IAF Gaza strike kills top Islamic Jihad militant:Hot and Latest News
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IAF Gaza strike kills top Islamic Jihad militant

An Israel Air Force missile attack killed a senior Islamic Jihad militant in the northern Gaza Strip after dark on Wednesday, and critically wounded another, Palestinian security and health officials said.

The Israel Defense Forces confirmed the attack, saying the target was senior Islamic Jihad gunman Khaled Shalan, who was involved in firing rockets at the Israeli city of Ashkelon, north of Gaza.

Islamic Jihad, a smaller faction than Hamas, said Shalan had overseen its rocket launches and other attacks on Israel from northern Gaza.

This is the second time since the end of Operation Cast Lead that the IDF has conducted targeted killings against Palestinian militants.

Palestinian security officials said the two militants jumped out of their car when they heard the IAF jet approaching. The Israeli aircraft fired a missile at them, critically wounding them. Palestinian health ministry official Moaiya Hassanain said another five bystanders were wounded.

Israel and Palestinian militants have traded sporadic fire across Gaza's border, challenging Egyptian efforts to consolidate a January 18 truce in the Hamas-ruled territory.

Israel launched a 22-day military offensive in the Gaza Strip in December and has generally responded to Palestinian rocket attacks since then with air strikes on suspected smuggling tunnels on the Gaza-Egypt frontier.

Wednesday's air strike could signal a resumption of targeted killings against militant leaders.

On Tuesday, IAF jets bombed six tunnels in the Gaza Strip near the border with Egypt, and three more early Wednesday, in retaliation for Qassam rocket and mortar shell fire from the territory into Israel.

The IDF spokesperson's office said that secondary explosions could be seen when one of the tunnels was targeted, indicating the presence of ammunition inside it.

Gaza medical officials reported that seven people had been hurt in the attacks.

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