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Israel launches air raid on Gaza militants in response to rocket fire

11-11-2012 08:33 BJT

JERUSALEM, Nov. 11 (Xinhua) -- Israeli aircraft targeted a Palestinian rocket-launching crew in the northern Gaza Strip late Saturday night, just moments after it fired projectiles toward southern Israel, the Israeli military said in a statement overnight.

"A short while ago, the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) targeted a rocket launching squad in the northern Gaza Strip moments after it fired rockets towards southern Israel. A direct hit was confirmed, " the statement said.

Gaza's armed Islamic Jihad movement, as quoted by media reports, said that a local commander named Mohammed Shkokani was killed in the airstrike.

In one of the worst days of cross-border violence in recent weeks, militants in the coastal territory fired a salvo of 28 rockets at Israeli communities in the western Negev since early evening hours. The Iron Dome anti-rocket defense system successfully shot down one of the projectiles, the Israeli statement said.

Air raid sirens were heard in several of the communities that came under fire, prompting residents to seek shelter in protected spaces.

The airstrike also came hours after an anti-tank missile hit an Israeli army jeep on a routine patrol along the border fence with central Gaza, wounding four soldiers. One of them was reportedly in critical condition after being hit in the head by shrapnel. A military helicopter sent the wounded to hospitals in the cities of Beersheba and Ashkelon.

In response, Israeli tanks fired shells and heavy machine guns at suspected militant sites in southern and central Gaza, killing four Palestinians and injuring more than 25 others, according to Palestinian sources and eyewitnesses.


Editor:James |Source: Xinhua

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