible for a series of terror attacks and attempts to attack IDF bases and communities. His home served as a sewing workshop for flack jackets supplied to various organizations. Several terror and shooting attacks also emanated from Qadas’ home.
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas condemned early Thursday Israel’s return to its assassination policy and warned of its possible ramifications, this following Wednesday’s IAF missile attack on
a vehicle in the southern Gaza town of Rafah, killing Mahmoud al-Arkan, the commander of the Popular Resistance Committees' military wing, the Salah a-Din Brigades.
A number of senior PA officials said Israel’s return to the assassination policy would free the Authority of its commitment to the calm.
Two other activists were also in the car at the time of the strike. Palestinian sources added that 10 people were also wounded in the attack, including two in critical condition. Another three children aged 8-10 years sustained serious injuries.
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.
Ali Waked contributed to the report