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Middle East
Deadly Israeli airstrike hits Gaza
Medical sources say one fighter is killed and at least two are injured in the attack in northern Gaza Strip.
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2011 03:18
The deadliest tit-for-tat violence occured in October 30 and left 12 Palestinians and one Israeli dead [EPA]

An Israeli airstrike has hit a group of armed men along the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip, killing one person and injuring at least two others, medical sources say.

Adham Abu Salmia , Gaza Health Ministry spokesman, said on Wednesday that the violence erupted when Israeli troops moved into a buffer zone east of Gaza City.

The Islamic Jihad confirmed that the man killed, Ismail al Areer, 22, was a member of Al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of the movement.

According to a statement by the movement, two Israeli air raids hit east of  the Zeitun neighbourhood in the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli military said  that their aircraft targeted two squads preparing to launch rockets at Israeli soldiers from two different locations within the northern Gaza Strip.

"Successful hits were identified, preventing the rocket launches," it said in a statement.

Last Sunday, Israeli warplanes launched two strikes on the Gaza Strip in response to rocket fire from the Hamas-controlled Palestinian territory into the Eshkol region of southern Israel the day before, causing no casualties.

Earlier in October, the Israeli chief of staff warned that repeated rocket fire from Gaza would push Israel into taking "aggressive" action in the Gaza Strip.

Low-level unrest has rumbled in and around Gaza in past weeks but has not erupted into all-out fighting as it did on October 30 when tit-for-tat violence left 12 Palestinians and one Israeli dead.

Armed groups say they are observing an Egypt-brokered truce agreement but have reserved the right to reply to any Israeli fire.

Israel has said it will target any fighter poised to fire rockets across the border.

Hamas legislator expelled

The latest violence came hours after Israel expelled a Hamas legislator to the West Bank.

Ahmed Abu Atoun was arrested in September after venturing out of a Red Cross compound in east Jerusalem, where he had sought refuge for more than a year.

Israel bars Hamas from operating in Jerusalem.

The International Committee of the Red Cross condemned Atoun's transfer, calling it a violation of international law.

"Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits Israel, regardless of its motive, from forcibly transferring Palestinians and the ICRC urges the Israeli authorities to rescind the order to expel M. Atoun," the organisation said in a statement.

Atoun is one of four senior Hamas officials whom Israel has been seeking to expel, sparking concern among Palestinians across east Jerusalem about their future residency status.

The first to be deported was Mohammed Abu Teir, a Hamas member of the parliament who was deported from Jerusalem exactly a year ago for entering the city despite the withdrawal of his residency permit.

The other two - former Palestinian minister for Jerusalem affairs Khaled Abu Arafeh and Parliamentarian Mohammed Totah - are still holed up inside the Red Cross compound hoping to avoid arrest.

Many Palestinians fear their expulsion could set a precedent for the removal of the 270,000 Palestinians living in east Jerusalem who need Israeli-issued residence permits in order to travel freely in Israel and the West Bank.

Source:
Agencies
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