Airstrike in Gaza (archive)
Photo: AFP

Islamic Jihad vows retaliation for Gaza strike

Army confirms targets of Wednesday evening airstrike were Al-Quds Brigades operatives involved in firing of rockets against Israel. At least five bystanders reported wounded

Palestinian sources reported on Wednesday evening that two Islamic Jihad operatives were critically wounded in an Israeli airstrike in northern Gaza. 


The IDF confirmed the attack was a joint operation with the Shin Bet to target senior Islamic Jihad operative Khaled Khareb Khaled Sha'alan – who the army said was involved in the firing of rockets towards

Israel, including the attacks against Ashkelon in recent days.


Sha'alan succumbed to his wounds and died a short while after the airstrike. A second operative, Hamza al-Najah, was also named as one of the wounded. Both belonged to the Al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of the Islamic Jihad.


The Al-Quds Brigades threatening it would respond to the strike against its operatives in Beit Lahiya.

"The attack proves that the Zionist enemy is not interested in calm, and therefore it must wait for our response and more rockets. This crime will not be ignored," the group said in a statement.


A Palestinian Health Ministry official said that five additional people were wounded and that all were bystanders. According to the Palestinian sources, Israeli aircraft fired at least one missile towards a vehicle near a mosque in the town of Beit Lahiya.


According to the reports, the two Islamic Jihad gunmen leapt from the car upon hearing the aircraft nearing their location, but they were unable to flee in time.


The last attack in Gaza occurred several short hours after midnight Tuesday, when three smuggling tunnels were targeted in southern Gaza. The army confirmed the strikes, and said secondary explosions were observed in one of the strikes.


The bombing came as a response to the Qassam rocket and mortar shell fire towards Israel on Tuesday. No injuries were reported and no damage was caused in the incidents.


On Sunday seven Qassam rockets were fired into southern Israel. Another rocket was fired on Monday. On Saturday an advanced Qassam lightly wounded three people in Ashkelon.


Hanan Greenberg contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 03.04.09, 20:06
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