Senior Islamic Jihad terrorist Sheikh Mohammed Khalil was killed in an Air Force missile strike in the Gaza Strip Sunday evening. An IDF gunship fired a missile at his vehicle near Gaza’s coastal road.
Palestinian sources said two people were killed in the attack and four others were wounded.
Aftermath of assassination (Photo: AFP)
Khalil survived several assassinations attempt in the past, before his date with destiny Sunday. The other man killed in the attack has not yet been identified.
Atef Qatrous, 22, said he was leaving work when he saw a missile hit the car. One of those inside was decapitated and another was badly wounded, he said.
The army confirmed it had launched an airstrike.
News of the assassination came in the middle of a speech by Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom in the Likud Central Committee meeting. Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz handed a note to PM Sharon to update him about the killing.
The 31-year-old Khalil began his terror career in January 2001 and was involved in the planning and execution of roadside bombing attacks and intensive mortar strikes on Gaza communities.
Khalil served as an explosives expert and worked to improve the quality and range of mortars.
Sheikh Khalil was responsible, among other attacks, for the murder of the Hatuel family in Gaza several years ago, an attack that shocked Israelis and left a pregnant woman and her four daughters dead.
Khalil was also behind the attack that killed five IDF soldiers on May 2004, at the Israeli-Egyptian border.
Ali Waked and AP contributed to the report