IAF Strike Kills Five in Southern Gaza Strip

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According to IDF sources, strike targeted an Islamic Jihad cell responsible for launching a Grad rocket that exploded in southern Israel earlier this week.

By Avi Issacharoff and Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz

The IAF struck an Islamic Jihad training camp Saturday in southern Gaza Strip, killing five, including one of the organization’s senior members.

According to IDF sources, the strike was targeted at the same cell who was responsible for launching a Grad rocket which exploded in Ashdod earlier this week.

Palestinian sources say the strike occurred near the Al-Sultan neighborhood, near the former Israeli settlement of Atzmona. Sources also stated that a senior leader of the Islamic Jihad’s military wing was among dead. In the wake of the strike, the organization says that a response will come “deep into Israeli territory.”

On Friday, Palestinian sources in the Gaza Strip told Haaretz that the Islamic Jihad was behind Wednesday night’s rocket attack, which was an attempt to embarrass Hamas and show its resentment toward the Gilad Shalit prisoner swap deal.

The Grad rocket fired from the Gaza on Wednesday exploded near the southern city of Ashdod. There were no reports of injuries, but a number of people were treated for shock.

Sirens went off in Rehovot, Rishon Letzion and other cities in the area and the residents were told to take shelter.

Earlier this month, An Israeli air strike wounded three Palestinians in the northern Gaza Strip. An Israeli military spokeswoman said the air strike targeted a militant squad that was preparing to launch rockets across the border into Israel.

The Israel-Gaza border has been mostly quiet since the Israel and Hamas agreed to a ceasefire after five days of cross-border violence in August.

It is still unclear which Palestinian group launched the rockets. However, Israeli intelligence officials believe that Hamas has no interest in escalation, as it is trying to leverage its success in bringing about the release of thousands of Palestinian prisoners, and are not behind the rocket attacks. Officials believe that a small faction is behind the attacks, which contradicts Hamas’ current policy in the Strip.


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